If you purchase an independently reviewed product or service through a link on our website, Robb Report may receive an affiliate commission.
For Assouline, its beloved series of travel books was a way for readers to transport themselves around the world at the turn of a page. Now, the famed French publisher wants to take you on an olfactory journey across the globe with its debut home fragrance collection.
Assouline just launched six chic scented candles inspired by the destinations profiled in its best-selling tomes: Marrakech Flair, Gstaad Glam, Mykonos Muse, Ibiza Bohemia, Moon Paradise, and Tulum Gypset. The line marks the luxury brand’s first foray into the home fragrance space; however, it has ventured outside the publishing sphere in recent years with the creation of its upscale cocktail bars and private libraries.
Assouline tapped renowned perfumer Jérôme Epinette to craft the scents, and each is based on a personal association or memory of the Assouline family. “The creative process was really fun,” Alex Assouline, chief of operations, brand and strategy, and son of founders Prosper and Martine, tells Robb Report. “He just asked us to look at the book and then close our eyes and describe what we saw. He wanted to capture that moment.”
While the 300-page hardcovers took six months to create, the candles were some three years in the making. “Believe it or not, I started working on the candles in May 2020,” he says. “It took years of research and development to create a product that would match the level of quality that we put into our books.”
Each candle is housed in a beige ceramic container and features a silkscreen-printed motif that corresponds to the title it’s referencing. The presentation box showcases the same vibrant color palette as the cover, complete with foil-stamped symbols that are specific to the series. “We could have gone the obvious way and just designed the packaging the same color as the book, but we wanted them to marry well into every interior space.”
After nailing the refined aesthetics, the team now had to ensure the scents were suitably sophisticated and not too overpowering. As someone who’s personally sniffed all six, I can tell you that these candles perfume the room without even being lit but were somehow never too strong when burned.
If you’re yearning for a vacation, Mykonos Muse will take you straight to the Greek island with notes of cyclamen, almond, green fig, and tonka bean. (I swore I got a whiff of coconut, too.) The unique blend is like breathing in the Aegean Sea. Similarly, Ibiza Bohemia encapsulates a Mediterranean getaway with a zesty mix of lemon, bergamot, and green apple.
The adventures don’t stop there. Tulum Gypset evokes visions of the Caribbean coast with earthy aromas of eucalyptus, sage, black pepper, and cardamom, while Gstaad Glam conjures up a cozy cold-weather escape using cypress, cedar, black tobacco, juniper berry, and palo santo.
Alex says choosing a favorite is nearly impossible, but if he had to pick just one it would be Marrakech Flair. This heady creation pairs cypress, sweet cedarwood, and juniper berry with notes of black tobacco leaves, bergamot, neroli, and citrus. “It goes directly to my family’s roots in Morocco,” he adds. “It was the most emotional one for me to put together.” (It happens to be our top pick, too.)
The most challenging? Well, that would be Moon Paradise, for obvious reasons. “It was the easiest, but also the most complicated because it’s a very subjective scent,” Alex explains. “All of these other locations we have either been to, visited, or experienced.” Combining black pepper and sweet notes of bamboo, the candle promises to catapult you into the cosmos.
The candles will set you back $80 apiece. In addition, Assouline has crafted a range of accessories, including a branded pack of matches that come free with each purchase and a sleek brass lid ($30). Later this year, a box set containing all six scents will be available, too.
Considering Assouline has more than 30 titles in its travel series, don’t be surprised if more home fragrances (or objects) pop up in the future, either. “We’re very curious as a brand,” Alex adds. “We don’t want to limit ourselves by just being a publishing house. Of course, we’ll always keep books and culture at the center, but developing new products for interior spaces is very important.”