A finicky guy's exploits in finding gustatory (and other) satisfaction in his kitchen, his neighborhood, and beyond.

Friday, April 8, 2011

In which packages are eagerly anticipated

I want to start out by assuring Treadle27 that her chocolatey prize will soon be winging its way to her home.

That's all the varieties my prize-winner did not select as well as her chosen Maple Pecan all packed up in the envelope underneath, which Peter has kindly agreed to drop off at the post office later today.  Don't you just love the gorgeous papers that the Mast Brothers use to wrap their bars?

It's actually kind of a shame that these high-quality decorative papers — like the end papers in expensively produced books — have stickers stuck to them so that you have to ruin them to get to the chocolate.  Remember those bracelets that kids used to make by folding up gum wrappers into chains?  I can just see a whole Etsy-based culture of Mast-Brothers-wrapper origami crafts cropping up....if only those otherwise brilliant brothers would figure out a way to render their packaging reusable.

Here's another product that could be reused, if I have the wherewithal to dig up the bulbs and store them until next spring.

Poor Willy is giving my hyacinths one last sniff here, but it's obvious that these shriveling flowers are no longer going to be lending a delightful scent to our entryway.  Until next March, possibly.  So how fortunate that, just in time, my Lampe Berger arrived in the mail yesterday:

I am pleased with its looks — both the vaguely Zen shape of the ceramic container as well as its rich color that reminds me of Mast Brothers chocolate (unnecessarily, as I was already thinking of it).  I photographed my new scenter in my hand to provide an indication of its size; I had misjudged the scale in the pictures on the website where I ordered it.  I was expecting a dainty little perfume-bottle-sized object, not this hefty lamp, which makes a pretty bold decorative statement.  This is not a complaint, by the way, just an expression of my surprise.

The following IS a complaint, however:

The scents I received along with the Lampe (isn't that final "e" juste a bit preciouse in an Englishe sentencee?) are frigging nauseating.  Imagine sitting in a crowded bus with no air conditioning on a humid day in August next to someone drenched in the cheapest cologne — from the Walmart fragrance collection, for example — and you will have some idea of what it's like to be in a room "fragranced" with the fluids manufactured by Lampe Berger.

These products are made in France, but I am not convinced that any French person would want her home smelling of sickly-sweet fake flowers.  Isn't this a people that treasure the goodness and beauty of Nature and have created a remarkable culture around harnessing her bounty?  Perhaps the developers of this line of scents were aiming to create smells that they think would appeal to us tacky Americans.

Along with my Lampe, I had bought a large bottle of "lavender fields" and a sample bottle of "fresh eucalyptus" and received as a lagniappe a small bottle of "sea mist."  (Or more accurately, "see missed," as in "see, missed the opportunity to create a tolerable aroma.)

I've burned the Lampe now with the lavender and eucalyptus varieties, and in both cases, I felt as though I were being chloroformed in a cloud of off-brand room freshener spray from the Dollar Store.  I refuse to burn the sea mist at all, having been sufficiently revolted by that blend from merely sniffing the open bottle.

My last hope — even though it will invalidate the draconian warranty of my Lampe — is to make my own fluids using isopropyl alcohol and essential oils.  There are countless recipes on the web.  I'm hoping that by using good quality essential oils instead of whatever stinky chemicals are in the parfums de maison (that's French for "kindly show me to an air-sickness bag, good lady"), I will be able to take advantage of the good qualities of my Lampe.  It actually does seem to clear the air of bad odors and very effectively produces a big dose of scent.  Now if I can just get it to produce a pleasant scent.

That warranty, by the way, is one of the biggest scams I've encountered in a long time.  In order to qualify for free replacement wicks should yours conk out, you have to avoid any of these egregious transgressions:
  • using any other company's scenting fluids
  • using the authentic Lampe Berger fluid bought from a different store
  • failing to purchase at least one large bottle of said fluid from the correct source EVERY MONTH for the life of your Lampe
  • gagging at the sickly aromas of the parfums (I made that one up.  But I'm sure if Monsieur Berger could have seen the face I made when I sniffed at his "See Mist," he'd have declared my warranty void on the spot.)
As it turns out, I have one additional hope of achieving a sweet-smelling home.  My sweet little sister on the West Coast has informed me that after reading my original post on room scenting, she went out and bought me some of her favorite brand of scented candles.  They are in the mail and should be arriving any day now. 

I was going to say that I won't hold my breath for their USPS delivery, but I will actually be holding my breath until the scent of Lavender Fields completely dissipates.

[Gasp!] Wish me luck!


  1. What a bummer that the fragrances you ordered were so gross!

    I'll be interested to see what candles your sister sends. I highly recommend anything from Pacifica: http://www.pacificaperfume.com/

    Bali Lime Papaya is my current fave!

  2. Hi Michael, I found some natural scented oils (that natural soap makers use) at Pinetree Gardens. The ones I tried did not smell like WalMart Cheapo scents. You only need a teeny drop. https://www.superseeds.com/products.php?search=oil

  3. Thanks for these suggestions. I love having an excuse to go scent-shopping!

  4. youngliving (brand) essential oils.
    look no further.

  5. Yes folks, a completely non-biased appraisal of my talents...from my sister.