On the Best Home Fragrances: NEST Fragrances Founder Laura Slatkin

A three-part miniseries in which we ask the founders of beloved home fragrance brands to share their favorite aromas and their secrets to creating a home’s signature scent.

Since launching in 2008, award-winning NEST Fragrances has quickly developed a devoted following of its luxurious, well-curated fragrances thanks in no small part to the discerning taste (and nose) of founder Laura Slatkin.

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Of all in the world, what are your top three favorite smells?
My three favorite aromas are always with me when I am entertaining guests at home, which is something I am very passionate about and enjoy very much. The first is the scent of the perfume I am wearing and the cologne my husband, Harry, puts on as we dress for dinner. Then, I start to smell the wonderful aromas coming from the kitchen while dinner is being prepared, and that always makes me smile. And last, but certainly not least, I will light either Grapefruit or Sicilian Tangerine 3-Wick Candles in the entryway of my home to set a festive mood for my guests as they arrive. Fresh citrus and tropical fruit home fragrances are always best to use when entertaining because they are universally appealing—everybody loves a refreshing, citrusy fragrance!

What’s the most unexpected combination of scents you’ve loved?
After welcoming guests into my dining room for a Persian- and Indian-inspired dinner several years ago, one of my guests asked me what candle was burning because it smelled so amazing. I said, “That’s not a candle, it’s the food!” The following morning I gathered all the spices I had used to prepare that meal and brought them with me to work so I could share them with my team and a master perfumer who I knew would love to work on creating this fragrance. Those aromatic and exotic Persian and Indian spices became the inspiration for what is now one of our top-selling scents, Moroccan Amber!

What’s something you’d like everyone to know about your brand?
I designed NEST Fragrances to appeal to the very intelligent and sophisticated home fragrance aficionado. I wanted to deliver to them a wide repertoire of amazing fragrances and scented candles with exceptional quality that covered all the important home fragrance categories. Our candles are made with the purest, highest quality wax available on the market … it is a secret formula that we have been perfecting for more than 22 years. We use a very high concentration of fine fragrance oils in our wax, which are carefully and evenly blended throughout each candle to ensure our customers experience the same level of fragrance from the first time they light a candle to the last time—they are known to infuse a room with fragrance. And we only work with the world’s most accomplished master perfumers to create our home fragrances, the same master perfumers who create the fragrances you will find at the fine fragrance counter at Nordstrom.

What was it that started your passion for fragrance?
Over 23 years ago, my brother-in-law, Howard Slatkin, a world-renowned interior designer, produced a handmade scented candle as a final gift after finishing a home for a special client. This was long before home fragrance became a part of our everyday lifestyles, like it is today. It was remarkable how clients became so enamored with their own fragrance, and that early work was the inspiration and forerunner for my own passion for home fragrance. It has been very exciting to watch the home fragrance market grow into the major industry it is today. I am so proud to have been one of the early pioneers and to have developed such a deep level of expertise in and love of the business over the past two decades.

It all seems pretty straightforward, but are there tips or secrets you’ve discovered or would recommend for mastering home fragrance?
Never mix two or more home fragrances in the same room. As I have worked with master perfumers over the years, I can tell you that an enormous amount of work goes into creating a fine home fragrance. When you combine them, you just don’t know what the outcome will be!

Although, having said that, for the very first time since I have been in this business, we have discovered a fun (and successful!) way to combine fragrances for the holidays. We are launching a new home fragrance collection called Hearth—a rich, oud wood fragrance with frankincense and hints of smoky embers; when combined with our traditional holiday fragrance and our evergreen fragrance Birchwood Pine, the three create what we call our “Holiday Trifecta” and they play together like a beautiful symphony.

What scents are currently filling your own home?
Right now I’m burning Ocean Mist & Sea Salt in my East Hampton home. It is bringing all of my favorite summertime seaside aromas right into my living room! It is a refreshing mix of white tea, coconut and salt air that creates a happy mood in my home as I enjoy the final days of summer. Waiting in my candle closet for the first of September, though, is Pumpkin Chai. I know the summer season is officially over when I say hello to my fall favorite!

Shop: NEST Fragrances

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