Last week while staying in New York City, I got a whiff of something so special and unique. The smell of our home came wafting up as I opened my bag in our hotel. It was oh so good. It’s funny that it can take going elsewhere to experience the scent of your own home. Recently, I’ve been shopping around for some new home scents (Homesense? Well, yes, there too!). I started the journey with some incense at Whole Foods and have been looking at aromatic diffusers (recommendations?). The other day I visited the Institute of Contemporary Art (you should go if you haven’t been) and found something glorious. Palo Santo incense.
I was somewhat familiar with Palo Santo incense from a recent trip to Argentina. There it seems to line almost every street and I remembered the unusual smell. Seeing it for sale at the ICA, I decided to try it in our home. Palo santo, meaning “sacred tree”, is nothing more than a stick of wood. Similar to sage, it has been used to heal ailments, bring good vibes only to the home and for meditative purposes. In some cases, they’ve dated it back as far as the Incas. How crazy is that?
Using it was more frightening than I imagined but I have become such a fan of the aromas it brings into our home. Have your fire extinguisher ready because you’re about to set a piece of wood on fire. To use it, you take one of the small sticks and light the end until it glows red. You then blow it out and it begins to smoke. Once lit, it smokes for about two minutes before it totally extinguishes. The smoke burns fairly potent and concentrated. So, I have found that walking through your home with the smoking stick seems to work best as it distributes the aromas more evenly. As a precautionary measure I run it under water when I’m finished. The smell is rich in earthy aromas like sandalwood or mesquite with hints of myrrh and tobacco.
I know what you’re thinking – “Why would I want my house to smell like a campfire?”. I promise it’s not like that at all! We have been burning it about once a day and every time I walk into our home I feel like I just stepped into a spa or some sort of meditation retreat. The scent is not at all overwhelming. To me it kind of sits in the background of everything else, feeling super light and organic.
There are a number of different Palo Santo options out there. The one I happened to find at the ICA is from the Frederick Mae collection. If you give it a try, I hope that you find it as beautiful and soothing as we have!