A few days ago, someone told me that they didn’t hang mistletoe, but they did use mistletoe candles every Christmas, because they liked the mistletoe smell. I pointed out, gently I hope, that mistletoe doesn’t have a scent. To which they replied, indignantly, “yes it does”.
But, er, no, it doesn’t.
Mistletoe may be a winter evergreen, but it has no discernible smell. So what on earth are all those mistletoe-scented candles, and oils you see peddled in the shops every Christmas?
Well, if you believe they’re anything to do with mistletoe, you’re being conned. The only property they have in common with mistletoe is they are (usually) green or white, and they appear at Christmas. There the similarity ends.
I’m not sure what the ‘mistletoe scent’ is, but after a bit of googling came up with these descriptions:
No help from this one: “Perfumed with ‘Country Lane Mistletoe’ – Just imagine you are taking a walk down a country lane on a frosty winters day… the aromatic scent of fresh greenery, top notes of pine and plump Mistletoe berries will fill your home with a welcoming crispy, clean perfume that is sure to please.”
But this one’s honest at least: Mistletoe: “A festive pine scent with a top note of sweet berries and green apples. The heart is the scent of Siberian pine needles. This fragrance oil is infused with natural essential oils, including Fir Needle, Cedarwood, Fir Balsam and Treemoss”.
This one says it’s masculine (urgh!): Mistletoe Clean Car Gel Scent: Described by Yankee Candle as…”Many have fallen under the spell of this mysteriously charming provocatively masculine scent. Energizing.”
And here’s another honest one: From a review of a Yankee Mistletoe Candle: “The best thing about the mistletoe candle is that it smells exactly like a fresh cut pine Christmas tree. I find the smell to be sweet and very woodsy.”
Marks & Spencer’s description is impressively unhelpful: “Set the mood with this gorgeously scented pillar candle.”
There are a lot more I could quote, but the consensus, from those that admit it, seems to be that ‘mistletoe-scented’ stuff is actually pine-scented, or similar. Why not say it’s pine scented then? Dunno – but pine-scented makes me think of disinfectant and soap, so perhaps it’s just re-branding that scent for Christmas, hoping no-one notices it’s not mistletoe, it’s disinfectant.
Please spend 5 minutes completing the 2010 Mistletoe Questionnaire!!
And why not buy the book? www.buy.mistletoe.org.uk