The Scent of Music: Carol of the Bells


For the first time I heard this carol many years ago in the Victoria’s Secret‘s TV commercial for one of their perfumes – Dream Angels Heavenly. Since then they’ve used Carol of the Bells in several ads with nauseating texts on top so I’m avoiding those now. But that first one that featured only instrumental was magical. Back then I didn’t know what it was but I liked it immediately.


Music isn’t a part of my day-to-day life. A couple of headsets you’d find in my household are those that I use for Skype meetings and a noise cancellation travel headset, a birthday gift for my vSO from me. From time to time we listen to music – on long car trips or during parties – but I may go for weeks without playing a single song.

But for a month every year I become a music fan: on my work commute instead of talk shows or news I listen to the Bay Area Official Christmas Music Station. I love Christmas music and do not mind listening to numerous versions of The Little Drummer Boy again and again.

You know literary technique “his version of the story – her version of the story”? One of those in our family involves me remembering that my vSO stumbled across a Pink Martini CD while suffering through my shopping at Nordstrom. He insists that it was a more manly neutral location – at a Starbucks. Wherever it was, Pink Martini became one of our favorite groups. I bought all of their CDs. We went to five of their live shows. Some of their songs are original but I like them mostly for finding and performing songs from different parts of the world, in different languages and music genres.

Even though I’ve known for a while that Carol of the Bells was created by a Ukrainian composer based on a folk chant “Shchedryk” I haven’t heard the Ukrainian version of it until three years ago when I bought Joy to the World – a Christmas Music CD recorded by Pink Martini.


Are you still waiting for the scent part? Alright… While many perfumes bring out various memories and associations, the reverse approach rarely works for me: I always have a hard time scenting movie characters, colors or moods. Selecting the song was easy: I think Carol of the Bells is one of the most beautiful Christmas songs, it moves me every time I hear it. But when I tried to match that intense, slightly disquieting and unsettling music piece to any perfume in my collection I failed. And then I thought of a different type of fragrant product that I had in my collection probably from the time I heard Carol of the Bells in that commercial: a Shimmer Body Powder scented with another Victoria’s Secret’s perfume from the same Dream Angels collection – Halo.


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While giving a perfect long-lasting shimmer to skin, Halo powder has a very light scent of that perfume, which doesn’t interfere with wearing any perfume of my choice. And since there are not that many occasions for which sparkles on my skin are suitable (mostly I use it for winter holiday parties) my wand will last for many more years. And now every time I wear it, no matter which perfume I choose to complete my outfit, I will think of a beautiful Christmas carol that came from the same place as me and found here its new home and a new holiday to celebrate – as did I.

Merry Christmas and Happy Winter Holidays!


Read other song-scent pairings in The Scent of Music joint blogging event:

Jingle Bells

Lulajze Jezuniu

Winter Wonderland

O Come All Ye Faithful

In the Bleak Midwinter

Christmas Means Love

Christmas Time is Here

O Little Town


35 thoughts on “The Scent of Music: Carol of the Bells

  1. Pingback: The Scent of Music: Christmas Means Love « another perfume blog

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  3. Pingback: The Scent Of Music: Jingle Bells « AustralianPerfumeJunkies

  4. I love the Carol of the Bells, and your scent pairing is perfect. This is definitely the right time of year for sparkly powders and such; I don’t wear them at other times of the year, either. And now I will think of you whenever I hear this piece of music.


    • Thank you, Natalie :)

      I used it a couple of times outside of the winter holidays season (Oscar parties, Halloween) – but that’s it. Though for all the appropriate occasions it looks just perfect on skin!


  5. Pa rum pum pum pum to you, The vSO and Rusty. And now I know that Water Nymphs have halos! I will not be trying that trick at home but I have played the Ukraine song 3 times already and will do so again on Christmas Day. It is light and happy but still has that soul-depth you expect from that part of the world.


  6. Pingback: The Scent of Music: Winter Wonderland | All I am - a redhead

  7. Pingback: A Mary Christmas | The Fragrant Man

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  9. I’m not familiar with Carol of the Bells, I guess it’s because I’m not a person of English nationality. Here in Poland only some of the English Christmas songs are known here, most are big xmas music hits.

    Merry Christmas to you me dearest Undina, to furry Rusty and your vSO and family!

    Muah :*


  10. Pingback: The 2013 Christmas Music of Perfumeland | The Fragrant Man

  11. Pingback: | THE SCENT OF MUSIC: Come All Ye Faithful

  12. First off, thanks so much for organising this joint blogging project, Undina. It wasn’t easy with quite a few changes and so many of us in different parts of the world but you did a great job. I can’t tell you how much I’ve been enjoying it.

    I love Carol of the Bells but had no idea what it was called or that it was from your homeland. So good to now know.

    I’m glad you came up with a fitting perfumed product in the end with a nice association. Rusty seems to be smelling the brush in one of those lovely pics!

    Hmm, the girl in the Victoria’s Secret ad seems to be rather over-applying her perfume :)


    • Thank you for participating! I’m not sure how much the readers enjoy our event but I had a wonderful time both organizing it and reading everybody’s choices.

      Rusty was sniffing the brush and I managed to catch it on camera :)

      (And you’re absolutely right: that model wouldn’t be welcome in most public place with that amount of perfume… or that amount of clothes, for that matter ;) )


  13. I love the shimmering, ethereal, ghostly and silvery sound of Carol of the Bells, Undina. (It’s also one of the more interesting songs to sing as part of a choir, which I remember doing in high school so many years ago). :)

    Though I don’t know the scent of Halo, the sparkling nature of it makes perfect sense as to why you paired it with Carol of the Bells.

    Happiest of Christmases to you! (And to the VsO and Rusty, of course.)


    • Thank you, dear Suzanne! All the best to you and yours for that holiday!

      For VS’s perfumes Halo wasn’t that bad even as a perfume (thought I got tired of it and got rid off my mini bottle) but as a shimmer it’s perfect.


  14. I’m only now reading your post and I see we’re of the same mind. I’ve been listening to Christmas songs for weeks now and The Little Drummer boy is one of my all time favorites. :D
    I love your choice of carol, very difficult to choose a perfume for it, I agree.
    I do think I need to get that shimmer though…


    • If Natalie hadn’t suggested to use music somehow related to our places, I would have chosen The Little Drummer Boy. It’s my next most favorite song. I remember hearing it once in a very nice version but not being able to find out what it was. One of my close friends gave me that year a CD with 12 different versions of it :)


  15. Fantastic choice of carol – so haunting and atmospheric – and I enjoyed the Victoria’s Secret video too. The shimmer product is a perfect pick to go with it. I have been listening non-stop to Christmas music up at my brother’s, and will carry on now I am home. Happy Christmas to you and Mr U and Rusty.


  16. I’ve also been listening a lot to Christmas music during the last week and it’s such a coincidence you mentioned the Pink Martinis. I’ve never heard of them before, but they turned up on Spotify and I immediately liked them :)


  17. Dearest Undina, Carol of the Bells is one of my favorite Christmas music. In fact, on my walk down 5th Avenue this evening, Lord & Taylor was blasting it as I was passing by…don’t recall if they cycle through a Christmas track or if this is the theme song this year. In any case, I love your choice!

    I see Rusty wants in on the shimmer action, too!

    I wish you, your VSO and Rusty a wonderful holiday! I hope you get some rest from your over-the-top busy schedule.


    • Dear hajusuuri, thank you. I’m glad my favorite song has more fans.
      NY is one more city that I’d love to visit during Christmas time.

      Happy Holidays to you! (I’m wearing today Phi from your sample and really enjoying it – thank you!)


  18. I love Pink Martini! I love that song! I had no idea that they’d ever recorded it, so thank you very much for telling me.

    I agree that it’s unsettling. Beautiful and other-worldly and simultaneously precise and a sort of headlong rush.

    And since I like the unsettling, of course I now need to smell that scent…


    • Glad to see another Pink Martini fans.

      The perfume is still available and I don’t even think it has changed much since it’s too synthetic. So it won’t be hard to find it to smell. And you can even find those powder wands on eBay.


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