Aromatique of Arkansas

Let your senses guide you to the scent of Christmas at this unexpected boutique in Heber Springs.
Farrah Austin

When celebrities Cher and Dionne Warwick want to indulge in bath oil bliss, they call on Arkansas' Aromatique in Heber Springs. Even First Ladies Nancy Reagan, Barbara Bush, and Hillary Rodham Clinton primp with the products occasionally. Lucky for them (and their drivers), they don't actually have to travel to the Natural State to purchase these aromatic wonders. The favored line is sold in retail shops and department stores across the country as well as in the company's own showroom and boutique, Panache-The Aromatique Gallery. (Their only other boutique is in London.)

A melting pot of blossoming aromas and perfumed products, Panache abounds with whimsical surprises. Visitors walk among shelves of scented candles, soaps, fragrances, room sprays, oils, and a host of other herbal elixirs for the home and body. These items come in a variety of floral and fruit scents such as kiwi-pear, apricot-mint, gardenia, and rose. For those searching for the right fragrance to light up the holidays, Panache is the place to find it.

Their line of decorative potpourri named The Smell of Christmas captures the very essence of the season in a spicy and robust fragrance ($12.50 for a small bag, $19 for a large). An elegant and perfumed arrangement of pinecones, red berries, cinnamon sticks, and other herbs, The Smell of Christmas literally started the successful multimillion-dollar business.

Owner Patti Upton first designed the fragrant and festive assortment as a simple holiday display for a friend's store. When customers inquired about purchasing the scented mixture, the former model and Miss University of Arkansas knew she'd struck gold. "I couldn't believe people wanted to buy this stuff," says Patti. "I mean, I actually found most of the ingredients outside and threw in some spices to make it smell good." Now visitors from all over the country usher in the holidays with The Smell of Christmas.

For bargains, head to the back of the store where a special salesroom contains marked-down merchandise. Here, shoppers might find home and kitchen items priced 50% to 75% off.

The list of celebs who keep their beauty drawers stocked with Aromatique's scented goodies is impressive, but it's even more impressive that you don't have to spend like a star to snag a worthy catch.

Panache-The Aromatique Gallery: 3421 State 25B North, Heber Springs, AR 72543; (501) 362-7919 or www.aromatique.com.

"Aromatique of Arkansas" is from the November 2002 issue of Southern Living. Because prices, dates, and other specifics are subject to change, please check all information to make sure it's still current before making your travel plans.