This $98 Car Diffuser Can Make Any Old Car Smell Rich

(Bloomberg Businessweek) -- When searching for an auto air freshener, drivers often end up at the intersection of chemical and saccharine. But the $60 Un Air de Diptyque car diffuser is the first to introduce fragrances that cater to a more refined sense of smell. Disposable cartridges are housed in a handsome black oval—the emblematic shape of the brand’s popular candle labels—and filled with concentrated perfume beads that come in 10 options: There’s the berrylike Baies, woodsy Feu de Bois, and even the Siberian pine-scented Pin for that classic tree-shaped effect minus the kitsch. The diffuser affixes to air vents, and a sliding gold metal tab controls the amount of fragrance that wafts out, allowing anything from a heady wallop to a gentle whiff.

The Competition

• In 2013, Mercedes-Benz introduced a perfuming atomizer that scents its S-Class models with one of four creations ($125) by Marc vom Ende.

• Yankee Candle’s $6 Smart Scent vent clip will last about 30 days and has a mechanism that regulates the flow of fragrances such as sage and citrus or Sicilian lemon.

Votivo makes a $10 vent clip that also lasts about a month, and it comes in eight nature-inspired fragrances.

The Bottom Line

No other maker of car scents comes close to the quality of Diptyque, which this year celebrates the 50th anniversary of the house’s first fragrance. Because the diffuser attaches to the air vent instead of dangling from the rearview mirror, the aroma is easier to regulate by hand. Each cartridge will last for 40 hours, making it suited for just about any automotive situation, whether a weekend-long rental or a summer road trip with the family. $60, plus $38 per cartridge

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