Candles That Will Make Someone Fall In Love With You (Or Your Home)
Jon Rich, our Men's Lifestyle Editor has opinions on scent - whether you wear one or have it wafting through your abode. Read on for Jon's musings on candles. Every adult needs one in his or her house. Come on, be classy and read on.
As I’ve said before, as the temperature drops, our sense of smell craves different things compared to scents for warmer weather. To me, the scents we seek to fill a room are as important as those we wear. Yes, I’m talking about candles. While you may be tempted to impulse buy some warm, woody candle or diffuser from Bed, Bath & Beyond, I’m going to attempt to intervene and guide you back to the righteous path.
As far as we humans know, candles have been around since Ancient Rome, and even as early as the Han Dynasty in China. Obviously, candles provided light when electricity had not yet been discovered. In fact, the word “candle” is derived from the Latin “candera” which roughly translates in English to “shine.” The earliest candles were made from tallow, which is a byproduct of animal fat. Yum. When people grew tired of the stench of scorched animal fat, other better-smelling ancient civilizations began using beeswax, which provided the same light-bearing qualities without the unpleasant odor. These days, candle-makers still readily use beeswax, but often prefer the cheaper and more reliable soy wax. And, of course, candle- making has become as much as an art as perfumery. In fact, it is entirely common for major fragrance houses to produce a candle for every scent they make so that you can fill your whole tiny, studio apartment with the same luscious scent you wear. My ultimate point is if you want to impress your love, crush or be fancy for your fabulous self this fall, you need to buy and burn the following candles, or at least something similar:
Comme des Garçons: Incense Series
This is perhaps one of the most unique fragrance producing companies out there. Comme des Garçons founded by famed Japanese designer, Rei Kawakubo, is as avant-garde as they come. Their fragrance lines are legendary, with candles being no exception. While I’m a big fan of all their scents, I recommend looking into the entire Incense Series, released in 2003. There are five: Kyoto, Zagorsk, Ouarzazate, Avignon and Jaisalmer. Honestly, they’re all pretty spectacular, and worth every penny. Avignon is pure, sweet, church incense, Kyoto is a Japanese Shinto temple, Zagorsk is an icy, green Russia forest, Ouarzazate is a Moroccan dessert with aromatic herbal shrubs, and Jaisalmer is a spicy, resinous Indian marketplace. While each scent will transport you to an exotic part of the world, I suggest giving Avignon, with major notes of cistus, myrrh and frankincense, a try. Click here to see where to buy. Retail $75.
Odin, New York: Tanoke
Continuing with the incense theme, another one of my favorites is Tanoke by Odin New York. While Avignon is church incense, Tanoke is Game of Thrones' Night’s Watch incense. Pleasantly smoky, but backboned by notes of black pepper, orange peel and ginger to balance out the cool smoldering smell, with crisp herbal and citrus notes. Tanoke will certainly please the old and new gods while you slay some White Walkers in your Upper East Side, NYC abode. You can now smell like Jon Snow. Buy at Barneys. $30 for the votive; $70 for the 8 oz.
Okay, so not every cold weather candle needs to be an incense-infused, scent bomb. Sometimes, a fresh forest will suffice. And, do you know who can concoct a pretty decent dewy, green forest in a candle? The French. May I present to you perhaps the most legendary candle-maker in existence, Rigaud. Founded by Jean-Baptiste Rigaud in 1852, Paris-based Rigaud is one of the oldest perfumeries in the world. Rigaud is also one of the most storied perfume houses, supplying candles to the royals of the world, including, you guessed it, the Queen of the Netherlands. In fact, Cyprès, Rigaud’s first scented candle was a favorite of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, who made it a staple scent when she lived at the White House. Cyprès is timeless, combining French lavender with strong pine needles as it rests upon a glorious base of spicy, dry cedar. Rigaud candles are considered among the finest in the world, as their wax burns aromatically, slower and more evenly than other candles. Their wicks are specially designed to stay atop the wax during use, which ensures that they will not easily burn. On top of that, the hand-blown glass of the candle comes with a luxurious, red ribbon and metal snuffing cap. You couldn’t ooze more class and sophistication if you tried to throw your platinum Rolex in the sky and waived it side-to-side. Buy from Riguad €58.00 or from Amazon $99 (large size).
Diptyque, Paris: Baies
I can’t write something on candles and not include one of my absolute favorite candle makers, Paris-based Diptyque. With literally dozens of scents for all seasons, Diptyque is a true champion of the luxury fragrance industry. Founded in 1961 by some stylish, French people (merci!), Diptyque has consistently provided years of fine scent. In my humble opinion, their candles are among the best, and can provide hours of steady and powerful fragrance. They are also the darling candles of the blogosphere. Among my favorites, especially for colder weather, are the Patchouli, Baies, Maquis and Feu de Bois (fire wood). However, there are many more. Because Diptyque candles are usually sold all together, my suggestion is to find a display in stores like Barneys, Bloomingdale's, Saks or a Diptyque boutique and take a whiff of each one until you stop and say, "Oui, this is the one". Baies, for the record, smells like the world's sexiest bouquet of flowers and is impressively unisex. Buy at Diptyque, $60 for the 6.5 oz; $30 for the 2.4 oz.
I hear men and women cheering. Elevate your home, and light a candle.
Jon Rich is In the Midfield's Men's Lifestyle Editor. He is also a practicing attorney in NYC.