Monday, 17 December 2012

Burning the candle at both all ends

I remember when scented candles were really burgeoning as a perfumed home fragrance and replacing Glade sprays in the mid nineties. Since then, it has gone from luxury splurge to part of one's weekly or monthly shop.  I buy more candles than lip gloss now whereas it used to be the other way around.

The market has grown to such a point there are so many brands to choose from.  I just wanted to share with you the pros and cons of some popular brands at the moment.

This is the mother ship.  Look at their wall display in the picture above - simple but effective.  The oldest candle making firm since 1643 that used to make candles for French royalty during their heyday in Versailles and Napoleon.  They blow everyone out of the water.  They use hand blown Venetian glass as seen in the picture below.  The vessel itself is of such quality with deep rich colors. I tend to use them as mini vases or utensil holders when the candle is finished.  The wax is so pure and clean that it burns evenly. You never get pockets of wax on one side with left over wax stuck on the other side of the candle.  The staff in their boutiques are very knowledgeable and teach you how to light and treat the candle for most effective use.  The scents are interesting and complex.  The only negative I can say about this is that it is very expensive at £60 for a standard sized candle.  This makes Diptyque look a bargain.  8/10, if it were cheaper it would be a 10.

One of the earlier makers and I was a loyal fan of their candles.  I used to go to their original shop when it was the size of a small bedroom on Walton Street in Chelsea.  They were the pioneers of modern scents.  Beforehand, candles were either Jasmine or Lavender.  Lime, basil, and mandarin was groundbreaking.  So much so that it was the equivalent of Giorgio of Beverly Hills, CK One, and Ralph Lauren: scents that started out intoxicating but became so ordinary.  I feel that the firm has stalled a bit and are not being as adventurous but that is probably because it is now owned by Estee Lauder so they are just flogging a proven formula. But the scents are dependable and comforting.  The price point is in line with other luxury home candles but the wax is inconsistent.  Some candles burn evenly and clean while others dont and there is nothing more annoying that having wax on the side of a candle.  At £ 38, one does not want to leave a wad of wax on the sides of the candle!  But I must say I don't know anyone who would mind receiving this as a gift. 6/10

This company really is the Boden of the homewares world.  It is dependable and just works.  The candle scents here on average are what one would expect.  They are middle of the road and appropriate for non special occasion home use; midweek stay at home in the evening use.  But there is one huge hit scent that I come to White Company for - Winter spray.  It is the sweetest, nostalgic and comforting blend of orange, clove, and cinnamon.  It is its most popular scent and never on sale - unless you have a voucher.  It comes in every conduit of scent possible - including Winter spray Christmas wreaths.  The candles are fine and do the job.  But at £ 20, one should not expect the rich release of scent that the more expensive ones have.  But I use this in conjunction with the home spray.  7/10

This brand has almost gone the way of Jo Malone.  They used to come out with some really original scents that were an olfactory sensation.  The fig scent, called Figuier was a huge hit.  People were going nuts over the scent. At one point almost every home I visited had this candle burning.  Recently, it seems they have realized they must constantly be innovative and have brought in new packaging and scents. Wax burns relatively evenly so less wastage.  At £38, they should not be resting on their laurels.  A dependable brand that whilst I may no longer buy as frequently unless I have my figuier craving, I always love receiving as a gift.  6/10

This is at a cheaper price point that the other luxury brands.  I must say that I think there must be some sort of colluding of prices on the luxury brands because most seem to be £ 38...But that is another story.  Yankee candle is an American brand and always come out with flavors that would make a great chap-stick or perfumes that 7 year old girls would adore.  It brings out the child in me and I light these candles with abandon and without guilt.  These are also candles that go on sale once in a while so I always try and bulk buy them when possible. Yankee Direct and QVC also have some special deals on them so try and catch them while they are on sale.  Cranberry chutney, apple cinnamon pie, blueberry milkshake anyone?  7/10

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