dimanche 11 décembre 2011

Burning Yearning for Candles: A Pyromaniac Christmas Shopping List (and a draw)



For my Christmas shopping, I'm going for candles: in fact, unless I can make up a seasonal, fragrant bouquet at the florist’s, I offer candles year-round instead of wine, candy or flowers. 
As I was pondering a list of suggestions for year-end celebration gifts, I suddenly occurred to me you could create the illusion of living in a large house – nay, a château – by having different candles for different “rooms”.

With its caramelized brioche and hot chocolate, Jovoy’s Let them eat cake is the perfect, cosy breakfast-in-bed illusion, sans les crumbs in the sheets. The lipstick-red hat box and glass bell (for protection against dust and evaporation) turn Jovoy candles into particularly irresistible gifts, though for the time being they can only be found in the Paris boutique and a few European locations.

François Hénin, the owner of Jovoy, adds his bit of advice: don’t use the glass bell to put out the candle. With a long cedar match of the type used for cigars or fireplaces, you can use the wooden end to dip the wick into the wax and lift it out. This avoids the unpleasant fumes you get when you blow the candle out. Also make sure to trim the wick after use.

For a bracing scent in the breakfast nook, Parfum d’Empire Lantana Camara plays on the citrusy-green facets of shrub verbena. For lunchtime, you can switch to the green, aromatic Feuilles de Tomate by Parfums d’Orsay.

For the bathroom, Parfums d’Orsay Bois de Coton by Olivia Giacobetti, exudes the scent of freshly laundered towels (iris and musc) and wood (cedar and oak).

For the dressing table, I’d pick L’Artisan Parfumeur La Traversée du Bosphore, with its retro rose-and-violet lipstick, soft suede and deliciously almond-y touch (the iris-leather accord feels stronger in the candle than in the fragrance).

For the study, the brand new Chez Monsieur by Bruno Jovanovic for Frédéric Malle conjures Mr. Malle’s father’s office by blending the aromas of Havana tobacco, leather and books: unlit, it gives off a compelling, musty earth scent.

For the artist’s studio, Dans l’Atelier de Cézanne, conceived by Olivia Giacobetti for the artist Vincent Beaurin’s exhibition in Cézanne’s studio in Aix-en-Provence is wonderfully dry, dusty-woody and meditative (it is now available at Luckyscent).

For the chapel (or just to imagine you have one), nothing beats Comme des Garçons Avignon from the Incense Series – the candle is a bit more balsamic than the perfume; Annick Goutal Encens Flamboyant is a less church-y alternative, with a deliciously fruity, Christmas-y fir balsam note. Frédéric Malle is also now offering an incense candle based on Bruno Jovanovic’s memories of briefly serving as an altar boy with Notre Dame.  Jovoy also features In Nomine Patris, Filii et Spiritu Sancti in its line-up.

For a more secular take on Christmas, Annick Goutal’s orange and pine Bougie de Noël now comes in a mammoth five-wick, 300-hour, 1.5 kg size.

For the living room, if you haven’t had the time to run out to the florist’s, Parfum d’Empire Lys Casablanca features lily at its fiercest: spicy, creamy, indolic… Even unlit, the candle can scent up a whole room.

La Fleur du Roy by Arty Fragrance, the new line conceived by the perfume historian Élisabeth de Feydeau as a tribute to Versailles where she lives, blends the Sun King’s beloved orange blossom with civet and castoreum, which might be a first step towards the boudoir… Better to enjoy her Alcôve Royale massage candle, inspired by the 18thcentury aphrodisiac beverage favoured by Louis XV and the Marquise de Pompadour, a blend of cocoa, vanilla and ambergris… For the time being, the collection is only sold in Paris and Brussels – all the more reason to cross the Atlantic or the Channel – but the website will soon be up.

  
Now on to you: drop me a comment to tell me which candle you’d offer as a gift – or keep for yourself – during the festive season and I’ll do a draw for one of Parfum d’Empire’s new mini-candles, in a 35g format: the winner will have the choice between four fragrances.

Added Dec. 14th: the draw is now closed.

llustration: Still from Erich von Stroheim's unfinished Queen Kelly (1928), with Gloria Swanson.

75 commentaires:

  1. Any Amouage candle

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  2. OLIVER & CO's TABACLE candle would be lovely to keep for myself!

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  3. What a wonderful list, Denyse!
    I have learned to cherish scented luxurious candles, before they seemed to me like a bit too extravagant item. Cire Trudon is the best for Christmas, especially Nazareth. And I do love Lumiere Noire!

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  4. Ce commentaire a été supprimé par un administrateur du blog.

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  5. Some great ideas for gifts, thank you very much for this post, and the draw of course. I know a friend for whom Annick Goutal’s orange and pine Bougie de Noël would be just the thing And for me? I can't choose, too many of them sound gorgeous, though I like the breakfast in bed without the crumbs idea very much.

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  6. Alabaster Cheeks, I certainly wouldn't turn down a candle of Jubilation 25... or a bottle for that matter.

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  7. Nosideup, that's a new one on me. I've found a candle by Oliviers & Co called Vert d'olive -- and having visited an olive oil press, I agree this must smell quite wonderful.

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  8. Jake, I stopped short of including the Trudon out of sheer lack of space... They've got beautiful products. I own Trianon but it's a bit too green for this weather.

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  9. Asali, that's the problem : there are so many gorgeous candles now. And it's not the same as perfume, where you have to ask yourself whether you'll be able to live with it all day, how it'll react with your skin or what it'll show of your persona. So there is that much more temptation. My mantelpiece holds over a dozen, and that's because I'm holding back.

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  10. I long for Diptyque's creamy Figuier candle to keep me warm these dark days. In the meantime, Pacifica's Tuscan Blood Orange candle will suffice.

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  11. Great list! I love candles, and have to slap my hand when I reach to buy a new one. They do make lovely hostess gifts, but I have to know the person well to choose something he/she will like.

    I'm thoroughly enjoying my Ormonde Jayne candles in Ormonde and their double-wicked holiday scent. Pricey, but both are very strongly fragranced, even unlit. I loved L'Artisan's Trefle candle, but I'm not sure if it is still available. My local stockists no longer have it.

    Thanks for indtroducing me to some new candles to covet. I'm certain your home smells wonderful. Be well.
    --HemlockSillage

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  12. Thanks, this is a great list. I'm actually giving Diptyque's Epinette as a gift this year, and would love a F.Malle (Notre Dame?) for myself. Out of your list, the Jovoy sounds (and looks, judging from the pic) divine, and I had forgotten that CdG had the Avignon candle as well as perfume -- a candle makes sense! And I love casablanca lily.

    -- Nicole.

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  13. I might choose a Francis Kurkdjian candle. For myself, though potent, I like Papier d'Armenie, Also Sage has nice candle packaging.

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  14. A very enticing list. For my sister I'd choose the Annick Goutal Bougie de Noel and for myself, the Goutal Encens Flamboyant.

    -- Lindaloo

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  15. Oh gosh! I guess I have to admit that I have never bought a high-end niche candle. I do really love the "Winter" scented candles from Bath and Body Works and I have been coveting their new Fireside Marshmallow one, too. Also, I picked up a candle from a company that's local to my parents' community in rural NC - the company is Southern Candle and the scent is "Wassail" and I can't wait to burn it, smells delightful. I have given their Muscadine scent as a gift before and it's gone over well - a true rural southern scent! I think of the ones you listed I'd most love to try the Annick Goutal. :)

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  16. Annick Goutal Encens Flamboyant. But I think it would be hard to give away!

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  17. I was seaching online for candles today, but had no idea what I was searching for. Your list is timely and so welcome! I'm not familiar with luxury candles and am enjoying reading the other comments.

    However, as soon as I saw Jovoy’s "Let them eat cake" in that glorious red box, I thought of my BFF and how she would love something like that.

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  18. HemlockSillage, as hostess gifts, I find that one can almost not go wrong with something that smells of wood, fireplaces or tea (Diptyque being the go-to brand for that).

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  19. Nicole, I'd unexplainably missed Diptyque's Epinette but I think I'll be bringing it to friends and family as well, it's so seasonal.

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  20. Jam, I love Papier d'Arménie and bought a ton when Francis K. composed a special edition. I actually use the booklets to scent drawers and closets, they're even better unlit.

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  21. Lindaloo, Encens Flamboyant is a mainstay in my collection (both as a candle and as a personal fragrance) in winter.

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  22. While I'd love to own Malles Gardenia candle, my absolute favorites arev the Fornasetti candles (one scent, different packagings): besides smelling truly wonderful, the ceramic holders are little works of art.

    I gifted myself with the scented Fornasetti sphere and it's a joy to the eye and to the nose.

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  23. Susan, I find the "niche" candles tend to be more subtle, almost as much as "skin" perfumes. I'm sure there are a lot of artisan companies making lovely things too!

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  24. Taffy, once you go down the rabbit hole of luxury candles, there's no going back! I've got 14 lined up on my mantelpiece now... And have to restrain myself every time I go out. They're actually much less of a decision than "personal" perfumes, so impulse-buying is a real risk!

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  25. Zazie, I haven't seen the Fornasettis... I suppose that's better for my budget, right? What do they smell of?

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  26. I would get La Fleur du Roy for a friend who thinks that perfume was discovered in the French court to cover up the stench from the lack of personal hygiene.

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  27. Kostas, I'm afraid it's a common misconception... No time to go into a historical development, but you can tell your friend that though the streets and houses stank back then, people did attend their personal hygiene with various lotions, frictions and cloths!

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  28. Thanks for this beautiful list, I often imagine having a huge house and personalize every room with different scents, too! As I live in a three room flat I'd be perfectly contented with a single Malle candle: Santal Cardamome! (A bit out of my budget, unfortunately!) Anyway, I'm eager to sniff the new Malle candles, and the Parfume d'Empire, too (I'd like to thank you for having introduced me to this great line: I found THE chypre scent for me in Azemour Les Oranges...)

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  29. Iodine, I find Santal Cardamome very strange indeed... But of course one wouldn't truly know the effect without actually burning it.
    I'm glad you love Azemour: I find it gorgeous, even in winter.

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  30. Yes indeed, they are a threat for the budget!
    (though the home fragrance line is more affordable than anything else by Fornasetti, and a good excuse for me to take the plunge!)...

    The scent ("otto", by Monsieur Polge) registers to me as a woody, and slightly herbal ambery incense.
    I would enjoy it as a personal fragrance, but to be honest the scent is a pretext for the pretty objects, at least for me.
    The candles are made by cire trudon, while the incense stiks are by Nippon Kodo.

    For the incense sticks, one of the box/holders is illustrated with a menacing gun over a scarlet red background; when you position the burning stick it gives the illusion that the weapon has just shot, leaving a subtle trail of smoke. Very dramatic. I love it!

    I don't burn incense, but I can't sake off the bad idea of a splurge!

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  31. Exactly, Traversée du B, is wonderful but a tad to sweet as a perfume for me, as a candle though it works perfectly. I can clearly envisage your mantelpiece which can transform the room into whatever you want it to be. Beautiful.

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  32. Zazie, now you've tempted me with the incense sticks!

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  33. Asali, it's a magic mantelpiece! And ready to receive even more tiny space-time travelling devices!

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  34. Lovely candle round-up! I have come to realise that with scented candles, you do get what you pay for. If I had my choice I'd go for any of the Penhaligon's tea candles in Assam, Neroli or Earl Grey. They are £87 each but they do a tea collection of all 3 mini candles for £40 which is very tempting!

    Thanks for the draw.

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  35. Tara, I don't know those Penhaligon's candles... Pricey, aren't they? But I'll go and have a sniff.

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  36. I love candles. This year I bought Cire Turdon Nazareth and am really enjoying it. Thanks Denyse for such a lovely list. I see more candles in my future!

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  37. Natasha, that's the second time Trudon Nazareth comes up, I really must check it out!

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  38. Even after all these years, nothing beats Dyptique Feu de Bois for its amazingly true-to-life woodsmoke aroma. Thank you for your wonderful inspirations!

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  39. I would gift myself one La Fleur du Roy. I've never owned a luxury candle, or even smelled one. I take that back, I have a OJ champaca that was a freebie with the sample set way back when the samples came in a velvet pouch. I haven't lit it yet, just keep it in the box! Must overcome such silliness.
    Tulip

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  40. Tulip, when you think of it, burning a candle is no more "wasteful" than spraying on perfume, right? The thing is, the high-end candles are compositions in their own right, though not necessarily the type we'd like on skin, so it's another way to experience fragrance.

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  41. I would send my mother Parfum d'Empire's Lys Casablanca. Lilies are her favourite flower, she has always had them on display on an ebony and ivory Indian table in the hallway of her house, for as long as I can remember, and I am now 50! I myself am not personally drawn to candles as scenting media. I much prefer my electric incense burner and my Saudi oudh mixtures- a little safer too!

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  42. Currently burning Cire Trudon's Ernesto, but it's diappearing faster than I would like...AnnieA

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  43. Stephen, I used to burn incense (the resin, not the sticks) in the house, but gave up after neighbours sent the fire brigade over because the smoke was seeping out from under the door onto the landing! I'm afraid oud chips would produce the same result so haven't attempted them, but the smell is gorgeous...

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  44. AnnieA, Ernesto's another one I only sniffed in passing... Must re-explore!

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  45. I have only recently started dabbling in the more expensive lines of candles. My husband loves the Diptyque Sauvage Fenouil I bought him last year, and there are several others from that line that I have my eye on. I'd also love to try some of the Trudon line, especially Balmoral.

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  46. I love candles and these all sound divine! I'm particularly intrigued by La Fleur du Roy!

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  47. I love the sound of that Dans l’Atelier de Cézanne- those notes are right up my alley. :) But something for the wish list only, sadly, as it's definitely too expensive for me right now.

    Thank you for the draw, and have a wonderful holiday season! :)

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  48. Let them eat cake sounds amazing, I would love to smell that!

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  49. Karen M, I'm afraid after the dabbling comes the full-on addiction. Fenouil sounds great for the summer.

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  50. Tomatefarcie, La Fleur du Roy is near the top of my list too (I don't own it yet)... Orange blossom and leather, what's not to love?

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  51. Lizzie, thank you, have a lovely holiday season too... Cézanne is what I burn when I need to focus -- I suppose the ghost of the great painter can be an inspiration.

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  52. Sparklyy, Let them eat cake is one I own, and it does smell delicious, though not cloying.

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  53. I've been tempted by the Avignon candle for awhile. I love the perfume, but whenever I try it I end up thinking I would like the scent better in a place than on me. It would be contemplative, and good for my study.

    Thanks for the draw!

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  54. Caela, I actually bought Avignon as a candle before getting the fragrance for the same reason: to me it smells more of a place than a person. But I loved it so much I realized that I wanted to carry that place with me!

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  55. I love the CdG Kyoto and Avignon incense sticks even though they're a bit gimmickier to use than the candle version. But both versions would make great gifts. Recently I also bought Diptyque's Essence of John Galliano and that one puts me into christmas and winter mood/mode immediately even though it doesn't have the traditional christmas spice, fruit and pine smells.

    I'm still kind of surprised and bummed that there seems to be no online perfume shops selling candle samples! I think it would be very easy to carve a little sample nugget of the wax and put it into a tiny ziplock bag (or something), especially compared to the effort of preparing small liquid samples. Bummer. But good for my wallet of course... I might be a total candle maniac if I didn't have to make my occasional candle purchases blind!

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  56. Mikael, you're totally right about wax samples. In fact I could imagine a company like Diptyque doing the same type of cardboarded samples as Serge Lutens: clearly the technology is there.

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  57. I think the Annick Goutal Bougie de Noel would be a wonderful gift, and I'd like it from Santa, too! I wish I had known of the Avignon candle before my father had passed...he would have loved that. Great List!

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  58. Maureen, then you'd better tell Santa about it in no uncertain words! ;-)

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  59. I am not too familiar with scented candles, yet, but just bought Miller Harris set of Bois Votive on a whim from their online store (=unsniffed). Looking forward to receiving them. They are actually from Santa to myself, but as it is a set of three I might gift someone else as well :-)

    Thanks for a very inspiring list!

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  60. Anonymous, I'm not familiar with Bois Votive, but I see it's a set that sounds very tempting indeed. I can understand you ordered it unsniffed!

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  61. If I had to pick I'd love the Malle candles, I heard so many good things about them...

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  62. A shalimar candle! Doesn't that sound wonderful!

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  63. I would LOVE to get under the tree Malle's Jurassic Flower. I smelled it while on a scented tour of Barney's in San Francisco and I simply cannot forget it.

    I am not offering any candles because, sadly, no one in my family except me and my partner are "candle burners". I gave many candles before and still see them in my relative's places, collecting dust. Sad.

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  64. I vote for either Avignon or Encens Flamboyant - how beautiful!

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  65. I would grin like a monkey to see M. Malle's 1er Mai under the tree...alas, it is prolly not to be. I'll be lucky to get the tree up, let alone a candle to put under it. But a gal can dream....

    incredible list, D. Thanks!

    xoxoxoA

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  66. d3, I own one Malle candle, the gardenia, but I'm a little embarrassed to say I find it so gorgeous I haven't burned it yet! I just take it out of the box to sniff it regularly...

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  67. ElizabethC, a Shalimar candle would be marvellous indeed...

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  68. Anonymous, I love those two incense candles dearly and burn them often...

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  69. Musette, if not for Christmas, then some day for sure, right? 1er Mai is a lovely blast of spring...

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  70. a.k.a Warum, I know what you mean about candles gathering dust: that's what happens with the ones I give my mom...

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  71. Oh my, now I really miss city living. I would love to sample
    Some new candles. That cant be done by post, alas.

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  72. Carla, I think someone was mentioning in a comment above that there should be wax samples for candles, I totally agree!

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