Ahh… the spice of life. Scented candles can play essential roles in a beautiful and cozy living space. They are affordable luxuries and are especially beneficial for your olfactory senses, in turn, good for your soul. Before getting to the products, let me explain to you why they are as good as I say.
Just a little of the science behind “smell,”and how it activates your brain. Olfactory nerves originate in the brain stem that relay information between the brain and parts of the body. Brain stem is crucial in maintaining consciousness, regulating sleep-cycle, heart-rate, breathing and eating. Also, the olfactory nerves interact with the parts of the brain responsible for memory and emotion.
Finally! Being a granddaughter and a daughter to medical doctors does have its upsides. Only if I’d known this earlier, I probably would have ditched art school and went for medicine. Kidding… now onto the products. (Not affiliated with the brands, just my favorites to share with you, so trust me.)
I found this Bella Freud candle quite by accident while browsing through Net-A-Porter. While I’ve known about Bella Freud’s jumpers since she first launched the line back in 2007. Mainly because I had seen it on Kate Moss with slogans such as “ginsberg is god” (Ginsberg was a Beat Generation American poet and philosopher) and “je t’aime Jane” (after Jane Birkin, once married to Serge Gainsbourg and whom composed the song called “je t’aime moi non plus” for her).
Bella Freud before becoming a designer has been a cult-celebrity in her own right. She’s made a good number of art-house films, with similar looks to the Jane and Serge video above. If you can’t tell from her last name, her father was the famous figurative painter, Lucian Freud. Here is the even more exciting bit, she is the great-granddaughter of the 19th century founder of psychoanalysis, you guessed it, Sigmund Freud (The Interpretation of Dreams, anyone?) And of course, she also made a jumper and a candle called “psychoanalysis.”
What I love about Bella Freud’s line of candles is its romantic connotations and concepts. For the Signature one, she sourced raw materials such as Moroccan smoked incense, cedar-wood, resins of amber and myrrh. It fills your room with the ambiance of mystic far-away places evocative of mystery and romance.
I’ve been a fan of Diptyque candles for at least 10 years, if not more. This brand was founded in 1961 by three friends Desmond Knox-Leet, Christine Gautrot and Yves Coueslant, and introduced in their boutique on 34 boulevard, Saint Germain.
One a visit to Paris I discovered this brand. As soon as walking in the store, the smell was just divine. Since then, I have fallen in love with Chêne, or oak tree because the spelling is a little bit like my name “Chênnie.” But that’s not all. The scent of Chêne is seeded in verdant forest, freshly sawn wood, moss and lichens.
The smell is reminiscent of walking in a deep forest surrounded by rich vegetation. It turns your interior living space into a land of wondrous magic, filled with strange curiosity and intrigue.
Rose Delight is one that I discovered recently around Valentine’s day. It is from a limited-edition collection launched just for this occasion of love. Crafted from rose-petals, a dash of honey, and a sliver of lemon zest. This refreshing candle comes in a glass container printed with a pastel floral pattern inspired by a Middle Eastern version of French toile de Jouy. As I glance over at my coffee table, just looking at the container lights up my heart. The aroma makes sure that your love won’t be just occasional.
In 2013, I read about Byredo Parfumée in a newsletter sent by BOF (Business of Fashion). Instantly, I wanted to try it out for myself to test if the scented candle lived up to all its media hype.
Yes, it does live up to every praise in the press. Without knowing which to pick, I went for “Bibliothèque.” At the time, I was spending a lot of hours in the library (bibliothèque is a French word for library) studying for my master’s degree in art history. What better place to start than with what you are surrounded by, until it becomes a memory embedded with your past.
The smell of “Bibliothèque” is reminiscent of being in an old library with decadent interiors of wood-paneling walls, wrought-iron staircase, and shelves full of classic editions, leather-bond books with covers of gold embossing (the luxury and privilege of studying in an art history library).
After this one, I moved on to “Vanquish,” before long, it became another one of my favorites. When I chose this one, I was just coming out of an extremely vile relationship, with the determination to cut it off mercilessly I decided on “Vanquish.” The reason I seem to choose Byredo randomly by their names rather than essences is because until a few years ago the brand was only available online. Since then, they’ve opened boutiques all over the US.
This one contrary to its name is actually quite soft. Made with top notes of eau de rose, and green rose bud, it has its heart in ginger and Frankincense based in cedar-wood and cistus labdanum, the aroma is sweet and spicy. It did the excellent job of reminding me all the good times he and I shared when at the height of our love with a kick, alas! Oh well, love is love, what can I say?
There is a rather unconventional story behind this line. Founder Ben Gorham did not have a professional parfumée background when he started Byredo in 2006. He was once a professional basketball player who made scented candles on the side for his friends. Since his brand’s inception, Ben Gorham has been working with two perfumers- Jerome Epinette and Olivia Giacobetti. Together they translate ideas such as childhood memories, people, places and emotions into scents and smells.
With his unique heritage, (Ben Gorham’s father is from Scotland and his mother is from India while he is native to Sweden) all of Byredo scents are just as complex as his personal history. One of the stand-out characteristics of his collection is this feel of something hard to define yet familiar.
Here is to smelling and writing! I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this article as much as I enjoyed sniffing and typing on this keyboard.