We have finally taken the Christmas tree down (late due to laziness, not through any particular sense of sentiment or nostalgia) and packed away the baubles and the tinsel and all of the other oddments that get dragged from the loft throughout the festive season. This year, though, I have made some additions to my packing-away; candles. More specifically, Christmas Candles. Because I have been far more frugal with my burn times, this time around, and so I have lots of wax left that will save until next year. After reading that you only really need to burn a quality candle for a few hours to really “get” the scent, I started blowing them out after one or two hours and then relighting them the next day. (Rather than leaving them going for twelve hours at a time, as I had been guilty of occasionally!)
And I must say that it does work, with the top quality products, at least. You get a beautifully scented home for days after lighting, for example, a Diptyque or a Cire Trudon. These are candles that contain the finest fragrances – more complex and well-blended than most perfumes that you’d wear on your body. Fragrances that transport you to a different place – a different world! – and stir up long-buried memories. The Christmas Limited Editions are always so clever; smokey, churchy, pine-wood notes that make your house smell like the chapel at Midnight Mass or like a freshly cut Christmas tree or like chocolate and mulled wine and clove-studded clementines.
This year I think that the candles have been especially moreish – the only sadness is that they were limited edition and so the exquisite fragrances might not be around for next year! Which is why I have saved them, boxed them up and popped them in with the decorations ready for Round 2. Here are my firm favourites:
1) Cire Trudon’s Bethléem candle (top) is a rich and smokey blend of Musk and Sandalwood and Amber; it’s decadent-smelling and warm and perfect for households that don’t want to be “obviously” Christmassy. It has hints of churchiness and of woodfire, but it’s not in-your-face-nativity-scene-fake-snow-sprayed-on-the-windows festive. You can actually still get this candle, just about; it’s in stock at Net-a-Porter here.
2) Diptyque’s Pine Bark is a mellow, musty pine. You have to be very careful with pine, I always think; you don’t want your house to smell like a Radox Muscle Soak, neither do you want it to smell as though you’ve actually harvested a whole pine forest in your lounge. There should be hints of pine, but it doesn’t want to be overwhelming. This limited edition candle gets it just right, and I hope that they bring it back. Although…
3) …if I could choose just one candle, ever, to be “brought back to life”, then it would be Oliban from Diptyque. As my own mini version burnt down to the last dregs, I felt bereft – this tiny jar of wax has been scenting my entire house for months. Granted, it has smelt like Chartres Cathedral circa 1340AD, but it has been a lovely time. We all have our own trigger scents that bring back memories, and this is mine. Being dragged around churches and cathedrals by my parents when we were on holiday, they always smelt like Oliban. Oliban is a type of frankincense, so you can see where the churchy aspect comes from! I wish, wish wish that Diptyque would make this permanent. I would burn little else, especially during the winter…
4) Lastly, all wrapped up and into the Christmas box goes Jo Malone’s Blue Spruce. A whopping deluxe candle with a stripy jar and a scent that is somewhere between sexy man’s aftershave and traditional festive smells. It has a deepness and spiciness that reminds me of some of Jo Malone’s Cologne Intense fragrances but then an ambery warmth that makes it well-suited to fragrancing a cosy, fire-lit lounge. I know that Jo Malone have to mix it up when it comes to their Christmas editions, but I’d love it if this one came back. It’s miles ahead of the chestnuts candle from the year before – in fact, as I’d burn this all the way through autumn and winter, I reckon it could even make a fine addition to the permanent range. There are still a couple of these at House of Fraser and perhaps at Jo Malone stores if you fancy grabbing one – hefty price tag, £115, though if you were careful I reckon this could see you through a decade of Christmases!
Are there any limited edition products or scents that you wish brands would bring back? I hate it when a favourite smell gets discontinued – I used to use this tropical body lotion from Origins (in a flat tub, blue lid, what was it called?) and was actually quite cross when they discontinued it. I think I actually stopped using Origins after that in protest! Fickle girl.