During our recent cold spell and rain-storms here in the Northeast, I felt a craving for a rich, comforting scent to bring some depth, light and warmth into my surroundings. I wandered around sniffing my half burnt candles trying to decide which to light, but nothing quite seemed to resonate. My all-time favorite blustery weather candle, Mure Sauvage by L'Artisan, was all finished, and I was about to give up my search when I came across an unopened box — African Lily by Red Flower.
I had bought several Red Flower candles over the holidays to give as gifts, but ended up with a surplus that I intended to squirrel away for future gifts. I sniffed the sealed package cautiously, and thought — yes, that's lily. No subtlety there. It reminded me of a great big bunch of stargazer lilies, with their unique, seductive and sometimes overpowering fragrance. I hopped online, still debating whether I should indulge my curiosity or not. The Red Flower website describes the African Lily as an 'alluring and abundant nile-spiced flower' and the impact as 'sensual, like hundreds of fluttering untamed lilies'. The essential oils listed are iris absolute, vanilla bean, clove leaf, and african lily.
The iris was too much for me to resist and so I opened the box, unceremoniously dumped the white dried flower petals which top the candle into a dish and lit the candle. As I watched the rain streak down my window and the wind howl outside, a slow, luxurious warmth began to unfurl itself in my room and started to wind its way up the staircase and into the rest of the house. In less than 15 minutes, the throw was oustanding. I was wondering if the fragrance would be overly sweet — I do like lilies, but I thought I might tire of it after a while. Thankfully, that has not yet been the case, as the clove emerges quite soon after the lily and provides a dry, spicy counterpoint to the opulent sweetness.
The vanilla is also detectable, rounding out the blend with precisely that tone of comfort and warmth I had been seeking. Unfortunately I was not able to detect the iris absolute other than perhaps as a tinge of powdery dusting on the clove, but I suspect it does contribute to the candle's delightful blend even if not immediately recognizable (by me) as its own note.
The African Lily (agapanthus africanus) is not actually part of the Lily (Lilium) family, so it has no relation to Stargazers or other true lilies. I thought that was rather interesting, as I would have certainly claimed there was a strong scent resemblance. I have never smelled an African Lily and so I can not say how close this scent is to the flower it is named after. It is, nonetheless, one of the more gorgeous floral candles I have ever had the pleasure of burning, and the scent stays strong, steady and true while the candle itself burns well and clean. And happily the weather here has since improved greatly, but the African Lily candle smells no less delightful on a warm balmy evening than it did on a cold blustery one.