Finding a scented candle that works well during the hot summer months can be a bit of a challenge. Even if the fragrance is delightful, just the act of striking a match to create a spark can be utterly unappealing on those days when the sun is beating down relentlessly and you can fry an egg on the pavement outside. Diffusers are perfect for the summer season, while candles — in my house at least — tend to be set away for rainier days or the coming autumn.
Sometimes, though, one comes across a good deal, and one feels almost compelled to pick up a candle (or, ahem, two) at a bargain price. Such was the case for me with my most recent candle purchase, the Shanghai candle by Tocca. Even though I knew the summer months were here, I was intrigued by the description:
China’s peony flower seduces the soul with a subtle sweetness and exotic beauty. Inspired by the vitality and pulse of one of the world’s great cities, Shanghai intoxicates with an indulgent, glamorous fragrance.
Being favorably disposed towards most things indulgent and glamorous, and to Tocca candles in general, I decided to give it a whirl.
The candle starts out promising in the box, a whisper of sweetness and a light touch. It has a nice clean burn, and a surprisingly rapid, although not at all cloying, throw; within just a few minutes of lighting it I could smell it a few rooms away. It is definitely floral, but I would have a hard time identifying it as peony. At best I might describe it as a pink-ish floral composition. It has a surprisingly round base, a slightly vanilla-honeyed warmth (although not really gourmand), which lends substance while still staying fairly light. There is also a subtle balm of aquatic notes, somewhat similar in feel, if not intensity, to those in Tocca's Cortina candle.
Like the other Tocca candles, it has a high-quality feel, and the composition is so smooth it reminds me of soft flowing silk. It's a pleasant and even cheerful fragrance for summer, not quite fresh but still light enough to enjoy on a balmy evening, but I found it lacked the vibrancy to hold my interest for very long. It's classy and well-behaved and pretty in an understated sort of way. But it doesn't have the full-bodied presence of some of my other favorite Tocca candles such as Grace (a warm and majestic lily). Still, if these notes sound just your cup of tea, you may well enjoy it — summer or any other time of the year.
Tocca's Shanghai candle is $36 for 10.6 oz. For buying information, see the listing for Tocca under Perfume Houses.