If you’ve read even a tiny selection of my articles on this blog, you probably know I adore benzoin. My love affair with benzoin began with incense. Long ago, I bought benzoin-scented incense cones from a company that supplied incense to churches, and I enjoyed the benzoin fragrance so much I purchased Siam benzoin "tears" (appropriately named since a wounded tree produces the scented resin). I still heat benzoin tears in little tin cups on an electric burner to release their smoky-sweet aroma throughout my house.
Diptyque’s Benjoin candle is strongly scented; even its empty box (a month after purchase) is perfuming a large closet in my bedroom. Diptyque Benjoin is a simple benzoin perfume; it reminds me of Papier d’Arménie, and it also brings to mind Guerlain Bois d’Arménie (but with less complexity, of course). Unlit, Benjoin smells like vanilla bean liqueur aged in old wooden casks; lit, the candle produces balsamic-woody notes that complement the slightly smoky vanillic benzoin aroma. Benjoin is one of my favorite Diptyque candle scents, and I wish it would join the room spray line.
The Benjoin candle perfumes a large space and burns relatively cleanly if you keep the wick trimmed short. Diptyque candles always present a problem for me: an uneven burn. While my Cire Trudon Mademoiselle de La Vallière candle has burned perfectly in the year I’ve had it (it’s almost gone, alas), my Diptyque Benjoin candle is already producing unsightly ‘hills and valleys’ in the wax (and I’ve only burned it five times). Over the years, I’ve become a certified Diptyque Candle Surgeon — using chopsticks and tissues I’m able to even out the tops of Diptyque candles as they burn (and re-situate the always off-center wicks) and keep the insides of the glass containers clean and clear. (I’m betting most people don’t have the time or patience for such “work.”)
The limited edition Diptyque Benjoin candle burns for approximately 40-45 hours and costs $68. For buying information, see the listing for Diptyque under Perfume Houses.