Between November and March is the period I call “Scented-Candle Danger Zone.” During these cool/cold months, I yearn for, “research,” and then buy perfumed candles…expen$ive candle$. Over the years, I've come to realize that a single, $100 dollar candle usually makes more sense budget-wise (and ambiance-wise) than three $33 candles, or five $20 candles. Inexpensive candles almost always smell cheap; their artificial aromas and blends must have been devised by a computer program or a food-crazed focus group who loves cheap candy. I hate candles that smell like carnival food: Caramel Apple Sundae, anyone? CocoNut-ChocoCone? Pumpkin 'n' Spice Latte? Ick. And what’s worse than cheap-smelling floral candles? (I guess you could call me a candle snob…or a “candle idiot” if you must…you won’t hurt my feelings!)
But as my hubby says: “Kevin, you pay more in parking fees in one week than you do on one candle!” How nice to have an enabler at home. He’s right. What do I get from parking fees? A concrete space to occupy. A $100 candle gives me pleasure for months (sixty or more hours of burn-time!) I don’t eat out much because my official enabler is a great cook, so I buy a candle, or two, or three, with that saved restaurant money!
My best reason to buy expensive scented candles? I'll only live once! I enjoy what I can, when I can. And the little bit of money I"m spending on candles really won’t finance the early retirement in Italy I so desire (and deserve).
Enough rationalizations! This week I received a candle sample from Rive Sud Interior — its Via della basilica* candle. Though the sample is just a bit bigger than a votive, it packs a punch; the throw of this little candle is amazing. I can’t even imagine the power of the full-size/three-wick Via della basilica candle — could it scent a real basilica? Maybe!
Via della basilica begins with the aroma of “liquid” immortelle, not dusty or fusty immortelle, but smooth and elegant immortelle (with a hint of brown butter). As the immortelle develops, herbal aromas, some “dry/dusty,” some “simmering/glistening” join the mix. During certain phases of the burn, I think something mildly intoxicating is brewing/cooking in the kitchen: a herb-vodka infusion? Or an aromatic soup of tangy herbs and spice with an exotic bead of myrrh added for interest? About 30 minutes into the burn, a lovely, subdued incense aroma emerges; it’s a creamy/dreamy incense — not ashy or smoky — like the scent of just-lit incense sticks or cones. Via della basilica is a great candle.
If you have any scented candle recommendations in the $50-or-under range...please share. Several years ago, I bought a huge bag of vanilla-scented votives from Ikea for around $10...and they smelled great. But what would I do if a $100 (or more) scented candle were out of my reach financially? I'd be perfectly happy with some gorgeous-smelling beeswax candles or unscented candles...really, the light of a burning candle is even more magical than its aroma.
The Via della basilica candle is 250€ for a 1,100 g, three-wick candle (that's almost 40 ounces of wax!) The candle burns cleanly and evenly (rare). Other Rive Sud Interior candle scents are Rosewood (also in 1,100 g), and Acqua di latte and Cap Ferrat les Pins (both 220 g/70€). I can't wait to smell Rosewood; if it captures the scent of true rosewood...I'm in trouble.
*Via della basilica's listed notes are: black pepper, myrrh and cedar; perfumer Delphine Thierry.
Note: top image via Wikimedia Commons.