Playing the role of counselor to my own addiction, I might ask: "What about expensive scented candles (average cost: $100) appeals to you, Kevin?" Lots of things! Well-chosen candles have perfume-quality aromas. I can vouch for $cented candles by Annick Goutal, Astier de Villatte, Cire Trudon, Diptyque, D.L. & Co., Frédéric Malle...and, now, Ormonde Jayne.
Often, scented-candle packaging is beautiful, too. I can make one helluva candle display around the holidays using empty vessels that once housed extravagantly priced scented candles: you'll find metallic jars in gold and silver; opaque and clear glass vessels in green, cobalt blue, red, orange, jade, lime green; thick, rustic glass full of bubbles and ripples; pottery jars; mercury glass.... I remove lettering and labels and fill them all with tea lights and love the gasps they inspire when guests encounter them. In spring and summer these same jars are used for tiny floral bouquets. I'm already imagining the Orris Noir vessel full of purple or pink hyacinths in late winter. I get my money's worth.
Ormonde Jayne's Orris Noir candle was love at first sniff. First, this candle is POTENT. It could scent the first floor of the White House with no problem. Unlit, it produces more scent into the air than many candles I burn for hours. Its ingredients smell rich and perfume-grade. And the candle container is lovely: an opaque orange jar with a heavy, gold-colored metal lid. (Every candle should come with a lid, even a thick cardboard one will do...no more dust or pet hair on my candles).
Now for the scent. Ormonde Jayne's Orris Noir perfume lists fragrance notes of bergamot, coriander, pimento berries, bay leaf, rose, davana, myrrh, orris butter, jasmine, woods, cinnamon and nutmeg, patchouli and cedar, gaiac and incense. The fragrance has lots in common with old-style Yves Saint Laurent Opium which had (still has?...haven't smelled it in ages) notes of bergamot, coriander, clove, orris, bay leaf, cinnamon, peach, opopanax and incense. It, too, was a knock-out perfume. If you love spicy, rich oriental fragrances and have fond memories of Opium, you really should try Orris Noir, the candle.
As Orris Noir burns I detect a mélange of exuberant aromas: spiced fruit (syrupy peach dusted with pepper and cinnamon), bold, not "cosmetic," iris, woods and benzoin. Orris Noir's scent is all enveloping; if you often complain about the strength and scent diffusion of your candles, you won't have that concern with Orris Noir, whose scent is made for cool weather and festive occasions. For me the aromas of Orris Noir conjure opulent interiors full of silks, brocades, gilded statues, Venetian mirrors. A few times while burning it I thought: "I'm underdressed."
I'm anxious now to explore other candles in the Ormonde Jayne line. If you've beat me to it, please share your thoughts and favorite scents. Those of you in the UK, have you smelled the Harrods exclusive Ambre Royal?
Ormonde Jayne Orris Noir burns (soot free) for about 55 hours; the 290g candle is $85 (and is also available in a larger 680g multi-wick size).
Note: top image of Blue/White Iris [tweaked] by Rick Ligthelm via Wikimedia Commons.