This week, I'm enjoying my "home-away-from home" — California. I'm trying to stay outdoors as much as possible, and I plan on enjoying the desert and the ocean. Today finds me in Palm Springs, and if all goes as planned, when this review posts, I'll be on horseback, riding through Murray Canyon in gorgeous weather.
I've been heartened recently at fragrance companies who give back to their communities by sharing some of their profits for great causes. There's Cire Trudon's support of the Orne Dark Bee Conservatory and today's candle maker from Virginia, Sydney Hale Co., gives a generous 10% of its profits to animal rescue efforts all over the U.S.
Sydney Hale Co. candles come in 25 scents. I'll review three that stood out at first sniff.
Bourbon + Brown Sugar Candle (oak, bourbon, brown sugar)
This candle has a gourmand vibe: it smells of caramelized dark brown sugar syrup drizzled into bourbon. The bourbon note is "under" the rich brown sugar layer but, along with a slightly charred wood note, it keeps the candle from being too sweet/cloying. This is a perfect cozy-smelling candle for winter use (and winter's fading fast here in the Northern Hemisphere, at least on the West Coast where I live).
Woodsmoke + Amber Candle (smoke, woods, amber)
If I could have one candle with me here in southern California (Torrey Pines is the next stop for me), I'd choose this one. I love to smell smoke in the desert and near the ocean; the aroma always makes me nostalgic for campfires, smoky fireplaces and incense. My father had a small fishing hut on tall, heavy wooden stilts along the Chesapeake Bay; in winter, after fishing or oystering or bird watching, we'd warm ourselves in the hut in front of a noisy potbellied stove, full of aromatic kindling and damp, hissing firewood. As with Bourbon + Brown Sugar and its scorched/alcohol notes, Woodsmoke + Amber's smoky woods give a hefty rib-jab to the polite, vanillic amber. This is a smoke-scented candle that really smells like wood smoke, not a ghastly chemical approximation that's often used in candles and perfumes and that burns nostrils and hurts throats.
Bergamot + Black Tea Candle (citrus, black tea)
This is my favorite of the Sydney Hale Co. candles I've tried so far (15 more to go!) and I wish it came in an Eau de Toilette. The moment I smelled its rich and realistic black tea note I had to buy it. The smell of black tea is rarely encountered in perfumes (I mean the genuine scent of fresh, bouncy black tea). Bergamot + Black Tea smells like a strong black tea served with a lemon slice. Tea lovers should try this one; its scent makes me happy.
Until last weekend I had never heard of Sydney Hale Co. Now I'm curious about all its offerings. Pricing for candles is excellent: $30 for a candle that burns approximately 50 hours. As a bonus, the cloudy glass tumblers are beautiful; perfect for a tiny bouquet or to use with tea lights. Dog lovers: check out the online Sydney Hale Co. Dog Shop, too.