So...a lot has happened since I wrote my last review here. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, New York City and the surrounding areas have been on "lockdown" for the past couple weeks; social gatherings were discouraged even earlier. My husband and I are both working from home, scheduling video-chats with family and friends, doing some pleasure-reading and playing with our two cats. It's a stressful time, but we're grateful that we're safe and sound.
Since I'm spending nearly all my time inside, it's a happy coincidence that I started exploring the Keap candle line last month. Keap is a Brooklyn-based, online-only business, offering candles with "nature-inspired scents created alongside legendary master perfumer Christophe Laudamiel." In late 2018, Kevin wrote about "a new line of candles that smell and look (hefty well-designed containers and packaging) more extravagant than their...price"— he was referring to Otherland, but I'd describe Keap the same way.
Right now I'm burning Keap's Northlands, which was my favorite after trying a quartet of sample tealight candles. Keap describes Northlands's inspiration as "a stand of firs, light snow undisturbed on its branches. The earthen tang of sap on a cool current of crisp air. A premonition of the nutmeg-spiced hot cider waiting at home by the fireplace." Its listed notes include fir, pine, absinthe, white musk, nutmeg and cinnamon.
If you've ever experienced seasonal distress caused by Bath & Body Works holiday candles, don't fear: we're in a different world here. Northlands is a subtly blended evergreen-and-wood scent that conjures up an evening walk in a forest: pine needles tinged with aromatic resins, some dirt, a trace of woodsmoke from a distant chimney or campfire, a smooth ozonic note that suggests winter breeze. I don't get notice any spicy effects, which is fine with me, since it's often the cinnamon-roll element that makes me crinkle up my nose at mass-market "Christmas forest" candles.
If Northlands were a personal fragrance, it would appeal to fans of CB I Hate Perfume Winter 1972, Dasein Winter or Aftelier Forest Bathing. I enjoy forest-y scents even more in candles or incense than in perfumes, so I'm very happy with this new means of enhancing my home environment. Plus, the candle itself burns evenly and cleanly (no guttering, no weird cling on the insides of the container) and has excellent "throw," smelling even better from the next room. And its container is a simple glass vessel that can later be repurposed as a tumbler after it's been washed and its small labels have been (easily) removed.
The Keap team has thought out all the little details that add to this experience: they use recyclable and/or biodegradable packing materials and each subscription shipment includes (in addition to the candle) a box of long matches, a personalized note, a circular cardboard lid (printed with a poem) that doubles up as a coaster and a tealight candle in an upcoming seasonal scent.
If you have a candle-lover in your life, a subscription would be a perfect gift — or just a very welcome self-treat right now. If we're all staying home for the foreseeable future, we might as well fill our living spaces with scents that inspire or soothe us, right?
One crucial catch: just as I was completing this review, I learned that Keap has temporarily closed its studio due to the COVID-19 outbreak. I encourage you to follow Keap on Instagram so you'll know when they're open again; meantime, they are offering 10% off if you purchase a candle now to be shipped later, with coupon code SHIPLATER.
Are you taking extra pleasure in any particular home fragrance right now? Let us know in the comments!
Keap Northlands candle (7.4 oz.) is normally available through the Keap website for $49.50, or $39.50 when purchased as part of a subscription plan. Scent-To-Home sample sets of four tealight candles ($12, to be deducted from your first purchase of a full-size candle) are also available.