I know more about scented candles than any 30-year-old red-blooded male who wears joggers to work should know about scented candles. I’d call it ‘borderline snobbery,’ but it’s not even borderline at this point. Your Cinnabon® Yankee Candle gives me that oh-no-why-is-my-mouth-watering feeling that you get right before you throw up the shot of Jim Beam your friend just got you. My scale of ‘oh, that seems like a reasonable price for a scented candle’ is much higher than my peers, and no, it’s not because I have more money than anyone else. Honestly, I probably have less.
I was first introduced into the world of scented candles in 2007. Smelling a scented candle is like tasting a fine wine. There are primary, secondary, and tertiary aromas that you need to recognize before making your final call on whether or not a scented candle is acceptable. No, they don’t get better with age, but that’s the beauty – the second you walk out of Barney’s with a candle in tow, you can walk home and blaze it like it’s 1999.
The first candle I fell in love with was the Ernesto Candle from Cire Trudon, the oldest scented candle company in France. It became a Panic Room staple when I could get them at a discount, but I’ve now had to resort to more reasonably priced candles. It’s described in such a way that you don’t even get the feminine connotations that occasionally come with telling people you’re a scented candle aficionado.
“In a hotel of Havana, under the fixed sun of the Revolution, the fierce and partisan overtones of leather and tobacco meddle with the paneling’s waxen silence. In the cool dimness, fawn grimaces shimmer along with the smoke of cigars and the barrels of guns.”
After shutting your eyes and putting on the sweet sound of Stan Getz and Astrud Gilberto, you’re Midnight In Paris‘d to a place where Hemingway is pouring you two fingers of an 18-year-old Cuban rum. Yes, if you told me that I was going to breathe in a candle that contained the scents of gun barrels and cigars, I’d cough just imagining it. They say that working construction outside in Mexico City is akin to smoking ten packs of cigarettes a day, and that’s exactly what lighting this candle sounds like it would smell like.
A similar candle has recently caused an outpouring of disgust – Diptyque’s New York City-scented candle.
Without actually smelling it, Twitter users are describing this as “a mixture of urine, BO, and pizza,” a “shoe filled with raw meat I saw floating in a storm drain while walking to work this morning,” and “gentrification.” All valid.
But I urge you to give this candle a chance. Yes, New York City can smell like you just passed a plastic bag of sulfur through your digestive system, but we need to give credit to Diptyque as they’re a power player in the scented candle scene. A company that weaves tuberose perfectly with wood fire, moss, and patchouli, their reputation obviously precedes them and should be treated as such.
Not only do I implore you to smell this candle in the flesh before making any harsh critiques, I also defy you to take chances the next time you’re in the market for a scented candle. Fall’s too close to waste your time with pumpkin spice’d brown sugar bullshit. There’s more than what’s on the shelf at Bed, Bath and Beyond. Think of your Yankees and your Candlewics as your six-dollar bottles of merlot. Sure, they’ll get you by for a while, but eventually you need to grow up and expand your horizons. Breathe in the succulent scents of your Cire Trudons, Diptyques, Maison Louis Maries, Toccas, Fornasettis, Malin+Goetz, and (my new personal favorite) Carrière Frères.
I’d rather die for what I believe in than live on my knees. And if that so happens to be scented candles and hungover Sunday nights, then at least my pyre is going to smell fucking fantastic. .