This week, we are reviewing Terre Noire, or “Black Earth”, by Mad et Len. We first encountered the line at Gump’s in San Francisco, and were drawn to it because of its unique container - a hand forged iron vessel and lid. The craftsmanship and “hand feel” easily stood out amongst the more “normal” glass and ceramic vessels, and opening the lid and experiencing the scents was sheer luxury. The Terre Noire is earthy, sensual, and smells like what we imagine a French Château on a crisp fall evening to smell like.
The husband and wife team behind Mad et Len, Sandra Fuzier and Alexandre Piffaut, were tired of their city life, and wanted to make something with their hands. They bought a place near Grasse, France, the fragrance capital of the world, to be close to the artisans who would play a role in developing their candle line. The name Mad et Len is a play on Proust’s madeleines. Genius. Fragrance is a strong trigger for memories, and the name captures all of that and then some.
The candle itself has a strong fragrance - you can tell they use a lot of essential oils. The fragrance is what we call, “sticky”, lingering long after the candle is blown out. The top of the scent is very perfumey, and the last scent is bright, like citrus. Our first burn for three hours was great; the wax burned evenly to the side of the vessel. But as the wax cooled, it looked kind of gnarled. The following two times we burned it, the wax continued to dry in a gnarled fashion. We’re not really sure why this happened, but we will stick a pin in it for another time. Then, as the candle was burned about half-way down, the wax began to cool smoothly, as we would have expected. The wick remained close to center.
The cost of this candle is another thing. At $110 a pop, this is probably not your everyday candle. It would make a good special occasion gift, or a nice splurge for yourself. We purchased ours locally at The Human Condition, where they also carry the rock potpourris and larger size candles.