GRANHAND | MARINE ORCHID

 
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With the Winter Olympics still fresh in our minds, we decided to review this candle next:

While exploring Seoul, South Korea, our junior designer and her husband found themselves wandering through Bukchon Village, a Hanok village located just outside the gates of Gyeongbokgung Palace. Lining its steep, meandering streets is a mixture of private residences, coffee shops, museums, and a store by the name of Granhand, which features hand-poured candles, essential oils, diffusers, and perfumes. Lucky for us, they brought back a candle for the studio!

Granhand opened in 2014, and is co-owned by Jung Nana (her brother is the other owner), a perfumer who earned her degree at the Grasse Institute of Perfumery. Together, they made it their mission to create an artisanal fragrance store, which focuses on human warmth and a departure from machine automation. Thus, their flagship store is located in a hanok house, where they have utilized traditional, handmade approaches to creating their scents. In 2016, they opened the Granhand Lab (located behind their flagship store), which offers scent-making classes, consulting, collaborations, and a professional perfume academy. Fun fact: less than a year after launching their brand, Chanel chose to gift Granhand products to its VIP guests at its Cruise Collection show in Seoul!

The candle we’ve been burning is called Marine Orchid, one of Granhand’s top selling scents. It’s a very light, floral scent, perfect for the transition from winter to spring. Meant to evoke memories of swimming in the ocean, it reminds us of a salty sea breeze on a warm spring afternoon. With top notes of mandarin, pear, and lemon, middle notes of rose, lily of the valley, and orchid, and base notes of musk, toffee, and patchouli, it has a very well-balanced profile, and doesn’t skew too feminine or masculine. Made of soy wax, the candle burned down fairly cleanly, only leaving small amounts of residue on the vessel. At our mid-burn point, the only imperfections in the wax seemed to be very small bubbles that dried in the wax’s top layer.

The vessel is a glass mason jar with a screw-on metal cap (making it easy to carry on a plane!), and the brand label contains a piece of open-weave burlap, with a tightly woven burlap glued on top. The tight-weave burlap is printed with the candle’s scent, the store’s address/telephone number/website, and a special section for personalization, where the associates will hand-stamp your name.

Unfortunately, it’s not that easy to purchase this candle unless you find yourself in Bukchon Village. They do ship internationally via direct message on Instagram, though we haven’t tried it. If you’re planning a trip to Seoul, we recommend taking a stroll through Bukchon Village and making a stop at Granhand. You won’t regret it!

Dimensions: 3-5/8”H x 2-5/8” Dia., 6.8 oz.

FRAGONARD | YLANG YLANG

 
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The candle lighting up our week is one with a lovely heavy floral scent - Ylang, Ylang, by Fragonard Parfumeur. Manufactured in Grasse, France, it is part of their “candle with pouch” line, and comes in a beautiful white porcelain vessel, which is then placed in an embroidered blue and white fabric pouch, ready for gifting. Our “candle with pouch” also came in a cute paper Fragonard bag, adorned with a toile-like pattern featuring illustrations of candles, matches, and women’s fashion items.

Parfumerie Fragonard was opened in 1926, by an entrepreneur, Eugène Fuchs, and named after Grasse-born painter, Jean-Honoré Fragonard. Fuchs chose to name his company after Fragonard in honor of the city of Grasse and the refinement of 18th-century arts. The company was eventually passed down to Fuchs’ son-in-law, Jean-François Costa, who was responsible for expanding and modernizing the company. Today, Jean-François Costa’s daughters, Agnès and François are at the helm - it truly is a family affair!

The candle itself has a very complex combination of scents. On the top, it’s light and floral, with hints of ylang ylang, bergamot, and vanilla. On the base, it’s thick and warm, smelling of gardenia and musk. Its multi-layered profile gives it a mixture of both masculine and feminine scents, making it a candle that’s easy to burn for long periods of time. Traditionally, the ylang ylang fragrance is used to sharpen the senses, balance hormones, and alleviate fatigue and depression. So, light your Ylang Ylang candle, draw yourself a bubble bath, and relax!

The first burn was clean, as were subsequent burns. No tunneling occurred, and very little wax residue was left behind on the sides of the vessel. We did notice, however, that some soot accumulated around the top of the vessel, which is to be expected (tip: you can minimize soot by trimming the wick to about ⅛”).

You can purchase your own 7 oz. Ylang Ylang candle for $42 here. Dimensions: 3-⅛” W x 3-⅛”H. Or, if you find yourself in Grasse, France, you can stop by the Fragonard factory and take a tour!

MAD ET LEN | TERRE NOIRE

 
 

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.

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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.

TRUE GRACE | AMBER NO. 31

Welcome to Project Candle - a blog where we review luxury candles, meet makers, and share what we find with you! Whether it’s the packaging, scent, or brand that draws us in, something will compel us to “buy and try” these candles. As interior designers - we set out to create spaces that are perfect for our clients, and fragrance is a powerful tool in that mission. We are KIND OF OBSESSED with candles and scents, and are always burning them at the office, and in our own homes as well. When you can feel a big day coming on, the simple act of striking a match and lighting a scented candle has an instant soothing effect.

 
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This week, we are reviewing a candle by True Grace, a company hailing from the UK. The scent out of the box is sumptuous and rich - feels like a cold day kind of candle - which, in San Francisco, is a lot of days. The first thing you smell is Bergamot and Jasmine, and the end of your big breath in gives a rich but slightly sweet scent of Vanilla and Musk (Amber and Myrrh are also there, but less prominent). The packaging is handsome - a sturdy black box with an orange accent label. The container is a smoked glass and contains a creamy colored wax. We let the candle burn for three hours, and the wax melted quite evenly and nicely - perfect for a first burn. After a couple more burns, the scent continued to be pretty fragrant. Mid-way through the candle, the wax burned a little off center, but that's pretty normal. Although mostly a clean burn, it did leave a little residue along the sides (you can see this in last photo below). Overall, this candle is great for a cozy feeling - super warm with the amber and musk base, plus the more floral “top” fragrance.

Click HERE to purchase your own!

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