TATINE | NORWEGIAN WOOD

 
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It may be Spring, but it’s still pretty chilly in San Francisco! Lately, we’ve been burning Tatine’s Norwegian Wood, a candle that’s meant to have a warm, hearty scent. It’s from their Garden + Forest Infusions line, which comes in a very cool wood grain embossed box. The Norwegian Wood scent is no longer available online, but they have a scent called Woodsmoke, which has the same woody notes.

Founded in 2001, self-taught candle maker Margo Breznik first started experimenting with candle making in her apartment in Chicago. After years of honing her craft, she took a leap of faith, quit her day job, and opened a brick-and-mortar store to showcase her candles. She eventually transitioned into wholesale, landing a large account with Anthropologie (where she created approximately 50,000 candles by herself!), and has continued to build products and collaborations with other brands.

The Norwegian Wood candle wax has a very natural, earthy scent. With hints of moss and twigs, it reminds us of a long hike in the woods after a heavy rain. It’s poured in a heavyweight, green glass vessel, made of 40% recycled materials. Upon lighting the candle, we found it to have very little stickiness, and the scent did not carry very well. After burning for nearly 4 hours, the scent was still so light, we could barely tell that it was burning in our office. We think this candle would be better suited in a smaller, more confined space (like a powder room), as it’s no match for our large, open office!

Although this candle may not have the strongest fragrance, it has a very clean burn. Only a small amount of residue was left behind on the vessel, and the wax dried very evenly, with no bubbles or divots. The vessel itself is very aesthetically pleasing, and would make for a great decorative candle in a smaller room, office, or bathroom.

You can purchase your own Woodsmoke candle here. Dimensions: 2-½” Dia. x 3-¾”H, 8 oz.

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.

WARY MEYERS | HIPPIE HOLLOW

 
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Punxsatawney Phil has declared 6 more weeks of winter, but at our studio, we’re ready to usher in the spring! This week, we’re burning a lovely springtime scent called “Hippie Hollow” by Wary Meyers.

Wary Meyers was created by husband-and-wife team, Linda & John Meyers, who got their start by designing interiors for friends in Brooklyn. They eventually relocated to Maine, where they continued to design interiors, but also felt the need to make a tangible product. Thus began the Wary Meyers line of soaps, candles, and prints. All of their soaps and candles are hand-poured in their home - more specifically, in an attached former beauty salon built by the previous homeowner!

The 100% recycled paper box is fairly unassuming, featuring the (groovy, 1970’s-esque) Wary Meyers logo and a gold foil sunset. The clear recycled glass vessel, which is also adorned with the same gold foil sunset, is fairly thick and heavy. The candle itself has a light, refreshing, and earthy scent. With hints of grasses, lemon, and herbs, it reminds us of a sunny spring afternoon at Golden Gate Park. One of its highlighted ingredients is vetiver, an essential oil that is known to calm the mind and ground the spirit. So, light up this candle in stressful times at work, and you should be feeling more balanced in no time!

As the candle burned down, it left very little residue on the sides of the vessel. Similar to the Ylang Ylang candle, some soot accumulated on the inside rim, but because the vessel is made of glass, it can be easily wiped clean. Something to note, however, is that there are several bubbles between the wax and the inside of the glass, which we’ve read can happen when hot wax is poured into a cool glass vessel. Overall, we like this candle a lot - it’s great for everyday use!

You can purchase your own 6.7 oz. candle for $28.50 here. Dimensions: 2-7/8”W x 4”H.

H O U S E BY BILLY DEL PUERTO | GREENHOUSE

 
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This week, we are reviewing Greenhouse, which is hand poured by a candle company called H O U S E by Billy Del Puerto. We chanced upon Billy and his collection of several candle lines at West Coast Craft in San Francisco. When we met him, his passion for creating unique scents was apparent - he likes to experiment with different scent combinations, changes up the packaging, and even makes a unique line of candles with a gold flake detail.

Billy started his company after attending FIDM in Downtown Los Angeles, where he studied Visual Communications. He believes that “scent is an invisible layer of design”, and we couldn’t agree with him more! Each scent is meant to transport its user to a different place, or stir up an old memory - a walk through the stacks of an old library or an evening spent sipping whisky with friends.

Greenhouse is a candle that captures the essence of gardening on a crisp summer day (if we were to ever garden). The aptly named Tomato Leaf & Jalapeño has a clean, earthy aroma. The scent profile has a wonderful balance of sweet & fresh on the top, with a hint of savory and tangy at its base. In a written interview with Billy, he explains where the inspiration for this candle came from - the smell of fresh earth from his grandparents’ backyard, where they grew a lemon tree, fig tree, persimmon tree, and numerous vegetables.

Of all his candle lines and various packaging, we were drawn to this candle. It comes in a clean, white box that opens and closes via an origami-esque folding top. Inside is a frosted glass vessel featuring a modern label. After burning a quarter of the way down, we noticed that soot was gathering on the top of the wax, and the wax was bubbling as it melted. However, after another couple of burns, the wax looked cleaner and had fewer bubbles. Now that we are nearly at the bottom of the candle, we’ve noticed there is some separation of color between white and the ivory components of the wax.  For the most part, the candle left very little residue on the sides of the vessel.

Click here to purchase your own Greenhouse candle. Dimensions: 3-⅛” W x 3-⅛”H. 

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!

BASIK CANDLE CO. | NO. 5 MEDITERRANEAN FIG TREE CANDLE

 
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The latest candle in our lineup is called No. 5 Mediterranean Fig Tree, made by Basik Candle Co., a relatively new candle company based right here in San Francisco. We met the founder at Indie Craft Fair over the summer, and he told us he had been working on the company for about a year before officially launching in March 2017. The opening collection includes 5 “classic” scents, with a recent introduction of 2 special holiday scents.

Basik’s booth at Indie Craft was clean, simple, and showcased the candles well. Likewise, the candle packaging is simple and clean, in a refreshing, “basik” way. Its simple black box with white type is classic with a little edge. It features a sticker that not only names the scent, but also does double duty in sealing the box and ensuring your candle has not been messed with. The company’s manifesto is printed on the back, highlighting the use of clean burning coconut wax, and a “less is more” approach. The candle itself is in a thin, matte black vessel, and weighs in at 6 oz. Our favorite little touch is the mango wood lid, which warms up the black & white packaging with its beautiful, rich color. We suspect it might also come into good use as a coaster as the candle burns low, as the glass vessel is quite thin on the bottom and you may need to protect your furniture from the heat!

The first burn went well, with the wax burning evenly and cleanly. Subsequent burns continued to burn cleanly, and the wick remained centered. The scent is very pleasant; it’s a little bit sweet with notes of citrus (grapefruit, orange, and lemon), but grounded in a warm undertone of sandalwood and patchouli. The scent throw is OK, making it a great backdrop scent - not too opinionated but still warm and not too sweet. The “stickiness” factor also leaves a little to be desired. At the office, we only really noticed the candle when we left the room and came back in. And, although the name “Mediterranean Fig Tree” is descriptive and cool, there is no actual “fig” in this candle, or at least none is described on their website. But hey, we get it, almost every candle line has a fig candle, so why not join the club?

Overall, this candle has a very cool look and a nice scent. The matte black vessel with mango wood lid is great and would look nice on any console or side table. At $26 for the 6 oz. vessel or $38 for the 13 oz vessel (with 2 wicks), this is an affordable luxury candle.

You can purchase your own candle here. Dimensions: 2.75"W x 3.25"H, 6 oz.

AYDRY & CO. | CHAMPAGNE BRUNCH

 
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This week we are reviewing a candle by Southern California company AYDRY & Co. We met AYU Carlton, founder and creative director of AYDRY & Co., at San Francisco’s Renegade Craft Fair. We were immediately drawn to the clean look and modern feel of the brand, particularly its unique hexagonal shaped packaging. Inside, the thin black glassy vessel is a stark contrast to its clean, white box. Another one of the candle’s differentiating features is its wooden wick, which results in a crackling sound as the candle burns. We happened to be at the craft fair on a warm, Sunday morning, and found it only fitting that we purchase a candle called Champagne Brunch.

Aydry & Co. was founded in 2016 and, though young, has already gained a following with stockists like Anthropologie, Rejuvenation, and Pottery Barn. All of the candles are hand poured in Southern California by AYU and her small team. The line’s scents are light, fruity, and, for the most part, feminine. AYU’s Japanese heritage comes into play with scents like White Tea, Cherry Blossom, and Japanese Yuzu.

The Champagne Brunch scent is fruity, with hints of peaches, strawberries, and of course, notes of sweet champagne (or even moscato). We could see this scent gracing a bridal shower or another all-female occasion, while also being popular within subsets of the younger population - young ladies in their teens and 20’s. All-in-all, it was enjoyable in small amounts, but ultimately a little too sweet and fruity for our palates.

The first burn was on point. The subsequent burns were also good, yielding a nice and even burn, without tunneling. The wooden wick must be trimmed like any other candle wick, and, though the wooden wick is a nice touch, we found it slightly distracting. Perhaps we are an office of worriers, but when we first heard the wick crackling, we were worried that we had started a fire! We also noticed some soot gathering in the wax, which we suspect is due to the burning of the wooden wick.

At $36 for the 8 oz. size, this is an easy candle line to try if you’re curious!

You can purchase your own candle here. Dimensions: 3-1/8"Dia. x 3-3/8"H, 8 oz.