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.

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.