Friday, April 11, 2014

Fragrance Friday: More Candles

Spring is springing in the most delightful way: we've had 5 days of glorious sun and temps in the 60s-70s, the trees are blooming, flowers are sprouting, and regrowth and happiness abounds. Spring is my favorite season (even if it does have my least favorite seasonal collections!), but in the past few years, it has coincided with some glumness. My first assaults were in the spring and I found out my school had betrayed me in the spring, but this year, I feel surprisingly light. Counseling helps, kids! Unfortunately, the relative mental health has been tempered by the shadow of the passing of T. As I was driving to class yesterday under the blossoming trees, in awe of their loveliness, I was struck with the realization that she does not get to experience it, that no matter how beautiful the blooms and vibrant the flowers, they will not reach her. I do realize that for life to be moving, there must also be death, but I don't have to like it.

My counselor told me that candles are common cross-culturally as a way to honor those who have died and suggested I get one to burn when I'm thinking of T. I haven't felt all that interested in perfume lately, sticking to a few tried-and-true favorites, but I do still love experiencing pleasant smells and decided that a scented candle could be one way I remember T. I'm still searching for one that smells like I feel about her (such might not exist), but I've tried a couple that I'll share with you today!

First up is Voluspa Black Figue and Chypre. I love fig candles and had tried their Figue de Bordeaux variety so thought it would be nice to check out something different. Where FdB is pure fig, creamy and green and woody, BF&C is darker and moodier. It's still very much fig, but weighted down by a slightly sour, dirty moss, like...I don't know, a fig found in a cave in a forest. The throw is awesome, probably thanks in part to the two wicks; I burn it in our living room and the scent trails all the way up our foyer onto the second floor, but it doesn't linger for a long time afterwards. I find it burns evenly and, as long as the wicks are trimmed before each use, doesn't smoke. Voluspas are great, and I have another couple (of the smaller Petite Decorative Candle design, in Crane Flower and Moso Bamboo) on the way! $16 for 11 oz, ~50 hour burn time, available from Nordstrom and, among others

Black Figue & Chypre seemed too heavy to me for it to really be The One, so I picked up Archipelago Botanicals Gardenia Tuberose, which, while more expensive ($24 vs. $16), leaves a beautiful container once it's been burned. I plan to use it to store brushes, and have always a little something to remind me of T. GT is pure white floral, rich and somewhat sweet, but lacking in the indole that can sometimes accompany white florals (admittedly, more common with orange blossom and jasmine). It burns very slowly, and I find left to its own devices it has a tendency to tunnel, so I always cover it at least part of the time with aluminum foil with a hole cut out of the middle to ensure an even burn. It ain't pretty, but it works, and it has no effect on the scent. Even though it's pretty small, the throw is great, fully scenting the sitting area within 20 minutes and expanding a slight scent halo further into the house with longer burning. I don't think it would be sufficient to scent our two-story foyer if burned there, but for a room or two, it's very nice. GT isn't particularly complex, but it's a very springy, happy floral. Still not quite right for T, but I shall continue my search! $24 for 5.25 oz, ~50 hours burn time, available from Nordstrom, among others

Have you tried either of these, or any Voluspa or Archipelago candles? Which ones are your favorite? What rituals do you have to help with mourning?
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