By my original plans, I would be
Visiting France later this month. Sadly,
Like so many others, plans are cancelled.
Instead, I took comfort in this candle.
These “country candles” by New York–based company Homesick are quite clever, and many reviews on their site have described this 13.75-oz France candle along the lines of it being a Proustian madeleine for those who are nostalgic for Paris and beyond. Of course, I wanted the scent to remind me of France.
When I first visited Paris several years ago, I wasn’t yet obsessed with fragrance, and didn’t actively take note of how the city smelled. I did notice, however, that many times women would walk past me and leave a trail of enchanting smoky rose. Whatever that was, I wanted it, and on the way back to the United States I sniffed all the women’s perfumes at the airport duty-free shops, to no avail. I still don’t know what Parisiennes were wearing while I was there, and only wish I’d asked a stranger.
All this to say that the candle, while charming, does not bring my imagination back to France. It’s supposed to conjure up memories of croissants, café au lait, and tobacco. Per the brand:
- Top notes: vanilla, coffee, butter
- Mid notes: lavender, anise
- Base notes: tobacco, musk
Fortunately, I indulged in a fair share of freshly baked butter croissants and café crème (as my good friend who had lived in Paris reminded me—the lexicon has changed) during my weeklong stay, as well as a simple café (black espresso) once in a typical bar-tabac at her urging, which was very enjoyable as a “local” experience. A lovely time, and I had been looking forward to going back, this time in earnest on a perfume pilgrimage…
Woefully, France and the United States are both currently suffering from spikes in cases of COVID-19 since “reopening” our economies. We can only do our part to inch toward a reversal of this situation—at the very least, wear those masks in public spaces!
If I were to describe the France candle in 2 words, they would be: vanilla lavender. In general, it’s “biscuity” to me, so I can extrapolate to the buttery croissant. I don’t detect the tobacco as its own note, but suppose it helps to darken the overall scent so it has more ambience and isn’t all fluffy pillows. Same thing with the coffee—it seems to reinforce the structure and add gravitas rather than present itself as an individual accord. If there’s anise, I’m thankfully not aware of it per se, but maybe it’s secretly helping to keep the vanilla in check so the whole thing doesn’t get too sweet. The fragrance fills a large room quite effectively, and provides a substantially cozy—but not sleepy—feeling. It’s an olfactory shawl rather than a blanket.
I’ve finally burned through the entire candle, so am looking forward to its next life as a very suitable drinking glass. The show goes on.