The Living, the Dead, and the Broke

So… for those of you hoping those Modern Alchemy candles I wrote about ordering last Friday weren’t worth it? Well, I’m not entirely sure they are worth $50 apiece, but they are varied and interesting and just what they say they should be. Candle nuts really should put at least one of these to their “to burn” list.

Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead), with notes of marigolds and frankincense, notes for the living and the dead. Oh, dear, it really is beautiful, and it is just that, a contrast between a sunny, fresh, bright note of marigold and the more ominous frankincense. I wish someone would make a fragrance that smells like this candle, it is perfection.

Also arriving in my great big box is Tincture of Winchester, with notes of wood stock, 19th century lacquer and smoky gunpowder. Holy smoking Uzi, batman, I feel like I’m out in the country shooting at clay pigeons again! I had no idea that the smell of gunpowder could be this great in a candle, it is genius! Every time I go through the kitchen, I look up and then duck and cover!

The weirdest of the three I got so far (the other three are on their way). is Boston Tea Party, with notes of tea and cedar tangled in brackish seaweed absolute. Believe it! It really does smell just like that, and it’s weird in a funky fun way. The conventional tea and cedarish smell wafts up, completely wound up in a briny sorta thing — like a tea party in an old library with some old ghostie mariner wandering about the place with seaweed draping off of him. It seems out of place, but it’s just not!. This should not smell good, but it is perfect.

So for the coolest cominbation of smells that are completely interesting, I have to say I think they are worth it. But is any candle worth $50? That’s a lot harder to say, but maybe? Well, yeah, for me it is, but I wouldn’t say that’s true for most people. But if you’ll spend for The Burn candles, these should be gotten too.

Dolce & Gabbana The One — March was telling me a few of you were going on and on about this one, and I hadn’t heard of it before, so of course I ordered it pronto. Notes of mandarin, bergamot, litchi, peach, jasmine, plum, vetiver, amber, musk, available at Imagination Perfumery, for between $37.99 and 79.99. This goes on uber-fruity-ish, though not enough to start any cavities. Just about the time I am ready to chalk this up to another fruity floral, the base notes assert themselves and drag it back from the edge of celebsweet perfume stupidity into something that doesn’t really suck at all.. This one seems to have some of the same addictive qualities I find in Theorema, but love for Theorema makes perfect sense with the notes of cinnamon, pink pepper, amber, macassar, mysore, gaiac wood, etc. The One is not computing, but I still very much like it, and its drydown is more than the sum of its parts.

  • Skye H. says:

    Sorry this is so OT but I just heard a song that made me think of You, March, and all of the incandecently beautiful perfumistas whose wisdom, sense of humor, and grace under pressure I have come to greatly admire. The song is Crazy by Gnarls Barkley. Here are the lyrics:

    I remember when, I remember, I remember when I lost my mind There was something so pleasant about that place Even your emotions had an echo and so much space

    And when you’re out there without care Yeah I was out of touch But it wasn’t because I didn’t know enough I just knew too much

    Does that make me Crazy
    Does that make me Crazy
    Does that make me Crazy

    And I hope that you are having the time of your life
    But think twice, that’s my only advice Come on now who do you, who do you, who do you, who do you think you are, ha ha ha bless your soul you really think you’re in control

    I think you’re Crazy
    I think you’re Crazy
    I think you’re Crazy
    Just like me

    My heroes had the heart to lose their lives out on the limb All I remember is thinking I want to be like them. Ever since I was little, ever since I was little It looked like fun And it’s no coincidence I’ve come And I can die when I’m done

    But Maybe I’m Crazy
    Maybe you’re Crazy
    Maybe we’re Crazy

    Thank you for your guidance and inspiration. Long may you reign!!!


  • Maria B. says:


    You’re a brave woman–putting a match to something that smells of gunpowder!

    Fortunately, I’m immune to the lure of candles that cost more than $30. My absolute limit. Yep. Absolute.

  • Patty says:

    March — two words, candle melter, takes away the fear of fire, you ninny!:d

    Must be regular Fath. Remind me to send you some of the parfum, which really needs its own country dedicated to loving it. How could this thing have gone off the market? It’s a mystery, no?

  • Patty says:

    Robin, I know. And I really love my candles a lot, but it still makes me weep once they get over about $25 apiece.

    These are one of the few that are worth it, though a couple of the BURN ones have been pretty good.

    I wish they would make a coffret of all six scents, in smaller sizes, for that $50. I bet they would sell a bundle of them. They’ve done it before with some of the D.L. candles, so maybe!

  • Patty says:

    Katie, I’ve never actually smelled the smells for Dia de los muertos, and I’m not sure what roses would have done to this candle. Because the marigolds really are wispy, I think they would have just jumped on them and sucked the life right out of them. I bet you could add a nice rose candle to it and have perfection. I think I’m going to do that.

    Winchester is brilliant. Warren picked it up, I asked him what he thought it was, and he goes… guns! But not in a bad way, just in that really good smell of gunpowder way.

  • Patty says:

    R — such a shame! Candles are just the best thing. I think I’ve loved them 4ever.

  • Patty says:

    M — which one? Oh, Dios de la muertos? That one is spectacular. Does anyone have a fragrance like that? There really should be one. I”m trying to think who to ask to make us one. 🙂

  • Patty says:

    E — hate to tell you, but throw is pretty great. It does a nice slow build, and in an hour or so, the house has been beautifully perfumed. Not overbearing, but lovely. I’m not crazy about the L’artisan’s throw. Can you believe that? Just always thought they were too wispy to really stink up the joint.

    Now, I do the candle melter, not flames.Not sure if that makes a difference.

  • March says:

    P — you guys and your candles. I admit it, I just don’t get it. But that’s probably good. I mean, it’s not like I’m virtuous or anything. Fear of fire, maybe?

    Okay, so I guess that Fath is EDP only because that’s all it says? Would you have written parfum on there? It’s a small vial, golden-yellow pee color. :d Da Bomb.

  • Patty says:

    H — that sounds awesome! This one has some wood in it too. And the three combined is a great mix to be sure.

  • Patty says:

    Thanks, Chaya! I’m not sure my husband completely agrees with you. 🙂

  • Patty says:

    J — ok! I’ll let you know about the other three as soon as they come in. So far I’m pretty impressed with these candles, just on originality and throw.

  • Patty says:

    L — nobody sells them oer there? That’s a shame.

    Oh, please, you guys were happy to be rid of us. 🙂

  • Robin says:

    Oh, now I really want that Winchester candle!! I have a hard time paying $50 for a candle though, don’t know why since I’ll cough it up for perfume with no problem.

  • Katie says:

    For me Dia de los Muertos would HAVE to smell a little of roses, too (all those shrines to La Virgen de Guadalupe.) I think I might be too disappointed to be able to enjoy that properly, though just reading your scrummy description, it sounds like something I’d go nuts for.

    Tincture of Winchester sounds brilliant. Really brilliant. If any of them sound the most enticing, I’d have to pick this one. That sounds unusual enough to justify 50 bucks!

  • violetnoir says:

    Man, am I glad I am not a candle lover, P, or I would be in deep doo-doo. It’s one less thing for me to obsess about. #:-s


  • Marina says:

    I am one of the Broke, so I don’t appreciate you giving me a lemming for that candle. Hrmph.

  • Elle says:

    Day of the Dead sound perfect. I’m w/ Judith in that my first pick would be Ex Libris, but these are all sounding depressingly good. How’s the throw? Is it as good as L’Artisans’? Those are definitely worth the price for me.

  • That seaweed + tea accord in Boston Tea Party…I have a box of the latest Kusmi tea “Seaweeds and Tea” and it’s based on a similar combination, that is green tea + seaweed.

  • chayaruchama says:

    Mornin’, Patty !

    You’re SUCH a good sniffer- doing all our dirty work for us-lol.

    Love those visuals…

    Enjoy the day, and keep warm.

    Love you-

  • Judith says:

    Day of the Dead sounds fantastic! I am also really interested in Ex Libris (the one I would pick first), Opium Den, and Salem. But I am holding firm (for now).

  • Leopoldo says:

    My smilies went wonky. I was after :(( . Oops.

  • Leopoldo says:

    I sniffed the One in airport duty free a while back and put it on my mental meh! list. Now, I’ll have to resniff it, dagnabit.

    You are making the candles sound fascinating, partly because if I dared to splurge the equivalent of $250 on candles, I might end up with long distance body parts. So I admire your chutzpah.

    Most interesting for me (in spite of the sadness associated with it of us Brits beginning to lose our most noteworthy colony…:(() is Boston Tea Party. Sounds bizarrely fantastic. But, unless these become available here, they’ll have to be an imaginary sniff-feast for me (shipping of candles is prohibitive).