Flame ON!

by Musette


So……I’m still having sinii issues but the saline flushes are helping a lot.  Forget the neti pot.  Since my biggest problem is the post-nasal ickola, I just snort the stuff like a walrus, to clear out all that schtuff!   TMI, I’m soooo sure but, hey!  y’all are family and family gets to share the good, the bad and the goober.

Perfumes are still a bit weird, with the exception of some heavy hitters like Carnal Flower and Tribute Attar, both of which could blast through the Svalbard Global Seed Vault.  The heavier Amouages and Malles have withstood this long sinus siege – my biggest fear is that, in my altered state, I might’ve terrified some Uninitiated with an over-application.  Nobody’s keeled over, so far….


But we’re not here to talk about nasal ick.  Or over-application of the big guns.  We’re here to talk about Candles! which is something I normally don’t go on about, as they usually aggravate my sinuses.  But you all know my love for the Malles.  And he has three new ones.  Let’s start with Marius and Jeannette:  sunny days at a sidewalk cafe in St Tropez.  Or Choo-Choo Charlie.  Much depends upon your frame of reference.  I barely get to Chicago these days, let alone the South of France, so Good ‘n Plenty must be my immediate memory trigger.  Doesn’t matter, both are fun though the idea of sitting in the South of France AND eating Good ‘n Plenty would set me up just fine… ….anyhoo…Marius and Jeannette is one of the new Malle candles. I don’t know if he is referencing the film or the restaurant (or both) and I don’t care.   It’s a blast!  Really.  There’s no other way to describe it.  First sniff conjures up a hot, sunny day (anywhere – doesn’t matter) and a cool, refreshing Pastis, the ubiquitous anise drink of the Riviera.  Bruno Jovanovic created this (and the two below) for Malle’s Editions de Parfums and I must say I’m a bit surprised, given that I’m not a fan of the perfumes I associate with him (Lady Million? Blue Rush?) – but perhaps his previous clients have not allowed his talent to transcend their marketing briefs.   He’s fortunate that Malle has no one to please but himself and has such discerning taste and appreciation for the perfumers’ art and talent.  Under M. Malle’s aegis Bruno Jovanovic has created, in these candles, some truly remarkable scents.  I actually got the giggles! with Marius & Jeannette!  Fizzy, floral licorice, with a hint of salt-tinged citrus for that sunny sunny, summer day!  Man, I sure could use one of those right now.


Chez Monsieur.  M. Malle has long averred that home fragrances aren’t and shouldn’t be sexy (taking this right from the charming new brochure, though I have also heard him say it directly).  I’m not exactly sure what he means by that, as I would happily scent my home with Carnal Flower, which I consider to be tres sexy!  But he goes on to say that ” the scent of a men’s den is a slight exception to this rule, as one feels, when smelling it, the presence of its proprietor amongst the precious woods, tobacco and books.”

Obviously he has never been to my house.  El O and the dogs own-occupy the den.  The scents of those proprietors, relaxing in all their Guy Glory, is…well, it’s worlds away from the dens of M. Malle’s milieu.  I like his version better – and I know what he means.  Anybody who has ever had an elegant man wrap his coat or jacket around you (think Thomas Crown at the Met, with whatshername, when he plays her with the keys – remember that? )….that frisson when the aura of ‘male’ meets its complement – I suspect that is what M. Malle is referencing.  And he got it totally right in Chez Monsieur.   I think of this as a decidedly urbane scent – I can’t imagine having this candle in my house – it’s not fabulous enough (the house, I mean).  Really!  This is has a very elegant, metropolitan feel to it – or, perhaps the country house library of a sophisticated man who knows himself.  Hearty country squires and arrivistes need not apply.  This is probably the first of M. Malle’s candles that is aspirational in tone (I find all the others ‘friendlier’ in tone).   If I ever get back to civilization I will put this candle in my library.


Notre Dame left me cold.  Not its fault.  Mine.  I was convent raised.  BVM nuns, the meanest in the land.   I am lapsed to within an inch of my life.  Cathedrals give me hives.  Somebody with fewer issues with the Catholic Church will have to revisit this one.  I got a whiff of gorgeous frankincense before I veered away from the candle’s austere chilliness.   But here’s a fun fact:  Frederic Malle was an altarboy!  See?  The things you learn on the Posse!


I forgot to get the persack prices for these three but Malle candles run from $80 – $140 so fall in love accordingly.  When I have this sort of Discretionary Simoleanism again I will probably indulge in this line – they are on par with other niche candle lines, they are incredibly well-crafted and – most important – they don’t make my sinuses ache.  Hat Trick for Musette!


photo of Pastis Marius tray: courtesy my-french-neighbor.com

drawings, courtesy  Frederic Malle brochure – aren’t they adorable?


  1. Sorry your sinuses are still giving you problems, but it sounds like you’re on the mend.

    I’d have to sniff M&J before making a call, since I don’t know if I’d like anise as an ambient scent, but the other two sound right up my alley. My husband, who is my own personal Leslie Howard, has thousands of books, so Chez Monsieur might be perfect in our house.

    As far as ND is concerned, incense doesn’t trigger any PTSD for me–it was the best thing about having to go to church, as far as I was concerned. I happily spritzed myself with quite a bit of MdM on a recent cold, wet day, so I bet I’d love this.

    Alas, such spendy candles are not in my immediate future, but I think I’ll go over to Aedes and stick my nose in some.

    • they are definitely worth the experience, Francesca. I like the ‘idea’ of candles but rarely indulge because they really do inflame my wonky nasals – but these don’t. I sat in a closed, packed room full of the originals – for a couple of hours – during the Candle Thingy Event. Normally I would’ve sounded like a Canada Goose but I was fine. Can’t say that about most lines, no matter the price.

      Let me know what you think of the M&J – I don’t think I’ve ever had a candle give me the giggles before! 😕
      xo >-)

  2. Hmmm, I may be safe here as I am not an anise fan, I have loads and loads of books but two small children so my house doesn’t resemble a sophisticated anything and I too have Catholic Church Issues. Catholic school will do that to a person. And nuns just are.((….shudder…)) possibly evil. At least the ones I’ve come across. :d
    Hope your sinii continue to improve!

    • My former life included a gorgeous library. I still have the books, just not the ambiance. 🙁 Kids are grown but El O is such a Guy – and my dogs are working dogs, so they have no pretensions to elegance, alas.

      Catholic school…convents…:o…..though I have met some very good nuns in my later life. Hope springs and all that.

      xo >-)

  3. I’m currently on the tail end (I hope) of a nasty cold – can’t smell a thing and its driving me crazy. Spritzed on some Coco yesterday…nothing. So I sympathize and hope your sinuses come back into full function soon. These candles sound lovely. Thanks for the review!

  4. Hi, sweetie! So glad things are looking up for you, sinuswise. I’m with Fragrantwitch above, not an anise fan, so think I’m also immune to that one. But the other two … oh my! I wonder if the Notre Dame is similar to Armani’s Bois d’Encens candle (darned hard to find these days). If it’s even close, sign me up …

    • BTW, has anyone tried the Saint de Saints candle? How does it compare with the Notre Dame one? Thanks!

      • I tried it. Didn’t like it. I don’t like candles (or perfume) reminiscent of holy water, which always smells weird to me.

        On the M&J candle: I would’ve sworn on my dog’s nose that I would be in the same camp as you and FW, which is why my absolute delight came as such a surprise. Who puts Good ‘n Plenty in a candle! (though I doubt Malle has ever eaten a GnP in his luxe life! ;)) )…but it is such a sunny, fun thing!!

        xo >-)

        • Thanks! OK, now you’ve got me at least willing to sniff the M&J (although here in my metropolitan fragrance wasteland, where, oh, where?). Need a trip to Chicago, stat!

            • Nope, just a pathetic little Barney’s Co-Op. Which used to have at least some fragrance/beauty/candle type items, but no longer. Wahh!!

    • I actually have the Notre Dame candle. It is less smoky incense than cold, damp stone. If you are expecting church incense, you will probably be disappointed. I don’t know the Bois d’Encens candle so can’t compare. But again, Notre Dame is not really smoky incense, at least not to me. I’m a smoker, and so have lots of stale cigarette smells in the rooms I smoke in. When I light the Notre Dame candle, it is oddly “fresh,” if that makes sense. Like a rush of cold air.

      I have Saint des Saints in the rubber mat thingy, which is more of an incense. I’ve been using one mat in my closet for about a year and it is still fairly strong.

      When I first smelled the three new candles, I was more drawn to the Chez Monsieur one. I was kind of annoyed by its description as “man cave.” But I may go back and try it again.

      I also have the Coffee Society candle, which I like. I haven’t lit it in a while, so can’t give a good description at the moment.

  5. I have the Coffee Society candle, which is lovely and rich—and kind of sexy, actually. I’ll have to see if I can find these new ones to sniff. Marius & Jeannette sounds like fun.

    Completely off-topic: I’m jealous of whatever you and everyone else seem to be getting from Tribute Attar. I have tried and tried my teensy sample and what I mostly smell is VETIVER. Which is not a good note for me. I’ve heard people say they get ashtray, and I would love to get ashtray—really—or leather… Anyone else have this experience with it? (Or is the vetiver part of what you all like about it?)

    • Vetiver? 😕

      Well, there is vetiver in it, though I can’t discern it for all the smoky-rose and frank and leather and tobacco (pant!pant!pant!)…your nose must be super-attuned to vetiver!

      I get tons of ashtray – but not nasty-ashtray; more an ashtray where some dried rose petals wrapped in a leather pouch just got burned to a crisp. The vetiver might provide the acrid bits of smoke that waft up but it’s slight, indeed, to this wonky nose. I would NOT like a giant gob of vetiver in my attar – that would freak me out!!! 😮

      xo >-)

      ps. I like the CS candle, though it smells a bit too close to what my parents rumpus room used to smell like. I wonder…does anybody ever use that term anymore?

  6. Coffee Society was the one that sounded nice to me. Not that I could spring for one of these anyway!

    • see ‘rumpus room’ comment above. My favorite is 1er Mai. That’s the one that I thought was the actual (silk) flower bouquet next to it. /:) Not sure if this indicates the quality of the candle or the discombobulation of my mind…

      xo >-)

  7. Twelve years of Roman Catholic school, myself. We used to call BVMs Black Veiled Monsters … was worked over by one in the dreaded Cloak Room in first grade for leaving a Hostess cupcake in my desk (another kid ratted on me). Why were all the meanest BVMs those with the most innocent names … Benigna, Innocenta? The worst was my 6th grade teacher, who used to constantly move kids around based on who was on her S**** List. I was always in the back corner … she took an early dislike to me and basically hassled me all year.

    I was also a lapsed RC for decades, am Eastern Orthodox now … still get a chill up my spine when I think of some of those RC nuns from grade school. They all smelled of chalk dust, starch, and despair. But incense perfumes and cathedrals don’t hold any negative connotations for me … I used to like high masses, when they’d fling the incense around. And I’ve been out of the RC church for so long that whatever distaste I feel for it is ancient history.

    • Vasily.

      Will you be mine? I will bake you homemade Hostess Cupcakes forever.

      You had me at ‘chalk dust, starch and despair” (I was too young to know what despair was, I just smelled that ancient sweat that permeated those wool habits.

      Wonder why the BVMs were just so damn mean? (LOVE Black Veiled Monsters, btw. LOVE IT). My nemesis was our principal, Sr. Mary Mathilda. A withered, vicious shrike, she was the terror of every 7yr old in the land, with that big, black rosary and her starched wimple and peaked veil…shudder…

      Good times, those…good times…/:)

      xo >-)

      • Lordy … homemade Hostess Cupcakes sound AWESOME!!

        In high school, I remember one of the priests advising a small group of us (can’t remember the context) to ignore a lot of what the nuns were saying because most of it was theologically suspect and many of the nuns were, well, craazy.

        Our librarian was a Franciscan nun, and she would take a magic marker and black out images of women in what she thought were inappropriate attire in magazines. I mean, it was 1962; how suggestive could those images be? She would wait outside the library between classes to scan the students for boys and girls holding hands and break them up because that was the DEVIL’S WORK.

        Ah, memories …

        • see, that’s what is just so …..weird! That obsession with perverting normal behavior. b-(

          xo >-)

          Homemade Hostess cupcakes are easy-peas. Seriously. send your email to my gmail (evilauntieanita) and I’ll send it to you. I’d send you the cupcakes themselves but they don’t travel well, alas.

          • I hate to butt in, but could I get the recipe to homemade hostess cupcakes, too? They sound like they’re divine. Please?

            • Sure! Tell you what: I’ll post it in next Tuesday’s blatherings, how’s that? They are super easy-peas, esp. now that I reworked the original recipe to eliminate multiple beaters, etc (apparently the original createur (via F&W) has unlimited access to mixers and acres of counter space. :-w

              xo >-)

    • ‘chalk dust, starch and despair’ – made me laugh out loud! Perfect, just perfect and Black Veiled Monsters- LOVE it.

  8. Yay, Auntie A is gettin’ her groove back! As for any potential over application, chalk it up to your karma evening out the Guy scents in their den. ;o)

    So question….the library candle sounds MAHVELOUS. And I adore Thomas Crown…Pierce Brosnan. *happy sigh* I have a row of shelves that will take up one wall of my new (tny!) apartment in DC. That candle seems like it would go wonderfully…by the that single wall. Do you think it’s likely to take over small apartment though? ‘Cause as much as I like males, leather, and books, I’m too much of a girly-girl to have my whole place smell like and Ode to Him.

    • It has quite a throw but not in an 😮 way. It’s more of a concept, imo. I think it would be perfect for that area and is a compliment to the girly part. It will probably end up being more like ‘you are..(crap, what is her name?) KATHERINE! and instead of them flying off to Monte Carlo she ends up marrying TC and they spend lovely evenings in the den, drinking wine and chatting about how to swindle folks (80s, remember? We Were Worshipping the TCs of the world at that time 😉 ). Pierce Brosnan at his most fabulous!!

      For a total juxtaposition to the wall of books, which sounds divine, btw – consider 1er Mai. It would be the girly counterpoint to the library/den motif. But I think you would really like the Chez M candle. Not ‘manly’ – just very sophisticated.

      xo >-)

        • That was supposed to be a big grin face…for some reason, either I’m not seeing the cute faces and they’re posting fine, or my computer doesn’t like the blog. Silly computer, tricks are for kids!

          • No, your computer is fine. For some reason only the blog admins (me, Patty, March) can use the emoticons. I use them because they provide visual amusement and I like moving, shiny-type stuff, magpie that I am ;))

  9. Candles.. adore them but it seems the crazier the prices get the more likely they become a dissapointment.
    Let me tell you about Cire Trudon ; for Christmas I found I really earned the best, worked hard all year and so on, every excuse is good. So I drove to the nearest shop that has them.
    I had my mind set on Ernesto and Spirtitus Sancti (sorry Musette, very churchy that one)
    To cut a long story short I decided to buy the Ernesto room spray and the stink bombs instead of any candles.
    Once I got home I noticed the (very lovely)Ernesto pump roomspray didn’t do a “bl..y” thing, in other words didn’t spray at all.
    I called the shop, somewhat upset, that thing had cost more than enough and they suggested to decant the whole 375 ml in a plastic plant spray. “Can easily be bought in a DIY shop, madame” :-s
    Meanwhile I was still peeling my shoe-sole’s of the glass fragments due to breaking a stinkbomb. Very glamourous those Trudon thinghies!
    I got other horror stories of candles so expensive you could eat about a week on that budget and with wicks that simply refuse to burn.
    Good advice : search for a nice inexpensive perfumed candle, often it’s not worth the hassle.
    Euuh… mostly I’m a very positive person really but you can file this one under Cranky Old Bat II >:)

    • Oh, you poor thing! That is just ridiculous!!!!! :-w – but it sounds as if the problem was more with the store than the candle (though the Cire Trudon line is nearly neutral to my nose, whereas the Malles are living, breathing things (for me). I am so NOT a candle person in general that the idea of spending a week’s grocery money (sans wine) on a candle is shocking. To have your experience (PUT IT IN A PLASTIC SPRAYER?) would …..well, nebberyoumind. I won’t put ideas of mayhem in your head.

      March hooked me on the Noel room spray, which I approximated with a $5 Whispering Pines candle – even unlit, it gives off a nice fragrance and can neutralize some of the Guy smell in this house!

      We’ll be COBs together! 😡

      xo >-)

    • WHAT?? Wow, this is unbelievable. To think that they suggested that you pay more money to fix their own mistake!

      • They were not surprised at all, seems their pump sprays often block so an exchange wouldn’t have solved the problem.The plastic spray was their own solution.
        The whole matter made me laugh actually (bizarre European sense of humour)

  10. I love nice candles, but you know what, I actually have no chance to burn any. Our current apartment is small, so the smells travel easily. If I am doing some raw material study in my home office, and my husband burns a candle in the bedroom, I will smell it. Or else I am so tired from smelling at the lab that I do not want any smell hanging around.

    Discovering that Frederic Malle was an altar boy was fun! I somehow imagine him as a very precocious kid.

    • I can’t imagine him as a kid at all! 😮

      xo >-)

      ps. yeah, I would imagine when you get home you are smelled OUT! I would be. It’s like cooking – I used to love to cook but 3 squares, 6 days a week is wearing. It takes a LOT these days to get me jazzed about cooking!

  11. I’m not a huge candle person but I need a ton of them. I live in a somewhat rural area and we lose power on a regular basis, so out come the candles. The ones that I have collected are the Slatkin candles from Bath and Body Works in Lilac Blossom and Country Apple.

    • I feel yer pain, darlin’ – somebody working on the local utilities cut the telecom cables yesterday – plunging us into technological Stone Age – again. /:) Then, for good measure, they cut the elec cable(s), too!

      xo >-)

  12. Musette- totally off-topic (story of my life!) but I was wondering if you had heard of a book called Season to Taste:How I Lost My Sense of Smell and Found My Way by Molly Birnbaum. I borrowed it from the library because I have my own sinii issues and it was quite interesting and you might also.

    • I live Off Topic!

      I’m reading Season to Taste right this very moment (well not right this VERY moment, as I am typing this comment and then going back to work at my real stuff, so I can pay for electricity, etc…but you know what I mean…;)) )

      Come back on Tuesday, if you can – I think I will be yarking about it then.

      xox >-)

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