Why Dolce & Gabbana’s Velvet Collection candles light my fire

DGFF_Velvet Candle_WOOD_high resWith Christmas just around the corner a lot of men I know (and a fair few women) are already in a slight panic about what to buy their loved ones, so here’s a tip from me: how about a candle from the Dolce & Gabbana Velvet Collection? Scented candles are always a good bet for women (my mum loves them) but an increasing number of men are appreciating what they can bring to the home too. Luxury-with-a-wick, this particular collection features a range of scented candles based around the high-end Dolce & Gabbana  Velvet Collection fragrances. Hence, there’s Velvet Wood, which is warm and resinous, and Velvet Desire – a heady floral number my mum would adore. What impresses most about these particular candles, though, is their attention to detail. Not only is the outer packaging excellent, the jars look fantastic (each also one comes in a silk drawstring bag) and – best of all – there’s a snuffer lid too. Definitely worth putting on your Christmas list.

Available exclusively from Harrods, priced £60

Kurkdjian’s Christmas candle magic

MFK-Ligne Noël Bougies PArfumées-LDWhen it comes to Christmas few gifts are as nice as scented candles and few scented candles are as nice as this trio of bougies from perfumer Francis Kurkdjian. Presented as a boxed set containing three mini candles (with a burn time of 20 hours each), they look fantastic and smell of gingerbread and iris so have a festive twist but not one so Christmassy they can’t be used beyond December.

Available from Selfridges, Liberty, Harvey Nichols, John Lewis and Les Senteurs.

Cire Trvdon’s Bartolomé: an adventure in space and time

Cire Trudon - BartolomeChecking out the new offerings from Cire Tvudon at their boutique in Marylebone yesterday I was struck by the fact that all their scented candles have this wonderful ability to take you to places other than where you actually are. Frankly, lighting one is a bit like stepping into Doctor Who’s Tardis – you never quite know where (or when) you’ll end up.

Their Roi Soleil candle, for example, transports you to the vast wooden floor of Versailles’ Mirrored Gallery while the faintly bonkers La Lune whisks you off to, well, the surface of the moon.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATheir latest creation, Bartolomé, doesn’t take you quite so far (its cues come from a Spanish missionary’s trip to the New World island of Hispaniola in the 16th century) but it’s just as exotic. Packed full of woods and spices, with notes of saffron, nutmeg, cypress, carrot seed, liquorice, cedar, vetiver, vanilla and amber, it’s a delightfully sweet, exotic, gourmand scent that’s an absolutely fantastic tonic to the impending cold days and dark nights.

Recommended. Especially for the armchair time traveller.

Available from Cire Trvdon, 36 Chiltern Street, London W1U 7QL. Tel 0207 486 7590

Kicking up a stink – Aesop A.P.C Post-Poo Drops

APC Post-Poo DropsI’m very sensitive to a micro trend me. And the word on the street (not to mention in the bathroom) is that A.P.C Post Poo-drops are big. A product that emerged through a collaboration between trendy fashion label A.P.C and uber-cool skincare brand Aesop they’re an absolute must-have in the office of one of my friends, where everyone seems to have a bottle and, one presumes, particularly obnoxious bowel movements.

If you’re unfamiliar with the product it’s essentially a posh way of masking any unwanted smells after you’ve visited the toilet. A Swedish friend of mine used to do this by striking a match, which worked a treat, but I must say I was reluctant to adopt the technique in case I accidentally blew up my bathroom in the process (I love baked beans).

These drops are much safer and, thanks to a delightful combo of citrus oils, smell much better too. To use you simply administer three drops to the toilet bowl post-fush. Surely the ultimate gift for the person who has everything, except fragrant plops.

Josephine’s Rose candle by Jonathan Ward – the ultimate bedroom accessory

Looking for a great Valentine’s gift for the woman in your life? Then how about this fantastic scented candle from Jonathan Ward London? Inspired by the legendary romance between Napoleon and Jospehine and the latter’s passion for roses, Josephine’s Rose features a medley of rose notes (english rose, tuberose and tea rose) but manages to avoid being old fashioned or ‘Nanish’ thanks to a sexy, musky note of amber.

As with the Serge Lutens fragrance Tuberose Criminelle (which I reviewed here) when rose is ‘sexed-up’ by other ingredients, debased a little if you will, it always smells miles better to me.

As always Jonathan is clever with his choice of ingredients – taking something potentially ordinary and giving it his own unique twist so it becomes extraordinary. Ideal for setting the perfect bedroom mood. Just add matches and willing partner.

For more info go to www.jonathanwardlondon.com

Why Timothy Han’s Lemongrass, Marjoram and Lavender candle is ‘therapy’

I must confess, I’ve always been rather cautious of anything containing lemongrass. And with good reason. The smell of it brings back terrible memories of a Thai restaurant in Soho, a dish containing mussels and the three days that followed, during which I lost not only the contents of my stomach and much of my dignity, but over half a stone in weight too.

So it was with some trepidation that I put a match to Timothy Han’s Lemongrass, Marjoram and Lavender candle today. Hancrafted, using soy wax and aromatherapy grade essential oils, it’s a nicely thought-out fragrance and the colour of the glass is exquisite (practically the same as my lounge walls, which is handy!).

Although touted as the kind of candle to help you unwind at the end of the day it strikes me as being quite a stimulating scent, one brilliant at keeping a lounge, office or bathroom fresh, rather than for setting the mood in the bedroom.

If you’re a man nervous of florals, it’ll be perfect for you and Timothy’s range includes a few other cancels I can see appealing to men, including Wild Tobacco & Jasmine and Oakmoss & Vetiver, which sounds amazing. Best of all, even though the one currently alight in my living room has lemongrass, it didn’t bring back one single awful memory. It may even have helped me tackle my fear.

Available from www.timothyhan.com priced £38.

From Russia…with love

Readers of this blog will know I love a scented candle. So I was thrilled to attend the launch of three new premium candles by Jonathan Ward latest the other night. Wax Master Jonathan has a well-deserved reputation for creating candles that take you on a journey as much as they fragrance your environment and the ones making up The Russian Collection are no different.

Inspired by Russia’s colourful history each of the trio of candles – Kartushya (warm and spicy), The Gypsy (sensual and floral) and The Empress and Darya (spicy and woody) tells its own evocative story. The latter, for example, was inspired by the the caputure of serial killer Darya by Catherine The Great (now how’s that for inspiration for a scented candle?).

Of the three, my personal favourite is this last candle, which is a perfect choice for men since it’s loaded with earthy vetiver along with warm woody notes and has a  sexy, slightly leathery aroma. So if you’re looking for the perfect way to fragrance your pad, go buy! Or пойти и купить as I think they say in Russia.

Candles in the Russian collection are available in two sizes: large (8.5oz with a 45hr burn time) and medium (6.5oz with a 20-25hr burn time) and are made with organic soy and beeswax. The large candle costs £35 and the medium £25. To buy go to www.jonathanwardlondon.com

PS. Look out for a Q&A with Jonathan on here very soon!