When Marina recently asked if there were a candle that smells like a dark gothic rose, I enthusiastically set out to find one. After all, dark, mysterious roses like Agent Provocateur, Guerlain Nahéma and Fredéric Malle Portrait of a Lady are among my favorite fragrances. However, as I looked through my candle collection as well as browsed the available selection at various department stores, I quickly discovered that most rose scented candles fall into the pink and romantic category. Yet, as I tried various candles, uncovered old favorites and made a few new discoveries, I found myself enjoying this rose candle quest very much. Below are my favorite candles for a whole week of romantic roses. While many of these candles would make wonderful Valentine’s Day gifts, they should not be reserved only for February 14th. The same can also be said about romance!
Monday : Annick Goutal La Rose
While La Rose from the Annick Goutal collection is an uncomplicated rose scent, it is bright, lush and cheerful. If one’s fantasy is a shower of rose petals, I cannot think of another candle that would better convey this sensation. La Rose has a wonderful throw, and its scent is strong, yet not at all heady or cloying. 6.2oz $57 (Annick Goutal also makes metal lids to fit their candles, a terrific idea to keep wax clean and fragrance strong)
Tuesday : L’Occitane Rose 4 Reines
The velvety, warm roses of L’Occitane Rose 4 Reines candle are a delight, and I have bought this candle on several occasions both as gifts and to burn at home. It never fails to please with its rich, elegant rose fragrance, which captures the bright, citrusy aroma of tea roses as well as the dark, honeyed sweetness of Bulgarian rose. Nice, good quality candle with excellent throw. 3.5oz $23.00
Wednesday : Red Flower Moroccan Rose
Endless meetings, grey weather, migraine… By the time, I get home in the evening, I am not in a romantic mood at all. I light Moroccan Rose, my newest candle acquisition, without even thinking and then leave to prepare for dinner. By the time I return, the fragrance in the room is amazing: rich, honeyed, strongly reminiscent of rosewater. A hint of clove gives Moroccan Rose a spicy touch, which is very alluring. Aromatherapy at its best! 6oz $34 (the only thing I do not like about Red Flower candles are the dried flower petals added on top of the wax; not only do they add nothing to the looks, they tend to contaminate the wax.)
Thursday : Ladurée Caprice Rose
Ladurée rose macarons, airy almond cookies sandwiched with scented cream, are among the most luscious pastries from this famous French patisserie. While they are not readily available in the States, the Ladurée line of candles is. Caprice Rose is a classical rose fragrance, but its freshness with a hint of verdancy makes this rose candle particularly interesting. The scent is airy and uplifting. It is the perfect choice to dispel the dark winter gloom or whenever one craves a little luxury. 6.2oz $68 (the presentation of pistachio-green Limoges porcelain jar with pink tinted wax is charming)
Friday: Mizensir Rose Blanche
The end of the week is the time to pamper oneself. Rose Blanche from Mizensir is a candle I save for such occasions. Created by renowned perfumer Alberto Morillas (the creator of fragrances like Kenzo Flower, Rochas Byzance and Bulgari Omnia,) Mizensir candles have very rich, original scents. Rose Blanche is one of my favorite romantic candles for its interesting interplay of elegant rose notes and the fiery sparkle of pepper. What could have been a coquettish and girly rose is instead rendered as beguilling and sensual. The candle has a great throw, and within a short time the fragrance fills a room, evoking the perfumes of a rose garden on a warm August day. At $72 for 8oz, Mizensir candles are among the more expensive options, but I find that the candles have a long life and the scents remain strong and vivid.
Saturday: Tocca Florence
Not all romantic roses need to be pink and girly. Florence, a blend of rose and iris, is a great example of a floral candle that suggests not the rainfall of silky petals, but the warm embrace of soft cashmere. The earthy, violet tinged iris root lends a seductive smoothness to the warm rose scent, and the combination is quite uplifting and relaxing. Tocca candles are among my favorites, because they burn cleanly, emit hardly any smoke or soot, and the scents are very long lasting, natural and elegant. Florence is a perfect candle to set the mood for a relaxing, cozy evening with a dinner in front of the fireplace. 10.6 oz $36 (I love its elegantly understated white glass packaging)
Sunday : Mariage Frères Rose d’Himalaya
Overcast skies, grey shadows creeping into my room long before sunset, the promise of more snow… My romantic fantasy today is all about the escape from these realities. I dream of sun, spices and Indian flower markets. Such a mood is the perfect excuse to light Rose d’Himalaya, a candle that combines the languorous sweetness of damask rose with the ambery richness of Indian Darjeeling tea. The interplay between the smoky woods, warm tea leaves and red petals makes for an elegant, yet seductive scent. The relative complexity of Rose d’Himalaya makes it stand out among other more straightforward rose candles. While Mariage Frères is mainly known for its teas, it makes some of the best high-end candles I have tried. The scents are strong, rich and long lasting, while the presentation is sumptuous. 6.2g $72
Candle burning tips: center the wick after extinguishing the candle and trim it (1/4 inch, less than 1cm) to prevent smoldering and to prolong candle’s life. Allow your candle at least 30 minutes to start releasing its scent fully (as the wax melts, the fragrance oils are released,) so if you are planning a romantic evening, light the candle a little bit in advance.
Extra: L’Artisan Parfumeur Rose des Indes (6.2oz, $60), Diptyque Roses (6.5oz, $60) Amouage First Rose ($105, 6.2oz) and Fredéric Malle Rose Rugosa ($80, 7.8oz.). Rose des Indes is a rather sweet rose with a strong peach-vanilla accent: nice, but too cloying for me. Roses is a classical, pretty tea rose, similar to L’Occitane’s Rose 4 Reines, but the throw leaves a lot to be desired, especially when compared to the other candles I smelled. First Rose is an incense and geranium accented red rose, while Rosa Rugosa captures the smell of wild roses remarkably well. I very much liked First Rose, which is the closest to the idea of an incense embellished rose, but $105 is a price barrier I personally cannot cross for a candle.
Availability: most of these candles are available at Barneys NY and Aedes; Annick Goutal is also sold at Bergdorf Goodman and Saks5thAvenue; Tocca at Sephora; L’Occitane at L’Occitane stores.
Do you have your own favorite rose candles, or other candles you like to burn to create a romantic ambiance?
Photography © Bois de Jasmin