Few things tempt me more than the vibrant freshness of fresh mint mixed in with a sweet-salty lemonade, a drink called limon nana in Arabic or nimbu pani in Hindi. It is a very simple concoction of mint leaves crushed with lemon juice, sugar and a hint of salt to bring out the floral sweetness of the components. Yet nothing can be more rejuvenating on a hot summer day, especially when the heat of the sun makes the asphalt look almost molten. As we trudge through winter here in the northern hemisphere, a beverage of icy lemonade is hardly what I crave, but somehow its scent never fails to delight. Today my cure for the winter blues is Abd El Kader, a candle by Cire Trudon, that is inspired by the scent of Morocco–mint tea, tobacco, and spices.
Abd El Kader smells deliciously bright and verdant when unlit, oscillating from crushed mint and lemon peel to spicy basil and ginger. As the candle burns, the fragrance grows more complex, with cardamom and clove giving the scent a sparkling, vivid character. The warmth of the tobacco and vanilla is very subtle, yet it lends the crisp green scent a velvety, rich quality. Although I bought the candle because I thought it would be a fresh and uplifting home fragrance, I have found that it is wonderfully relaxing. Perhaps it has to do with its allusions to the scents of summer, or perhaps it is because it forces me to slow down and lapse into a daydream of someplace warm and inviting.
Cire Trudon is among the oldest French manufacturers and producers of candles, tracing its lineage to Maison Trudon, which has been the royal wax manufacturer since the 18th century. Currently, under the creative direction of Ramdane Touhami, Cire Trudon is growing once again. Although Cire Trudon candles are on the higher-end of luxury candles, the generous quantity and the superb quality of their scents make the price worthwhile. I find most candles to be strong enough to scent the room even when unlit. When lit, they are among the strongest candles I have tried, easily beating Diptyque and creating strong competition for my beloved L’Artisan candles. Besides Abd El Kader, I am also partial to the patchouli and moss darkness of Carmélite and the marigold and jasmine opulence of Pondichery.
A candle burning tip: most candles should not be burned for longer than 2-3h, otherwise the structure of the candle and the distribution of oil within the wax column changes and the candle’s life becomes shorter.
Cire Trudon candles are available online from Aedes and Barney’s New York. In NYC, Cire Trudon also has a store at 54 Bond Street. Modeled after the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles, it carries the full range of Cire Trudon products, from candles to room sprays. 9.5oz candle, $75.00.