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Parfums enflammés


From Parisian jars to the latest releases from major luxury brands, scented candles are lighting up ever more interiors

by Emilie Veillon | collages: Nausicaa Board

Omay have all come across the vanilla or chocolate version that closes the long maze of corridors of an Ikea store. Or smelled a rarity found in one of the chic bazaars of Paris, London or New York at a friend's house. Everyone is looking for their scented candle. And this wake now extends to all spheres of the market: from Zara's home collections to the luxurious cases of major brands such as

than Dior or Louis Vuitton, passing through the most natural versions such as those of the Jardin des Monts or the pointed creations of Cire Trudon and Baobab Collection.

Sometimes a decorative object or a fragrant masterpiece depending on the quality of the manufacturing processes and the ingredients that compose them, these candles follow the same paths as the olfactory families of skin fragrances. Wooded for the living room. Florals for the kitchen. Musks for the bedroom. Or the opposite. A great mix of scents that varies with the seasons and moods. Because we lend these ambient flames relaxing virtues. The power to tint our interiors with a chalet atmosphere where a fire crackles, a field of centifolia roses under the May sun or a forest of fir trees wet with rain.


The greatest perfumers have made it their playground. Like Jacques Cavallier-Belletrud, who last year imagined four scented candles, L'Air du Jardin, Ile Blanche, Feuilles d 'Or and Dehors Il Neige, for Louis Vuitton. In ceramics, signed by designer Marc Newson, which can be transported from one room to another thanks to their leather handle stitched by hand in the house's workshops. “Everyone wants a piece of luxury in their home. A bag is for going out. A garment to prepare. The branded candle is a guarantee of the good taste of the brand which allows refinement to enter into its daily well-being”, analyzes Alberto Morillas, master perfumer who works for the biggest brands through Firmenich.

According to him, the success of scented candles goes hand in hand with the boom in the diffusion of scents at home, in shops, corporate headquarters and hotels over the past ten years. Home fragrances would play a role in the feeling of interior comfort, and even on the desire to consume or buy. “As long as it remains subtle and limited to certain spaces, he tempers. There is nothing more intrusive than an overly perfumed jewelry store or a hotel that diffuses its olfactory imprint in all its rooms and its restaurant in addition to the lobby. The advantage with a candle lies in the control of the emanation. You can turn it off after two or three hours, until it perfumes the room.”

In memory of this creator who imagined more than 500 perfumes, the first scented candles that made an impression – inspired by the potpourri dear to the British – were developed in France in the 1960s. Rigaud candles were in all the chic salons of the time, with their two silver cups that were put on top of each other.

The object was as important as its smell.Viviane and Mario Rigaud, in their Parisian boutique with a boudoir atmosphere, had developed a soft wax formula whose principale characteristic is to reveal the richness of the natural extracts that make up Rigaud perfumes,” he continues

Their first creation, the dark green Cypress candle, in mouth-blown glass, was quickly exported to the White House in the days of Jacqueline Kennedy. In the 1970s, other candles followed – Cythère, Tournesol, Gardenia, making the cover of decoration magazines. Now distributed in more than 30 countries around the world, the Rigaud collection is

remained a reference for connoisseurs and exceptional residences. Evidenced by a list of prestigious clients, such as Prince Albert of Monaco, Prince Charles of England, the Vatican and even the Quai d'Orsay.


The other French pioneer of the genre is Diptyque. This chic bazaar in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Paris, where three scented candles caught the eye in 1963 – Hawthorn, Cinnamon and Tea. Since the 2000s, almost half a million pieces have been produced per year according to thematic scents: floral, woody, spicy, fruity, herbaceous. “Diptyque has always created emotional candles that seduce the epicurean elite. The figuier really smells like the tree. It's not easy, because behind the flame lies a whole technique to ensure optimal combustion and diffusion", continues Alberto Morillas, who founded the artisanal scented candle brand Mizensir with his wife in 1999, now managed by their daughter Véronique.

Doped up with subtle perfumes even in his house of Vandoeuvres, the nose had got into the habit of creating its own scented waxes. During a dinner at Les Morillas, Patrick Firmenich – then at the head of the Geneva-based company specializing in the creation of aromas and perfumes – and his wife marvel at the olfactory atmosphere that reigns there. “Very visionary, he suggested that I create a candle as a corporate gift for the following Christmas. The success was such that we started selling it. This is how Mizensir was born, a pun on waxing, in a nod to the title of British nobility", relates the founder, who has developed a hundred references, made by hand in a Geneva workshop. Among them, a candle has just been designed by the perfumer for Le Temps. Proceeds from sales will be donated to the NGO Race for Water, which fights for the preservation of the oceans.


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