This months Orange Obsession is the Le Labo Petit Grain 21 candle. This brand screams hipster chic. Le Labo craft fragrance and claim that their products have ‘soul’. They are not transparent about their ingredients and the website is dark with grey tones. The founders met whilst working at Armani and have created a ‘contemporary luxe’ brand based on artisanal and bespoke sensibilities. Le Labo is one of many lifestyle brands that started life as independent and niche. It became hugely successful and then got acquired by Estee Lauder. It is hard to reconcile the “we believe that fine perfumery must be irreverent” with their very mainstream cosmetic giant parent company. Beauty is big business – always.
Earlier this month whilst whiling away a couple of hours in Liberty I decided to dip into the brand. I have smelt their fragrances before and found them to be quite linear. What is a disadvantage for a perfume can be a benefit in a candle so that is what I plumped for.
La Labo packaging is minimalist and functional. The outer cardboard box and label on the glass holder tell you the date and location of your purchase. Fine if the candle is just for you. Annoying if you are giving it as a gift or don’t want the person to know when and where you got. Don’t think about stocking up your present cupboard with Le Labo candles. Even though when stored properly they will keep perfect well for a couple of years, can you imagine giving someone a candle that shows you bought it a year ago? No, me either.
The glass holder is clear glass which is slightly rounded at the top. The soy wax is a creamy yellow colour and aesthetic is definitely hipster chic. The wax melts extremely quickly and the burn is even.
The Fragrance Mushroom
This candle isn’t cheap (£51 people). I was wondering if this was going to be one of those purchases that I had made and would come to regret later, but I really don’t. The throw of this candle is magnificent. I am so impressed. I lit the candle, took a shower, came out of the bathroom and my whole home was filled with the delicious scent. The wick develops a bulbous shape as it burns. This is what Le Labo call the fragrance mushroom.
It is not a phenomenon that only Le Labo candles experience. It is caused by the high volume of fragrance oil in the candle wax forming a ball of carbon at the top of the wick. General candle etiquette suggests that when the fragrance mushroom develops the candle should be blow out, allow to cool and the mushroom removed. This is because the ball of candle causes a larger flame that can smoke. This affects the way that the candle burns. Le Labo don’t give this advice, so my advice is to keep the wick short and to burn the candle for a shorter amount of time.
When I think of pettigrain I think of a green wood fragrance. Petitgrain is extracted from the leaves, twigs and branches of the bitter orange tree. Generally it is not as not as smooth or sweet or floral as neroli or orange blossom which are extracted from the flower. As a room fragrance I thought that Petit Grain 21 would be the perfect choice. I wanted something spring like and fresh for my living room that would help take me out of the winter blues. Le Labo Petit Grain 21 is unexpectedly sweeter and warmer than I thought. It’s not a bad thing. I love orange blossom and this fragrance is a very beautiful clean scent but this is not woody at all. It is not what I was looking for fragrance wise but I do not regret my purchase at all.
If you burn candles to look pretty in pictures and you like fruity floral fragrances Le Labo is not the candle brand for you. Do you need your candle to throw fragrance like a quarterback in an american football match. Are in search of a candle that has the qualities of a fine perfume? Yes? Then you need to try a Le Labo candle. They are really are that good!
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