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Treasure: Votivo Candles

April 28, 2010

Follow your nose to Votivo heaven

Certain things are guaranteed to catch my eye: JCrew’s new jewelry line, book covers in Barnes and Noble, cheap fares to Paris, the black Cadillac CTS.  Until I met a Votivo candle, I can honestly say nothing has ever before caught my nose.

I made a compulsive purchase the other day.  A really uncharacteristic compulsive purchase.  Rather than feel guilty about such an admission, I’m having a Julie Andrews Sound of Music kind of moment needing to twirl around and shout from the hills about the greatest olfactory experience in recent history.  Instead I should be home collecting pennies from under my couch to refill the Votivo-candle-sized hole in my anemic wallet.

My unsuspecting fall into compulsion began innocently enough with ducks and a road trip.  Since I knew an upcoming 13-hour road trip would require some fortified entertainment for a toddler whose parents have grimly withheld a portable DVD player from her life, I had added Soergel’s Gift Barn to my morning errand list.  One of my favorite stops for groceries, milk, and allergen-free food (my daughter is allergic to milk), the Soergel family-farm compound also boasts a greenhouse and gift shop.  I had heard rumors that the Gift Barn is particularly well-stocked with Melissa and Doug toys, a current favorite with the under eight set.

Nestled adjacent to the Gift Barn, a small pond houses three ducks of varying sizes and colors–the perfect attraction for my daughter who has learned to say “bird” in sign language, her semi-coordinated fingers mushily rolling against one another.  We spent a few minutes pointing and tapping (or mushily rolling) our fingers.  Great fun.  Free fun.  Then I walked inside and IT caught my nose.

Votivo candles.  A display luring me the second I opened the door.  The visual attraction appealed first—a line of elegantly simple glass jars topped by crisp paper wrapping etched with handwritten French titles.  Such a striking departure from countrified Yankee-esque candles deserved a moment of worship.  At this point, I should note I had indeed pictured how lovely this candle would look on my counter, but I had also pictured myself walking away empty-handed, glancing wistfully over my shoulder.  Then I made the mistake of picking up the plain-white wrapped candle and sniffing.  One sniff.  That’s all it took.  That candle was coming home with me.

I had picked up Votivo’s Paperwhite Narcissus candle, or as it is more elegantly titled on the wrapper, “Essence de Printemps Narcisse ‘Papier-Blanc’ No. 702.” One inhalation later, and I felt transported to a field of Wordsworthian daffodils.  Indeed, the scent of this candle does more to help me experience Spring than the poet’s words ever did.  What shocks me most about the Votivo candle is that it really, truly smells just like what it says: the Essence of Springtime.  No extra cloying sweetness to the edges.  No “buttery cookie” or “cinnamon pine” concoctions.  Just a field of white daffodils waving gently under my nose.  The rarity of such a pure, true scent compelled me to march the candle straight to the cash register (along with a Melissa and Doug Mailbox Fill and Spill–a great hit on the 13-hour car ride).

I’m still waiting for the guilt to hit.  I mean, I smacked down an unplanned $14.99 for a candle I had never met with barely a second thought then or now.  Surely this indicates at least the beginnings of a potential problem?  My Paperwhite paradise burning on my counter (where it does indeed look great) erases all concern from my mind.  Not only does the candle smell like God’s garden, it has burned evenly and slowly, two of my frequent complaints about lesser candles.

I’m hooked on the Narcissus scent, but the company’s other candles are worth a sniff, too.  One thing that makes the Votivo company unique is the fact that they employ an actual perfumist to test and develop the signature scents.  With that kind of expertise backing the wax and wicks, I think I’m going to have a hard time stopping myself at the Paperwhites.  If you have difficulties deciding on your own signature scent, I found the company blog contained helpful recommendations on staff favorites.  What I haven’t located is a decent rehab program or support group to attend on the fateful day when my Essence de Printemps Narcisse ‘Papier-Blanc’ No. 702 quietly but aromatically snuffs into oblivion.

To sniff Votivo candles in person, Soergel’s Gift Barn is located just off the Wexford exit of 79 North.  The company’s posh website is also an easy place to order the candles that are just as much eye candy as they are nose-scrumptious.

One Comment leave one →
  1. April 28, 2010 9:18 am

    The only question is: can I wait long enough for my next Pittsburgh trip or do I succumb to the dreaded “can’t delay gratification syndrome” and order online NOW! I am opting to wait, as a trip to Soergel’s is such a treat. (Not to mention the joy of watching Isabelle and the ducks–calling in my grandmother’s license to manipulate!). Once again, excellent blog–more than just well written and full of enticing bounty for the reader.

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