MAD ET LEN | TERRE NOIRE

 
 

This week, we are reviewing Terre Noire, or “Black Earth”, by Mad et Len. We first encountered the line at Gump’s in San Francisco, and were drawn to it because of its unique container - a hand forged iron vessel and lid. The craftsmanship and “hand feel” easily stood out amongst the more “normal” glass and ceramic vessels, and opening the lid and experiencing the scents was sheer luxury. The Terre Noire is earthy, sensual, and smells like what we imagine a French Château on a crisp fall evening to smell like.

The husband and wife team behind Mad et Len, Sandra Fuzier and Alexandre Piffaut, were tired of their city life, and wanted to make something with their hands. They bought a place near Grasse, France, the fragrance capital of the world, to be close to the artisans who would play a role in developing their candle line. The name Mad et Len is a play on Proust’s madeleines. Genius. Fragrance is a strong trigger for memories, and the name captures all of that and then some.

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The candle itself has a strong fragrance - you can tell they use a lot of essential oils. The fragrance is what we call, “sticky”, lingering long after the candle is blown out. The top of the scent is very perfumey, and the last scent is bright, like citrus. Our first burn for three hours was great; the wax burned evenly to the side of the vessel. But as the wax cooled, it looked kind of gnarled. The following two times we burned it, the wax continued to dry in a gnarled fashion. We’re not really sure why this happened, but we will stick a pin in it for another time. Then, as the candle was burned about half-way down, the wax began to cool smoothly, as we would have expected. The wick remained close to center.

The cost of this candle is another thing. At $110 a pop, this is probably not your everyday candle. It would make a good special occasion gift, or a nice splurge for yourself. We purchased ours locally at The Human Condition, where they also carry the rock potpourris and larger size candles.

TRUE GRACE | AMBER NO. 31

Welcome to Project Candle - a blog where we review luxury candles, meet makers, and share what we find with you! Whether it’s the packaging, scent, or brand that draws us in, something will compel us to “buy and try” these candles. As interior designers - we set out to create spaces that are perfect for our clients, and fragrance is a powerful tool in that mission. We are KIND OF OBSESSED with candles and scents, and are always burning them at the office, and in our own homes as well. When you can feel a big day coming on, the simple act of striking a match and lighting a scented candle has an instant soothing effect.

 
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This week, we are reviewing a candle by True Grace, a company hailing from the UK. The scent out of the box is sumptuous and rich - feels like a cold day kind of candle - which, in San Francisco, is a lot of days. The first thing you smell is Bergamot and Jasmine, and the end of your big breath in gives a rich but slightly sweet scent of Vanilla and Musk (Amber and Myrrh are also there, but less prominent). The packaging is handsome - a sturdy black box with an orange accent label. The container is a smoked glass and contains a creamy colored wax. We let the candle burn for three hours, and the wax melted quite evenly and nicely - perfect for a first burn. After a couple more burns, the scent continued to be pretty fragrant. Mid-way through the candle, the wax burned a little off center, but that's pretty normal. Although mostly a clean burn, it did leave a little residue along the sides (you can see this in last photo below). Overall, this candle is great for a cozy feeling - super warm with the amber and musk base, plus the more floral “top” fragrance.

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Click HERE for a glossary of scoring criteria