Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Tea Time

Tea scented candles seem to be as popular as ever with recent launches from Anthousa, K. Hall Designs and Tocca. I love tea, so this makes me happy. Here's a quick low-down on the top tea candles.

Basic Tea Scents

Simpatico Tea by K. Hall Designs - This candle offers the most pure, black tea scent. This blend of camellia leaf and oils of bergamot, orange, and myrrh come together in a warm, relaxing scent that soothes the soul. This fragrance is slightly sweet - not better or sour at all. Very lovely and comforting.   Added bonus? The reusable brown, hobnail vessel.

Jonathan Adler Earl Grey - This fragrance also comes across fairly simple with a blend of black tea leaves, citrus, yuzu, jasmine, earl grey, and sandalwood.  This fragrance is more Earl Grey with it's floral notes, than the Simpatico Tea candle.  The sleek grey vessel is a perfect fit for this fragrance. 
Anthousa Parisean White Tea - Now we're starting to get more complex.  Meyer lemon, wild lilies and white tea blended with heliotrope flower, fern leaves and pink tuberose, grounded with rosewater, ylang ylang and a sheer musk note.  This fragrance is most similar to the Jonathan Adler Earl Grey scent with it's slightly floral undertones.  The citrus notes come on more strong than in the others.  

Fresh Tea Scents

Vie Luxe Maldives - a blend of exotic ceylon tea, delicate heliotrope and lush palm leaves.  You wouldn't guess from the description, but this is actually the sweetest tea scent in the bunch - not from sugar, though, but rather from the ceylon tea.  This is one of my favorite "background" fragrances - when you are looking for something to enjoy that isn't in your face screaming.  It's a fun, playful, daytime or summer scent.

Aquiesse White Tea & Mint - a blend of white tea, night blooming jasmine and fresh spearmint.  This mint adds such a vibrant touch to this fragrance making it very lively and invigorating.  This is a great daytime scent when you need to wake up the house.  

Aquiesse Mandarin Tea - a clean blend of fresh mandarine, ceylon tea, and exotic woods.  This fragrances offers more warmth White Tea & Mint but it's still fun and lively.  Apparently I like celyon tea as this has the same tea accord as Vie Luxe Maldives.  I like how the mandarin notes create a juicy feel. 

Tocca Bianca - This is a summery fragrance with notes of green tea, lemon and sugar.  Tocca Bianca is as refreshing and delicious as it sounds.  At the same time, it's well balanced - not overly energizing.  It's a great, fun, daytime fragrance when you are looking for something lively but not zingy.  I love the sugar note in this one - like the undissolved sugar granules you find at the bottom of a cup of ice tea.  Pure and simple like the smile on an innocent child.  

Dark Tea Scents

Modern Alchemy Boston Tea Party - This fragrance is so far from basic tea.  It's a blend of black tea,  cedar and brackish seaweed absolute.  It is complex and musky.  I love the Modern Alchemy candles, I just wish some of them were more fragrant and this is one.  Boston Tea Party is a great masculine take on tea and I love the Modern Alchemy vessels.  

Altelier Cologne Oolang Infini - a blend of blue tea and bergamot with the warmth of smoke and leather.  It definitely comes across smokey and leather.  Of all the tea fragrances, this one comes across the most "cold".  Oolang Infini is a great masculine blend and I love the way Atelier Cologne candles burn - very easy and cleanly.  I also love the simple rouge vessel.

Trump Black Tea and Cognac by Aquiesse - a seductive blend of fine liqueur and warm vanilla tea with a hint of sweet tobacco.  This is the most rich tea fragrance in the bunch bringing sweetness from the vanilla tea and depth from notes of cognac.  I like how this candle draws sweet notes from vanilla rather than sugar for a more unique angle for tea scents.  I love the elegant glass vessel and multi-purpose glass cover/base.

As I write this blog post I am surrounded by all of these candles burning and I have to say it absolutely heavenly!  It's tough to pull off a tea scent that isn't too bitter, pungent or cold and all of these mastered this core scent with ease. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Join us for Nest Elton Fest

Nest Fragrances recently launched the new Sir Elton John Woodside Garden candle - a blend of hyacinth, freesia, rose and jasmine.  To celebrate, we're giving away 6 Woodside Garden candles.  Here's how you can win:
Enter to win a Sir Elton John Woodside Garden Candle in our Website & Store Raffle:
  • Earn 1 raffle entry for every Nest item purchased in store or on-line between 2/21/12 and 3/1/12.
  • Earn 1 raffle entry for every Nest product review on our website between 2/21/12 and 3/1/12.
  • Stop by the store by 3/1/12 let us know which Nest fragrance is your favorite for 1 raffle entry.
Enter to win a Sir Elton John Woodside Garden Candle in our Facebook Raffle:
  • 'Like' our Facebook Page. Earn 1 raffle entry when you post what fragrance you would create for Sir Elton John on our Facebook wall.
  • Earn 1 raffle entry when you get a friend to 'Like' our Facebook Page and post "[your name] sent me for Nest Elton Fest" on our wall. Your friend will also earn a raffle entry.
Enter to win a Sir Elton John Woodside Garden Candle in our Pinterest Raffle:
  • Follow us on Pinterest. Earn 1 raffle entry when you pin any Nest Fragrances product to one of your pin boards by 3/1/12.  Include "Candles Off Main" in the comment so we can see your pin. 
Enter to Win a Sir Elton John Woodside Garden Candle in our Blog Raffle:
    • If you could create a candle for any singer, who would you choose?  What would the candle look like?  What would it smell like?  Follow our blog and post your answer as a comment on this blog post to earn 1 raffle entry.   
    Enter to Win a Sir Elton John Woodside Garden Candle in our YouTube Raffle:
    Enter to Win a Sir Elton John Woodside Garden Candle in our Twitter Raffle:
    • Follow us on Twitter. Earn 1 raffle entry when you tweet " is giving away 6 Sir Elton John Woodside Garden candles. See how you can #win at".  

    We'll select a random winners from each of the raffles on Friday, March 2, 2012.  We'll announce the winners on this blog post and on Facebook and Twitter.  We'll ship the winning candles to any continental US address.  Good luck!

    Thursday, February 16, 2012

    An Interview with Belle Fleur Founders & Creators, Meredith Waga & Tony Perez

    We love to get to know the people behind the brand.  They are the foundation on which their story is built.  For me, getting to know the owners gives me a much better understanding of their brand and an even greater appreciation for their creations.  Here is some insight behind Belle Fleur from Founders & Creators, Meredith Waga and Tony Perez.

    What is the most challenging aspect of your home fragrance business?

    I'd say that one of the most challenging aspects is forcing ourselves to avoid being seduced by trends. We made a decision early on that what we wanted to create was a lasting business, one that stood out on its own and had its own unique place in the world of fragrance. Trends are transient, too many companies have been compromised by chasing fads that they never had a chance to develop brand identities. We had a vision and we've stuck to it and I think, in the end, that is what gives a brand life. We don't subscribe to seasonal launches, we only launch a product when we have something to say. It's certainly a challenge not chasing the crowd, but we have our vision and that has to stay true to who we are at the core.

    How has it been working with your husband, Tony? How do you separate your tasks?

    As any husband-wife team will tell you, it has its challenges. But, I must say that, for us, the advantages far outweigh the challenges. In fact, I daresay its the challenges that make us stronger, both as a couple and as business partners. Our creativity benefits as well. We are free to critique each others' ideas without the ego getting in the way so that our products end up being the best we can offer. We share the same passion for fragrance and design and we use our distinct backgrounds, in fashion and architecture, to leverage the best from one another. Tony went to perfumery school in Paris and has an immense passion for fragrance. He finds it amazingly similar to architecture so he approaches design from a calculated and methodical angle, whereas my creative process is more freewheeling and loose.

    If you believe in Mies van der Rohe's adage "Less is More," then Tony is the "Less" and I'm the "More" so we always end up with the perfect balance! And thank heaven it works!!

    Tell us about your next collection and how you selected the fragrances?

    Our next collection is our Rose Extraordinaire Collection. We felt it was necessary because, frankly, being in the floral business, how can one avoid the rose; it was inevitable, that the "Queen" of flowers would find her way into our palette! It's something that was very personal to Tony, as well. He's lived in Turkey and Ecuador, and roses were a big part of those cultures.

    It was a huge challenge for us because we wanted to find a way to express our love for the flower without reverting to the stereotypes. Perfumers have been doing rose fragrances for as long as there has been perfumery, so the challenge was to create something modern and different while still paying homage to her beauty in an elegant and classic manner. In addition, we needed to ensure that each fragrance was true to the rose, yet distinct enough to make all 4 unique. The point of distinction for us was in the absolutes. It's incredible to note the varied characteristics of different rose absolutes. We found 4 whose facets were so exceptional from one another and used those as the point of distinction behind each rose fragrance: Egyptian rose absolute (Centifolia), Moroccan rose absolute (Centifolia), Turkish arose absolute (Damascena) and Bulgarian rose absolute (Damascena). If you hold the Moroccan and the Bulgarian up to your nose, the Bulgarian is honeyed and sweet while the Moroccan has a distinct fresh, earthy nuance to it.

    While those classic absolute distinctions were the catalyst to developing our collection, we still wanted each to be modern and interesting. We pared the perfect rose absolute with each concept. For Petalés D'Amour; we were inspired by imagining what a rose garden within the Garden of Eden would smell like, infused by apples, berries flowers and figs. For Velvet Santal, it was the actual tactility of a rose petal, it's smooth, fabric-like velvety texture. For Imperial Oudh, we went to the extreme, imagining a bouquet of luscious red roses in an uber-masculine setting - a den with wood paneling, leather chair and smokey fireplace. The Moroccan rose absolute was perfect for this with its earthiness. We used the Egyptian Centifolia absolute for Rose Immortelle: It had an earthy, green aspect that screamed a fresh rose just pulled from the ground, roots and all.

    What can we expect from Belle Fleur in the future?

    The future holds more of what you find in the present - thoughtful, well crafted and creative products. Our biggest endeavor however, is perfume! It's an absolute passion of ours and the next logical extension of our brand. We so love working with raw materials and we've been exposed to some that would knock your socks off, they are so beautiful. For us and our passion for flowers, we constantly strive to find new ways to express the beauty of nature. It's also a very different creative challenge because fragrances that we create for home do not make a direct translation to ones we would want to wear. As designers and artists, we are always pushing the design envelop, looking for new means to express ourselves and our ideas. It's part of our growth as individuals and as a brand. What our consumers will know for sure is that, whatever we do create, will have the same attention to detail and will be ALL about the fragrance.

    Wednesday, February 15, 2012

    Belle Fleur Neroli Pine - Welcome Home

    If you’ve ever taken in the crisp October air of a vibrant Rocky Mountain morning, you will understand why it is considered by many to be monumentally euphoric. This sublime fragrance is structured on a contrast of woody, green, earthy accords comprised of evergreen, fir and moss, and a warm, sweet, gourmand blend of orange, vanilla and golden honey. This contrast creates a refined fluency of raw materials that speaks a magical language.

    I love tree fragrances.  I appreciate the subdued woody notes from the heart of the tree as well as the more vibrant notes from the bright green needles.  Belle Fleur Neroli Pine rests comfortably in between so I'm in heaven.  What I really love about this fragrance, though, is the rather unique angle.

    I've smelled all kinds of green tree fragrances. Most are fresh while some are earthy or even sweet.  I've also smelled some that are much like cologne (sexy man scent).  Neroli Pine is a warm tree fragrance - something I don't think I've come across before. 

    It sits on a gourmand base of vanilla, honey and cinnamon that gives it a very welcoming and relaxing feel.  While all those notes translate in the fragrance, they don't interfere or distract from the intense, pine scent.

    photo from
    This fragrance doesn't make me feel like I'm in the Rocky mountains on a crisp October day.  Instead, it reminds me of standing deep in the woods in New England on an Indian Summer day.  The forest floor is a blanket of clean, golden pine needles speckled with sunlight.  The scene is serene and warm.  This was my backyard growing up and I remember it fondly.  Belle Fleur gladly takes me back there and I'm thankful for that.

    Tuesday, February 14, 2012

    Herve Gambs Bois de Cashmere - Seductive & Comforting

    Sensual nature emphasized by subtle Hespiride notes. Soft harmony between jasmine and lavender elated with the sensual accord betweeen agarwood and vetiver.

    photo from

    The Hervé Gambs Bois de Cashmere candle is an incredibly sensual and cozy fragrance all in one - two extremes merged perfectly together.  On the one hand, the sensual aspect comes across like "I'm going to seduce you slowly for hours" rather than "get ready to sweat". This is a great bedroom candle or for a romantic evening in front of a fire.

    On the other hand, it makes me think of those super furry/fluffy white area rugs you find peeking out from under an over-sized bed that is drenched in a down comforter and overflowing with pillows.  You want to be cuddled in its comfort all day.  It also reminds me of the way my Mom used to smell when I was a little kid.  Like a fairy tale and care bear all in one.

    It's a soft fragrance - not in strength - but in the way to scent it comes across.  Very smooth and relaxing.  Whether you're looking for romance or comfort, an Herve Gambs Bois de Cashmere candle is the perfect indulgence.

    Belle Fleur Mayan Tuberose - The Bedroom Candle

    Blissfully fragrant, the ancient Mayan culture held the tuberose sacred to their Goddess of Beauty and Love. Like the divine females in ancient mythology, this signature scent is the embodiment of strength and femininity. Her beauty is rapturous and will enslave you as she is impossible to resist. With an aura that is at once mysterious, alluring and complex, Mayan Tuberose is destined to be a timeless classic.

    The two adjectives Belle Fleur uses on their website to describe Mayan Tuberose are seductive and carnal.  Since it's Valentine's Day, I thought this would be the perfect day to try this fragrance.

    To hear Meredith, Belle Fleur Founder & Creator, describe this scent will make you want to bathe in it.  She calls it a "bedroom candle" as her customers swear but it's aphrodisiac qualities. 
    This fragrance reminds me of Susan Sarandon in this photo*.  It's very mature and feminine.  It's also comfortable in its own skin and not trying to be anything else or more complicated than it is.  It's naturally bold and sexy.  It exudes confidence without effort.  

    Tuberose is clearly the big player in this fragrance but it's nicely supported by a soft base of vanilla, white musk and sandalwood.  If you're looking to be surrounded in an intoxicating floral, this fragrance is for you.

    Pair it with a nice bottle of wine and some chocolate dipped strawberries for a romantic evening with your Valentine.

    Fragrance intensity 5/5.  Burn quality 4/5. 

    Photo from

    Monday, February 13, 2012

    Belle Fleur Grapefruit Muguet Candle

    This multi-sensory experience is irresistible as the classic essence of Lily of the Valley will instantly ground you, while the sassiness of the citrus notes will unchain your mercurial side. If you’ve ever dreamt of meandering through the open-air farmers’ markets of Southern France or loping through lush citrus gardens by the Amalfi Coast, this medley of fresh citrus and bundles of aromatic white flowers will take you there in style.

    The Belle Fleur Grapefruit Muguet candle is a delicate balance between vibrant grapefruit and tender Lily of the Valley.  It's actually difficult to find a grapefruit candle that captures the crisp and zesty essence of the grapefruit and Belle Fleur has done exactly that.  At the same time, the fragrance is well balanced with spun sugar, white musk and cedarwood to keep it from becoming overly pungent.

    I enjoy this candle in the morning when I need help waking up and on sunny afternoons to help make our home feel clean and alive.  Belle Fleur Grapefruit Muguet is a welcome addition to any kitchen for a fresh scent.

    What is your favorite grapefruit candle?

    Friday, February 10, 2012

    Speak to Me Belle Fleur Figue Noir

    Tantalizing and sexy, the twisting branches of the fig tree will expose your senses to the heady, earthy scent of fig wood and the sweet fleshy aroma of the exotic fruit it bears. With the subtle inclusion of vetiver and juniper berry, this ode to the fig groves found on the Turkish Aegean coast unites tree, fruit, earth, sky and sun together to elevate the fragrance to an inspired and provocative complexity.

    I'm really growing to love fig candles, particularly Figue Noir by Belle Fleur with it's complex balance of fragrances.  The lineup is diverse - a little spicy cardamom, fruity rhubarb and strawberry, a touch of florals from cyclamen and geranium, earthy notes from juniper berries, oakmoss and vetyver, and (of course) fig. 

    The combination is brilliant and the most surprising thing is that even with wide variety of notes, they all have a voice.  It's clearly a fig fragrance, yet I can hear the juniper berries talking to me and luring me in with their piquant notes.  The florals mumble in the background and there is a whisper from the strawberries and rhubarb - like the sound of kids laughing in the yard outside.  Oakmoss and vetyver sit on one shoulder lulling me to sleep while cardamom and bergamot sit on the other keeping me awake and interested. I like what you are saying, Belle Fleur Figue Noir.  Don't stop.

    This fragrance is definitely tantalizing and sexy and a must try scent for any fig lover.   What does it say to you?

    Fragrance intensity 3.5/5.  Burn quality 4/5.

    Thursday, February 9, 2012

    Chocolate isn't Just a Girl's Best Friend Anymore

    Native to the deep tropical regions of the Americas, the beans of the cacao tree offer an intense earthy chocolate aroma. A robust espresso accord powers the fragrance to a sumptuous complexity, while a sprinkling of sweet golden honey adds a lusty richness that is hunger inspiring. Add to this the unique, smokey balm of Arabian fire-cured tobacco leaves and Cacao Tabaq defines sultry, exotic romance. This one will always leave you with the desire for more.

    Chocolate candles are definitely decadent.  A while back Nest Fragrances my Godiva chocolate candles that were insanely delicious.  What I love about the Belle Fleur Cacao Tabaq candle is that it incorporates tobacco and ebony wood to make the candle as desirable to men as women.

    What's interesting is that the cold throw doesn't scream chocolate like the Godiva candles.  Instead it offers hints of tobacco, amber and patchouli.  After burning for a while, the chocolate melts and surrounds the space without giving me a sweet tooth.  I do get a bit of earthy sweetness from the vanilla that blends perfectly.  I love the warmth and depth of this fragrance.  There is a touch of smokiness that I like as well and the espresso gives it a nice edge. 

    The deep, dark, chocolate colored wax and vessel work well with this scent adding to the ambiance.  This Belle Fleur candle is definitely a girl and guys best friend.  Added bonus?  It won't make you fat.

    Wednesday, February 8, 2012

    Belle Fleur Orange Blossom Pomegranate

    This lyrical fragrance was inspired by the idea of the Original Sin. This is pure, unadulterated sin, but without the guilt. Often considered the “Fruit of Paradise,” the luscious ruby red seeds of the pomegranate are scandalously enticing. Blended with notes of sweet cassis and the unexpected bouquet of garden roses, its sultry sensuality will turn any room into an intoxicating oasis. 

    Orange Blossom Pomegranate is one of my favorite fragrances by Belle Fleur.  I am immediately taken by its crisp notes of bitter orange, tart currant and cassis, and fruity pomegranate. After that delicate florals of geranium and rose unfold with just a touch of jasmine for punch and orange blossom for depth.  All of this rests on amber and vanilla that is ever so slight so it doesn't upset our outshine the delicate balance above. The soft base grounds the fragrance keeping it from becoming too tart and leaving you with acid stomach.

    photo from
    While I love the beautiful name, it throws me a bit.  I think of it more as "Pomegranate Orange" or "Seville Orange Pomegranate".  Most Orange Blossom candles are incredibly floral.  If you've ever smelled Nest Orange Blossom, Carrière Frères Citrus Dulcis (Orange Blossom) or Voluspa Orangerie D'Azahar, you know exactly what I mean.

    Belle Fleur Orange Blossom Pomegranate is far more fruity than floral.  I love it on a bright sunny day or anytime I need an uplifting, fresh scent.

    I'd love to visit Florida while the orange blossoms are in bloom to take in the scent in it's most pure form. In the meantime, this fragrance transports me to an orange grove where I'm surrounded by graceful flowers and juicy oranges.  The fresh air fills my lungs and the sun warms my skin.

    It's magical how fragrance can transport us.  Where does this scent take you?

    Tuesday, February 7, 2012

    Top 3 Valentine's Day Fragrances for Men

    If you think I'm crazy suggesting candles as a gift for a guy this Valentine's Day, think again.  You'd be amazed how many men love fragrance and even love to shop for their favorite scent.  And yes, I mean straight guys too.
    photo from
     If you're not sure what to get, here are our top 3 picks for guys this Valentine's Day:

    1. Belle Fleur Kyara Clove.  I know. I rave about this one constantly and here I go again.  Do your guy a favor and surround him with the scent of a real man-cave.  This fragrance will make him feel like he is being cradled in the comfort of an over-sized, worn leather chair while surrounded by books and walls with rich wood paneling.  As manly as this fragrance sounds, don't be afraid to put it in the bedroom.  It's sexy and sultry and creates the perfect backdrop for a memorable night.  Oh, la la.

    2. Voluspa Warm Perique Tabac.  Tobacco is a scent that many people have a hard time grasping in home fragrance, but give it a try and you'll be as addicted to tobacco candles as a chain-smoker is to cigarettes.  Happily, this addiction is healthier.  Voluspa Warm Perique Tabac starts off sharp in the cold throw but don't let that scare you. This candle is not about Grandpa's pipe.  The fragrance warms up and opens like a fine wine as it burns to create a room filled with wide plank wood floors marred with years of memories,  vintage leather bound books filled with history and fine tobacco.  This fragrance works for any guy  - from the guy that built the bridge to the one that designed it.  If you're still not convinced your guy will love a candle, get him the tin.  He can't break it and he can put the lid on it and jam it in his drawer until you arrive to avoid his friends mocking.  (Trust us, this won't happen but we know how you think.)

    3. ODIN 03 Century.  There is no sexier candle on the market than ODIN.  Period.  Sleek black vessel that screams strength with it's extra-thick walls.  Heavy metal, multi-purpose black lid.  Dark wax.  This is Old Spice Guy meets James Bond in candle form.  Century offers hearty wood notes of silver birch and cypress layered on top of a sexy base of smoky vetiver and liquid myrrh.  *drooling*  If you don't have a guy in your life, buy this for yourself and all you'll see is six pack abs around you.  Oh, yeah.

    Surprise your guy with a candle this Valentine's day and he'll surprise you in all kinds of romantic ways.  For more Valentine's Day gift ideas, check out our website.

    Monday, February 6, 2012

    Belle Fleur Home Fragrance Celebration

    Join us as we celebrate Belle Fleur Home Fragrance for a chance to win a Grapefruit Muguet candle and room spray.

    From February 6 to February 16, 2012:
    1. Earn 1 raffle entry for liking our Facebook page and posting your favorite Belle Fleur fragrance (or the one you'd love to try) on our wall.
    2. Earn 1 raffle entry for liking the Belle Fleur, Home Fragrance Facebook page and posting your earliest scent memory on their wall.
    3. Earn 1 raffle when you follow our blog and post a comment on any of our Belle Fleur blog posts (including this one - we'll try to publish at least 3 more during the contest).
    4. Earn 1 raffle entry for any Belle Fleur purchase on our website or at our store.
    5. Earn 1 raffle entry by posting a review for any Belle Fleur product on our website.
    On Friday, February 17, 2012 we'll draw a random winner from all the raffle entries.  We'll ship the winning prize pack to any continental US address.

    Good luck!