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Jacq’s Journal: Waxing lyrical over Nan’s dinner and Gwynnie’s vajayjay

This recently dropped into my inbox: “New candle smells EXACTLY like your nan’s roast dinner” and I thought, ‘Great – another trigger to eat more, like I need that!’

Why on earth would you want a candle that makes you salivate and rush out to Tesco at 9pm to buy Sunday roast ingredients to create a meal you won’t be able to eat until midnight?

The impromptu Tesco run did happen one Christmas, although no candles were involved. My partner at the time had decided we weren’t doing Christmas lunch only to cave on Boxing Day – I was still basting that blessed bird at 1am

Sharing the candle story with my adult children, Hank and Olivia, we got to talking about their own nana’s roast dinners and whether they would pass the ‘perfect nan’s test’. This candle purports to have notes of chicken, stuffing and vegetables.

We agreed Nana’s would be notes of beef and overcooked vegetables. We always joke that she put the carrots and broccoli on to boil three days before we were due for Sunday lunch. When I was growing up, it was years before I realised cooked broccoli was meant to be green not white.

So when we buy scented candles, is it to trigger memories or simply because they smell nice? A candlemaker told me that cheap candles contain most of the scent ingredients at the top of the candle. That explains why the smell disappears long before the candle does. No lingering memories with those, then. You get what you pay for and I now know why scented candles can be so expensive.

Memory smells for me are wild garlic (walking the lanes around my village) and Lily of the Valley (My nana’s scent) neither of which I particularly want to smell in my house. Buying scented candles for me is about the smell only, or is it?

Which brings me to the conundrum that is Gwyneth Paltrow’s candle ‘Smells Like My Vagina’. Now, I have never met Gwyneth, nor caught a whiff of her nether regions – so why would I shell out $75 for the privilege? If it isn’t a memory trigger then it must be for the smell? And it seems many are curious as there is a waiting list of people wanting to light up their room with aromas of Gwyneth!

Maybe the clue is in the marketing: “With a funny, gorgeous, sexy, and beautifully unexpected scent, this candle is made with geranium, citrusy bergamot, and cedar absolutes juxtaposed with Damask rose and ambrette seed to put us in mind of fantasy, seduction, and a sophisticated warmth”.

Phew! Thank goodness it’s a seductive and sophisticated smell. Of course, it was never going to be anything else. I mean, no-one would want eau de fanny in their lounge, would they?

Most people would have no idea what geranium, citrusy bergamot, and cedar absolutes juxtaposed with Damask rose and ambrette seed smells like, let alone whether that’s a combination we would like, so this is has to be about lifestyle.

For $75 your house can smell like an award-winning actress. Maybe this is why when friends buy me Jo Malone Pomegranate Noir candles, I am giddy with excitement. They make me feel posh and have a lovely smell with no dodgy memories attached to them.

Oh, and how about a Moet et Chandon Rose Candle, now that’s a smell I’m very used to!

Jacqueline Hughes-Lundy
Employing her business skills, experience and love of writing all in one place.

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