the perfect candle

The Perfect Candle to Remember That ‘Early Summer’ Scent


Theoretically this column is supposed to focus on new candles. Because of that I’d like to begin this edition of the Perfect Candle with an admission of guilt: This candle is not a new candle. I’m sorry. If you’d like to sue me over the discrepancy I will see you in court; my lawyer is a candle and we will burn you to the ground.

I thought it would be nice, as the summer winds down, to allow a candle to take us back to the beginning. Not of time; it is not a big bang–scented candle, though that might be good. Of summer. Back when it seemed like we had so much of life’s sweetness ahead of us, so many lazy days in the sun. Now they are behind us, if they ever existed at all. C’est la vie.

There was a period of time in the late spring when I noticed my walk to the train smelled inordinately good, even on trash-collecting days. Over several trips I narrowed it down to one large leafy tree that had sprouted a bunch of tiny yellow flowers. The internet told me this was a Linden tree and that I ought to savor its sweet, honeyed, floral scent, the feeling of those not-quite-summer-yet days encapsulated, as it would last only a few weeks. Well, the internet was fuckin’ right. The scent left as abruptly as it arrived.

Sad at the passing of time but happy at the nature of existence, my usual state, I searched for a candle that might make up for our lack, my usual method of making up for our lack. Of course, Diptyque had a fix — its Tilleul candle, described thusly:

As the spring months are draw to a close in the woods, an unforgettable fragrance is released by the flowers of the linden tree. This exquisite floral aroma of honey rises from its heart shaped blossoms … summer is almost here.

Incredible. As we know, the exquisite floral aroma of honey that rises from the Linden tree’s heart-shaped blossoms is great. But is this candle? Let’s see.

Is the candle good?

Yes, it is wonderful. As you may have guessed, I would not tell you about some old candle if it were not good because I consider us friends and I know your time is valuable (you’re welcome).

The scent is an impressive replica of the Linden tree’s scent; it instantly and easily hits you with the memory of those early summer days when you did not know what that good smell outside was, but you knew that you had to stand right there and keep smelling it until someone else came along and you had to start walking again in order to seem non-weird. It is a blessing for this and I’m glad it exists.

How much does it cost, and how long will it last?

The candle is $65, and Diptyque says it “may burn up to 60 hours,” which is one of the more honest phrasings of a burn time that I’ve come across. It may burn up to 40,000 hours. Who can say?

When should you burn this candle?

Anytime the sun is shining and your windows are open. It’s certainly a warm-weather candle — Diptyque classifies it as an herbal scent, and it is a bit herbal, but it seems more floral to me. This places it, for me personally, in the “warm weather” category. (Though it could also, as bright, floral candles do, work on a sunny winter morning.) Burn it when there’s a summer breeze coming through the window.

Who should buy this candle?

Though it may seem counterintuitive, I don’t think you should buy this candle if you’re very sad about summer ending. It’s too expensive for that, and it smells too good, and it will only make you sadder. I think you should buy this candle if you want to drink in a bit more of the summer’s sweetness before accepting autumn’s reign. If you’re sad about summer ending my suggestion is to wait a few weeks and then buy a really good autumn candle, but we will get to that when it’s time to get to it. Thank you.

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The Perfect Candle to Remember That ‘Early Summer’ Scent