A mystery package arrived this week and it was lovely to open it and find that The White Company had sent me their new Autumn candle to review. As you know, Home Fragrance is really important to me and you could say that it was a brave move to send it to someone who spent last year working as a certified ‘nose’ for the UK’s biggest home fragrance manufacturer!
Industry knowledge means that I know quite a lot about The White Company’s home fragrance collection. It is made by a competitor company to the one that I worked with so I know from the start that it is good quality and British made. It annoys me that so many other UK retailers buy their home fragrance ranges rather indiscriminately from China which means that the wax blend is inferior and the fragrance is poor.
They do it because not only is the candle itself cheap but the packaging is too. This enables them to sell a product that will have limited performance in a fancy box which makes it appear good quality and is especially appealing if you are giving it as a gift. Next time you’re buying home fragrance it really is worth checking that it is British made – the quality of the end product will be vastly superior.
So – rant over, let’s move on to The White Company. Now that we know that it is good quality to begin with, how can we rate the Autumn candle? It is really hard to buy any kind of fragrance online because it is such a personal thing.
Candles have what is known as a ‘cold throw’ and a ‘hot throw.’ The cold throw is the fragrance when it is unlit. If it has a good cold throw not only does it smell nice in the box but it will help to fragrance your room subtly even when you are not burning it. The hot throw is about the performance when it is lit – its strength, the dominant notes and the fragrance’s ability to pervade a room.
I love the smell of Autumn and if I were developing an Autumn fragrance, I would be looking for top notes of apple and marrow but the most important elements for me would be hints of earth, moss and wood smoke. Again it’s a personal thing which is why I loved the development part of my job.
The White Company describes their Autumn fragrance as follows:
Like spending the day stepping on crunchy leaves in the park. Autumn is a gloriously floral and fruity scent – a crisp combination of fruity notes of pear, quince and apricot blended with musk and amber.
I’m being a bit pedantic but I’m unclear as to where the crunchy leaves come in, this is definitely a fruity fragrance. I completely get the sun warmed yellow fruits – pear, quince and apricot are there, I can also detect plum. It reminds me of my godmother’s orchard. At this time of year we would go fruit picking and it’s the fragrance of the windfalls that have been warmed by the sun and are now slightly soft. At cold throw stage I can’t detect either musk or amber and amber is my favourite base note.
In terms of appearance, I feel awful saying this but the quality of the candle that I was sent was not good. My candle had severe “shrinkage.” You can see on this photo that the wax fills the glass to the edge on the left hand side but not the right.
It also has air bubbles.
This is not The White Company’s fault but the manufacturer’s. They have sent the product down the line and tried to cool it too quickly. In the company I worked for, it it would never have left the factory. It would have been rejected at the end of the line by quality control. Not only is it unappealing visually but it will not burn down properly. It will probably start to smoke and gutter towards the end so you will not get your full 20 hours burn time.
The hot throw, when the candle is lit, is very similar to the cold throw although there is a very slight hint of amber that comes through too. The burn quality is good – it doesn’t smoke and it pools evenly across the top.
I never did talk to you about home fragrance when I was working as head of creative and marketing there. Here are some things worth knowing:
- You should always burn a candle until it has ‘pooled’ (the wax has melted) evenly across the entire surface. Wax has memory so if you only burn it for a short time until the wax melts halfway across, it will forever burn to that point. This means that it will then ‘tunnel’ (burn down the middle leaving a circumference of wax around the glass). Before too long the wick will drown and your candle will need to be thrown away long before it has finished.
- The fragrance is oil based and has a lifespan so don’t save your fragranced candles for best. After about 6 months the fragrance will dissipate and you will be left with a very expensive unfragranced candle.
- If you have already opened and started to burn a candle, you should continue to use it. The fragrance won’t last long when you have burned it once.
- You should never use a tealight without a holder – it will burn the surface below.
- Only burn a candle in a sheltered spot. If there is a draught and the flame flickers, it won’t burn evenly and you will have the tunnelling issue again.
- Your candle should not smoke. If it does and the glass darkens, take it back. It is a sign of poor quality. Annoyingly this often happens with Diptyque candles which are my favourite in terms of fragrance quality.
- You should think about room size when you are buying a candle. If you have a large open plan living space, a single wick candle cannot fill the room with fragrance. You will need at least a three wick candle and possibly more than one.
30% off clothing at The White Company
Whilst I was on The White Company’s site, I noticed that they have 30% off a selection of their clothing so I thought I’d bring a few pieces to your attention.
Last year’s trend for layering knitwear has developed further this season and you will see a lot of short sleeved knits like this one which are great to wear on their own now and can then be layered like this in Winter.
Ponchos are brilliant for this time of year and the ones with a point at the front like this one are the most slimming because they do not cut you in half across the hips. Soft grey is the most luxurious of shades.
Whilst we’re on soft grey, which The White Company does so well, this lovely boat neck jumper is reduced. A boat neck is always more flattering than a crew neck because it does not echo the shape of your face and make it look rounder. The split hem means that it won’t bunch at the waist.
The split back on this jumper has the same result which makes it a great shape to wear with skinny jeans
If navy is more your colour, this simple jumper has been developed in a blend of fibres that help with fluctuating body heat, keeping you warm when it is cold and cool if you heat up.
A lot of people (me included) can be put off wearing crisp white shirts because at the end of a busy day you can look as though you’re wearing a crumpled paper bag. This shirt is made from jersey so you would have the white shirt look without the crinkles.
These are great ankle boots for wearing with skinny jeans – there is no risk of a flash of white skin.
All of these pieces currently have 30% off, I’m not sure for how long.
So – The White Company – I hope you’re still speaking to me if you’re reading this review. Other than the wax shrinkage the candle was lovely. The fragrance was just right for late Summer and, when it finishes, I will be moving on to your ‘Winter’ scent which I use in oil burners as well as candles. This always gives me the spicy warmth that I want when I come home on a cold day. There is currently 20% off all home fragrance here.
Tomorrow morning ladies I am very (very) excited to be the first blogger to be officially showcasing the new Inés de La Fressange collection at Uniqlo. I will be publishing my post shortly after 9am so make sure you visit early because the range is so popular that it disappears before your eyes. I can assure you that it is lovely and I am so proud that they have chosen all of us at Midlifechic to see it first. Our fabulous community is being noticed and thanks to you and your comments, the voice of the woman over 40 is being heard by brands. Please show your support for the decision that Uniqlo have taken to work with us by visiting the post and clicking through tomorrow. Until then, have a wonderful day.
Disclosure: this is not a sponsored post but the candle was sent to me to review free of charge