Whenever I’m on vacation, I spend at least 5% of my time perusing candles in cute shops of the towns I’m visiting. On one such trip, I came across Paddywax Library Candles and fell in love.
Now, I don’t remember the shop. I don’t remember where I was. I only vaguely recollect my husband being there. But I do remember the 30 vivid minutes of smelling the whole collection and trying to decide which candles I would buy.
After a fretful few moments, I decided on Charles Dickens and Ralph Waldo Emerson.
All the Library candles are named for classic authors (there’s no Stephanie Meyer candle, yet) and contain layers of complex aromas. Dickens won me over with its vibrant mix of clove and orange.
Though the scent will definitely make you think of British Christmas ghosts, it doesn’t scream “CHRISTMAS TIME!!” Now, I love a potent Christmas candle, but that’s only good one month of the year. But Dickens goes heavy on the citrus, highlights the sweetness of the clove, and has no cinnamon scent, so the holiday vibe is just a gentle ghost-scent floating in the background. It might be a little heavy for summer, but the scent is great the rest of the year.
I got the Travel Tin, the smallest version of the candle. The price is much lower, but it does burn out pretty fast. On the plus side, you get a cool copper case to use when the Dickens scent has burned away.
Charles Dickens Fun Fact:
Dickens published his novels one chapter at a time in popular periodicals, which gave him the chance to change a story on the fly if needed. When Dickens included a scene about spontaneous human combustion in Bleak House, skeptic George Lewes publicly expressed his distaste with Dicken’s support of pseudo science. Instead of apologizing or backing down from his belief that people could randomly explode, Dickens devoted a paragraph of his next chapter to mocking Lewes. Clapping back via novel is way more badass than any celebrity Twitter feud.
Emerson hits hard in such a good way. At first, you get a woodsy, smokey scent. Then comes pine, earth, spice, and an overall feeling of nature.
This candle isn’t like an easy jaunt in the park on a spring day. It’s more of a journey through the depths of a forest, where you encounter plant life that seems familiar yet foreign all at once. As you stroll through the shadows of ancient trees, you ponder your place in nature. Are you one with this natural kingdom or is human merely an animal that’s lost its home?
Sadly, that reverie is gone when you realize you paid about $11 for a candle that’s burnt out in 5 hours. Still, this extremely layered scent and adorable copper case make for a very enjoyable candle.
Ralph Waldo Emerson Fun Fact:
In 2015, Brown University found a handwritten letter from Emerson in an old library book that had never been cataloged. Though I wish the letter said “Do you like me? Yes/No,” it was actually a thank you note to the Union of Christian Work. Still, pretty cool to find a note from 1868 in a very neglected book.
All in all, I still love these library candles for their complex and surprising scents. Though I do take a point off for the fast burn time and relative high price.
Overall Rating: Light My Candle 4/5