Christmas Gift Idea 3 – Cire Trudon – Scented Candles

Scented Candles; let’s talk about them.

They do two things. The warmth of a room will release scent from the wax without lighting the candle. This is a beautiful item to have near an armchair. Some people cover their candles with a bell-jar (aka glass cloche / dome) as you often see in retail establishments. This holds all the released scent inside the glass. When you pick up the bell-jar a scent cloud is delivered into your room. I prefer no bell-jar as then the scent has a way of surprising you throughout the day and night.


Lighting the candle will scent a whole room and even a home.

A scented candle must be burnt until the whole surface is liquid to ensure that tunnelling does not occur. This can take up to 2 hours before you have a scented room.

Trim and center that wick before reigniting. This step is important to ensure a clean burn. A long wick will spit soot into your expensive wax and add a slight charred smell. A long wick will also make black smoke appear which is not good for your ceiling. A specially designed wick cutter rather than scissors is your friend here. They cost around $12 to $25. There is no need to leave the candle burning when visitors arrive, unless you want to of course.

You may have noticed that every woman and her cat has a scented candle for sale at various price points and often with disappointing results. The top of the range is Cire Trudon who have been candle-making since the days of le Roi Soleil back in 1643 when Claude Trudon arrived in Paris and became the owner of a store in Rue Saint-Honoré.

Louis XIV, Le Roi Soleil

Louis XIV, Le Roi Soleil
Versace / Rosenthal
Private Collection: Jordan River

His son Jacques entered the court of Versailles in 1687, as apothecary distiller to Marie-Thérèse, wife of the King.

Image via Cire Trudon

Candle making image via Cire Trudon

By the 18th century, in 1737, the next Trudon descendant Hierosme had purchased the most famous wax factories of the era from the official wax provider to King Louis XV. Trudon grew and began supplying the French court and the most important churches. The Trudon company supplied Versailles until the very end of the monarchy.


The standard Cire Trudon candle size of 270 grams is around $US95 ~ $US120.

While the price point is high, the scented value is completely worth it as long as you are spending within your ability to maintain solvency or even better within your ability to have savings. I like Portia’s advice for Perfumistasset a monthly budget and stick to it.

The trick is to burn these in two-hourly lots to achieve around 55 to 65 hours of scent. The variance between 55 to 65 hours is wind speed; a breeze in your room will make the candle burn faster. Cire Trudon candles are all made in France and reside in hand blown glass vessels. The wax is 100% vegetable-based, the wick is pure cotton; both are biodegradable, allergen free and contain no pesticides.

Let’s have a look at some of the range. Not all of these are necessarily traditional Christmas scents as I know some people have their own holiday and / or family celebrations.



Bethléem, pictured above with the theme and notes, is the latest seasonal candle from Cire Trudon. You may need to zoom in to read the calligraphy.


Photo: Jordan River

My favourite is still Nazareth which despite repeated rumors of discontinuation is now is it’s fifth year.

This is a scent I discovered in 2011 at a perfume masterclass in December. It stayed on my mind. Not realizing it was a seasonal release I couldn’t buy it in March 2012 when it was still blowing through the scentmills of my mind.

In November 2012 I was an hour early for a meeting and wandered into World when they were unpacking their annual supply of this scent. Not one to think twice about analyzing serendipity I knew I was in the right place at the right time.


This Christmas candle, Nazareth, wafts a whisper of frankincense and billows of cinnamon, orange, and clove from a ruby red holder. Bees and other pollinators receive protection from this candle as a percentage of sales goes to Terre d’Abeilles.



Melchior-when unlit

Last year Cire Trudon released a candle named after one of the 3 Wise Men; Melchior. Melchior was one of the three “kings” or “wise men” — the Persian scholar who brought gold to Bethlehem. In pure gold-leaf, Cire Trudon’s Melchior candle features the delicate perfume of myrrh and benzoin, a healing resin.


Melchior – a warm golden glow when lit

The press release makes no sense to me, possibly as it was translated from lyrical French.

Carried by the warm Oriental suns, Melchior presents the tender scents of a precious adoration to the divine child. In a case adorned with golden leaves, Myrrh and Benzoin combine as the sign of a universal celebration.

Head Ambergris, Citrus, Spices
Heart Myrrh, Cistus, Jasmine, Rose
Base Benzoin resin, Musk, Tonka Beans

Another interesting release on the theme of Peace is Bartolomé. Again you may need to zoom in to read the image text.


Finally, Mérida, the xxxx based scent, composed by Carlos Huber of Arquiste for Cire Trudon, is worth sniffing out to see how you react to this unique scent. I do not mean x-rated, I just do not want to be a plot note spoiler. This is a scent experience.


O my Mérida, I loved you too much and now all I have is an empty but beautiful vessel.

It is not a ‘fume that echoes any of the Arquiste perfumes; it is it’s own special creation. For me it was love at first sniff and an instant purchase with no buyer’s remorse. If you want a non-Christmassy scent that is memorable and unlikely to be wafting anywhere else but at your place then this is the one. Alas, my Mérida is all gone.

If you find that our tastes in ‘fumes this year have been simpatico then I would recommend Nazareth and Mérida. Of course there is a lot of fun to be had by going to a shop and experiencing the range of scented candles for yourself.

Down Under Stockists
Melbourne – Peony Haute Parfumerie
107 Auburn Road
+61 (0)3 9882 0662

Sydney – Becker Minty
Shop 7, Ikon Building
Potts Point
+61 (0)2 8356 9999

Mérida $AUD115
Bartolomé $AUD105
Bethléem $AUD125
Nazareth $AUD115
Melchior $AUD125

New ZealandWord Beauty
World Store Locator – Auckland Wellington Christchurch
Mérida $NZ139
Bartolomé $NZ139
Bethléem $NZ159
Nazareth $NZ159
Melchior $NZ159

Cire Trudon
Tips for burning scented candles

Further Reading
Notable Scents – Nazareth
Bois de Jasmin – Mérida
Arquiste – Auckland Action – photo story
Usage directions for candles from La Gardenia nell’occhiello

Now Smell This – Robin’s Gift Guides
Part 1: Scented Body Products
Part 2: Travel Sizes & Coffrets 
Part 3: Home Fragrance
Part 4: Gifts for Men
Part 5: Fragrant Teas and Sweets

The Fragrant Man
Christmas Gift Idea 1 – Scent Library $US22
Christmas Gift Idea 2 – Holiday Perfumes $US5 – $US70
Christmas Gift Idea 3 – Cire Trudon Candles $US95 ~ $US120
Christmas Gift Idea 4 – Tom Ford Mini-Flacons ~ $US325 – $US360

The Smelly VagabondChristmas Gift Guide 2013
Mr Vagabond is updating a List Index of ideas from my esteemed colleagues.


16 responses to “Christmas Gift Idea 3 – Cire Trudon – Scented Candles

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  7. Jordan, What do you think of those holiday candles offered from the companies that produce cleaning products and air fresheners under the brand names of Glade, Febreze, Renuzit among others. Are they even worth it?

    • I say no, no, no, no way. The making of scented candles is an art. There is mostly dreck on the market, especially from the mass-market brands you mention. The trick is to buy an expensive one once you have figured out which expensive ones are actually of the scented quality that a nose like yours will be delighted by. I did not want to go down the candle route and did so reluctantly after a year’s research. I limit myself to two Cire Trudon candles a year but they never last as when they are in-situ I burn them for an hour or two of an evening the minute I arrive home. I like Portia’s advice to Perfumistas on perfume acquisition: “work out an affordable monthly budget and stick to it“.

      Of course as mentioned above you need not light them at all and still enjoy the scent as it rises from the wax even at room temperature. For this delight you would keep the candle near to your armchair or on your writing desk. A lot of people keep these candles on a window sill and never light them at all. Strange but true and you are not left bereft with just an empty though eye-pleasing vessel. This also makes for a handsome room feature if you have a row of them.

      The other selection method is to wait until you are somewhere where a scented candle scent surprises and delights you; then ask the person or the establishment what the candle is and go from there.

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