The Allure Of The Incredibly Expensive Candle

During my trip to Paris in 2014, I popped into an opulent little shop on the Rue de Seine named Cire Trudon. Dark and moody, this little boutique’s walls were covered in rich black and gold wallpaper and displays made of black, lacquered wood.  I stared in awe as the sales associate greeted me in the typical “laissez-faire” French attitude.

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The Cire Trudon boutique in Paris. Source: Pinterest

I walked over to a table displaying several Cire Trudon candles covered in clochettes and thought to myself “I don’t care how much these candles cost, I’m not walking out of here without one.”  I picked up the clochette containing the Ottoman candle and swooned as I inhaled its seriously intoxicating scent. To my amateur nose, it brought me back to being a little kid dragged to church by my mom each Sunday. As much as I hated that, I did love the comforting scents of incense, wood and old books.

I went weak in the knees inhaling Ottoman’s heady aromas of clove, cinnamon and Turkish rose, with base notes of tobacco, leather and patchouli. It was right up my alley.  What wasn’t right up my alley was the insane price – the other thing that literally made me weak in the knees, as I clutched the candle table as the sales associate informed me that the candle cost €80. Eighty euros. EIGHTY FREAKING EUROS.  That translates today to $123.33 CAD. I couldn’t do it. I composed myself and headed back to the café where my husband waited for me with a huge look of relief on his face that I wasn’t carrying an additional shopping bag.

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Source: Pinterest

So, why would these candles cost the same as a week’s worth of groceries? Let’s look into that.

Claude Trudon acquired his boutique on rue St. Honoré in 1643, 373 years ago. Back then, it was a grocer and candle store. During the reign of Louis XIV, his candle manufacturing company took off creating him a fortune.  Mr. Trudon used a labor-intensive technique to create his candles, harvesting beeswax from hives, then washing, filtering and exposing it to sunlight to create the whitest, purest wax possible. His candles were used to light cathedrals and such beautiful places as Versailles, and their use continued through the French Revolution.  Cire Trudon candles were also used to illuminate the Imperial Court during Napoleon’s Coronation in 1804.

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Good ol’ Napoleon crowning himself, because he’d have no one having power over him, not even the Church.

Cire Trudon was so revered, that the company survived the arrival of electricity and was awarded with a gold medal at France’s World Fair in 1889.

Up to present day, these candles are still dripped and made by hand, and the company employs perfumers to make each of its patented fragrances. I guess it’s safe to say they’ve earned their price.

Other candlemakers such as Diptyque may not boast such impressive histories, but still command high prices. What makes someone pay upwards of $100 for a simple candle? I assume the same thing that drives people to spend $2000 on a handbag, $1000 on shoes or $500 for a simple sterling silver Tiffany & Co. pinky ring: status.

diptyque-1 bpcm

Rows of Diptyque pretties, including some of which I own: Roses, Freesia and Amber. Source: www.bcpm.com

I got sucked into the pricey candle phenomenon with my little obsession with Diptyque. I like to think it’s their original, intoxicating fragrances such as Feu de bois (my favourite) or Patchouli, a close runner up. I am not a fan of sugary sweet scents by the likes of Bath & Body Works (B&BW) or Yankee Candle Company but I much prefer their pricing. I have noticed that B&BW has started offering more sophisticated choices such as Fireside (which I bought two of). Maybe my dreams will be realized one day and Diptyque will have a Buy 3, Get 3 Free sale one day. Hey – you never know…

The Allure Of The Incredibly Expensive Candle | www.styledomination.com

New Yorkers lined up for the 2013 Diptyque sample sale. Candles were up for grabs at the bargain basement prices of $15 – $35. Source: New York Racked

Will I stop lusting after an $80 candle that works the same as a $4 option from Pier One? No. I just can’t help myself! These pricey options smell just too wonderful and you only live once, right? YOLO!!!

Are any of you obsessed with Diptyque, Cire Trudon or any other fancy candles? What are your favourites? I’m currently eyeing Ladurée’s Lavender Candle, but I’m thinking that the $72 cost is better spent on something I really need, like a trip to Shoppers Anonymous.

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39 Comments

  1. February 8, 2016 / 9:04 am

    I love candles and often spend a lot on them. I love the Jo Malone Pomegranate Noir wish I can buy that, it’s quite expensive. Thanks for sharing your post on the Blog Engagement FB group

    Debs x

    • February 8, 2016 / 11:01 am

      Hi Debs! Finally – someone who understands! LOL! I love Jo Malone…I have yet to add one of her candles to my collection. Have you seen the huge 3-wick candles she offers? I think they are about $500! LOL! Anyways, they are a little luxury. It beats spending $800 on shoes! Take care! xox

  2. February 8, 2016 / 9:32 am

    Luckily, I love wax melts, which tend to make a heck of a lot cheaper than tradition candles. But I understand the allure. I think it being that expensive, and knowing you won’t ever buy it, makes you want it that much more.

    • February 8, 2016 / 10:54 am

      Exactly! I’m just happy that Diptyque has much cheaper mini versions. Also, a lot of independent boutiques in my city make great, high quality candles at the fraction of Diptyque and Cire Trudon prices. Thanks for stopping by! xo

  3. February 8, 2016 / 10:00 am

    I have a print of that David painting right over my desk–love that painting!

    • February 8, 2016 / 10:53 am

      It’s beautiful, isn’t it? Got to see it firsthand in Paris.

  4. February 8, 2016 / 10:14 am

    The truth is that after menopause, I lost my ability to tolerate most fragrances–except vanilla and fruit. So I usually don’t have to worry about my candle bill as i can buy the “less sophisticated” scents. In fact, that’s all I can tolerate!

    • February 8, 2016 / 10:48 am

      Oh no! That’s too bad! At least there was an upside, right? Saving money! Thanks for reading! xo

  5. February 8, 2016 / 10:22 am

    I’ve always loved candles, and lately we seem to really be using them everywhere, all the time throughout the house; but, for something that I see as only a temporary gratification, I tend to balk at anything over $10, only because I know it’s not going to last. Ikea are my favs because they not only come in the glass container, but barely cost $5!! Some things I will spend ridiculous amounts of money on…but, I guess candles just aren’t one of those things.

    • February 8, 2016 / 10:47 am

      I like those IKEA candles, especially the vanilla ones! Their containers make great makeup brush containers too! These pricey candles I usually treat myself to with the help of gift cards I get at Christmas – lol! Whatever makes the cost a little easier!

  6. February 8, 2016 / 10:50 am

    Wow, I had no idea that these candles even exist! Thank you for writing about them, it sounds like they smell wonderful!

    • February 8, 2016 / 12:35 pm

      I have to say, Sara…they truly smell wonderful. Different, rich and classic. If you can find them, whiff away! I find them very hard to locate in N. America….

  7. February 8, 2016 / 10:59 am

    I never could spend that much money on a candle, but reading your post makes me understand why they can be expensive!!!

    • February 8, 2016 / 12:36 pm

      I wish someone could just *give* me a whole bunch of them. LOLOLOL! Hope you are well, luv!

  8. February 8, 2016 / 2:15 pm

    I never understood the appeal of expensive candles but some of the Diptyque ones smell amazing and the decoration is so chic for pictures that I do see the appeal. 🙂

    • February 8, 2016 / 3:00 pm

      The candle prices are indeed ridiculous. I better way to spend your money, I feel, is on the Diptyque perfume…most of which is lovely. Thanks for reading! xoxo

  9. February 8, 2016 / 2:22 pm

    I love the look of that store. I should stop in someday

    • February 8, 2016 / 2:59 pm

      It’s really beautiful and smells even better. Have fun! xo

  10. February 8, 2016 / 2:33 pm

    Wow, I had no idea that done candles can be so expensive. I would never splash out on something so costly but can understand why they appeal to some people.

  11. February 8, 2016 / 3:16 pm

    These candles smell heavenly, but I haven’t been able to spend money on the candles. Not even a Jo Malone candle! I only buy 4 specific scents from Yankee Candle because they aren’t intense and sweet and I only buy them when they have the buy 2 get 2/buy 4 get 4 sale. $72 is better than $80 😉

    • February 8, 2016 / 5:26 pm

      I’m with you. I remember going to a Yankee Candle outlet in New Hampshire and absolutely loading up on lemon-scented candles and some candle called “Morning Shower” or something because it smelled like fabric softener! LOL! It smelled wonderful. The candles were soooo cheap at the outlet store compared to what they are priced at up here in Canada. Other than those soft, fresh scents, I cannot deal with anything that smells like fake cookies, cupcakes or caramel. No thanks. Thank you for stopping by!

  12. Patti
    February 8, 2016 / 8:46 pm

    Thank you for a great article. I love scented candles and pick them up whenever I can. I find pier 1 candles burn down very fast so I guess you get what you pay for. Yankee candles scents a soooo basic, the only ones I’ve liked are cinnamon at Christmas and their Jasmine. I really like the Crabtree and Evelyn Noel scent at Christmas, it’s lovely. Someday I hope I can treat myself to an expensive candle, but other priorities – handbags, shoes – always win out. Lol.

    • February 8, 2016 / 9:13 pm

      Haha! Patti – a woman after my own heart. I have several candles from Pier One, all disappointments. I usually save up gift cards and treat myself to a nice candle every now and then, or I’ll splurge on an $80 candle instead of those pricey shoes calling my name. Thank you so much for reading! xoxo

  13. February 8, 2016 / 9:16 pm

    I love candles but try to reign in the cost. Some of them are seriously OTT! Years ago I was gifted a Diptyque candle so that was lovely while it lasted! Great article 🙂

    • February 11, 2016 / 11:25 am

      Thanks Bree! It’s crazy, isn’t it!? Sigh. Mental note: start incredibly expensive candle company because apparently, people will pay anything for anything. xo

  14. February 9, 2016 / 9:53 am

    I love all candles. They lift my mood. But not sure I could do these!!! I enjoyed reading.

  15. February 10, 2016 / 11:46 am

    Great post as always xox

  16. February 11, 2016 / 4:03 pm

    Aaaaahaaaa! I’ve been wondering about this candle for so long as I keep seeing it anywhere and had no idea what it was. I totally get you though, simply stupid to pay 80 for a candle but I also really want one – simply because YOLO 😀

    • February 14, 2016 / 11:01 am

      Do it. Buy it!!! I will to! Lol! Exactly – YOLO. I just think to myself “I’ve spent more on dumber stuff”. Lol!

  17. February 12, 2016 / 7:59 am

    Ahhh, they sounded amazing. But I would have had to pass. I can dream for the day though right?

  18. February 15, 2016 / 11:20 pm

    I’ve always wondered about Diptyque (not carried here in my little mountain town, so unfortunately I can’t even sniff!).

    Have you ever tried some of the Archipelago scents? A few are a little cloying in terms of sweetness, but many have that complexity I think you’d appreciate — especially some of the more herbal botanicals. And they’re affordable.

    I’ve never had the pleasure of smelling it, but they do carry a Bergamot Tobacco candle … I can’t help but be a little intrigued. 🙂

    • February 17, 2016 / 4:51 pm

      Bergamot Tobacco??? That is straight up my alley! Yes – I’ve heard of Archipelago, but I haven’t been lucky enough to give them a whiff. I really love my heavy, spicy, complex scents and always hated the sugary smelling stuff…until someone gave me a vanilla lemon scented candle that smelled like heaven. Wow. Thanks for the suggestion! xoxo Oh and Diptyque is lovely. All of the candles smell wonderful…I just wish they didn’t break the bank. Sigh.

      • February 17, 2016 / 9:29 pm

        Next time I’m in a bigger city, I’ll find some just for a good whiff. 🙂

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