We love hearing the backstory to our favourite things, and Jo Malone candles are definitely some of our favourite things. These very British candles are made in a converted dairy in rural England, but this is a very scientific process. Some facts… Creating a candle can take two years’ creative planning and development, involving intensive testing and blending. As many as 16 people will play a role in its handmade creation. No two fragrances burn in exactly the same way, waxes are custom-blended for a specific scent and then married to the perfect wick – did you know that Jo Malone London has over 400 varieties of lead-free wicks at its disposal? No, us neither!
And here’s the science part… The wick forms the heart of the candle, drawing the liquid wax up through its core. It is vital to the candle’s performance, which contains such a high percentage of fragrance. Even more so if amber, woods or citrus essences are incorporated, as these elements being harder to burn. In such cases, a wick with a different core – perhaps one that includes paper – might be selected. The flame must also consume the components of the wax at the same rate as the fragrance. If, for example, the wax was burning off faster, the amount of botanicals left in the remaining wax would increase. And the candle would go out. If the wax doesn’t burn out far enough, tunneling occurs (when a rim – and eventually a wall – of wax, develops and surrounds the centre of the candle). And testing never ceases. Even when a candle formulation has been finalised, monitoring continues because a different harvest of raw materials – a new supply of basil or bergamot – could affect this delicate balance.
The candle-making process begins with precise measuring of the quantities of fragrance to be used. Blended into slowly warmed wax, the molten mix is hand poured into individual glasses. After settling, every wick is placed centrally into the still-soft wax. Then, the candle is left to cool and crystallise. After 72 hours, the candle is flashed with intense heat, melting it to a depth of 5-10mm from the surface and the sides of the glass to ensure the top of the candle is pristine. Wicks are trimmed to 6mm, labels are applied and glass is polished before they are wrapped in cellophane and secured with the iconic black grosgrain ribbon.
We’re off home to luxuriate in our favourite Roasted Chestnut candle, handmade with love in the English countryside.
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