Although the days are getting longer, and I can feel summer on the other side of the fence, every day around 4:30pm I remember we’ve still got a lot of night to trudge through. To say nothing of the cold, even in California.
Time for another Great Candle Burn-Off!
I picked up the Aquiesse candle at the boutique where Tish Jett spoke last December, in an attempt to be a good citizen and chip in for my invitation. The store was not my thing, shall we say, but I smelled all the candles on offer before picking this one as the best of the lot. I also chose the India Hicks candle because of a blogger connection. Patricia van Essche sells the line, here, and I want to support her.
OK so I’m a dope. I thought these were roughly price-equivalent. Picked up the Aquiesse for $50, paid $54 for India. But the Aquiesse is 11 ounces, India only 5.8. Ooops.
Packaging, Design & Materials
Look how similar the packaging, at least at first glance. Black and silver for Aquiesse,
black and gold for Madame Hicks.
But Aquiesse sports a Romanesque monogram logo, India handwriting script. Aquiesse uses a vaguely Moroccan pattern as background, Hick, beetles. Hick’s subheading says to me, “English — but not too formal to hang out on Harbour Island.” I’m going to guess Aquiesse is going for opulence, and India, casual glamor? Probably should be spelled “glamour.”
You brought issues of safety and environment to my attention last time round, so this time I checked. Both candles are 100% soy wax, and lead-free.
Both candles seem to behave themselves reasonably when on fire. No spitting of cinders, no pillars of sooty smoke. In first burning, I thought India was going to drown in her own wax, but I tilted a little out of the way and now she flames like a dream. Short wick, no sputtering, no problem. Aquiesse, which I admit to having burned much less frequently, seems to insist on a high flame, which then gutters in the draft a bit while emitting white smoke.
The Scent Itself
Here’s the thing. I love the way India’s Black Hibiscus smells. Love it. It’s earthy and fresh, with just enough sweet. Light but pervasive, as though I were burning the wood of a tropical shrub, one that dried just last week in salt and sand. I use it every day. On the other hand, I don’t like the Aquiesse much at all. Even though I sniffed it, unburned, in the store, and thought it was good. Not. Smells to me like an old-fashioned department store and laundry soap. Ooops.
I can’t tell! I have burned India’s candle just about every day since right before Christmas. It’s maybe 2/3 done. Since I don’t like the Aquiesse, I’ve lit it only 5-10 times. I know, I should be prepared to suffer for my research but I simply cannot. We’ll have to believe the manufacturers, who give the Black Orchid 100 hours, and the Hibiscus 47-50 hours.
Um, yeah. India Hicks Black Hibiscus is the clear winner, even in the face of higher price per unit of fire and scent. Again, you can find it here. Should you actually prefer the scent of department stores, the Black Orchid can be had on Amazon for less than I paid for it in the boutique that shall not be named. I was prepared for either candle to win, as one must be in Burn-Offs, but I am quite happy the champion belongs to Patricia.
Next Burn-off I’ll go back to the comments from the 2015 post and pick some of your recommendations. I’m thinking citrus, and sunny, to match the lengthening days.
Amazon affiliate links may generate commissions. I have no commercial relationship with PVE or India Hicks, those links are not monetized, the product was neither free to me nor discounted.