Walsh Reviews: Candles, Nature's Scent-ual Treasures

By Killian Walsh '14

There are few things I enjoy in this world as much as pleasing scents. Free burrito day at Chipotle is a top competitor, as are surprise presents and movies with Gerard Butler in them, but none compare to the overwhelming ecstasy of a freshly-lit Yankee Candle as it transports you to a world of cinnamon sticks and apple slices. It made sense for me to take this obsession and channel it somewhere productive: namely, this lil’ nook of the BFP. As a disclaimer, I should point out that it is against school policy to have candles in your room, and I want to assure any concerned parties that I did all of my candle reviewing in the idyllic confines of the natural world--that is to say outside and with complete attention to the open flame (as all candle experiences ought to be had). This week’s candle of note is the Fresh Cotton scent from the Wal-Mart Mainstays Collection.

Photo by Killian Walsh '14

Photo by Killian Walsh '14

The first thing you notice about this candle is its color: white. A simple, traditional tone that won’t intimidate a first time candle user, while still managing to woo the veteran candleier. As the candle burns, this color does not dissipate, it does not reduce itself to some foreign milky substance that both repels and disgusts, but retains the wholesome and solid quality with which it was first lit. Sometimes the smoke sullies the glass container, though. That’s not so nice.

More importantly, though, the smell of this candle is entirely welcoming. It contains familiar accents that will evoke within you strong feelings of euphoria. At times it seems as though the smell is like that of vanilla, a creamy sweetness both light and rich, but deeper inhalations reveal the subtleties of the candle and the multitudes to be found within it. It’s as refreshing as that first spritz of Febreeze without ever becoming overbearing or sour. You may find yourself comparing it to that waft of warm air after opening the dryer--thus explaining the name, Fresh Cotton.

One complaint to be made about the candle is that it does not burn particularly bright when compared to other, similar candles. Now, this could be on account of the fact that I lit it in full daylight around noon, but the test of a true candle is to shine brightly no matter where it is. Here is the Mainstay candle’s greatest fault: whatever benefit is gotten through an affordably-priced candle, the quality of wick and wax decrease directly. There is no excuse for substandard wickery, and even less of a reason for low quality wax, no matter how well-smelling it may be.

Overall the Fresh Cotton candle is a solid investment. As was said before, if you are new to the world of candles this is a good place for you to start. Think of it as the training wheels for what will undoubtedly become a lifelong excursion into the finer points of scented wax. This candle takes very little commitment, and the returns on your investment are quite strong. You likely won’t find the smell overpowering, and the sheer simplicity prevents the user from becoming intimidated by the candle’s grandeur. In a world of deviously complex Glade Plug-Ins, the Fresh Cotton Mainstays Candle is a sorely needed return to the essentials.

Overall Rating: Exceptionally Decent   

Malia Guyer-Stevens