Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Home fragrance report: Claus Porto Alface Scented Candle

“While traveling the Silk Road between Asia and the Mediterranean, explorers ate almonds to maintain health. Thought to promote fertility, the Romans showered the bride and groom after a wedding with almonds.” (from the Claus Porto description of the Alface candle)
The almond tree (prunus dulcis) and its blossoms and fruit have had symbolic meaning for cultures in Asia (the tree’s native habitat), the Middle East and Europe. The long-lived tree represents endurance and the wish for a long life. The abundant, fragrant almond blossoms of late winter convey the promise of coming spring and proclaim the ability of the earth to renew itself. In China, white almond blossoms symbolize feminine beauty.

The almond fruit has played a part in wedding ceremonies for thousands of years: giving almonds at wedding celebrations reminds the bride and groom and their guests that marriage (and life) can be sweet and tinged with bitterness. In the U.S. and Europe, candied almonds are popular wedding favors — three almonds represent the groom, the bride, and their child-to-be, and a tiny bonbonnière of five almonds expresses the newly married couple’s wish for happiness, health, wealth, a long life and many children.

In India, almonds are brain food (eat them and get smarter).

Claus Porto's Alface almond oil fragranced candle is glorious — and more floral than foody. In addition to sweet almond essence (a fresh, milky almond aroma), you will detect powdery orange blossoms and tangy honey. If you have ever sipped almond syrup, made with sweet almond emulsion mixed with orange flower water and sugar, you’ve already had a "taste" of Alface’s perfume.

The lavishly scented Alface candle is housed in a heavy, clear glass jar that has been etched with an Art Deco design. The candle is housed in a substantial cardboard box (with a magnetized lid!) that is decorated with a vibrant green, yellow and white design from the Claus Porto archives. An interesting note: "alface" means "lettuce" in Portuguese. Though there is no "lettuce" scent in the Alface candle, the packaging design does bring to mind both a stylized field of lettuce plants, and the leafy layers of a head of lettuce, viewed from above. (Please comment if you know any other “alface”/lettuce/almond connections.)

The 10.5 oz. Alface candle is made of soy-blend wax and burns for approximately 70 hours. The burn is clean and even, and the candle’s throw is exceptional. Price: $32. Claus Porto/Lafco New York offers 14 other fragrances in its wonderfully scented, beautifully packaged and reasonably priced candle range.