Custom is a word that gets tossed around far too often. The art of creation, in any form or outlet, is a personal journey and a reflection of yourself. I was invited to take a deep sensory dive engaging all my senses (okay, not taste, that goes a little too far) at Kandl Artistique, a boutique custom candle atelier in Yorkville.
Located on a prime pocket of real estate on Avenue Road, Kandl Artistique offers a guided experience through making your very own custom candle, with seemingly countless possibilities and variables, vessels and volumes, it can seem a tad overwhelming at first. But trust in the process, and your candle counsellor to curate the journey. Louise was my sage and engaging candle expert, ushering me through this sensory tour. With freshly pressed aprons, masks, gloves and lysol wipes, I sniffed, wafted and waded into making a custom candle, and was surprised at the tidal wave of memories each aroma offered.
Starting with the base, Louise offered an array of essential oil scents, all dripped on a blotting stick for maximum hygiene, with a base, middle and top notes fanned and flaunted for efficient dispersion of scents.
“Close your eyes and you become even more intimate with the oils“, suggests Louise. And don’t discount scents that you don’t respond to immediately, quite often her client’s circle back and embrace notes that they once had rejected. The layering effect is crucial, each element can introduce a subtle influence on the various oils, it’s a playground that can invoke any mood, and it’s all in your corner to create.
Luckily, there’s no wrong answers. From smoked vanilla, lily of the valley, fresh pear, black sea salt, tobacco leaf, jasmine, aromatic herbs, cedarwood and patchouli, it’s a personalized approach, if you like it, it works. Blending in the three notes, everything is pre-measured, ensuring the overall scent is balanced and distinctly your own. Even the wicks are custom, with a database tracking what oils work best with each wick.
After selecting your aromas, you’re instructed to glue in your wick, blend and pour in the wax, and wait. An adjacent lounge offers coffees or cocktails, making this a magical moment for mother-daughter, blind dates, married couples, bachelorette parties, team building and private parties. While your candle rests and dries, you can whoop it up with your fellow candle-mates, exchanging preferences and connecting over something that isn’t a screen.
Even the labels are a work of art, with Louise printing your scripture as a reminder of this experience, or as a tag for a gift, a great idea considering the limitations of our holiday season fast approaching. If a custom candle sessions isn’t in the cards, their boutique is stocked with amazing off-the-shelf finds. While the shop opened officially in August 2018, Kandl Artistique is a family business with over 45 years under their belt, and continually supplies brands like Estee Lauder and Jonathan Adler with their blends.
A hugely popular scent is the 88 Avenue, with a distinct clean scent that reminds you of travelling to some far-off destination, I immediately recalled a stay in Amsterdam that featured a custom room scent chosen on check-in, a reminder that good-times and travels are very much on the horizon.
While science and art meet in this lab (which is the first of its kind in North America according to Louise) it’s important to take the time to soak up the scenery, stimulate your senses and remember that olfactory influences can amplify your own feelings and memories. So if you’re on the fence about what scent your sweetie loves (or loathes) perhaps a gift card for an in-person session will hit the right note instead.
All photos by Libby Roach. To find out more, or book your own sensory experience, follow @kandlartistique on Instagram and let them know Auburn Lane sent you!