Ah, tea lights. I do not normally fantasise about tea lights, for such are guests' expectations of grotto-style living room mood lighting that they have become a staple purchase from the supermarket. Invariably, about three out of twenty will have an inverted wick, that you will try to dig out to no avail, before chucking the whole thing away - though not before briefly wondering if you know anyone who does the candle equivalent of composting.
No, the candles I fantasise about are all variants on the "container candle", starting with these from Molton Brown with their gorgeous boxes, which presumably act as pull out drawers with the candle inside. I love the different coloured fronts of the boxes, echoing each scent. I think I am drawn to pretty much all of them except the purple one. I always worry that purple things mean berries, and that way lies DKNY Delicious Night...
The scents range from the fairly graspable Heavenly Gingerlily (no relation to Michael Hutchence) to the downright recherche yuan zhi, naran ji and toko-yuzu (I am okay with the yuzu part). They all seem to be called "Aircandelas", by the way, which is a new one on me. Here is a description:
"This long lasting blend is encased in hand blown glass and will burn for over 80 hours. The wax is hand made in the Suffolk countryside and the glass hand blown in Lithuania."
Hmm - I wonder why the blurb puts the emphasis on "countryside", as if the hand making of wax was a bucolic pursuit like cheese making or pressing cider. Perhaps they are afraid we will think the candles were made in Ipswich. I sense that not even "hand made in Ipswich" has quite the ring the PR people are aiming for. Whereas in the case of Lithuania, the whole country sounds exotic and romantic and we wouldn't recognise the name of an Ipswich equivalent if we heard it.
Now comes the rub - these candles may last 80 hours, showing admirable staying power, always assuming the wick doesn't do its ingrowing stunt again - but at £49 a pop, they will have to remain a forlorn fantasy. You get ever so many tealights in a bag by comparison, even if they only last 4 hours each with a good wind (or rather without one).
But if you think the Molton Brown line is expensive, Jo Malone does the grandaddy of all container candles - weighing in at a colossal 2.5 KG and costing £260! I haven't inspected one close up, but I'll wager that it is "multi-wick", a term reserved for the big league of jar candles. Now, £260 would buy you eight 30ml bottles of Jo Malone fragrances! It is no contest in my opinion...
Yes, I am afraid you can keep your statement candles this Christmas. I'd rather have lots of perfume to spray on myself and a bag of tealights. I can even put up with the obligatory bit of wick digging.