Few brands have 367 years of heritage and know-how behind them, and few are lucky enough to have the skills of a talented marketer, patron of the arts and designer to support them. Cire Trudon literally gave light to the people (and royalty) and produced such high quality candles that it has survived, even flourished, in an electric world.
Cire Trudon's staying power is partially due to the quality of their wax, which is made from rice, soy and copra (coconut kernal). It burns cleanly, doesn't drip, lasts a long time, is biodegradable and is particularly well suited to carrying pigment and scent.
Ramdane Touhani has led the company since 2006, and in a few short years has created a wide range of products, a cult following, a new store in Paris and starting today their second store in the heart of NYC's Nolita neighborhood.
The NYC store is inspired by the Palace of Versaille's Hall of Mirrors. Ramdane had the mirrors made and aged in Paris, the stucco installed by a French company, the furniture made by an Amish carpenter in Pennsylvania, and the store filled with objects and curios found at the Brimfield flea market in Massachusetts (see our recent two part video series on Brimfield's dealers and collectors). Surrounded by windows, the royal blue walls and gilded mirrors give the light-filled space a Parisian feel that somehow feels completely at home in NYC.
The store features the full range of Cire Trudon's products: Brightly colored tapers in multiple sizes; scented and pillar candles; wax busts (Napoléon is a favorite); room sprays; stink bombs (small glass vials of room spray meant to be thrown on the floor in an act of scent terrorism); and plenty of gift sets.
When setting out to create the "scented, not perfumed" line of candles Ramdane looked to history, literature and art laced with a bit of wit and imagination. Scents like Carmélite (inspired by nuns moving through mossy stone corridors and their "peace of souls and eternity"), Roi Soleil (evocative of the Chateau de Versaille's wooden floors, where the company's "nose" was sent to copy the smell), and Odeur de Lune (created from the actual scientific data of moon dust, which said "nose" experienced at NASA) are unlike those you'll find anywhere else. They come in small, medium and a supersized 2.8kg (6 lb!). New for holiday is "Contes de Noël," a special box set with an illustrated book of fairy tales, a candle and room spray.
Worth noting are the glass containers used for the scented candles. Hand made in Vinci, Italy, the green tumblers are notched on the bottom. Because the candles burn cleanly the tumblers are easily reused as glassware, containers or planters.
Prices range from $20-$375. Cire Trudon will be available for sale online in December 2010. Retailers worldwide are listed on their site.
Photos by Karen Day