Spring Candle Review: Ellis, Verb

The latest spring edition of The Hairpin’s popular candle column.

When I began the Hairpin’s popular candle review series “Candle Reviews” in early the autumn of 2016, I offered this as a reason: “Candles aren’t really a summer thing because in the summer your windows are open and open windows let out the candle scent. … But now it’s gonna be candle time.” I don’t want to say that this isn’t true, but I am now willing to tell you that I began the series at that time not exclusively because fall and winter are the only seasons during which one might want to use a candle in her home, but, instead, because: that is when I had the idea.

I hope this doesn’t ruin the illusion for you as a reader.

Candles are still good in the springtime and the summertime. It’s true that they’re less necessary for happiness, and it’s true that fall and winter candles are my favorite, personally, and it’s true that mostly I just want to smell a church or a fire, but it’s still nice to have a good scent going while the sun is shining and you’re warm. It’s really nice. I love good scents. It’s important to experience a nice thing, especially if you can figure out some way to get it for free like by beginning a candle column on a website. Or maybe you can have sex with someone for it?

My spring candle review series happened as a result of the former.

The first candle we’ll discuss is the “Verb” candle from New York Times columnist Bee Shapiro’s fragrance and skincare line Ellis. This is how the Ellis website describes it:

“A dynamic scent inspired by the frank, action-oriented prose of American authors from Ernest Hemingway to Kurt Vonnegut, masters of transmitting emotion without over-adornment. The Verb fragrance bursts forth with fresh notes of bergamot, mandarin and basil before layering on complexity by way of cedarwood and skin musks — at once addictive and enlivening.”

Damn, that candle sounds good as fuck, also it sounds like a book!!!!!!!!!!

— But, as Vonnegut would say, “is it?” Let’s see.

DOES IT HAVE A GOOD SMELL?

Yes. This is the “notes profile” from the Ellis website:

Top: Mandarin, bergamot, dragon fruit
Mid: Wild orchid, basil, peony
Dry: Cedarwood, skin musks

My personal reaction to those notes is: yes, yes, not sure, not sure, yes, yes, yes, …what? And together they make a delightful candle. Light and fresh. Not too sweet. Not like any one scent in particular, though the bergamot does come through the most. It’s interesting. Good for when it’s bright and you don’t feel very depressed.

IS IT A SPRING CANDLE?

Yes! DO NOT use this candle in the winter unless you’d like to. Open your windows to the warm spring air and let the scent linger around your apartment in a chill way, you’ll enjoy it.

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?

This candle costs $60. I know some may scoff at a $60 candle but I do not because as a candle expert I know for sure how much you’re supposed to spend on candles, and that is: an unjustifiable amount.

IS IT WORTH $60?

It’s a better-than-normal candle. There are essentially four tiers of scented candles, if you ask me, which you didn’t, but you do have to admit that in some ways you did because you read this review until now. The tiers are: bad candles, fine candles, better than fine candles, and good candles. Bad candles are for buying only in a scent emergency (~$2 — $4). Fine candles are for buying to light when you clean your apartment or want to have a non-food smell an hour after cooking dinner (~$10 — $20). Better than fine candles are for when you want something a little better but also something you won’t feel like you have to burn sparingly (~$20 — $45). Good candles are for buying when you want a treat to which you plan on paying attention (~$45 — $100). I’m not sure you should be buying much more than a $100 candle but of course I would accept one as a gift. :)

This Ellis candle is a “good candle.” Is it worth $60, in terms of candle dollars? Hmm. You know, it’s hard. $60 is a lot of candle dollars. But it’s certainly worth, in terms of candle dollars, something in the $40 — $60 range. I give its price an “OK.”

WHAT IS THE BURN TIME?

The burn time is 50–60 hours. Sometimes I feel like burn times are just shitty rude lies, but I’ve been burning this one a lot it seems correct. It burns pretty slowly. However —

IS THERE SOMETHING YOU DON’T LIKE ABOUT THIS CANDLE THAT YOU FEEL BAD ABOUT MENTIONING?

Oh, I do wish this hadn’t been brought up, but yes. I received three Ellis candles — “Verb,” “Pseudonym,” “and “Fable” — and, though I enjoy all of the scents (though “Pseudonym” is a little peppery for my taste) (I like “Fable”), I had the same problem with each of them. The wick is too short and sort of drowns when the wax melts. I’m sorry!!!!!!!!!!! This causes the candle to burn more slowly because the flame has to fight to exist, it’s true, but that means the candle isn’t really burning very much and there is less scent and it’s hard to get an even burn.

DO YOU WISH IT WEREN’T SO, AND YOU DIDN’T HAVE TO SAY IT, BUT IT IS SO, AND YOU DO?

Yes.

DO YOU FEEL GUILTY?

Yes.

BUT WOULD YOU HAVE FELT GUILTY NOT MENTIONING IT ALSO?

Yes.

MAYBE IT’S JUST A THING WITH THE THREE CANDLES YOU GOT AND THE REST HAVE LONGER WICKS?

Maybe!

DOES THE CANDLE LOOK NICE?

Yes, it is very beautiful. It has a little lion or something on there. It’s nice. Good for if you want to Instagram a candle to show you are having a relaxing day.

IS IT HEAVY?

Yes, it has a nice weight. I just picked it up.

WOULD YOU RECOMMEND THIS CANDLE TO A FRIEND:

I would if I knew they could afford it. Otherwise I’d keep my mouth shut because I don’t want to put monetary pressure on friends.

SCORE:

  • Six checks
  • Three sad faces
  • One happy face
  • One OK
  • One #sunday
  • One good friend

Pretty good!

Previous candle reviews: