Mixin’ it up

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Inspired by a conversation with Kari, one of the sweet Yankee Candle Sisters, I’m showing off some mixology I’ve been melting this month. My endless stash of Yankee Candle tarts have nearly been forgotten since discovering vendor wax, but what else is a girl to do when she’s on a wax ban and isn’t sure when her customs and pre-orders are arriving? She returns to her wax roots, in my case, Yankee Candle. Kari mentioned experimenting with mostly bakery blends, while I gravitate to the fresher end of the spectrum. I aimed to challenge myself with a few and am mostly happy with the results.

Fails: Of course, not every combo is a winner.

Coconut Beach + Coastal Breeze

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I wish I’d tried Coconut Beach before mixing to judge it’s throw, combined with this, I only got a hint of perfumed coconut. The Coastal Breeze was a little old and may have lost it’s aroma, making this combo as pale in scent as it looked. My hoped for combo of Salty sea air/Coconut was a dud.

Black Sand Beach+Oceanside=Midnight Beach (Did I mention I love naming my creations?)

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I enjoy both of these especially having a patchouli heavy summer option with an added driftwood note in Black Sand Beach. This combo failed because the BSB simply overpowered my beloved Oceanside. Though, a watery marine note did enhance the patchouli, there wasn’t enough of a balance to be a proper mix. I think I’ll take the remaining half of Oceanside and mix with the leftover Coconut Beach and see what happens instead.

Successes:

Macintosh+Juicy Peach=Summer Jam. Inspired by Yankee’s retired MacIntosh & Peach candle which I never got a chance to try.

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Macintosh is a most beloved scent but doesn’t do anything for me on it’s own. Mixed with a summer fruit, it creates a punch of tart tangy apple and golden sweet peaches. Sugary, but not overly so, the combo becomes reminiscent of a fruit jam. It is a winner. Unfortunately, I don’t think Yankee offers a straight peach scent in their current lineup, but I believe this would also work with Mango Peach Salsa. I love this enough to get the candle if it ever makes a return appearance.

Lavender Vanilla+Stormwatch=The Calm before the Storm

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I’m not sure how often I’d mix these two but the lavender brought out the floral note in Stormwatch and the rich vanilla softened it’s somewhat soapy aspect. As they’re both singly wonderful I was surprised to find they were improved upon when combined. The result is a strong fresh floral perfume.

Dreamy Summer Nights+Golden Sands+Beachwood=I dream of summer

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Beach Wood dominates and is enhanced by the powdery vanilla of DSN and cool musk of Golden Sands. The GS is honestly too subtle and gets lost, but the triple blend makes for a more exciting beach fragrance as I’ve always found the woody note to be on the bland side. A soft, soothing blend for a cool summer night.

Peach Cobbler+White Gardenia=Southern Charm*

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Here’s an example of two scents I wouldn’t melt in wax on their own, the gardenia being too strong of a floral and the cobbler too sweet of a bakery fragrance. However, put together the combo is a revelation. Intoxicating gardenia blossoms become toned down by the syrupy nectar of brown sugar, peach juice and crumbly crust. This would make a stunning perfume or body mist.

*I’ve had success melting votives in my Yankee Scenterpiece warmer, but when using tarts, which have harder wax, it takes much longer to liquefy. I recommend using a few small bite-size tart pieces, but votives are better yet.

Fresh Mint+Juicy Grapefruit=Pink Julep

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Oooh, I adore this blend. The tangy grapefruit carries an earthy tone which blended with mint leaf becomes a vibrant cocktail of mouthwatering refreshment. Sparkling citrus and crisp mint make a crowd-pleasing combo. Yankee should create this fragrance!

Granny Smith+Sugar and Spice=Granny’s Pantry

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My goal with this blend was to find a complementary scent for green apple that didn’t involve caramel. I don’t care for overly caramel scents, but am also dreaming up combos for my green-apple-scent-loving niece, who is very finicky with her preferences. She likes apple, buttercream, vanilla, marshmallow, watermelon and pumpkin. I almost grabbed my French Vanilla or Merry Marshmallow until spotting S+S. Succulent green apples are drizzled with golden butter, warm tonka bean, brown sugar and spices of nutmeg, cinnamon and cardamom. Not your standard spice mix, there is an additional toasted nutty flavor in which I can almost taste the crunchy note. I’m pleased as punch that I gave this combo a try and can’t wait to share it with her this fall.

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Now, I’ll spill a secret…I used to dream up scent combos all the time as a YC employee. We were tasked with offering a ‘complementary scent’ with customers’ candle choices and I favored matching a fragrance with a companion. I even kept scent pairing lists. It’s been fun trying out some ideas with the stash I have, not quite as many as offered in store, but close. As a vendor wax customer I’m much more inspired nowadays, thanks to the innovative blends vendors are brewing up. I plan to return to my YC roots again with a festive mixology version later this year.

Do you practice mixology? Are there any appealing combos above, or some favorite blends of your own? Nothing’s too far out there for me to pair up.

Scentsy spring/summer haul

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A good friend hosted an online Scentsy sale in April and naturally I picked out a few spring/summer offerings. One from the new 2017 line-up, three new-to-me scents and one repeat buy. If I sound slightly surprised below about how these turned out, that’s because I am. I’ve sampled Scentsy many times and bought a couple clams occasionally, but with the exception of Hemingway, I’ve liked few and have never been wowed by any.

Needing to narrow down my selection from the dizzying number of options on the website, I answered a fun little preference quiz designed to help customers do just that. The results assigned my preference as green scents, which suits me fine as it’s my favorite color.

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The first fragrance to jump out at me was, Lime & Sugarcane-Lime and sugarcane cooled by an accord of frozen mint.

I may not be the biggest bakery fan, but I’m secretly crazy about sugar blends. Sugar milk, sugared lavender, rainforest sugarcane, pink sugar, blue sugar, there’s truly no wrong way to take it in for me. I predicted that lime sugar would be no different and I was right.

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This is not a margarita style without salt crystals or booze to it, but a rather unexpected and authentic smelling blend. Mounds of freshly grated lime zest, muddled with sugary syrup punched up ever so slightly by sprigs of fresh spearmint serve up a mojito vibe. One cube was all that was needed for strong throw throughout one level for about 4-5 hours.

White Tea & Cactus-A clean, crisp, and refreshing floral mix with green notes.

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I love tea blends, especially without the cakes or lemon, but I’m learning tea fragrance varies widely. I don’t understand White Tea and Cactus at all, because I prefer my tea scents to smell of tea. Not a single tea leaf present, but what comes through is a watery floral, pear and then cucumber?

Even if there was a little Bath and Body Work’s Baja Cactus Blossom, I’d be happy, but I don’t think this is a dupe. The floral is a generic white flower, possibly jasmine, with a strong herbaceous lean. If it’s sage leaf, it’s reason enough for my nose to reject it. I’ve never melted a scent that was curiously sharp but bland at the same time, however, this achieved it.

When perusing the website, I couldn’t stick with only green types, so I ventured over to my beloved fresh scents and gathered those into my basket too.

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Dark Harbor-A romantic, exotic fragrance of kaffir lime and blue-green mint with notes of watery ocean lavender and mysterious amber.

A-hoy, do I like this. If this be the scent of a port where pirates smuggle their booty under the cover of night, then I’d set sail there any day. And what precious cargo is found within the ship’s holds? Barrels of cologne, by the smell of it, the good stuff.

Sinus-clearing at first, but when the alcohol burns off after a minute or two, deep pools of marine notes remain. DH develops a lush rainforest essence that had me sticking my face right up to the wax pool to breathe deeply. No citrus from the kaffir lime, just serene waters. Not overly strong, I’d recommend 2 cubes and would repurchase.

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Coconut Cotton-Sun-warmed cotton, creamy coconut milk, bright citrus, and white sandalwood transport you to a cabana on a tropical beach. 

This smells more poolside than beach cabana due to the astringency of the cotton. Freshly laundered pool towels softened and sweetened by an ultra rich pina colada makes a well-balanced cocktail for summer days. I love this combination with a tiny squeeze of lemon, although I adore nearly any appearance of coconuts. 2 cubes recommended.

Bonfire Beach– Toasted marshmallow smoldering over white flint and sandalwood harmonize with salty sea air and ocean spray.

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A repeat purchase after picking one up at a vendor show last year. Mallow is one fragrance type where I enjoy a liquer note and this has it.

Crackling firewood lures as the marshmallows roast into carmelized sugar sublimity. Smoky embers rise and mix with a gentle hazy ocean breeze as a bottle of spirits is passed around for a glug of warmth. The sandalwood is noticeable and adds to a complexity rarely found in a marshmallow scent.

One cube threw strongly in my bedroom* and filtered through to the living room. The performance was also rare for a marshmallow. *Melted this in my wall plug-in Scentsy warmer, which is nearly useless for vendor wax, but gives the best results for Scentsy cubes.

Overall pleasantly surprised with my order of much needed summer fragrance. Do you have any Scentsy favorites? What category type might you be sorted into? Any special plans for the weekend? I’m headed to explore some gorgeous gardens.

Mini melting series-Christmas Thyme

The finale of the four in-store festive collection scents is Christmas Thyme. This punny scent is not alcohol or beverage related, so it’s a bit of an outlier to the collection, in more ways than one. Upon smelling this one in store, my initial reaction was; ooh! that’s nice, but then I thought, wait why is this a Christmas scent?

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A knowledgeable friend informed me that when lemon is combined with certain herbs, it creates the effect of a pine smell. I think that may be what Yankee was going for with this. It’s pretty far off from a true pine though. The lemon thyme herb is actually perennial and evergreen in certain climates, but it would be a stretch to call it a winter herb. So where did the idea behind this scent come from?

Fragrance: “Uplifting thyme and lemongrass mingle with heady sandalwood and musk in this festive holiday celebration.” Maybe it could be considered festive in the way herbs were historically used during the winter months to season foods when fresh produce wasn’t available? Thyme also has a history of medicinal and ornamental use, two aspects of the holidays likely to occur-decorating a tree and catching a cold. I don’t really know the reason, but I know what I like and this is indeed a unique blend that I prefer and that Yankee Candle executes so well. Fragrance Notes:

  • Top: Lemongrass, Thyme, Orange
  • Mid: Violet, Verbena
  • Bottom: Sandalwood, Patchouli, Musk

The lemongrass is sharp, but not obtrusive in a lemon cleaner way. It’s crisp, fresh and by far the dominant note. After the vibrant lemongrass dissipates, a mellower green note glides in, softening into a lovely botanical aroma.

Performance: Hits that sweet spot between not too strong, which can go wrong in a lemony scent, and not too soft. The scent radius wafts through a medium room and really picks up within a few feet. The natural intensity of the fragrant oils of lemongrass and thyme make it a dynamite thrower.

Recommendation: I love this herbaceous beauty! Of course, it’s in stores for a limited time because its a seasonal release, but that means it will be at least half off during the semi-sale. I can see myself stocking up on this for a few reasons. First of all, it would be a perfect spring cleaning melt or post holiday refresher. I’m still a seasonal melter most of the year and this just doesn’t exude a Christmasy essence, except for the packaging.  Another reason I might want to buy in multiples is because I’m afraid it won’t make it back to stores again. Unlike the other scents in this year’s festive collection, Christmas Thyme doesn’t contain crowd pleasing fruity or bakery appeal. I predict it will be a love it or hate it type.

There are two other new fragrances in the festive release, Spiced White Cocoa and Shimmering Pine , but they’re online only scents (a concept that always confuses me when it comes to a candle store.) Yankee also released a limited edition Christmas Cookie Swap collection (in easy melt cups too!) that I’m sure I’ll try out. I don’t forsee getting any large candles in these scents, however, at least not until the semi-annual sale after Christmas.

Which scents are your traditional holiday go-tos? Any newness you must have? Let me know!

-jaybird

 

Fall Fun-Favorite Item

If upon viewing my fall decor tour you surmised that my favorite fall items would be owls, you wouldn’t be too far off. Only, with a couple exceptions for outdoor items and an owl lantern, I keep my owls up year-round; they aren’t really fall-specific to me. What I do look forward to getting out this time of year are my plaids. I am a plaid flannel shirt addict!

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Look at these variegated beauties. My plaid shirt collection, I’m sure I’ll add at least one more this season.

Worn over-sized with leggings and sneakers or tied up at the waist with skinny jeans and boots, plaid button-down shirts are my non-work fall uniform. If I thought that I could pull it off I’d wear checked or gingham plaid from head to toe, well maybe from scarf to shoes, anyway. From attending football games, to passing out candy to trick-or-treaters, nothing keeps me as comfy, cozy and ready for fall as plaid flannels.

My love for plaid patterns extends to nearly every color palette and style, not just clothing. From Ralph Lauren style tartan decor to rustic lodge blankets, in my eyes everything’s more rad when it’s plaid.

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This Architectural Digest featured dressing room is my dream; however it looks so cozy that I’d never want to get dressed.

Naturally, some plaid sneaked into my home decor as well. Copper metallic with plaid accents equals just right for my home. Yankee Candle’s illumilid and votive holder are part of the 2016 Copper Plaid collection.

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Pumpkins and plaid, what could be better?

If there was a candle, or fragrance representation of my fave fall item, it would have to be Flannel by Bath and Body Works. It evokes that same cozy vibe that wearing my soft shirts brings.

Fragrance: Crisp Autumn Air, Bergamot, Heirloom Mahogany, Soft Musk. All of these notes combine for a fresh scent lover’s dream. Slight masculinity to the nose due to the resinous mahogany but the crisp ozonic tone makes it outdoorsy and there is a sweetness in conjunction with the softness that just radiates coziness.

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Performance: Haven’t had a chance to fully enjoy this candle yet, I just exchanged it for Spiced Pomegranate Cider, which was too sweet for my taste. I waited for a sale because of BBW’s exchange policy in which you get the lowest recorded price for an item without receipt, or with receipt if purchased on sale! Yankee’s policy is more forgiving and much superior, to me. I can tell this will be a good thrower; however, as I’ve moved it downstairs and it’s already doing well.

I will update this post when I get a good chunk of time to cozy up with my Flannel scent, while wearing my flannel shirts!

**Update: A 3 hour initial burn and the Flannel candle fragranced my upstairs, my downstairs and probably my neighbors’ house too. I’m not sure if I’d repurchase yet, but I got a great bang for my buck and it’s currently on sale!

What are the other Fall Fun ladies up to?

Amanda at ThriftyPolished
Jaybird at The Candle Enthusiast
Lauren at LoloLovesScents
Liz at Furianne
Sandra at Finger Candy
Stephanie at Imperfectly Painted
Sunnee at Our Sunny Life.
-jaybird

 

 

Mountain Lake

Small confession time- A couple of months ago, I posted here that I only had approximately 48 candles, in which case I didn’t consider myself to be a hoarder.  I determined this number by figuring I had 2 candle crates for each season with 6 candles in each crate, so 12 candles times 4 seasons is….apparently a gross underestimate of the candles that I actually own! Neglecting the 10 or so around my upstairs level alone and completely forgetting about a basket of 16 small tumblers I had nestled away, a few more here and there, oh, and counting the bathroom, it’s: 103.  I own a combination of small, medium, large, holiday and everyday candles totaling 103!  So now that we’re all aware of this appalling number, let’s move on!

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Loving that pristine lake photo label and serene periwinkle blue wax pool

The hardest piece for a candle hoard- ahem…collector to resist, is a long sought after candle that is re-released from retirement, or found while searching the secondary market.  I try to stay away from the price-gouged retired candles listed on ebay, the shipping cost alone can be ridiculous.  I will indulge in some hard-to-find wax tarts occasionally, though.

My fellow Yankee Candle collectors and I are always on the lookout for these retired gems to be brought back into the store rotation.  These former scents, previously known as “treasures” but for some reason are now being called, “returning favorites-limited time,” were yanked from the lineup for one reason or another.  Those deemed popular enough are given a brief, albeit glorious, limited seasonal run in the large jar format, only.  One never knows how long they will last in store, or if they will ever be seen again.  And a bonus is that they continue to feature the larger labels, prior to the updated version.  Collector’s gold, right?

How I wish that was true for the Mountain Lake treasure that I was so excited to try.  After ogling this retired candle on scent lists for years, and recently experiencing it, I’m not sure why they bothered to bring it back.

Fragrance: Sniffing the lid, one gets a smooth, masculine acqua di gio type scent.  Although I like the cologne, it can be overwhelming in wax, this smells more like an acqua di gio soap rather than the powerful cologne aroma.  Fresh and sensual; so far, so good.

Top notes are: ozone (a favorite) and bergamot; middle notes contain some strong florals: violets, lily of the valley, pine, lavender, sage; bottom notes of: amber, musk, sandalwood and cedar; again, pretty good stuff.

Performance: First burn of 3 hours and…nothing.  I like to burn/melt twice before reviewing, so a second burn of 3.5 hours=nada, zip, zero.  I’ve had a few experiences with the large jars when I couldn’t get a throw until the third time, then wham!, there it is.  Unfortunately, not the case for Mountain Lake.

Third burn of 5 hours in my small bathroom and the only way I got anything was to wave my hands from the flame to my nose in constant motion, while hovering directly above the jar opening and burning myself.  Not ideal.  How is it a candle with such a great cold throw can provide no scent on warm, I’ll never know!

Recommendation: I’ve gotten more scent throw from an UNSCENTED candle, so nope.  I can’t recommend this one.  I just wish I hadn’t given it so many chances, or else I would exchange it at the store (I’ve only returned a used candle once and it was because the scent was too strong, also, it was Sage and Citrus, yuck).

Ah well, when you have 103 candles one of them is bound to be a dud.  Or does this make number 104, I’m not sure??  One more manly scent coming up in my monthly wrap-up and it’s a surprising favorite…

Deep Sea

 

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The closest I’m getting to the ocean this summer is a visit to a water-park.  So, in an attempt to bring the sea to me, I’m melting beachy, seaside scents this month.  Deep Sea is a bright cobalt blue candle from Yankee’s Summer 2014 Pure Radiance line.  It appealed to me because it offered a fresh ocean scent without the masculine note that’s so often in watery fragrances.

This lantern is one of my favorite Yankee Candle accessories.  I watched and waited until it was reduced to $15 during last year’s SAS.  I usually keep it on the floor in a corner, because I like the patterns of light that the metal cut-outs throw upon the walls.  It’s rather large, but it does make a pretty decorative impact on the tabletop.

Fragrance: This morning, I lit this up for the first time and headed outside.  After doing yard work in the hot sun for a couple of hours, I hoped to walk inside to a cool, watery atmosphere from the Deep Sea candle.  What I didn’t expect was to be greeted by a rose garden!  I’ve never been scuba diving, so maybe that’s what the deep sea smells like, but it was not what I expected.  Fragrance notes: top-Ozone, rosewater, palm leaf  middle– Waterlily, rose bottom– Amber, mahogany wood.  The rosewater was the most prevalent, with a tropical waterfall undertone.

 

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The wick drifting to the side of the glass!

Performance: It had some problems.  It liquefied quickly; however, after three hours of burning the throw was minimal to light.  Absolutely the lightest throw from a Pure Radiance candle I’ve tried. Another issue was the wood wick started drifting from the center after the wax pool reached about an inch deep.  I’ve heard of Yankee having a wick drifting issue with the softer soy-blend wax, but hadn’t experienced it before now.

Recommendation: A rose garden is probably a bit extreme, but Deep Sea is much more of a green floral than a marine fragrance.  It was subtle, but did create a tranquil ambience in the room. It’s a pleasant scent profile for a bathroom, but I wouldn’t get it again.

I would recommend Yankee’s new fall accessory line.  I missed this gorgeous Twilight Silhouettes tealight holder last year because it sold out.  This year it WILL be mine.  The only obstacle is whether or not I can hold off purchasing until the end of my No Buy July challenge, or have a friend buy it for me. (totally cheating, I know!) Let’s put it this way, I’m monitoring the online inventory daily;)

If you have any beachy, ocean inspired scent recommendations, or fall purchases you’re looking forward to, feel free to share in the comments!

-jaybird

 

Napa Valley Sun/Lake Sunset

20160625_202007Would you prefer watching an inspiring summer sunrise, or a relaxing summer sunset?  You really can’t lose either way, as long as you are able to see one.  Short post today, but I shall make up for that by squeezing in two reviews of classic Yankee Candles and a quick peek at the dreaded new Yankee Candle labels.

Napa Valley Sun

In honor of another June birthday, I’m featuring my big sis’s favorite Yankee: Napa Valley Sun.  You might say that my sister and I are on opposite ends of the Gemini spectrum.  She tends to go for fruity fragrances like, Orange Dreamsicle and Vanilla Lime.  I prefer fresher clean fragrances like Drift Away and Line-dried Cotton; however, this is one we can both agree on.  If Storm Watch represents me as a candle, then my sis is Napa Valley Sun.  Partly because she’s toured Napa Valley and loves it, but also because its a warm, happy scent.

Fragrance: Bright ozone recalls the sun-drenched vineyards, soft rosy florals compliment the musky middle notes, and the warmth of NVS is created by the sweet woodsy base of sandalwood vanilla and earthy patchouli.  The patchouli is really subtle here.

Performance: Lighter than a lot of other fresh Yankee candles, which is probably why this scent is underrated in my opinion.  This throw is not going to knock you back when you enter the room.  I would argue that, although it is a lovely blend, I wouldn’t want these particular notes to be too strong.  When florals or patchouli scents overpower, they can be unpleasant to be around.

If you can appreciate a light-medium strength throw and/or have a smaller space to fragrance, Napa Valley Sun is perfect.

Recommendation: If you’re not into musk, you might not like this one.  It’s a delicate and feminine version of a fresh outdoorsy scent, which makes it special (just like my big sister, awww…okay that’s enough mushy sentiment!)

NVS was introduced as part of the vineyard collection* and can be found in the “returning favorites” section.  These were formerly called “treasures” and are only offered in large jars in store.  But, the wax tarts recently became available again online, woohoo!  The tarts are a great way to experience this scent and provide a more concentrated throw.

*Yankee is relaunching a wine pairings collection in July, but I’m not sure if this scent will be offered in the filled wine goblet candles they have previewed.

Lake Sunset

2016-06-25 20.28.32Even more underrated than NVS  is one of my top-five favorites, Lake Sunset.  Part of the fall 2013 collection that just didn’t scream fall-enough to customers, Lake Sunset did not get enough love and retired in mid-2014.

Fragrance: This combines nearly every fragrance category into one dreamy, ethereal scent. On first sniff, you get fruity mango and pineapple, but not too fruity because of the ozone.  Upon lighting, powdery notes become dominant with sweet Freesia petals in the background. The heart of the fragrance is the musky woods, creamy vanilla and spicy patchouli base.

Performance: Also on the lighter side, especially in the one-wick jars.  I lit my two-wick last night and, given time, the fragrance permeated my medium sized bedroom.  This isn’t a fragrance that throws in five minutes.  It’s a slow developer, but it’s worth it.

Recommendation: Fruity, floral, fresh, woodsy, powdery and spicy.  Surely, I can’t be the only one who loves this scent? Turns out, I’m not; Lake Sunset has developed a small but fervent cult following with Yankee fandles.  If I can spread the word on just how good this scent is to those who’ve never heard of it and get them to try it, then…aye, there’s the rub.

This scent is retired and can’t be readily found.  The two-wick tumbler made a random appearance as part of the semi-sale (online only) sometime last week and was sold out before I could grab it:(  The tarts haven’t been seen since last summer and you might have to pry the few I have left out of my cold dead fists.  Although, I have seen some votives at the outlet recently, so I guess I need not be so dramatic.

My hope is that, like they have with other cult fragrances, Yankee brings Lake Sunset back, preferably in the tarts and two-wicks.  If you see those, grab ’em, or let me know, so I can get them!

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So, here’s that uninspiring new label design (*small shudder*)

This was actually the best looking one of the five new fall scents.  I received a free new tumbler with a $40 SAS purchase.  The scents are promising, but those labels are just so unappealing on the shelves next to the big, beautiful ones.  Then there’s the scrap of a label on the wax tarts, on top of blank solid color that looks like a faded version of the tart color.  Seriously Yankee, why bother?

-jaybird