Smart candles with a wicked glint in their eye – meet Boujee Bougies who are going to shake up how your home smells.
The brainchild of perfumer, Pia Long, and olfactory consultant, evaluator and all round perfume guru, Nick Gilbert, along with Thomas Dunckley completing the creative team, Boujee Bougies are a brand who are not afraid to do luxury with a sense of humour. As you would expect from industry-experienced folks, the brand is slick – from website through to presentation – and the candles are high quality and special.
Named with an ironic sideways glance to camera, the Boujee Bougies range hit a nice midway point between being fun, luxurious, modern and quirky. It’s hard to immediately think of another candle brand which hits this spot quite so well.
In the short time since their launch, the Boujee Bougies brand (despite being one of the hardest brands to spell!) has been featured in The Guardian, Red, and Stylist Magazine, so based on coverage alone these candles are worth having a sniff of.
The Boujee Bougie candles are presented in simple, dark glass holders with bright stickers denoting which scent they hold. The candles come in juicy-coloured cardboard boxes and in the samples we received there was no cellophane wrapping, which was a nice touch to cut down on waste.
One of the fabulous things about the perfumery talents of Pia Long is a little ribbon of darkness that she injects into some of her compositions and this is definitely in evidence in the scents of Boujee Bougies which frequently feature a twisted little nuance to make the beauty of the composition really pop.
Listed notes: Grapefruit, magnolia, jasmine.
An absolute stunner of a candle, Hellflower is one of the strongest players in the line up and one which utilises that twist of darkness mentioned. The combination of a bold floral tone with the undercurrent of brimstone is absolutely fantastic. It’s unusual, exciting, and smells intoxicatingly good.
Inspired by an old sci-fi novel, Hellflower takes the idea of an addictive – perhaps even narcotic – alien flower and turns that into a candle fragrance. A few perfume and candle companies have played with this idea of a beautiful flower being dangerous, or even deadly, but rarely is it done as well as it is here. The flowers are bright, intense and the simmering undercurrent of sulphuric grapefruit feels both thrilling and just a little dangerous.
Listed notes: Animalic notes, leather, cedarwood.
A celebration of queer culture, Cuir Culture is another stand out of the line. The founders described it as a “leather daddy in an old library” and this apt description sums it up nicely. The leather shines beautifully in the scent and is paired with a little pipe tobacco, the fragrance of dusty old books, and even the sense of the wood of the bookcases lining the room. Purring away under all that is the warmth of animalic notes which smell inviting rather than dirty here.
Cuir Culture is a fabulous scent to burn during the colder months when you want your home to smell warm, inviting and full of antiques – both books and furniture. Of all the candles, this one feels the most complex and nuanced and it has a tension and balance in it which is worthy of a skin fragrance as well as a candle scent.
Listed notes: Rose, raspberry leaf, myrrh.
Fruity, rosey and bright, Queen Jam was inspired by a Finnish conserve and does a grand job of recreating the feeling of berries bubbling away on the stove top. This is a big scent which was almost as rosy as it was berry-filled. It’s partly tart, partly sweet, definitely luscious and decadent. Think soft fruits at the start of the summer when they have that sharpness still, but when you can taste their ripening flesh.
There’s something joyful about the fragrance of Queen Jam – it is like biting into a berry pie, or eating a spoonful of still-warm berry jam just for the hell of it. This is the sort of decadence and hedonism we can indulge in to our hearts content though.
Listed notes: Amber, labdanum, aldehydes.
Gilt is an intriguing scent which is a combination of metallic and incense. In essence it is a church scent but done a different way. The metallic tone in this is really strong for me, especially when the candle is unlit, but once it is warm the incense comes through more forcefully. Gilt is best described by imagining you are stood right next to an ornate metal fixture in a church and in the distance you can smell the whifs of incense. Perhaps it is an unlit incense censer? Either way, it doesn’t smell overly churchy but it does have an expensive-smelling chicness to it. It’s one which will make your living room smell like an upscale boutique.
Gilt may be the most difficult in the pack to enjoy, given the strong metallic edge, but if you are looking for something with attitude then this would be the one to go for.
Listed notes: Geranium, cactus, tomato leaf.
Greener than a green thing’s green bits, Succulent is one for those who want their house to smell like a Victorian hot house (and frankly who doesn’t?). Succulent doesn’t make greenery smell hard though. Here there is a softness which comes through more when the candle is lit than when it is cold. The lushness of the plants referenced is pillowy and inviting, peaceful and calming. Indeed, the brand make mention of houseplants as being part of their inspiration for this candle scent, but they haven’t neglected the homely part of that equation.
Of all the range this is possibly the quietest, but even so it is still powerful enough to fill a medium-sized room quickly and efficiently. Succulent is the one you could safely buy for that friend or relative who has everything and who is really difficult to get a Christmas gift for!
The throw of these candles is without exception fantastic. They all fill a medium-sized room within 30 minutes and cover up the odors of cat and dog easily (yes, I did test that!).
The candles were all tested for 1 to 1.5 hours at a time on more than one occasion, and there was no tunnelling seen.
The Boujee Bougie candles successfully pair luxury and playfulness – a hard act to get right, but they manage it with aplomb. The fragrances of the candles are interesting, voluptuous and a bit different. The candles fill a room really well and whilst they’re not pocket change in price, they won’t disappoint by being weak – these are beautifully powered scents which don’t overwhelm, but which fragrance a room at just the right level so it’s noticeable but not irritating.
The candles are made from 100% natural wax which is a blend of soy, rapeseed and beeswax.
Boujee Bougies is a project from Olfiction, a perfume consultancy business founded by Pia Long and Nick Gilbert.
A large candle (220g) will burn for up to 50 hours and is priced at £55. One of the small candles (60g) will burn for up to 20 hours and is priced at £25. All the candles are available via the Boujee Bougies web boutique.
At the time of writing, it’s possible to get a free mini candle when you buy a full-size one. See the Boujee Bougie website for full details. This offer is not associated with The Sniff at all, and I don’t get any payment or kick backs if you do buy a candle from the brand.
We were very kindly gifted with sample mini candles by the brand, with no strings attached. Our thanks to the brand for their generosity.
All images by The Sniff.
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