Though I rarely post about new releases or new brand launches, I’m going to make an exception this time for Boujee Bougies, a new niche candle brand created by expert niche perfumistas for discerning niche perfumistas. The brains behind it are Nick Gilbert and Pia Long, both longtime stalwarts in the niche perfume world. Thomas Dunckley of The Candy Perfume Boy also played a big role in the writing and support processes behind the scenes.
One of the reasons for my singling out this new company is that I was incredibly impressed by the originality of note lists and I also smiled at the witty, fun, carefree, outgoing and slightly tongue-in-cheek ethos of the brand. Bright, colourful candles come with names like Hellfire or Cuir Culture (pun intended) and their note lists made me sit up and do a double take.
Full disclosure, however: Both Mr. Gilbert and Ms. Long are Twitter friends of mine. No, we’ve never met in person and most of my conversations with them have been about sci-fi like Stargate or Star Trek (Mr. Gilbert) or dogs, Star Trek, Stargate, and equally light-hearted things (Ms. Long), not about fragrances or their business. Also as a full disclosure: I’ve never tried any of the candles that I’ll be discussing here.
What’s key, however, is that I absolutely want to try and am intrigued by the scent compositions on their own merits, not simply because I’ve discussed Star Trek with the two founders. In fact, I’m tempted by all the fragrances, including the immensely rosy one called Queen Jam. For all that I may eschew rose fragrances for my personal use on skin, I love the scent in nature and in candles. I actually can’t recall the last time that a list of candles excited me so much, tempted me so much, and made me want to try all of them. (If I weren’t bizarrely cheap when it comes to candles or saving up for a champion GSD puppy, I would have ordered all four long ago, particularly as shipping for candles from the UK is really affordable, unlike what it is like for fragrances.)
So pull up a chair and let’s start at the beginning with both the brand launch announcement and the official statement on their ethos, products, production, and materials.
Honestly, I don’t know which candle I’d like to try first. Depending on my mood, it veers from Gilt to Queen’s Jam to…heck, all of them simultaneously. There’s just something so fun, original, and creative to me about the listed scent bouquets, something different than the usually deadly serious, constipated, and repetitive mix of frankincense with resins, or roses with oud, syrup, and spices. I remember when a luxury Grasse-based French company sent me some mini-candles in its range and I was so incredibly bored that I never bothered to write about it. I have to give huge credit to perfumer Pia Long for making me sit up, as well as Thomas Dunckley for how well and temptingly he crafted the descriptions.
So let’s start with Gilt, one of the top Boujee candles on my list to order or sniff:
Oh lordie, do I want to try this one. Look at some of these notes: Incense, amber, black pepper, saffron, juniper berry, tobacco, opoponax, myrrh, cypress, and more.
But something about the cold wintery months and endless staying at home has me somewhat obsessed with the rose fragrance whose notes harken back to Ms. Long’s Norse/Finnish background. Yes, roses are my second most disliked floral note in perfumery, but in candles and with a note list like Queen Jam with bergamot, blueberries, roses, iris, raspberry leaf, patchouli, and myrrh?! What a lovely, different combination.I want it!
Succulent is for those of you who love to live with zesty, spicy, botanical greenness. Secret hidden notes include clary sage, cassis, muguet, and rhubarb:
Cuir Culture sounds great to me too: masculine “carnal” leather, books, and woods. The playful pun in the name and the slightly kinky description of one note made me smile, but it was the complete note list that made me pay heed. It includes, amongst other things: elemi, clary sage, cedarwood, animalics, suede leather, pink pepper, and the aroma of books and “pup masks.”
Perhaps the most unusual, most creative-sounding scent is the fire-and-brimstone twist on the typical lush, citrus-imbued florals: Hellfire. This was the first bouquet that I read about when I initially saw the launch announcement for Boujee Bougies and it made me really sit up in surprise. To say that I was intrigued is an understatement.
True, marketing text typically makes fragrances or candles sound unique and fascinating, but I focused more on the note list for Hellfire and the idea behind it, the twist on the conventional and the usual. THAT was what really drew my attention. I mean, lush florals or white floral scented candles are common. Adding sulphuric darkness (which indirectly serves to bring out the innately smoky, camphorous, or indolic side to many heady white florals), that’s different, in my opinion. The note list for Hellfire is essentially: Grapefruit, magnolia, lemon, neroli, ylang, jasmine, lily of the valley (muguet), musk, and “sulphur.”
The fuller, more detailed note lists for each candle is listed here:
Let’s move onto pricing, sizes, and then an issue that is often of great concern to people ordering from UK fragrance houses, namely “What fresh hell will I be penalized with in terms of shipping costs and crazy anti-perfume postal rules?”
Let me start with the last issue first. Scented candles are not treated or categorized the same as liquid fragrances, so none of the many postal obstacles, their heightened costs, or the occasional need to resort to courier services instead apply here. None. Candles can be sent for a very reasonable amount, and Boujee Bougies ships around the world.
Candle prices depend on the size: £25 for a 60g / 2.1 oz candle and £55 for a 220g/ 7.7oz candle.
Shipping to the US and to most countries internationally is available. Depending on location, shipping ranges between £5 and £15, with complimentary shipping if your order is beyond a certain amount. To be specific:
We ship to the following countries:
Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Lithuania, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, United States.
Standard Delivery UK and Ireland (below £50, 1-3 working days): £5.00
Standard Delivery UK and Ireland (above £50, 1-3 working days): FREE
Standard Delivery: £10 Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Lithuania, Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden
Standard Delivery: £15 Switzerland
Orders over £100 Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Lithuania, Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden
Orders over £150 Switzerland
Rest of world
Standard Delivery: £10 Australia, Canada, United States
Standard Delivery: £15 China, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, United Arab Emirates
Complimentary Delivery on all international shipments on orders over £150
For full details on everything Boujee Bougies, please look at the BB company website.
Before I conclude, I want to say one thing: No-one has given me anything for this laudatory, excited, and positive post. I’ve been offered a candle of my choice to smell, but I turned down Nick, and then later Pia’s, offer on a few occasions. When my finances are better and when I’m not saving to pay an arm, leg, kidney, and several toes for my upcoming German Shepherd puppy, I will order the set.
The real and main reason I’m breaking my longstanding habit of not doing a “new release” post is because I believe in the people behind it. Years before I ever exchanged a Star Trek pleasantry with Nick Gilbert, I’d heard about him, what a good chap he was, and what talented, insightful views he had about the whole range of designer and niche perfumery. (And several of these glowing reports came from perfumers or industry people in the UK.)
As for Ms. Long, she may be new to me in terms of interaction, but I’ve read her fragrance articles, posts, and raw materials summations on Basenotes for at least five years now. (We will never agree on some aromachemicals, but there is no question that she knows her stuff inside and out.)
I genuinely believe Ms. Long and Mr. Gilbert when they say that they have spent years, care, sweat, love, and every possible resource to create and ensure that their Grasse-produced, high-end candles meet the demanding standards of real, true niche perfumistas. As I said at the start, the objective behind Boujee Bougies was to create products by expert niche perfumistas for the demanding, discerning perfumista. This is not some big, wealthy, prestige company with endless financial backing or a LVMH overlord funding everything. These are two people with years and years of experience in the niche world pooling their resources, time, brains, and passion to create five flamboyantly fun, whimsical, but also interesting and creative compositions.
If you love niche scented candles or if you’re looking for a great gift for a perfumista, please give Boujee Bougies a chance and glance at their website.