Okay, so … can we collectively agree that most candles smell sort of the same? I’m not trying to start any trouble here, but if I say a candle is “woodsy,” can you instantly recall one from your scent memory bank? Does it smell sort of like burning wood? I can’t collect thoughts from your head, but I’m 98 percent sure we are thinking of the same scent, and 98 percent of candle brands have this same exact candle, with slight variations. Let’s try it with fig. Let’s try it with a white floral. You get the point. These kinds of candles are ubiquitous because they’re popular and well-loved.
Not as popular, though, are tomato candles. There are about two of you who are nodding your head right now in agreement, and the rest of you are like, Huh? But tomato is a scent obsession I’ve had since the first time my mom sent me outside to help weed her tomato patch. The weeding was fine, but the sniff of a fresh tomato, with its greenish snap and zing, coupled with burst tomato juice? Intoxicating.
A tomato plant does not smell like a saucepot of Marcella Hazan sauce bubbling on the stove or a hot pizza pie (although I wouldn’t be opposed to either of those as candle scents). The closest edible equivalent is the first bite of a perfectly toasted heirloom tomato sandwich: sweet, creamy, and salty (it must have Maldon sea salt) all at the same time. It’s something that the Carrière Frères Tomato Candle manages to capture perfectly. Many of the very few tomato candles on the market are too sweet or too green, but Carrière Frères balances its candle perfectly. Just like a good dessert, a touch of savoriness (in this case, from the green notes) brings out the sweetness of the tomato that much more. A tomato is a fruit after all.
There is a kind of sweet catharsis that occurs when, after months, or even years, of searching, you find a scent that perfectly matches what you have in your brain. When you find it, it’s a gasp, an inhale of, “That’s it!” And this is it for me.