In the seventeenth century, the master candle maker is seen as an apothecary, who prepares in secret mixtures of natural waxes in his laboratory. For the nobility and the clergy, he makes candles only based on beeswax used for home lighting or religious ceremonies while the rest of the population burnt tallow candles. He knows the best royal hives and the various manufacturing techniques have no secrets for him : bleaching wax, shaping wax, purification by distillation… Druggist and perfumer, he adds fragrant notes to his preparations: precious oils, flower essences ... His seal is already synonymous with luxury and excellence.
With the advent of "electricity " in the late nineteenth, the development of mineral (paraffin) and vegetable waxes, and finally the spread of mass production, the candle maker art evolved. His "handmade" expertise, between heritage, authenticity and artistic creation, made him a leader in luxury. Both chemist, perfumer, artist, he is primarily a creator of many talents : Selecting waxes, developing fragrances, tuning proportions according to fragrances and containers, controlling stability and diffusion ... He is also a craftsman manufacturing by hand each candle individually with requirement and passion.
Schematically, a candle is a cotton wick wrapped in wax, which provides an illuminating flame combustion.
Today there are two main types of waxes:
- The mineral wax or paraffin, very white, a little dry and crumbly. Most industrially manufactured candles available in supermakets are made of 100% paraffin.
- The vegetable wax: acclaimed by the vogue of Bio. A beautiful satin finish. Made from vegetable oils: carnauba palm, soy ...
It is often a combination of mineral and vegetable waxes that is preferred to benefit from a good stability with a soft look and feel look. Note that animal waxes (beeswax or stearin, derived from tallow) are hardly used, at least by major brands.
Color candles are obtained by throwing pigments in the melted wax before the pouring process, then stir the wax for a good color and homogeneity.
The choice of the wick is critical for a perfect burning candle. First, material: the braided wick is often made of cotton. Then the diameter. The master candle maker defines the wick according to the candle scent: large diameter and high flame for heady fragrance, finer diameter and discreet flame for airy notes.
Just like a skin fragrance, the scent of a candle has its olfactory composition developped by a perfumer. Same olfactive pyramid - top notes, heart notes, base notes - which defines its unique identity. Same requirement in the selection of raw materials. Only the concentration of perfume differs with approximately 10% in a candle compared to 5 to 10% in an eau de toilette.