Time for the third in this epic series of Candle Burn-Offs (#1 and #2.) We’re getting closer to true competition, I feel, fewer random retail pickups, increased intention. Anything worth doing is worth doing well. That sounds arrogant. OK, anything worth doing is worth trying to do well. More subjunctive in feeling, and therefore High WASP-appropriate.
Enter the amphitheatre, British candle queen Jo Malone! Cheers! Duck under the ropes, Los Angeles indie brand, P.F. Candle Co., to howls of approval. Let the burning begin. This time, tangy, tongue-tingling citrus. Jo Malone Grapefruit vs. P.F. Candle Co. Sweet Grapefruit.
I bought the Jo Malone candle with a Neiman Marcus return credit. Swooshed into the San Francisco store like a Grande Dame, Helloooooo rotunda!, and out. A reader recommended P.F. Candle, I ordered from Shoptiques, a site that allows you to shop from boutiques all over the world. This time we drew Orange County.
P.F. Candle story: No P, no F per se, but the husband and wife team. Kristen Pumphrey and Thomas Neuberger, have been making their candles – by hand – since 2008. The P and F stand for “Pommes Frites,” because, homophone for Pumphrey. Good to know, and now I’m going to forget the derivation, since I do not want to breathe deeply and think of french fries, unless I’m parked in front of a bistro steak and a glass of vin rouge.
Packaging, Design & Materials
These are both exceptionally well-branded and packaged products. I never pass a Jo Malone display without wanting to smell something, alternatively, to tie on a brown ribbon or start speaking in an English accent. P.F. Candle also pays attention to details. You might have thought brown glass, kraft paper and typewriter font had been overdone, as might I, but no. Something about the No. 10 designation and the uppercase font works here.
It’s not clear, however, that Jo and P.F. are equally non-toxic. While Queen Jo (as owned by Lady Estee) uses “lead-free” wicks, she does not disclose her wax. P.F. is very clear about their materials, soy wax, cotton core wicks. Big check in their favor.
Hmm. Jo Malone is burning crookedly, and with the occasional black flame. Might be I forgot to melt the wax all the way across the candle on the first burn. Or, might be inconsistent quality. P.F. is burning beautifully, straight, clean. The crowd begins to murmur, “Jo, say it isn’t so!”
The Scent Itself
And here the wax meets the wick. Jo’s candle suffers from that terrible “department store smell.” P.F. Sweet Grapefruit may not smell like grapefruit, per se, but it is sugar-y and citrus-y and pleasant. My own tastes run more to the salt and sand of India Hicks, but if you like sweet and tangy blossom perfume, this is your candle.
You guessed it: P.F. Candle No. 10., Sweet Grapefruit. On sale today for $13.99 down from $18.00. I prefer Jo Malone’s packaging, a tad, but this isn’t a Box and Ribbon-Off. Flame And Scent take the day.
The Candles As They Portray Themselves
Links may generate commissions. Thank you reader Danielle for the P.F. Candle recommendation. Much appreciated.