(Don’t) Stop Making Scents: The Candle Garden Pop-Up at the Conrad Will Turn You Into a Candlemaker
What makes up the signature scent of Lower Manhattan? For Jordan, the owner of the Candle Garden, it’s bergamot and white tea, mixed with notes of violets, thyme and amber. At least, that’s the scent she prescribed to her little corner of downtown — a cozy alcove on the second floor lobby of the Conrad Hotel where she runs her pop-up candle making classes. Take one, and find that creating a signature scent for yourself or your favorite neighborhood becomes a fun, doable feat.
The class begins with an enticing promise: by the end of the hour, you and your companions will officially be “chandlers,” the Old French term for candle makers. Thankfully, Jordan makes reaching chandler status easy. Each station around the table is set up with the essentials: two glass vessels with perfectly centered, 100% cotton wicks; a pitcher for pouring the soy wax; a small measuring cup for your chosen scent oils and a long swirly spoon to marry the ingredients together.
The classes are open to hotel guests and the public alike, so unless you’ve come with a large group, the chances of sitting around the table with strangers is high. But Jordan is eager to facilitate camaraderie. She has everyone introduce themselves along with their favorite scent and personal holiday tradition. After offering a few interesting facts about herself and the history of candle making, participants are on their way to chandler-dom.
Next, it’s time to choose your fragrances. Split between five main scent families — woodsy, floral, citrus, amber and fresh — plus Jordan’s custom sixth category of “seasonal” scents, there are over 40 oils to choose from. The decision making process is the hardest part of the hour-long class, and after you’ve settled on your unique combination the rest is smooth sailing. Oils are mixed into wax, poured into glasses and set to cool until the next day when they’re ready for wick-trimming and pick up.
If you’re not into hands-on crafting, the Candle Garden has a plethora of pre-made options for you, including the Conrad’s aforementioned signature scent. A line of seasonal fragrances, like a spiced-honey-and-tonka-scented Challah Bread and a classic Christmas-y White Birch candle, make for great gifts. In the name of sustainability, you can also bring empty candle vessels to be refilled for $1.50 per ounce.
If you opt for the class — which is open for registration now until December 30 — it’ll run you $55 a person for an hour-long lesson, two 9 oz soy wax candles and the well-earned, deliciously scented title of chandler.