When I first saw the scent named “Nightshade” in the P.F. Candle factory, I was instantly curious about a scent designed to emulate a poisonous plant family. The minute I smelled the candle’s aroma, however, I was not immediately sent into anaphylactic shock or put into a deep sleep; I was instead taken back to my ten- year-old self standing in my grandparents’ apartment, specifically their bathroom.
The scent that P.F. Candle describes as “a fragrance that melds black peppercorn and bergamot with green notes of moss and lavender” brought me back to my grandparents’ condo, where I spent a great deal of my early childhood years. Their condo overlooked my hometown lake in Dillon, Colorado, where I spent hours swimming in their pool, walking to the lake, playing piano with my grandmother or discussing an intricate puzzle with my grandfather. In my lifetime, my now ninety-year-old grandparents have lived in approximately three different condos. Though they have lived in these different places, the smell remains the same wherever they are; it is their unique scent. It resembles clean towels, mixed with a very distinct hint of light soap, which I have never smelled anywhere else.
The most intriguing thing about smell is that it takes us beyond a sensory experience to specific times ingrained in our memories. A certain scent in completely different circumstances can invoke a distinct memory each time. When I get a whiff of the Nightshade candle that now sits in my bedroom, I am taken back to my grandparents’ home. Ten-year-old me is washing her hands before supper, my heart warm and full.
When I smelled P.F. Candle Company’s soy wax candle, Campfire, it reminded me of all the best things about childhood, along with the present traditions that mean so much to me and my husband. Something about the aroma of smoke, and pine, and s’mores brings to mind every happy moment spent outdoors.
Growing up in Pennsylvania and Missouri, nature was a big part of my upbringing. It was nearly impossible not to know someone who had a beautiful property set around a bonfire. Some of my fondest memories are bonding with friends and family around cozy, flickering flames. There was the time a friend blew my mind by making homemade french onion soup over a fire using only tinfoil. And the night I learned just the right amount of chocolate to complement a perfectly roasted marshmallow. Or that moment when the sun sets, leaving a chill in the air that calls for a plush hoodie (my preference today being my husband’s oversized hoodies, of course.) Camping actually played a vital role in our story. I was twelve years old when I met my future husband. It was during our first camping trip together that he asked if he could kiss me (and I said no.) Needless to say, I eventually said yes, and the rest is history. We may have upgraded our lodging preferences to glamping these days, but we always make sure there is a fire nearby.
What I love about campfires, and P.F. Candle’s rendition, is the simplicity of both. If you think about what you needed as a child to have a great time around a campfire, I’ll bet the passing decades haven’t changed it much. It’s a setting of timeless, simple warmth that brings people together to create lifelong memories.
Find your nostalgic scent here