A Kosmic Carol - The Story Behind The Smells
Growing up, the holiday season was one I enjoyed with my family through movies, music, and food. So many of my core Winter-time memories are snippets of my favorite Christmas movies, including my favorite rendition of 'A Christmas Carol' from The Muppets. Like any 90s baby, The Muppets was an integral part of what my parents loved and passed down their enjoyment to their kids.
A Christmas Carol is a classic Christmas story that is told in various ways and there's just something special about the goofiness, familiarity, and feel-good music that come with our favorite green frog and friends.
With this Winter's collection of good smells, I wanted a select few scents that would really transport me to a time in my life when things felt the most okay. For me, those evenings leading up to Christmas when my family and I would curl up and enjoy A Muppet's Christmas Carol are some of my most treasured memories. I absolutely had to use this inspiration for my line of Winter scents. And so was born, 'A Kosmic Carol'.
I knew I had wanted only a few scents in this collection, so the immediate concept of the Ghost of Christmas Past, Present, and Future was perfect. I'm not really one for religion and didn't want to brand my candles with a religion someone else might not be part of, so I opted to change the names to the Ghosts of WINTER past, present, and future. Through research on the original Christmas Carol story, I had learned that the Ghost of Christmas Future was also referred to as the Ghost of Yet To Come. This was perfect. Something about these new names really felt right with the vibe of Kosmic Kandles.
Let's break down the smells. Each of these candles was conceptualized with the name FIRST and then tested against multiple fragrance oil blends until we found one that felt just right. That's right...WE! For this project, I roped in two of my favorite people, Eric & Rachel, to help! I brought them my initial idea many months prior, pitched the concept, and over the course of a few weeks made a list of potential oils to match each name. I wanted each of these scents to be super unique from one another and cover a variety of scent categories like fresh, fruity, musk, floral, and earthy.
The Ghost of Winter Past
Right off the bat, I knew I wanted this scent to be the most nostalgic of the three. Something fresh, familiar, and inviting. I had originally toyed with a few 'fireplace' type scents, but this didn't seem a great fit when building out the complete collection and taking into account the imagery of the 'Ghost of Christmas past that is known so well. I took to the internet for inspiration.
The Ghost of Christmas Past is described as representing memories and shedding light on your past. Light. Memories. When we think of the past, we typically see mistakes, things we could have done differently, and loss. Darkness. But that's not the point of this character in the story.
With LIGHT in mind, I was looking for something that was bright, clean, and still had a hint of nostalgia. I tested multiple other oils, with the winner being an enchanting blend of fresh evergreens and fruits. Cooling camphor, airy ozone, and a hint of citrus start off this complex winter scent. Middle notes of deep red berry balance the woody pine and juniper notes. The fresh evergreen notes are reinforced by eucalyptus, fir needle, and cedar leaf essential oils. This blend checked all the boxes and covered the 'fresh' category I was looking to fulfill in the collection.
The Ghost of Winter Present
Rather than a present for the holidays, many of us need to BE present. Especially in recent years, many people find themselves pretty far removed from their loved ones during the holidays. The Ghost of Christmas Present, in A Christmas Carol, represents generosity and goodwill. Often personified as Father Christmas, The Ghost of Christmas Present is quite joyful imagery.
With my rendition of Ghost of Winter Present, I wanted a scent that felt homely, joyful, and giving. What does giving smell like...? To me, making a meal for the holidays is my favorite form of giving. A food-related smell felt like the perfect celebration of Winter Present, but I wasn't sure what made the most sense. I trialed a strudel and spice type of oil but it felt way too sweet. I then tested a sugar chestnut oil and that felt even farther away from what I wanted. Then walks in the cranberry apple marmalade. It was PERFECT.
A luscious blend of tart cranberries, juicy apples, and spice. Top notes of orange peel and apple sweeten the cranberry heart of this fragrance oil, while notes of cinnamon, clove, and sugar wrap all the fruits together into a delectable aromatic treat.
The Ghost of Yet To Come
The Ghost of Christmas Future, to put it simply, represents the fear of death. Now...what does DEATH smell like? Moreso, what does FEAR smell like? In the story, Scrooge is visited by the Ghost of Christmas Past not just to instill fear in him, but to show him what things could be like if he chooses to continue down the path he is on. So this scent doesn't need to be so dark, it can just by disguised as darkness. An idea went off. The future doesn't always have to be scary, but it can definitely feel scary. THIS is where I can use a tree scent. Trees are a familiar scent to most, especially during the holiday season. It's pretty much a staple.
I tested a few potential tree vibes, most of them having the same standard tree type of smell. Spruce, Pine, Fir, and all the random winter trees all just blended together in my nostrils over the years. The tree scent I wanted needed to be something that had the comfort of the tree, but I needed something else blended in there that was surprising. Something unexpected. Something possibly daunting when reading the label, but exciting once you smelled it. I wanted something unique and different and came across what ended up being the oil I used.
A refined blend of botanical gin and aged woods. This unique fragrance oil starts with a juniper top note that gives this light-bodied spirit its signature aroma. Red currant adds a hint of fruit that leads to a woody fusion of balsam, oak, cedar, and cypress in the base. This was PERFECT for what I wanted! A light and clean vibe with the nostalgic tree scent I was looking for!
It's exciting to see months of conceptualizing, testing, and creation of this collection and finally seeing it out for others to enjoy. This approach for scents I launch is one that I plan to continue to use and refine for collections to come.