Thursday 11 July 2019

BLUEBERRY & BERGAMOT by The Otter Candle Co

When you’re launching a new brand it’s important to match the image to the product. This may sound like a very basic idea but, unfortunately, it is often something that is misjudged. Once the world has seen the way your company looks it’s very difficult to reinvent yourself. Now, major corporations can spend millions to get this right and so it always comes as a surprise when a small, independent company gets it right first time. The Otter Candle Co was launched in September 2018 and has managed to perfectly combine its playful scents with the cheekiness of the animal, but how do the candles actually perform?

When Amber Wilson-Hirst began experimenting with candle making she had no idea that it would blossom into her own little cottage industry. Amber says that she had been looking for a creative outlet for a while and, after trying a couple of other ideas, discovered that the idea of creating candles excited her. She says that it metaphorically “lit a fire within her” and thought, “why not start a little business?” Originally from Lincolnshire, but now living in London’s Forest Hill, her first challenge was to name the brand. “I just really love otters,” Amber told me, and so the Otter Candle Co was born.

One of the successes of the company is the combination of the name and the logo, which is a lot harder than it may sound. Amber used a local artist in Grimsby, her home town, to design the mischievous mammal and has even named it Pebble. She told me the reason was that every otter has a stone that it carries with it in a pouch of skin, and it uses this to break open shellfish and clams. These little details may be lost on the majority of customers but it’s this level of detail that sets her apart from the many other home businesses. However, story aside, what about the actual candles themselves?

Amber chose a blend of coconut and soy wax, because it offered an even burn and a good scent throw, and decided to create her own fragrances. This is unusual because many home crafted companies normally just buy fully preprepared scents and merely add them to the wax, but she uses a combination of essential oils and high quality fragrance oils to realise the aromas. It’s because of this mix of ingredients that Amber clearly labels them as vegan, not natural. Now, the word “natural” is thrown around very freely in the world of candles and it is wonderful to find someone with such admirable transparency.

The current range consists of nine scents but my favourite has got to be Blueberry & Bergamot. Amber has cleverly created a fruity scent that takes aspects of the gourmand style but mixes them with an addictive brightness thanks to the bergamot and orange. If you can imagine “blueberry candy” combined with a citrus touched patchouli then you are in the right area. There is a sweetness in the blend that I would describe as delicious but, thankfully, it never veers into the “sugar frosting” arena. Blueberry & Bergamot almost has echoes of Guerlain’s La Petite Robe Noire Intense but with a delicacy that is beautiful.

For details of the full range you can visit the website at where all of the candles are £10 for 150g (approx). There is also currently a 10% promotion if you use the code Otter10 which takes the price down to £9 per candle! For the purposes of transparency, I purchased this candle myself and I’m not giving it up.

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