Thursday, 28 January 2021

CROSSKEY AVENUE by Howard Crosskey

You can’t have failed to miss the huge surge in independent candle companies that have launched over the past twelve months. With us spending the majority of our time at home, candles became the “must have” home product to help relax, stimulate, or calm the senses. The majority of these new brands simply bought pre-existing fragrance oils (how many times have you seen a variation on Pomegranate Noir?) but thankfully some decided to create from scratch. When Howard Crosskey launched Crosskey Avenue it followed multiple trials to perfect his own fragrances, and his debut trio of candles is a scented success.

Howard Crosskey is one of thousands of people that took the upheaval of the past twelve months as the impetus to look at where life had led him, and whether it was still where he wanted to be. A twelve year career in media relations had offered security, but at the expense of creativity. So, he took the decision to change direction and focus on an industry that he really loved - candles. Howard told me how he’d always used them at home to create a mood, or set a scene, and so was excited to bring his own ideas to the candle market.

He plunged headlong into studying how to create candle fragrances with Zaga Colovic, the founder of Beauty Handmade, and always had in the forefront of his mind that he wanted to take inspiration from “global travel, nature, and horticulture.” However, the difference with Howard Crosskey is he’s very clear that he's not in competition with, or copying, any existing brand. What he’s promising are beautiful fragrances that tell a story, and also a collection that he is proud to put his name to. This refreshing level of honesty is rare in the perfume industry at the moment, and it’s just one of the reasons why he deserves to be successful.

His design choices incorporate a sleek white jar with a deep jade green label, and the boxes come without cellophane. He wanted the entire product to be recyclable, and also for the overiding focus to be on the scents themselves. His debut candle collection launched in October 2020, and this opening trio really is enchanting. Ischia is inspired by visits to the volcanic island that shares its name and showcases an uplifting blend of lemon, rose, and tomato leaf. With the support of frankincense, alongside a smooth mineral note, it definitely gives the impression of Italian terraces and sun warmed rocks.

Langkawi
is the more tropical of the trio and transports you to Malaysia. The central scent of frangipani gives you that gardenia and ylang quality, but it’s quickly joined by a note of coconut milk and lemongrass. In the background you also have a touch of sweet orange and cinnamon for some exotic intrigue. Haputale is my favourite of the collection with its beautiful realisation of Shri Lanka’s tea growing mountains. The initial scent of bergamot and pink pepper combines seamlessly with ginger and earthy vetiver, but a powdery chamomile manages to put you firmly in mind of expansive lands and sundried, freshly picked leaves.

Ischia, Langkawi, and Haputale are available from the Crosskey Avenue website at crosskeyavenue.com priced at £39 each or £110 for the complete set. [Samples provided by Howard Crosskey]

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