The Butcher, The Baker, The Candlestick Maker!

I have been a big fan of Jonathan Ward’s candles for quite some time now. I love the Black collection, inspired by South American travels. True, I have a yearning to go back to South America and travel extensively, but I also love the dark, earthy fragrances of these candles. Walk in Machu Picchu and Kiss in Rio are my two favourites. I’ve recently been getting in to the Amber Collection, recently investing in Ode To Euan.

I’ve met Jonathan a few times now on the glamorous sales demo circuit in Whole Foods and Planet Organic stores. He is charming and always so lovely to talk to about anything, but he is really passionate about his products (as am I!) So, imagine my excitement when I learnt he was holding a candle making course at High Street Kensington Whole Foods, where I not only got to learn the art of candle making first hand from him, but also take home a candle! And all for £10, what a bargain!

I wasn’t expecting to learn that much from the evening, but I did! I now feel I could give the art of candle making a good go at home, expect a video post capturing my efforts soon enough! I learnt that Jonathan uses ethically sourced organic soy. The sad thing is many people buying soy products think they are being green and healthy, however soy producers are responsible for the destruction of many parts of the rainforest and soy in the diet is not as healthy as one might first assume. Jonathan combines beeswax with his soy (I think the wax is 92% soy to 8% beeswax) to ensure the fragrances added to the product are firstly retained in the mixture and secondly the beeswax helps to elevate the fragrances into the room better whilst the candle is burning.

To ensure the candle is aesthetically perfect, Jonathan uses a three stage pour, which means to pour a batch of candles (he makes 100 at a time) takes up to 8 hours. The candles are all poured in to Italian crystal whiskey tumblers. Once your candle has finished burning, you can simply soak to remove any residue and then reuse. Up until now, I’ve been using mine as they were designed for (i.e. for whiskey) however now, I think I will be trying my hand at pouring my own in to there!

The time and effort that goes in to designing and developing the fragrances, pouring the candles, the fact that Jonathan uses only the finest ingredients and glass for his creations, is evident in the final product. Beautiful complex scents that truly set the mood, trigger memories, awaken the senses. I’m really excited about the new candle, Santissima, which is launching in the next month or so. Inspired by a medieval church on the Amalphi coast, the main notes are Italian green tomato combined with church incense. Intrigued? So am I! Rather than the normal crystal tumblers, this candle has a lacquered white enamel jar with bronze etching for decoration. Later in the year, a new collection inspired by Russia is coming out. I am already anticipating this will be my new favourite range.

Check out his great colletions here


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  • Alessandro Bennetti

    Great article Rebecca, BUT I have a bone to pick with you.

    A large proportion of domestic candles contain palm oil. Since the unsustainable harvesting of palm oil contributes to deforestation in Indonesia, Malaysia and South America. Soy, in most countries, is responsibly farmed and controlled by the farmers concerned. All responsible soy candle makers make sure they source their soy wax from countries that use land which has not been deforested.
    I, for one, only use Ecosoy® from the USA as I know this is guaranteed as a reliable source of controlled soy farming where no deforestation has occurred.

    So to lable soy as not a healthy and green product is very misleading. Hopefully you will do a more in depth study of the Soy farming practises and correct the article above.

    • rebecca

      Many thanks for the comment Alessandro, I think you got the wrong end of the stick here though. I do not say that soy is a bad product, I say it is responsible for deforestation of large areas of the rainforest, which it is. I am also making the point that eating soy products is not as healthy as people think it is, I can write a blog post about this if you like? Great that you, like Jonathan, only use ethically sourced, sustainably farmed soy. My point here is if you are going to eat or buy soy products make sure you know where they are coming from!

  • Alessandro Bennetti

    Hi Rebecca,

    Apologies from me are the order of the day. I was mislead by figures from 10 years ago and did not pick on the fact when reading the data.
    You are correct in the fact it does contribute to deforestation but mainly in South America, in Asia it seems as if Palm oil is now the main culprit.
    Eating soy is not something I know about and if people try to eat the candles, they will surely get a burnt mouth and a very sore tummy!

    • Lilian

      This is way more hlefpul than anything else I’ve looked at.

  • Yasmin Selena Butt

    Great candle report Rebecca. I was sat next to you that evening! It was a lot of fun wasn’t it? I’ve loved burning my candle from the event. It is by far the classiest candle I’ve ever owned!

    Viz eating soy. It’s one of those food sources that people can have intolerances to but is rarely talked about. It can also aggravate thyroid conditions. So if you have hypothyroidism (under-active thyroid) it can aggravate it. There will always be to and fro debates on issues like this, there always are in science.

  • rebecca

    Hi Yasmin, thanks for the comment! Stay tuned for more articles soon 🙂