Welcome to Travel Non-Essentials, whereT+L editors Mark Orwoll and Nikki Ekstein sound off on a different breed of travel product—sometimes ingenious, sometimes just plain odd. Today: destination-scented candles.

Credit: yuthica.com

What It Does: The subtle fragrances in this collection of Yuthica’s soy wax candles ($40 each) are designed to recall the “culture and character” of some of the world’s most exotic locales, including Tahiti, Santorini, and Bordeaux. Orwoll and Ekstein check it out to decide if it’s a must-have, or just a nice-to-have.

MO: The idea is that the scent of each candle is meant to evoke a destination. This one is Cabo.

[Nikki lights the candle.]

NE: You know what we should do, Mark? We should go around the office and ask people what part of the world the candle smells like. We should totally do that.

MO: Do you smell anything yet?

NE: I’m getting little hints of spice.

MO: Little hints of spice?

NE: Little hints of spice. Little notes. It’s starting to smell.

[Ten minutes pass as the candle continues to burn.]

MO: My feeling about the Yuthica candle is that it’s pretty subtle. Really subtle.

NE: We’ve had it lit for quite some time and it still doesn’t give a very clear emission of scent.

MO: I think you have to be a real candle connoisseur or have an exceptionally well-developed sense of smell. Shall we give it a walk around the block and let people smell it?

Mark and Nikki take the burning candle to several staffers and ask them to guess the destination that the scent is based on. The answers:

  • “I like the smell, but I don’t know what it is.”
  • “Somewhere tropical.”
  • “I can’t smell it.”
  • “I don’t know. It smells good, though. Smells romantic.”
  • “Oh my goodness. Amalfi Coast?”
  • “Spicy.”
  • “Smells clean, astringent.”
  • “Milky chai tea latte, perhaps Thailand or Sri Lanka.”
  • “The Outer Banks.”

MO: At least we got a couple of people noticing the seaside and the tropical notes. So I guess it’s not a failure, by any means.

NE: And I have to say once I knew that it was Cabo, I understood where they were going with it. There were notes of maybe sandalwood and floral notes that gave me the essence of a beach bungalow somewhere rustic. But that was only after I knew it was Cabo.

MO: There’s a whole series of these candles, these “luxury candles.

NE: Whatever that means.

VERDICT: Nice to have (if you have a highly developed sense of smell).