The Scent of a Memory: Mad et Len Candles

We introduced Mad et Len to Huzza last spring; Sandra Fuzier and Alexandre Piffaut together create dynamic hand blended scents from organic essential oils. Mad et Len candles, captured in unique iron containers, envelop a room with aromas that result in surprising effects. The scents stir with memories of past experience to transport us to distant retreats. In this post we venture into an aromatic forest to learn about Mad et Len’s expressive product, talk about traditional olfactory influences and discover how to find the right scent for your home.

Mad et Len Chene Noir Candle Huzza Lifestyle

Where does the name Mad et Len come from?

Mad et Len is a pun referring to the Madeleine in Marcel Proust’s masterpiece, In Search of Lost Time. The author describes perfectly how a taste or smell can trigger a feeling buried deep in our memory.

Can you explain to us the process of developing a candle, wax, fragrance and all?

Every single fragrance is created in our workshop and formulated by our biologist. We select the best raw materials to obtain a high quality product. In order to not taint the spirit of the smell, we use only pure essential oil and concentrate on the core of the essence that we then refine. We respect the process of maturation to keep the original magnificence of the essence we allow our essential oils to reach full development, eventually creating a perfect replica of the fragrance, a flower, spice, wood or soil, as you would find it in nature.Mad et Len Candle Spirituelle Verte Huzza Lifestyle To give you an example, our essential oil of patchouli will take up to two years before reaching its full maturity.

Mad et Len products evoke a rustic, earthy presence. Where do you work?

We work in a modern structure for obvious reasons, hygiene and safety but all of our products are hand made according to an ancestral craft. Our workshop is located in St-Julien du Verdon a small village nestled between lakes and mountains, not far from Grasse. Our craftsmen are reviving the traditional art of French perfume manufacturers sadly long forgotten.

Do some fragrances reflect a certain period in history?

Our olfactory domain is deeply and intrinsically linked to the history of those men and women who through the centuries conveyed the ancestral knowledge of perfumers. Different periods of French history are also a source of inspiration – for example, the era of the “poetes maudits” (the cursed poets). The candle “Spirituelle Verte“, one of our flagship fragrances, is an ode to the Mediterranean region with its notes of basil and fresh cut grass.

Why did you choose to present the candles in iron containers?

The drug containers sold in the apothecary shops from the 13th to 18th centuries inspired the black metal containers for our candles. Apothecaries were the precursors of today’s pharmacist. All our metal containers are handmade one by one by our iron workers according to an ancient technique of hammering called “panel beating”. It takes about half an hour for a skilled craftsman to make one metal box.
Mad et Len Candle Huzza Lifestyle

Do you have a certain nostalgia of the past?

We are not nostalgic but we really want to perpetuate these two ancestral techniques (production of metal and fragrance) as a warranty of quality, which is not always the case with mass production.

How do you find inspiration for the scents?

Sandra and Alex, the creators of Mad et Len, love to travel. During their numerous trips to Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand, they realized how much nature is an inexhaustible source of fragrance (flowers, wood, spices, soil). Through the creation of their fragrances, they recollect these scent experiences and try to restore all the wonderful smells.

Mad et Len Chene Noir Candle Huzza Lifestyle

Do you have recommendations on how to choose a fragrance?

The fragrance has to be pleasant (needless to say!). Very often we orient our choice toward a fragrance evoking something familiar that gives us a soothing sensation. Go with your instinct and don’t be influenced by the “best sellers”! From a practical point, the main recommendation is to ensure that the totality of the wax surface is perfectly liquefied before extinguishing. This is especially important during the first use of our candles.

Mad et Len Candles inspire us to take a moment to escape, to fill our rooms with scents familiar and obscure. To sit back, relax and enjoy. Thank you Mad et Len for sharing your thoughts and process with us. Click here to view our full collection of products from Mad et Len.

 

Photography: Cody MacCready
Interview: Anne Gaelle Maizeray and Kate Bonsted

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