Make Your Own Custom-Scent Candles at these Two Hudson Valley Spots | Design & Decor | Hudson Valley | Chronogram Magazine

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Make Your Own Custom-Scent Candles at these Two Hudson Valley Spots

As Candlemaking Classes Are on the Rise in the Region, These Let You Build a Scent

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Poured Candle Bar in Hudson pours wine and wax for Sip & Dip candlemaking events.
  • Poured Candle Bar in Hudson pours wine and wax for Sip & Dip candlemaking events.

Candles are hot. During COVID, people lit a lot of them to set a mood, enhance their surroundings, and release stress, perpetuating the ancient fascination with fire and fragrance. According to the National Candle Association, sales in the United States rose 30 percent during the pandemic.

Here in the Hudson Valley, there is no shortage of artisans creating candles from scratch using high-end ingredients. Some notables include Newburgh-based Alysia Mazzella’s hand-dipped candles made with beeswax sourced from local apiaries and award-winning Keap Candles, which moved from Brooklyn to a 5,000-square-foot Kingston studio in September 2020.

As consumers continue seeking interactive retail experiences, DIY candlemaking classes and Sip & Dip events have become popular. Newcomer Hill Valley Candles in Kingston offers weekly open classes as well as private group lessons in which you learn about the history of candlemaking before crafting three different styles of candle to take home. Ye Olde Candle & Gift Shoppe in Poughkeepsie also provide hands-on soy candle classes twice a week. On October 22, Little Light of Mine Village Candle in New Paltz will present a Spirit Guided Candle Workshop designed to impart “messages for healing and transformation.” And in the coming months, Candlestock, upstate’s OG candle emporium on Mill Hill Road in Woodstock, plans to open its Wax Imagination Studio, a shrine to the chandler’s craft, offering classes and events for the first time since the company’s founding in 1970.

But two new candle shops in the Hudson Valley, Poured Candle Bar (PCB) in Hudson and Mundane in Cold Spring, offer a twist on the participatory concept by letting you create your own custom scents. At both locations, visitors sample dozens of fragrances on display, choose two or three of their favorites, and blend them into an original concoction that adds personality to a candle or a reed diffuser. Then the shopkeepers pour the candle from a machine that looks like a large espresso maker for you to take home.

Poured Candle Bar | Hudson

Founded during COVID’s early days, Poured Candle Bar is the vision of New York City transplants Ricky Tiscareno and Dennis Green. Mood lighting and a percolating beat enhance the salon-like ambiance in the Warren Street storefront. Several steps inside the door, a velvet rope keeps kids from running amok, according to Tiscareno.

The bar seats 20 and tables toward the back of the long room accommodate small parties. Each bar stool is draped with an apron. Settings include a tray containing a clipboard, a pencil, and a checklist of the more than 70 different scents grouped into base, middle, and top notes. Also included is a beaker for precise measuring, a stirrer, and a wooden wick. (“Wood burns slower and crackles, like a fireplace,” says Tiscareno.)

Beyond providing an optimal scent-making space, this is also a legit bar, minus the hard stuff: locally sourced beer, cider, wine and a few vegan appetizers are available for purchase.

Not only are the wares impeccably designed and displayed, one of the bar’s gift boxes encapsulates the shop’s attention to detail and its celebration of Hudson’s rich past. Thanks to the magic of magnets, the white package seamlessly expands from a cube into a flat seven-panel surface and back again. The interior features a capsule history of the area and Green’s hand-drawn depictions of building facades along Warren Street, the city’s charming commercial strip. Outside, the box displays the trademark Take Hudson Home along with their sealing wax-inspired logo.

The couple also named their signature fragrances after local landmarks, including Printer’s Alley and Warren Street Wayfare. The Madame’s Boudoir pays homage to their home, a former brothel during the city’s bawdy heyday.

Attuned to the seasons, the shop has rolled out a new fall collection of 16 new scents, including Upstate Hibernate and Negroni Nights. Beyond these products, Poured Candle Bar also proffers perfume and cologne. Mundane plans to develop a line of body lotion, but for now, customers can use their oil to infuse ceramic beads, an updated version of potpourri.

Mundane | Cold Spring

Mundane, a storefront offering similar experiences in Cold Spring, opened this June in the former spot of beloved local institution the Country Goose. Proprietor Alexandra McGill developed her sense of scents working at a pioneering retail perfumery on Long Island, where she grew up. A stopover in Columbus, Ohio, introduced her to the world of custom candles.

McGill recently unveiled a new lineup of signature blends and single scents for fall, including Sparkling Cider and Dulce de Leche. The shop offers candles, ceramic beads, and reed diffusers, or customers can custom create their own scent in any of the three formats.

A group scent-making session at Mundane
  • A group scent-making session at Mundane

If you’re on your own, you can make your custom candle on the fly, but for parties over two, you’ll need to make a reservation. It takes about 30 minutes of active time in the store, including a touring the scent and picking your vessel, and two hours for the candle to set. (For reed diffusers and ceramic scent beads, you can take them with you immediately.) The scents are all vegan, cruelty-free, and phthalate- and paraben-free, made with essential oils and fragrance oils. For all the candles, McGill uses soy wax and cotton wicks, for a non-toxic candle-burning experience.

Mundane’s scent bar—sans booze—has eight place settings with accouterments similar to Poured Candle Bar and over 40 scent options. The choices range from familiar pantry scents like chocolate, coconut, vanilla, cinnamon, and coffee bean to more abstract scents like moss, meadow, and sliced tomato. Classic cornerstone notes like patchouli, cedar, rose petal, and vetiver are also available.

“Smells offer a direct connection with the past,” McGill says. “One of my fragrances, Summer Lawn, immediately takes me back to when my dad used to cut the grass at our house.” Some other mundane and memorable scents with the ability to transport you include clothesline, old books, tobacco and honey, and hemp smoke.

McGill chose the name Mundane, which typically evokes a negative connotation, to try and shift the perspective of how society interprets the word, she said. One goal is to celebrate “overlooked or under-appreciated everyday moments and encourage people to connect with what is happening right now.”

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