Madagascar vanilla is easily one of the most recognizable and popular notes found in candles. Let's pay homage to the most beloved fragrance in the world. It's warm, rich and deeply indulgent. It reminds us of ice cream cones by the bay and rich crème Brule by the fireside. We're talking about vanilla, one of the most adored and revered scents in all of history. Every time we infuse a note of this earthy fragrance into one of our luxury candles, we elevate the sensory experience to an entirely new level. Yet, what exactly is this spice and where does it come from? And, what makes Madagascar vanilla, in particular, so special?
Today, we're sharing a few key facts to know about this sultry smell to help explain why it's a star player in so many of our products. Ready to learn more? Let's dive in.
We refer to it as a spice, but vanilla is actually a flower. It's a member of the
orchid family, which includes around 25,000 to 30,000 different species! It originates in South and Central America, as well as the Caribbean. The ancient Totonac Indians of Mexico were the first people who cultivated it, realizing that the fruit of the Tlilxochitl vine, the vanilla pod, was both fragrant and delicious. Later, around the 15th century, the Aztecs conquered the Totonacs, acquiring the fruit.
The vanilla pods then passed to the Spanish, when they defeated the Aztecs. Spanish conquistadors returned to their native land with the beans, which they reserved for years for exclusive use by the nobility.
Until the 17th century, vanilla was used as an additive to chocolate, and nothing more. At that time, Hugh Morgan, an apothecary working for Queen Elizabeth, developed vanilla-flavored sweetmeats that the Queen adored. Since then, it's found its place in recipe books around the world.
In fact, Thomas Jefferson was so impressed by vanilla ice cream he tasted in France during the 1780s while working as an American Minister that he copied down the recipe to bring back home to the United States! You can find that recipe still preserved in the Library of Congress.
Madagascar is the largest producer of vanilla beans in the world, credited for 75% of the total vanilla available on the market today. You may have seen it marked as "Bourbon Vanilla", as the island of nearby Réunion (formerly named Île Bourbon) is also a top producer. Although you'll also find major vanilla crops in Mexico and Tahiti, Madagascar vanilla is the smoothest, richest and most consistent version around. Creamy and sweet while at the same time smooth and mellow, it's vanilla in its purest form.
The Production Process
When you pay for items scented with Madagascar vanilla, you aren't paying for cheap imitation scents made by man in an overseas factory. Rather, you're paying for the time and skill it takes to produce the vanilla pods. Vanilla is the second most expensive spice in the world, lagging behind only saffron, which can cost up to $3,000 for two pounds! What makes it so pricey? The answer lies in its growing process, which is both specific and specialized. Did you know that vanilla orchids can only grow 10 to 20 degrees away from the Earth's equator? For the orchids to produce pods (or beans), hummingbirds or a species of bees native to Central America must first pollinate the plant. Once this occurs, the flowers only open for a brief period of time. To meet commercial harvesting requirements, therefore, harvesters must hand-pollinate the plants. This is a laborious effort that can fail unless specific steps are carried out in the correct sequence, at the exact right time. In other words, it's not as simple as cracking open the plants and pulling out the seeds. It's a labor of love, dedication, and commitment, and the attention shows in the quality.
When you purchase a luxury candle, from our shop, that includes notes of vanilla, you can rest assured that you're getting the vanilla bean scent in its true and pure form. Have you ever smelled a bottle of lotion or room freshener labeled as "vanilla" that was so cheap and imitation it made your head spin? As with cooking, it's best to stick to the real thing. That's why we get our inspiration from nature, not from a lab. We're passionate about keeping ingredient lists simple and short while delivering a powerful fragrance that lasts until the final burn. From our fragrance sprays and votive gift sets to our Magna Vitrum 68-ounce, three-wick beauties, we've got plenty of vanilla candle options to keep you covered! Place one in your bedroom for the perfect evening wind-down, in your sunroom for a morning pick-me-up or in your spa to achieve that perfect level of Zen.
Enjoy the Scent of Madagascar Vanilla at Home
You may not be able to slice into a delicate vanilla pod on a regular basis, letting its heavy and exotic scent waft through your home. You can, however, achieve the same effect with a luxury candle scented with a fine smoked Madagascar Vanilla. The time, effort and resources it takes to procure this valuable extract are second to none. This isn't the knockoff version you use to sweeten cake recipes. It's the bean in its most natural state, preserved to deliver a powerful scent you can't help but adore. For more information on how we make our candles and why they're worth the investment, check out these attributes. Then, feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions or would like more information. We love sharing about what makes our products unique and how they can transform your home into a haven, one light at a time.