It's been a tradition at Sihaya & Company that one collection out of the year be suggested and chosen by friends, fans, and customers. It started out in 2016 as a sort of experiment, where I let my close friends suggest candle scents, and those scents that received enough pre-order pledges were crafted. When I began my Facebook Sihaya & Co Fans Group, I continued the tradition with input there.
We had to take a break in 2020 due to pandemic-related supply chain issues, but I decided to bring back the tradition for 2021. Here are the candles that were voted in-- 5 slots were chosen by the fans group, and two by my personal friendslist. I really enjoyed creating this collection, and I hope you'll love it, too!
7 am Zoom Call: Bright enough to get you moving, but smooth enough to keep you chill. Lemon and sweet orange kissed by golden amber. (Suggested by Lenora Z.)
This one is lovely and simple! A blend of lightly-sugared lemons and mouth-watering oranges paired with a light, sunny amber to smooth it all out. I was a little surprised that Lenora's wakeup call didn't involve coffee, but this is a cheerful, breezy take on early morning pick me ups!
Cat Nap: Cuddly, smokey vanilla, a wool blanket, milky breath, catmint, the subtle manipulation of a purr. (Suggested by Jocelyn C.)
What a lovely little soothing scent. I started out with my favorite smoked vanilla note (the same one I use in Full Moon), and blended it with a soft, wooly note comprised of blonde woods and the gentlest musk. For the milky breath, I actually used a note labeled "whipped cream," so that it would keep that sweetness but not weigh the blend down or get too sour, the way that some milk notes can. I couldn't find a catmint note, but I ended up blending one with sage and garden mint. Just a touch so it didn't outbalance the overall delicacy of the creaminess. The end result is supremely cozy!
Desert Canyon Breeze: Juniper, sage, flowering cactus, and distant thunderstorms. (Suggested by Priscilla A.)
This one was suggested by someone who wanted to evoke the New Mexican high desert, which is a very nostalgic scent for me, as I got engaged on a mountaintop in New Mexico overlooking the desert. Juniper can be a really tricky note for me-- it's one of my olfactory blind spots. Juniper notes often have very little scent for me, for some reason! I have a small collection of juniper notes, and I ended up using the heaviest one in my collection so it gives the appropriate earthiness instead of the more spirited versions that remind me more of gin. Because of all of the scent research I was doing while formulating Hidden Oasis, I had several cactus blossom notes already in stock, and I chose a different one for this one-- one that's less aloe-based, and drier, but still soothing. The sage was one of my greener sages, and the thunderstorm is my favorite rain blend (the one that has appeared in past Fan Collection scents like Summer Thunderstorm). I hope it hits the mark, Priscilla!
Egyptian Kyphi: Frankincense, myrrh, cinnamon, cardamom, wine, honey, juniper berries, and a touch of pine. (Suggested by Abigail K.)
I was pretty stoked to get to work on this-- I've been listening to The Exploress podcast lately while I work, and had recently listened to an episode where she talked about what components went into Egyptian perfumery. I'm also working on another historically-based collection that will feature a blend honoring an awesome Egyptian queen, so I'd already had those gears working in my mind.
Kyphi is based on an actual Egyptian perfume family, and there are lots of kyphi-inspired perfumes still in existence today. Each is their creator's own interpretation based on the wide variety of components, and mine is no different. I was jazzed that I'd be able to use up the frankincense and myrrh still kicking around my component collection from the holidays, and started with that as a base. I added a red wine blend that is on the milder side (not quite as heavy as the one featured in Uruz), and added a small amount of my favorite golden honey note to it to sweeten just a little. Then I added cinnamon and cardamom drop by drop because spices can so easily overwhelm a nuanced blend if you're not careful. Once I was satisfied with the spice level, I rounded it out with the same earthy juniper featured in Desert Canyon Breeze, and just a touch of boxwood pine-- enough to add the note, but without taking it into holiday territory. Overall, I'm really pleased with how this one turned out! It's so complex!
High Mountain Summer: Cedar and redwood, rich soil, fresh blueberries, and cold lake water. (Suggested by Colleen R.)
This blend was inspired by my friend Colleen's family cabin in the Californian mountains. I was fortunate enough to be asked to visit the cabin with her many summers ago, and it was such a fantastic trip. As with all of my woodsier blends, I started by crafting the woods base. I used my favorite cedar and a little bit of redwood, then added the dirt note that I love so much and use most predominantly in Gardens After The Storm. The cold lake water is a completely new-to-me component that has a true aquatic vibe underscored by a little bit of cedar and wood violet. As for the blueberries-- man, a good blueberry note can be hard to find! If you want blueberry muffins, the world's your oyster, but a true-to-fruit blueberry note can be tough. I've tried several and my response has always been "meh." But I happened to have to try a new supplier for my glassware in the last few months, and they had a blueberry note I hadn't tried, so I took a chance. Great success! But also way stronger than many of the blueberry notes I'd tinkered with before.
I ended up having to adjust the blend after the initial settling period (all of my scents get left alone for a while after blending because some notes are morphers), and the end result is just a hint of blueberries-- the way the air might smell if you happened to be passing a nearby blueberry bush. Very satisfying.
Salem Visit: Smoky sage, lavender, ylang ylang, nag champa, cedar, and cypress. (Suggested by Mara K.)
I was SO THRILLED that this one was voted in. I love Salem. We had plans to go back in 2020, but, well...
I actually started this blend with the same sage and lavender I use in Conversations with the Moon-- they're both bang-on herbals that work super well with one another. Ylang ylang can be really strong, so I erred on the conservative side and didn't add too much. As for the nag champa-- well, I'm not a big fan. BUT I recently found a nag champa that I actually kinda like (it's the one used in I Am Here, I Am Whole), and it worked so well with the sage. I ended up using a juniper + cypress blend because it's super tough to find a true to scent cypress in the candlemaking world, and this one really impressed me. Just a touch of smoked cedar, and it was all set! Witch City, I miss you!
The Blacksmith's Daughter: Smoky dragon's blood, worn leather, and a faint whiff of perfume (neroli and jasmine). (Suggested by Rebecca S.)
This one was pretty straighforward and very much in my wheelhouse, but with one snag: the dragon's blood I have loved and relied on for yeaaaaars was recently reformulated by my supplier and... I kind of hate the new version. So the great search for a new workhorse dragon's blood note began.
For those of you unfamiliar, it's in the resin scent category, and named because it is bright red, and often obtained from plants in the dracaena family. It's a bit deeper and more floral than, say, amber. I absolutely love it, but am very particular about it. I detest wimpy, thin, watery dragon's blood notes.
Luckily for me, I was able to find a really lovely replacement. I used my favorite leather note, added some neroli and jasmine for the perfume, and just the tiiiiiniest bit of my smoke note to really bring it all together. I hope you love it, Rebecca!
And that's the Fan Collection for 2021. I can't wait to hear what you think!