Burning bright— Normandy


Following a successful rescue reinvention by entrepreneur Ramdane Touhami, historic candle maker Cire Trudon has kept its flame alive and grown to become an industry leader.

Carsten Höller, Claude Trudon, Jun Takahashi, Philippe Parreno, Ramdane Touhami

Normandy’s most famous export is probably its Camembert but there’s another lucrative and fragrant trade rooted in the region. The small Cire Trudon factory in Mortagne-au-Perche is operating at the forefront of a trend that, over the past decade, has seen the scented candle become a key element of many luxury goods houses’ portfolios and a branding tool for hotels, shops and even film companies (Disney has its own candle).

There can be few better placed to exploit this development than Cire Trudon. Founded in 1643 by grocer and candle maker Claude…

  1. Cire Trudon was relaunched in 2007.

  2. After a year and a half in production, Cire Trudon was already being sold in 55 countries.

  3. Cire Trudon’s Paris shop was designed by Ramdane Touhami.

  4. Cire’s current logo is a revisited version of the original. Its motto means “Work for God and for the King”, and refers to Trudon’s first two major clients, the church and the royal court.

  5. The high-quality vegetal wax used can cost upwards of €200 a kilo.

  6. The Cire Trudon factory still uses Hans Kürschner machines that date from the 1960s to make its tapered candles.

  7. The top-selling scent made by Trudon is “Ernesto”, inspired by the fragrance of the Cuban revolution, taking 15 per cent of sales.

  8. Jarred candles weigh 300g on average and can burn for up to 85 hours.

  9. Wax busts are inspired by the 18th-century paintings of Thomas Gainsborough and Elizabeth Vigée Le Brun.

  10. Past collaborations have included artists Jun Takahashi and Philippe Parreno, and 2011 will see Touhami work with Carsten Höller.

  1. Beads of vegetal wax are melted down overnight at around 70C.

  2. The liquified wax is then mixed with premium fragrances, supplied by French companies Robertet and Charabot. Fragrance combinations produce scents that range from the wax floors of Versailles (Roi Soleil) to tea and vetiver, inspired by the Dada movement (it’s clever but confusing, according to Cire Trudon).

  3. The wax is then siphoned by hand into Trudon’s distinctive green glass jars, handmade in Vinci, Italy.

  4. German-sourced woven cotton wicks are placed in each jar, and adjusted as the wax cools so as to remain upright.

  5. The candles are then “surfaced” (top heated to ensure a smooth surface), and once cooled again, cleaned by cloth and checked for flaws.

  6. Candles are packaged in cardboard, and must be shipped at a constant temperature between 20C and 25C.

  1. Perfumed stink bombs
  2. Ernesto, 300g candle in jar
  3. And el Kader, 300g candle in jar
  4. Spiritu Sancti, 300g candle in jar
  5. Roi Soleil, 300g candle in jar

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