Because nothing conjures home and comfort like the scent of cold metal.
A lot of scented candles try to corner the nostalgia industry, trafficking in whiffs of something fresh out of the oven (vanilla bean, pumpkin pie) or by distilling something festive, like pine. They can be wholesome in a way that feels—or smells—cloying.
But even if they reek, scented candles nod to the potency of sensory memories; they rely on the notion that consumers are swayed by an appeal to a happy recollection.
And that's maybe how we've found ourselves here: with a candle that smells like a MacBook.
The soy-based candle was poured by Twelve South, a company that usually peddles more traditional computer accessories. It’s got a price tag of $24, and there’s already a waiting list.
Don’t recall those scents emanating from a freshly unboxed computer? Neither does a writer at The Verge, who wondered if the smell was some cocktail of “excitement and vague anxiety at having just dropped the biggest sum of money I'd ever spent in my young adult life.” Fast Co. Design notes that the candle has hints of mint, peach, basil, lavender, mandarin, and sage—which sounds pleasant, but unlike metal, plastic, and cables. Fast Co. adds that this candle isn’t the first product to transform tech into a fragrance: A perfume by Comme des Garcons “supposedly captures the essence of freshly-welded aluminum, warm photocopier toner, and hot metal—a concoction that seems more likely to get you high than anything else.”
The candle’s definitely gimmicky, but it’s not entirely surprising. Gadgets are practically appendages—snarling our sleep cycles, but also forming the scaffolding of daily rituals and the loot for Black Friday bonanzas. That frenzy to load up on gizmos might not be any less American than apple pie—but it doesn’t smell as good.
H/t Fast Co. Design