There are many ways to get lit on these winter nights that don't involve drinking to excess. Candles have the power to literally light up the night, as well as soothe the senses of sight, smell, and even touch.
We're accustomed to considering the calming nature of candles. But, have you ever met a candle named Joe? Or Kurt? Or Luc or Clive? Chances are, no, you haven’t. Jasmine, perhaps, or Rose or Violet or any number of femmy sweet sounding and smelling names and fragrances populate the candle department. But candles for (and named for) men? Manly candles? Isn’t that an oxymoron?
But the Portland company 2550 Degrees has a line of candles called Joe, Kurt, Luc and Clive. I think I'd go for Kurt; evidently he smells like "a saltwater breeze, sun-bleached driftwood and a tropical beach."
Alchemy, out of Scott Mills, Oregon, is another great local source for gorgeous candles. They're located on 24 acres of the Molalla Hills (and they're 100% wind-powered). Just to look at and touch the smooth surface of these candles is to enter a world of calm. They use "highest quality, biodegradable, food grade paraffin wax" – the "same wax used to make fine chocolates and coat the surface of fruits and vegetables like apples and cucumbers." The deep colors include Blue Moon (Egyptian blue musk and vanilla), the rich burgundy of Winter Fell (black currant and spruce berries), and the bright red of Masala Chai and Mandarin peel.
And from farther from home, some excellent candles from Skeem, a Philadelphia husband and wife company. Graphic designer Geoff Weiser and former retail buyer, Suji Meswani, are the co-owners of Skeem Candles. They produce a range of candlelight options, from votives to 12 ounce tapers housed in beautiful silk-screened glasses that could be heirlooms once the 90 hours of candle-burning time is over.
2550 Degrees's candles are available in Portland at: Beam and Anchor (2710 N. Interstate Ave); Schoolhouse Electric (2181 NW Nicolai); Physical Element (1124 NW Lovejoy); Frances May (1013 SW Washington); and Ink & Peat (3808 N. Williams Ave.).
Skeem and Alchemy are carried at New Seasons grocery stores.