Coral, Amber, Onyx and Garnet Candles – Sage Machado
by Andrea Haskins
Company: Sage Machado
Type: 8-oz jar candles ($56)
3oz Travel Candle ($26)
Scent strength: Light to moderate
Intro to my Sage Machado candle review:
Sage Machado candles have been on my radar for some time now. Another line of luxury candles that I have had yet to hit… I mean, try. I’m not sure when I first heard about these candles, but the more I learned the more intrigued I became. So it was only a matter of time before I bit the bullet and made a purchase. I actually bought these candles some time ago but just got around to burning them. (I am mentioning that as a possible disclaimer… you’ll see why later!)
Sage Machado is actually best known for her really cool jewelry that she designs and sells. This Los Angeles goddess knows fashion and jewelry. And apparently she knows about fragrance… her perfumes and candles are a huge hit among those who seem to have everything. Her candles are slated to carry the highest quality of fragrance and essential oils available… lending to highly concentrated, quality (read: expensive) candles.
There is a selection of twelve different fragrances all named after gemstones. Clever! She currently has 3oz travel size candles, 8oz candles and a line of Faint Candles (candles in 4oz amber jars). I chose to try two 8oz candles… one scented in Coral and another in Amber. The wax is a blend of soy, palm and coconut. In researching the candles I learned she packs them with an unprecedented 20% of fragrance oil per candle. The candles are produced in very small quantities so that freshness can be ensured. Each candle is stated to have a 60 hour burn time.
What did my candles look like?
The candles are housed in these colorful fabric containers. The color and fabric pattern of the containers vary with your chosen scent, but they are really, really cool ”“ in a retro kind of way. They are round to compliment the shape of the candle and there is a funky design all around. The top of the container can be removed to see the jar candle hidden inside. It’s like opening a jewelry box ”“ I love the running theme! My jars were clear… no logos or other markings on them.
I see on the website that the jars are marked with a beautiful insignia, so if you were to purchase now that’s probably what you would see. The jars were heavy duty with thick bottoms ”“ just as I would expect with a luxury candle. Each jar had a single lead-free cotton wick and the color of the wax coordinated with the scent (specially designed by a color specialist!). Coral was a light pink and Amber was a dark amber shade. (It also appears the candle wax formula has been changed since my purchase and all candle wax is an off-white color.)
What did my candles smell like?
I’ll admit it. I chose Coral based on the color of the box. Hey, I’m a girly girl and the packaging had me hook, line and sinker. Here’s the lengthy description for my chosen scent:
“Coral is a shimmering fragrance as captivating as its inspiration – those living vibrant underwater castles that have entranced human beings for centuries. It’s subtle coconut top note merges with joyful middle notes of orange blossom and mimosa. These rest on a sheer, enveloping base note accord of fresh musks, sandalwood and vanilla that illuminates the wearer like sunlight streaming through tropical waters.”
Who wouldn’t love to smell something this grand? I didn’t get much on cold sniff… certainly no orange blossoms or mimosa. But that didn’t really sway me. I’ve found many luxury candles really blossom once the burn has begun. So I lit this candle and left it to burn in my powder room.
I anxiously went back about thirty minutes later waiting to be wafted away to my underwater kingdom. Only there was no wafting. No kingdom. No scent throw. I waited a bit longer… perhaps an hour… and went back to check again. No matter how long I let this candle burn, I never did detect a scent throw. Although the powder room is the smallest room in my house, I still moved this candle around hoping to find just the perfect spot. Never happened, my friends. So disappointing!
Next up was Amber. The description for this scent reads:
“A fragrance of singular power and depth. Amber is inspired by those golden, light-filled stones formed from the resin of ancient trees. Its succulent blood orange top note streams like the sun’s rays through notes of labdanum, Tunisian Amber and musk. Legend states that Amber was used by sorcerers and magicians to promote strength, healing and protection. This fragrance is itself an emboldening yet profoundly calming talisman.”
I had a different experience with cold sniff here. I did detect a light, musky amber scent. Sexy, indeed! Once this beauty was lit in the powder room, it proved worthy of my attention. The scent throw was very light… mostly as a background fragrance. Still, the sultry amber scent was detectable and pleasant. This was a grown-up amber scent. Something I would think perfect for the bedroom. No perfumey notes at all, which I sometimes find in amber-scented candles. I’m not sure I caught any blood orange notes at any time. This candle was fragranced throughout its life, which was a huge relief after my Coral experience.
How did my candles burn?
I had opposite results with burning these candles. Coral, which produced no scent throw, burned evenly with no tunneling whatsoever. The wick did need to be trimmed quite frequently to keep it from becoming a mini-torch. The candle was slow burning and took about an hour to get to a full melt pool. I would say the 60 hour burn time is an accurate representation.
Amber, which did produce a pleasant (but light) scent, did not burn well. The wick did need to be trimmed frequently but halfway through the candle it became like ash and would just smolder. There was tunneling with this candle. A wide tunnel but a tunnel nonetheless. A fairly thick rim of wax remained behind.
Since purchasing and testing these candles (and writing the above review), the Sage Machado website has undergone a huge, slick transformation. It appeared to me that their candles had, too! My curious nose just wouldn’t let this review rest without some further research. The main candle scents were still available, but there were also some enchanting blends added to the mix. I decided to try one of the more popular scents, Onyx, in the 8oz candle and also Garnet in the 3oz travel size.
The fabric package containers were as I remembered, only different patterns/colors because I chose different scents this go-round. I did notice that the wax was no longer colored ”“ each candle had a creamy, off-white wax color. The candle jars were colored to compliment the scent choice ”“ Garnet actually appeared to be a deep orange color to me and Onyx was pure black. Each jar did sport the Sage Machado insignia, which I think is kind of cool.
So I had established a change in the look. Had the performance changed? It was time to put these beauties to the test!
I started with Onyx because I really, really wanted to like this scent and this company. I had heard too many great things! I knew Onyx to be one of, if not the, most popular fragrances in the perfume department and I had heard some similar comments regarding the candle scent, too. Here’s the description:
“A fragrance that is as darkly opulent as the stone for which it was named, onyx begins with a bewitching top note accord of black coconut, tobacco and oakmoss. Its rich and enveloping base note accord of vanilla, amber and sheer musk caresses the skin like sweet dew born of nocturnal, tropical air. A perfume of almost primeval intensity, Onyx evokes nature’s beauty in its darkest forms; a jungle’s depths, volcanic heat and velvety night skies.”
Reading the description, I knew this would be a heavier type of scent. I still started this candle in my powder room and went back to check on it about 30 minutes later. My, oh my. Color me surprised! Although the candle had not filled the room completely, I could definitely detect its presence ”“ very earthy and sensual. A smoky type of scent that almost sent chills down my spine. It was THAT good! I closed the door and came back to check an hour later. The candle had had time to envelop my powder room with its magical scent and I was converted. Right then and there. This was such a complex scent, it was difficult for me to pick out individual notes. No one scent was dominant, but I did detect all notes at some point throughout the burn. Fantastic! This candle burned cleanly ”“ I did need to maintain the wick but I did not have a huge rim of wasted wax. Overall, I would say the throw was moderately strong ”“ enough to fill the room without overpowering you.
Having been blown away by Onyx, I was excited to get to Garnet. Now I wasn’t expecting too, too much since this was a very small travel candle (3oz). Here’s what Sage Machado has to say about this scent:
“A fragrance that is as deeply sensual as the smoldering red hue of the stone for which it was named, Garnet melds with and transforms the wearer’s body heat in an enigmatic alchemy. This tribute to the stone of love begins with a luscious and seductive watermelon top note. Garnet’s full, inviting middle note accord of gardenia and Moroccan red rose absolute languidly lies on a sumptuous bed for amber, vanilla and must that both radiates and beckons.”
I did start this candle in my powder room, but I knew it wouldn’t stand a chance in there. I decided to move this candle to a small, closet-type room. Not where I would typically burn a candle but hey… I wanted to give this candle a fighting chance! After leaving this candle for a bit, I was able to return to a fresh, floral scent. The gardenia seemed to win out in this complex scent with just the perfect hints of rose. I occasionally caught some whiffs of amber and vanilla. No watermelon, though! This candle was a joy and I would definitely like to try it in the larger size.
Closing to my review:
Luxury candle shopping can be a tricky and expensive journey. When shopping for luxury candles, I expect packaging to write home about, a complex and/or pleasant scent with at least a moderate throw, and a low-maintenance, slow burning candle. In order for me to repurchase from a luxury candle company, they must meet all three criteria. I know that’s a bit of a high standard but hey ”“ companies that fall into this candle category should be held to a higher standard. Unfortunately, my Sage Machado candles only passed on one of the criteria ”“ the packaging.
Coral had no scent throw and while Amber did, it was way too light to justify a repurchase. That combined with the high maintenance required (not to mention the wasted Amber wax) would make this company a one-and-done deal for me.
My final-final verdict now after trying Onyx and Garnet?
My two thumbs have flipped way up for Sage Machado. I have gone from fairly disappointed to pretty impressed. I’m not sure of why there was such a different experience from my initial candles to my most recent ones, but I’m not complaining. The latter candles held up to the higher standard for luxury candles. And in my scented world, that’s a very good thing!
Burn wisely and happy candle shopping!
These candles can also be purchased from Candles Off Main… a wonderful site that carries a large variety of luxury brands.
- Editor Rating
- Rated 4 stars
- Sage Machado
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