A scent is the strongest source of connection to a memory. The salty ocean air? Summer vacation. Pumpkin spice and cinnamon sticks? Thanksgiving with family. Fresh latkes? Hanukkah (also spelled "Chanukah") at home. With this in mind, the most logical way to relive sweet memories from the Festival of Lights is through the intoxicating aroma of fried potato pancakes. And leave it to D.S. & Durga to translate this distinct scent into candle form.
Lightable Latkes is D.S. & Durga's latest Hanukkah fragrance. With top notes of potato and etrog (a yellow citrus fruit), heart notes of black pepper and olive, and base notes of peanut oil and assorted tubers (potatoes), this unique candle perfectly emulates the traditional dish.
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For even more insight into this unexpected holiday candle, we spoke with David Moltz, expert perfumer and founder of D.S. & Durga. Here's the lowdown on his inspiration, process, and personal ties to the brand's iconic 2022 Hanukkah candle.
Hunker: There are so many amazing Christmas candles on the market. What initially inspired you to make a Hanukkah candle?
David Moltz: It's a holiday with a central story about lighting a lamp, and we light candles to celebrate. I thought about why there weren't fancier Hanukkah candles and knew I needed to make one. Hanukkah was serious business growing up Jewish in America. It's a time of year we all remember fondly. The latke is the aroma of that memory.
Hunker: How did the Lightable Latkes fragrance come about? Were there other Hanukkah fragrances you had considered exploring for this year's Hanukkah-inspired scent? I know last year's scent was Prime Chanukah, if you'd like to touch on that.
DM: The first one (Prime Chanukah) was the scent of the holy olive oil found sealed in the temple in Jerusalem. I love trying to recreate the realistic aroma of something ancient. This year, I wanted to make a candle that smelled like a frying potato. I knew it was a bit strange, but I showed it to a bunch of people and they dug it, so we launched it.
Hunker: How difficult was it to include notes like potato, black pepper, and assorted tubers into a candle? Did you feel confident it was going to work right off the bat? How long did it take to perfect?
DM: Right away, I knew it was realistic. In fact, I made many versions after trying to [make] the original version prettier, but I missed the primacy of the first mod[el], so what you have is my first impression of frying latkes. A cool trick is that since you light a candle on fire, the scent literally comes alive and harmonizes with the scent of burning wax.
Hunker: Do you have any personal ties to Hanukkah that helped inspire the fragrance?
DM: My mom makes killer latkes, as does my wife. It's a very special dish for Jews!