johnnie walker blue label candle
Johnnie Walker

We’ve got a riddle for you: What’s a whisky you can nose, but not drink? The answer to this trick question is Blue Label, a new scented candle from Brooklyn perfumery D.S. & Durga.

Made in collaboration with Johnnie Walker, the limited-edition candle is intended to capture the scent of the scotch brand’s highest end offering and the landscape that produces it.

Fittingly, the research conducted by D.S. & Durga founder David Moltz involved scotch and Scotland. 

“I made a few studies of the whisky itself,” Moltz says. “But then I traveled with Johnnie Walker to Scotland to experience the story, the landscape, and process. There I found elements that I could translate into scent: oak barrels, fine whisky, highland coast air, peat, and the shrubs in the highlands near the Cardhu distillery, which is one of the single malts in Johnnie Walker Blue Label.”

David Moltz nosing whisky. Photo: Johnnie Walker.

I have never been to Scotland but can report that the candle smells precisely the way every photograph of the country looks: earthy, woodsy, and rich, with a touch of salty air. Naturally, I poured myself a dram and found a great deal of synergy between Blue Label, the whisky, and Blue Label, the candle. The landscape-inspired elements gave it a more earthy quality, but the wispy, salt air-smokiness that appears at the whisky’s finish seemed perfectly replicated by D.S. & Durga’s creation.

Moltz says that around 25 studies and versions of the candle were made before he got it right. Among the physical ingredients that constitute the candle’s accord (perfume formula), Moltz disclosed that he used absolutes extracted from rose and cognac, as well as ambers, woods, and rectified cade (a species of juniper).

When asked about the allure of Johnnie Walker Blue’s scent, Moltz responds “It’s the complexity. I think people appreciate how one thing can imply many other ideas. You taste a grassy/fruity spirit that absorbs the oil of rare woods, and on your palate you discover mystical flavors that wax and wane as you drink.”

Anyone wishing to experience those mystical flavors without imbibing can now do so, thanks to Moltz’s candle, which is available on D.S. & Durga. And while having the option of a zero-proof Blue Label experience is certainly convenient, it doesn’t hurt to have a glass of the potable stuff at hand to make it a multi-sensory adventure. So the candle is also available via Reserve Bar, where it’s paired with a bottle of the scotch that inspired it.

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