Every day, we make memories. Some are beautiful, some are painful; that is how life works. These memories are formed through our senses: the smell of your mother’s perfume, the song playing in the background when you had your first kiss, the taste of your dad’s famous BBQ sauce. Our senses evoke these memories and transport us to a particular place and time. A writer tells her life’s story through the written word; we see it. A chef tells his story through food; we taste it. We can hear a singer’s life through her music. I tell mine through the sense of smell.
For the past year and a half I have been poring over essential oils, trying to find just the right combinations to create candles that represent pivotal moments from my life. They are a celebration of the places I have lived and loved; places where Joseph Riley Land didn’t just exist, but grew as a person. Now, those places live in me. Every time I sniff one of these candles, I am transported back to that era of my life. Each one was a labor of love; each one is a part of me. It’s my life’s journey, as told through scents. Olive Hill’s beautiful skies. Sewanee’s ubiquitous fog. Trinidad’s glorious breeze. The roots of my business forming in Harlem. The decision to relocate to Nashville. Each candle is placed in a handmade satchel, carefully thought out to match the color I feel when I remember these places. Along the way, I created a rainbow, which represents the LGBTQ community, of which I am a member. This is my story. It’s my life. The Life of Riley.
OLIVE HILL SKIES - Reminiscent of the morning dew on my Papaw’s hay fields, with wild clover and a hint of the blackberry bushes along the edges of the field.
Top: saffron, apple, dew
Middle: blackberry, black currant, vanilla
Base: anise, amber, willow, wild clover
SEWANEE FOG - Evoking the smell of damp mountain air, we took amber and oak moss and added a lilt of pine and rounded it out with an orange and sage mix that provides a rich, woody base but also notes of musk and citrus.
Top: sage, orange, grapefruit, apple
Middle: lavender, tonka bean
Base: amber, pine, cedar, oakmoss
TRINIDAD BREEZE - Citrus notes of orange and grapefruit, with a slight scent of guava and passion fruit, tempered with sandalwood give way to a bergamot/violet/musky undertone.
Top: coriander, citrus, ozone
Middle: amyris, violet, honeydew
Base: sandalwood, amber, dark musk, oakmoss
HARLEM ROOTS - This scent infuses sandalwood and dark musk with amber, jasmine, balsam, lavender and mandarin.
Top: mandarin, citrus
Middle: amber, cedar, jasmine
Base: sandalwood, dark musk, vanilla
NASHVILLE-BOUND - A rich woody base and notes of musk fully complement the oak moss, amber, sage and orange, giving this candle a universal appeal.
Top: sage, orange, grapefruit
Middle: lavender, musk, tonka bean
Base: oakmoss, amber, labdanum
This set of 5 candles means that you’ll always have a candle to fit your mood. Soy means they burn longer and cleaner. This is a winner whether you give as a gift or keep for yourself.