Waxing Lyrical: Jonathan Ward's Wonderful World of Scents
Written by Daen Palma Huse, 05.09.2019
I was lucky to meet Jonathan Ward in his London studio today, which is where the magic happens. He is a connaisseur of scents, who has travelled the world and collected not a few, but many memories and impressions it seems, that he shares with us through the olfactory universe he has created; from Scottish highlands over nightly casinos or the caravaggesque play of light to the scent of the fruit that Carmen Miranda might have turned into a headpiece and accessories...
Every scent that Jonathan talks about from his collection has a meaning of its own. Representative of spaces, people and experiences, listening to the inspiration behind each one of the scents paints a different picture. Asked if he is inspired by places or people, Jonathan says that it is always people that inspire him - something people have done or their character.
Jonathan tells me about his inspiration of Mata Hari in her cousin’s Monte Carlo casino - a place where she allegedly spent a good amount of her time at when not working - introducing his candle "Mistigris". This scent centres around a spiced carnation note suffused with a charge of pheromone, laced carrot seed and pink pepper. I see smoke rising through the dusty air in an elegant casino of the 1920s or 1930s, a fashionable Art Deco silver bead clutch lying on the bar that is made of cool dark marble and glass, a drink on the edge, a new creation that we don't know the name of. The soft hand of a woman, adorned with a filigree ring, gliding gently across the edge of that bar before reaching for the slender waist of the cocktail glass, whilst her stole brushes the floor and side of the chairs. We hear the warm mix of voices, feel secrecy in the air, an enticing feeling that draws us in, and finally, excitement.
Jonathan manages to tell a story with each scent. He says that even not knowing the stories, someone who smells the candles could make up their mind about them and create their own story. This certainly holds true as I lose myself in several daydreams all at once for the time spent at the studio.
”Mistigris”, “Dahteshe” and “Roscuro” particularly stand out. My mind does not connect the fragrance to one thing in particular, but the different notes come together in an imaginative combination. Even the “Fig Ultimatum” is unlike other fig scents out there. Jonathan explains that he wanted to create something different, opposed to the very green fig scents that have been created over and over again, and to make the Jonathan Ward “Fig Ultimatum” rich and ripe.
Ward candles combine what we ourselves value very highly at The Protagonist: knowledge, crafts(wo)manship and detail. The unique scents are presented beautifully, using dark and rich coloured packaging made out of G.F. Smith paper. The paper is beautifully printed showing geometric lines and patterns that remind me of beams of light and the skyline of a big metropole by night at the same time. Perhaps the deep warmth of the paper colour paired with the cold silver printed logo and design are synonymous with the many facets of the fragrances presented; a fine line between warm and cool, light and dark.
The very soft nature of the all-natural scented wax means that candles have to be hand poured in three different stages so as not to create an uneven surface and to allow for the material to set. The all-organic fragrances, both available as candles and home fragrances, are pure and sure to delight.
For more information visit www.jonathanward.me