What’s your favorite scent, lemon? Uh-huh. “Freshly cut grass.” Salt air, butter in grandma’s frying pan, linden trees in early June. Santal 33, but you’re afraid to say so because its popularity has made it unappealing to you, or at least you know that it should have, so you’re trying to think accordingly. Or what, rose? Maybe your favorite scent is “rose.” Yeah, I bet it is. But do you know what’s also your favorite scent?
And don’t try to lie about it!
Ah, gasoline — sweet nectar of the pump; our treat for devastating the planet, engaging in war, and pulling off of the highway to fill up our car because even though we have just a little under half a tank left we might as well do it now since we’re passing a gas station and who knows when we’ll see the next one. I love to take huge whiffs of it whenever the opportunity presents itself, as if I am greedily trying to suck the last bits of delicious air from a shared scuba tank, except with my nose. God, it smells so good. Like ... like … like … like gasoline!
Why do we love the smell so much? Why, there are several articles online willing to explain to you exactly that, but suffice to say it is because our brains like … the smell of it, and also because of nostalgia. Going on family road trips, smelling the neighbor’s leaf blower, mowing the lawn with ol’ pop, the first Gulf War. Those innocent, sweet childhood days, before you knew sniffing the dangerously alluring scent could lead to nephritis and tubular necrosis, cancer, brain damage, and so on. Mmmm.
So why don’t luxury candle brands make gasoline scented candles? That’s a good question, you’re thinking, and I know — it plagues me. We all love the scent, and it is currently en vogue to, as one of the more benign parts of the modern belief that everything shitty we do is fine because of something we read in a thread about therapy on Twitter based on something someone else saw in a TikTok, deny the existence of a “guilty” pleasure. So why not?
Well, I lied; one luxury brand does make a gasoline candle, sort of. (Please continue to trust me.) That brand is D.S. & Durga, and the candle is their “‘85 Diesel,” meant to evoke not gasoline exactly, but instead, as the company’s co-founder David Moltz told me, “the essence of the inside of an '85 300TD Benz.” Yes, the candle smells more like a combination of car-themed memories (leather seats, exhaust, summer road trip). If you close your eyes while burning it, it’s as if you’ve been transported to a fancy clothing store located in a parking garage. It’s very nice.
“Most people fall in love with the scent of gasoline when they’re kids,” Moltz said. “It is ultimately made of organic compounds cooked by the Earth for millions of years — perhaps it reminds us of something deep. It's also very distinct, like a leathery floral wood with an underlying umami musk.” Indeed it is. So why no candles then, hm? Except yours?
“Perfume is dominated by a relatively few people's scent ideas,” Moltz said. “There's just not many perfumers in the world. I don't know if there's a huge demand for candles that smell like gas.”
Well… THERE IS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
There are some gasoline scented candles out there, though. “Joke” candles, candles from brands that sell candles with scents like “fart” or “man cave,” made for straight cis men as if straight cis men can’t enjoy a normal human’s regular candle (and I know at least one who can). But are any of these candles good? Well. Honestly probably not, but let’s see.
This candle is the most well-known gasoline scented candle. (Please nod.) It is sold on Wayfair, which is a normal website, and there have been at least two articles written about its existence. That’s pretty good for a gasoline scented candle, if you ask me, and my expectations are quite high as a result. Customers have said, of the candle: “Next best thing to getting cancer by sticking your face in front of a gas nozzle,” and “ I would have given a better rating but you should really think about changing the name to bad gas because thats exactly what it smells like gas that has sat in the tank to long and is no longer good if you don’t believe me you should go to a wrecking yard and smell some old gas tanks.” High praise! Let’s see how it stacks up against our judging metric.
DOES IT SMELL LIKE GASOLINE: No. Unfortunately it does not smell like any gasoline I have ever smelled, although I admit I haven’t been to a wrecking yard. But it does smell exactly like a barbecue where something poisonous is accidentally on fire, which is maybe something else you like?
I’d like to share with you Gorilla Candles’ description of itself:
“Gorilla Candles offers manly candles for work to those who are looking for a masculine scent to add to their home or workplace. We understand the feeling of having to smell daisies and cupcakes all day long. That is why we have created a working mans’ candle. We offer scents such as motor oil, sawdust, and more candles for work to bring men back to their roots.”
DOES IT SMELL LIKE GASOLINE: No. But this candle smells exactly like something else, and I swear to god I’m not just saying this to be a little bitch about the Gorilla candle description, but what it actually smells like is: bubble gum. Classic pink bubble gum with a slightly medicinal quality. (There’s also a secondary note of fresh plastic, which would actually be pleasing if it were the primary note.) Absolutely absurd to market this as “motor oil.” Men, if you want to have a bubble gum candle you do not need to disguise it with chest pounding and grunts. You can just have a bubble gum candle. Some of us are really looking for one that smells like gasoline, to bring us back to our roots!
Four Points describes their gasoline candle as “the smell of dad’s garage … With its smooth musky aroma of low octane gasoline and a hint of tea tree oil.” I love their vibe over there at Four Points. Relaxed, making candles with scents we all desire. Just living life.
DOES IT SMELL LIKE GASOLINE: No. Well, I guess a little. It smells a lot like tea tree oil, and I guess a little bit like a garage, but not enough that I would say it smelled like a garage if prompted to smell the candle without any prior knowledge that it was supposed to smell like gasoline. I would instead say, “It smells like tea tree oil. It’s nice.”
I don’t know what this brand is. As far as I can tell, they sell car themed items, like “Turbo Lamp,” which comes with this description: “Turbos. We love 'em. They make slow cars go fast while making the coolest sounds. But is that enough? Why not give your desk or bedroom some boost as well?” And then it’s a lamp that looks like, I guess, whatever a “turbo” is. But anyway, this does not concern us; what concerns us is under the rather concerning header “RACE CANDLES.” Errmm. … ahh … well … okay.
DOES IT SMELL LIKE GASOLINE: YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh my god. This smells so much like gasoline that it worries me. And in fact, after I emailed the company to ask how they managed to achieve such an accurate gasoline scent (hinted at on their webpage as “by combining a secret blend of perfumes”) they not only did not respond, but a day later the product was made unavailable both on their site and on Amazon. (Granted, the day previous Amazon had listed the product as being “low in stock.”) (Granted, it is now back in stock.) Is it, um … do you think I’m poisoning myself? Ha-ha… Also look at this review:
“This candle smells JUST like gasoline. I’m pregnant and craved that gasoline smell so I ordered this candle. I contacted [the] seller with question, called the company AND emailed the Company of The manufacturer to confirm that there were no harsh chemicals. All they could tell me was, ‘it’s a soy blend candle so no.’ When I called they told me to email and someone would get back to me. It’s been almost 2 weeks so I threw the candle out. I can’t risk inhaling chemicals while Pregnant.”
And also look at this comment from their Amazon page, which is run by a third-party called Mighty Pelican:
This candle is manufactured by a company called racefuel candles. Mighty pelican is a third party. They refuse to answer any questions related to if they put toxic chemicals but I believe it’s diluted gasoline they are using.”
Do you think that’s the same pregnant woman, or …? I’ve been huffing this candle a lot … ha-ha … ummm .... okay … anyway … well … it does smell like gasoline!