Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding smelled like it. Shaun White says it’s his favorite candle, as does Gal Gadot. There was once a rumor going around media circles that a well-known writer stole it from a house party, followed by a more confusing rumor that this writer had started the original rumor herself for clout. It is arguably the most popular scent from arguably the most popular luxury candle producer in the world. Yes, it is Diptyque’s “Baies,” and I’m here to tell you — it is not very good.
The first Diptyque candle I ever owned was a Baies. It was a gift from my then-boyfriend, and I loved it. This love was not so much a result of an overwhelmingly pleasant feeling about the scent, but instead a result of having been seen as a person who wanted, but couldn’t afford, a Diptyque candle. Without having much experience with luxury candles, it was immediately known to me that this was the main one to have, and I was thrilled. It was a great gift.
But I am older now, and wiser. My ability to afford Diptyque candles ($70) has gone from impossible to merely ill-advised. I have smelled many other candles and can smell Baies more clearly for what it is, which, as I said, is not very good. Here is how Diptyque describes it:
“The tangy coolness of freshly picked blackcurrant berries. A few black bunches still have their leaves, their green and aromatic scent blending with the lively, flowery accents of rose.”
For those who haven’t smelled it, I’ll attempt to describe it further. It’s like if Wes Anderson designed a co-working space for women and wanted it to have a signature scent. It’s like if a young girl’s unicorn-themed bedroom manifested as a fruit-bearing flower in an English garden. It’s as if the color pink were smellable, and then they produced a sugar-coated version of that smell. That isn’t to say it is necessarily bad; there isn’t really a Diptyque candle that is “bad.” It is balanced and more elevated than the dupes I’ve smelled. But it is difficult. And loud. And very sweet. And, for some reason, one of the only candles celebrities feel fit to talk about.
Why is this? The reason is difficult to glean. For example, Shaun White said of Baies:
“This is my favorite candle. I have them in many rooms of my house. Being a professional athlete, I travel a lot and find myself sleeping in many hotel rooms, so I’ll throw one of these into my suitcase to burn while I’m on the road. It’s so nice to have something that reminds you of home when you’re away.”
I love that for Shaun, but it doesn’t particularly tell us why Baies, in particular, is his favorite candle to surround himself with. Same with Lebron James, who said in a 2019 GQ profile, “Diptyque is one of my favorite brands. I love all their ranges of candles.” This admission was followed by a parenthetical: “(His publicist clarifies that LeBron prefers that brand’s Baies scent.)” Why? LeBron’s publicist did not elaborate. A friend told me that Baies is Drake’s favorite candle, too, but I could not substantiate this claim myself. (I believe it.)
Conversing with coworkers, I brought up the question of why all of these celebrities loved Baies so much. One suggested — astutely, I think — that the Baies scent, as Diptyque’s most popular, could be the one most likely to be given to celebrities for free; it is possibly the only one they know. And if this is the case, I’d like to offer some advice as someone was once in the same position — an outsider to the world of luxury candles, latching onto what I knew, which was Baies.
You must increase your candle scope. There is a whole world of candles that would be perhaps more enjoyable to have in your home than the dreaded (no offense) Baies. We can even, if you insist, keep our sights focused on the Diptyque brand alone. There is “Tilleul,” for example: a lovely, bright version of the delicate scent of linden trees, a reminder of the thrill that early summer brings. There is Diptyque’s second-most-popular scent, “Feu de Bois”; this one, reminiscent of a winter’s woodland fireplace, is one that I know John Mayer likes.
There is “Jasmin” (for Jasmine lovers), and “Tubereuse,” a fresh, floral-but-not-too-floral summer scent that, as it moves throughout your home on a bright morning, might even mask, for a moment, your keen sense that everything is very bad and it’s all only going to get worse. “Choisya,” creamy orange blossom, is incredible, as is “Mousses,” which is moss-scented. Imagine if your favorite candle was moss? Now that would really set you apart from the crowded demographic of athletes and actors who love Diptyque!
I beg of you, famous and/or otherwise rich people — explore your options. Open your nose. Ask your publicist to ask the Diptyque publicist to send you an assorted gift set next time.