Continuing to honor the legacy of founder Claude Trudon, in recent years the company has focused on producing luxury scented candles. President, Julien Pruvost blends heritage, tradition and innovation with scents that embody over 350 years of craftsmanship. From a single store in the Left Bank of Paris, the company has expanded and Cire Trudon candles shine around the world.
Mood of Living Q&A
Mood of Living: Cire Trudon is the oldest candle manufacturer in the world. What ensured such a tremendous and steady success?
Julien Pruvost: Cire Trudon stays true to the brand’s DNA while evolving through new collaborations and developing modern twists for our Classic Candles. The scents are renowned for their complex and beautiful compositions. The candle connoisseur comes to Cire Trudon for our exquisite and iconic scents.
MoL: Your professional background is in commerce and business, but at Cire Trudon you also lead the creative division. How do these two aspects co-exist?
JP: Cire Trudon is a company grounded in history, integrity and creativity. To stay true to the brand heritage, it’s important to be committed to the marriage of art and commerce.
Cire Trudon Store: New York City
MoL: What is different about Cire Trudon’s famous wax?
JP: We use a unique blend, which is constantly being improved, created in our laboratories. Our wax burns clean and evenly when the wicks are maintained.
MoL: How can a customer understand that he’s looking at a high quality and safe candle?
JP: Cire Trudon candles exemplify the highest quality and safety standards. We work under scrutiny of French, European and American legislation in regards to content and safety.
MoL: Have the secret production methods changed since 1728 when they were documented by Duhamel de Monceau in the Encyclopedia? If so, how?
JP: Yes, and even the products have changed as you can imagine. Cire Tudon possesses a modern, clean, and efficient production facility. We still manufacture candles, but although most steps remain manual, methods have changed since the 17th century. Cire Trudon is at the crossroad of history and the evolution of knowhow.
MoL: How are the fragrances for the Cire Trudon candles born?
JP: Cire Trudon fragrances are exclusive, conceived and formulated by renowned perfumers we have worked with for decades. Cire Trudon pays homage to many influential figures and movements. Examples include the Algerian philosopher and politician Abd El Kader or the Dada art movement. Cire Trudon captures history, icons, spaces, and time via an olfactive interpretation.
The candle making process at Cire Trudon.
MoL: What is the story behind the Cire Trudon candle vessels and the crest?
JP: The candle vessel design is inspired by a Champagne bucket from the 1930’s and is made by a manufacturer in Vinci, Italy. The design of the crest includes the Latin inscription (indicating that the bees) work for God and the King. This is a big point of difference. In the 17th century, Cire Trudon only used pure beeswax versus the animal fat called tallow (beeswax substitute). The texture of the crest mirrors the bees’ honeycomb walls in the background of the beehive. On the top of the crest is the emblem of Louis the 14th. We added this detail to the original emblem in commemoration of our first and most important patron. It was under his reign that the manufacture became royal.
MoL: Cire Trudon candles have a long history at places of worship. How has the importance of churches and temples in relation to Cire Trudon shifted over time?
JP: Church candles have become very basic items that only require capital to produce. At Cire Trudon we are interested in manufacturing candles that require research, development, creativity, and the upmost level of quality. However, we still provide candles to certain religious institutions in Paris.
Cire Trudon on the Rue de Seine, Paris.
MoL: How would you explain the steady popularity of candles through the centuries, even with the dominance of electricity?
JP: It was one of the only light sources for longer than we think. Additionally, scented and non-scented candles are mood enhancers and can change your environment and ambiance in a way that electricity doesn’t achieve. The development of high-end scented candles added a completely new dimension.
MoL: What role do candles play in today’s lifestyles?
JP: Candles have become affordable luxury with the introduction of perfumed candles, and can set the mood. The decorative glass vessels are decorative expressions of style. The scents provide an experience that transports candle users to other spaces and time by encouraging olfactive memories.
MoL: Do you remember your first encounter with Cire Trudon? Your first impression of the brand?
JP: Before I joined the company I visited the ateliers. I discovered amazing know-how and potential. You know the rest of the story.
MoL: What is your favorite Cire Trudon fragrance? What are the most popular ones?
JP: I currently use Cyrnos, our latest launch. Byron qualifies as unusual. Without revealing its notes, it really represents the scent of a 19th century British study room. Abd el Kader is our most popular scent. I find Positano very modern; it’s a clear-cut fresh and simple flower note.
MoL: What is the best advice you’ve ever received and who gave it to you?
JP: “Take the side road.” I read it in an article on Pierre Berger in Le Monde, sometime in 2002.
MoL: If you could have a conversation with any living person, who would it be and why?
JP: Artist James Turrell. I am fascinated by his work. I would love to listen to him describe and explain the Roden Crater project.
MoL: Where do you go for peace of mind and spirit?
JP: I go backcountry skiing in the region of Courmayeur, Italy. Walking up and coming down a mountain with absolutely no human presence or even signs of human presence is an amazing experience, not to mention how sharp all your senses get when confronted with nothing other than nature.
Cire Trudon store in London.
MoL: Where do you see Cire Trudon going in the next 10-20 years?
JP: Our growth is organic and will remain that way. Since we manufacture our own products, growth goes hand in hand with output and of course quality. In 10 to 20 years you will still be able to purchase a very high-end candle that was made in our factory and that has been manufactured using the best components available, according to the highest quality standards.
Other than that, Cire Trudon will explore new horizons within the world of fragrances, reinterpreting the way we perfume our interiors and even ourselves.
MoL: Any words of wisdom?
JP: When putting out a candle, push the wick into the wax then pull it back out instead of blowing on it. If you do not own a wick dipper, use a small spoon or rounded knife.
MoL: We find that people who make beautiful things are more likely to lead an artistic lifestyle. Do you spend much time creating a beautiful home? Do you entertain? Do you cook and have a favorite recipe you would like to share?
JP: I will be honest, I feel like I spend most of my time trying to create beautiful things for others. Also, my wife Stéphanie is very much involved in the decoration of our home; she has tremendous taste and is always imagining furniture she then has made. We entertain regularly and I love to cook. My mother was a fantastic cook and my sister Alix is now a professional private chef. I try hard to live up to the legacy.
Here is a simple and delicious chicken dish I like making on Sundays for my family:
- Take 1 farm/locally-bred organic chicken and scrub it with coarse sea salt.
- Take two organic lemons, pierce them with a fork, and mash them slightly.
- Stuff the chicken with the lemons, a tone of chervil, and some fresh thyme and rosemary from the balcony.
- Pre-heat your oven and cook the chicken for about an hour or so depending on the size. Pour water onto the chicken every ten minutes (from the baking dish), and add some into the dish when necessary.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Prepare the chicken and generously squeeze the lemons all over- the chervil, thyme and rosemary is just for decoration at this point.
- I also cook diced sweet potatoes at the same time in the oven and serve them with fresh coriander leaves, pepper, and chopped pan-grilled almonds.
- Add to this a big green salad with mint, coriander leaves, and pomegranate (if in season) or diced apple and/or grilled pine nuts.
- For the salad dressing: olive oil, walnut oil, lemon juice, soya sauce, gomazio, garlic (whole, just for the taste), grated fresh ginger, pepper.
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Photography courtesy of Cire Trudon