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Scents and Sensibility 

Locally produced soy candles smell better and last longer than most.

There's something luxurious about entering a room delicately scented with the smell of a high-quality candle. With Akeewakee candles, handmade in a workshop in the French Quarter, you don't even have to light the wicks to enjoy the scents, but doing so does, of course, intensify the experience and offer a romantic glow.

What makes Akeewakee candles special is that they are made from soy and beeswax instead of petroleum-based paraffin wax, which helps them to burn cleaner, 50 percent longer than conventional candles and with less soot. Akeewakee products also are scented with fine essential oils obtained from a French perfume company, so they smell luscious and hold their scent to the end. They come in a range of colors.

Currently the candles, which are hand crafted in a three-day-long process, come in 12 scents, the three most popular being Thai Jasmine, Irish Mosse and Imperial Green Tea, but soon Akeewakee will introduce another dozen scents. They come in three sizes: a free-standing 19-oz. pillar that burns for 80 hours, $68; a 10.5-oz candle in a glass that burns for 55 hours, $58; and a 7-oz. candle in a glass that burns for 35 hours, $48. The candles come packaged in lovely boxes that resemble Chinese lanterns.

Owner Cory Walsh started the company about a year ago and currently is seeking a patent on the process the company developed to create a freestanding pillar soy candle. That's a difficult task due to the characteristics of natural soy and bees wax and it takes Akeewakee three days to hand pour and finish each candle, which is finished with a hand-dipped cotton wick. The company chose soy as its main ingredient because it is biodegradable, a renewable resource, burns slower than candle waxes and is almost smokeless. It also is water soluble, which means any drips or spills can be cleaned up with warm water and soap.

The quality and uniqueness of the candles already is gaining national attention, with Marshal Fields department store tagging the company for a specialty display in its Chicago store. The candles also can be purchased locally at the Akeewakee store (709 St. Anne St., 525-3933) and at Per MŽ (5517 Magazine St., 897-0300). n

click to enlarge DAVID RICHMOND
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