This month we celebrate the 15th anniversary of our flagship fragrance, Amber Noir. Candle lovers have been enjoying this dark, mysterious fragrance since 2004 with its notes of tuberose, amber and violets.
To understand the history of Amber Noir, and why it’s been so popular, we caught up with Rosey Barnet, our Creative Director and in-house “nose” for Shearer Candles.
Rosey, tell us a bit about Amber Noir‘s history
When we first moved to our new factory here in 2002, I had a visit from one of the fragrance houses we worked with. The rep showed me a fragrance that was reminiscent of a new perfume, Angel by Thierry Mugler, and suggested we put it into candles. Until that point, I hadn’t ever wanted to develop home fragrances that smelled like popular perfumes, but the fragrance house was persuasive and insisted it would be popular. So we gave it a try.
Angel Dust 2002, Fleur d’Angelique 2004, Amber & Rose range in 2009
We initially put the fragrance into ivory wax and called it Angel Dust as part of or 1987 Gifting Collection.It was a nice fragrance; more suited to the home rather than the skin, and it was popular. We then launched a new collection, called Fleur in 2004, and included the popular fragrance under the new name Fleur d’Angelique. The fragrance sold really well in its signature yellow packaging and was picked up by some large customers, such as Waitrose.
In 2009 The Fleur range was given a revamp and rebranded as The Couture Collection. It’s most popular fragrance was given the new name, Amber & Rose while keeping its yellow colour. Amber & Rose is still available as part of the Couture Collection from Shearer Candles today. A few years later the fragrance houses visited us again and revealed the packaging and interior trends they thought were going to be popular in the near future. One of these trends was the black and gold trend, and I was excited to see what I could do with that.
The Amber & Rose scent was treated like a Spring/Summer fragrance because it was in white wax and sunny yellow packaging, but I wanted it to be popular all year round. So following the advice from the fragrance houses about the black and gold trend, I decided to put it into black wax with gold lids and gold foiled labels. And so Amber Noir was born, and it completely took off!
It’s funny, but no! The colour and the name seem to play a big part in what we experience; people hardly ever connect the two! Even when they’re told it’s the same, a lot of people still question whether the fragrance has been modified for Amber Noir with more spices.
Was it popular with consumers and trade from the very start?
Absolutely. We took Amber Noir to a couple of international exhibitions to promote it when it first launched, notably Maison Objet in France and Messe Fair in Frankfurt, as well as trade shows in the UK. It was an instant success with positive feedback at home and abroad.
The Amber Noir range in 2011
What are the challenges working with black wax?
Black wax is notoriously difficult to work with because of the level of dye required to get a convincing black colour. Add fragrance into that and it’s even more difficult! If it’s not mixed correctly the candle won’t burn evenly and the fragrance throw won’t be as intended. Because of this you don’t see many black candles on the marketplace.
My husband Ian, Managing Director of Shearer Candles, trained in a French candle company Denis et Fils in Nantes, France at the beginning of his career, and learnt the complicated production techniques that are involved in producing a fragranced dark wax candle. To this day, this remains one of Shearer Candles’ unique selling points as we produce many fragranced coloured candles, notably within our Couture Collection.
It’s because of this connection with France that the fragrance is called “Noir”, which is of course, French for black.
Selecting fragrance from our fragrance vaults
So why do you think Amber Noir is so popular?
It’s the whole package really; it’s not just the fragrance, it’s the wax colour, the packaging, the name and the black and gold trend it was inspired by.
And it’s an affordable luxury; it has a very premium appearance but the price is often a surprise.
Amber Noir 2019 – celebrating its 15th year
What does the future look like for Amber Noir?
We’re delighted it’s been so popular and we’re able to celebrate the milestone of Amber Noir’s 15th anniversary. The packaging has been updated a few times through the years, and we’ve added new products to the range to reflect current home fragrance trends, for example wax melts were added in 2018. We’ve also added some great gifting options into Amber Noir, such as the gift box and the triple wick.
We’re always thinking about the future, and ways we can improve and modernise our products to keep things fresh. We have some exciting plans for our Couture Collection over the next couple of years, so watch this space!
Do you think we’ll ever create anything else as popular as Amber Noir?
All I’ll say is I hope so!
For Amber Noir it’s been one of those happy marriages of the right product at the right time. I had a really clear idea about what I wanted to develop, I knew it would work, and the different elements just seemed to fit together quite naturally.
Here’s to 15 more years enjoying Amber Noir!
Rosey holding Amber Noir