Pre-Christmas Customs with SMT

smt main photo

My big custom wax order from Sniff My Tarts – yeah, the one I placed in early August – finally showed itself a few days before Christmas, sub-zero temps and an off/off postal strike notwithstanding.  But also thanks to what I’m guessing is a bit of both of the above, my box of fragile scented wax arrived pretty well thrashed to pieces, and I do mean that literally – please note the in-bag, as-delivered condition of one of my decorated sheet cakes.  Ouch.

smt smashed

But I’m not going to cry over smashed wax; being in bits like this just makes it easier to share with friends. 😉  However, I’m not sure I can keep buying these random little works of wax creation any more, knowing that at least one of them is going to get damaged beyond all recognition during shipping.  This is the third cake I’ve received in pieces.  And I know looks aren’t everything, but they kind of are in this case – I would have gotten un-decorated sheet cakes otherwise!

But this is scented wax we’re talking about, and it’s the scent blends I came up with that really matter.  And blessedly, with two huge, glaring exceptions – I can’t keep them and I can’t think of a person I dislike enough to bedevil them with – they’re all pretty great; there might even be one or two outstandings in the bunch.  As always, I’m mostly pleased with my order.  So let’s take a peek at the good – and the two way bad – shall we?

Brittle Blends

These fun little shapes are called Brittle Chunks, and they are so stinkin’ adorable!  Each bakery bag contains a nice, large assortment of plain chunks and cute little shapes in your chosen scent blend.  So fun; a nice aesthetic change from the usual.

blackberry marshmallow latte collage

Is that a crueler?!  And a giant purple espresso bean?  Yup, sure looks like it!  This delicious blend is a riff on another favourite of mine you’ll see toward the end of this post that substitutes that blend’s juicy Apple Cider Latte for creamy Blackberry Marshmallow Latte.  The Ice Cream Scoop Bread/Vanilla Waffle Cone base I’ve come up with is a solid one, and it pairs so nicely with fruit and coffee scents, and sometimes – like this time – both fruit and coffee scents at once.

gourmet sugar cookie collage

C is for cookies on cookies on cookies!  This comforting, all-cookie bakery blend (a waffle cone is just a thin, toasted cookie we shove ice cream into) bears a slightly boozy edge that reminds me of the vanilla bean paste I use to make my chocolate chip cookies.  This is just a really outstanding vanilla; basic without being “ya basic.”  Blending job well done, me!

lemon cake pops collage

This strawberry-lemon blend is a little too artificial for my taste.  I think it’s that blasted Fresh Picked Strawberries note, which, come customs time, I always forget I do not like.  We all have those scent blind spots, and this strawberry is apparently mine.  Going way old school here (or maybe just plain old) but it smells like Tinkerbell cosmetics, and the lemon note is practically non-existent.  I do love that gigantic Twinkie shape, though.

peppermint swizzle sticks collage

I was just commenting to a friend the other day that I’m glad I only ordered one blend featuring peppermint during this round of customs, because I’m way off the peppermint scents this season.  I think I might have really overdone it last time with TWO peppermint sheet cakes.  But this is a nice blend – icy, chill and sweet, like a mint Tic Tac.  Also, little baby marshmallows!  I’m seriously so charmed by the assortment of adorable food shapes in these blends.

blackberry cotton candy collage

Finally, we have what is maybe my favourite blend of this order, a hopeful (that it would turn out well!) re-working of a beloved fragrance from another vendor (Candied Blackberry Cookie Bread from K’s Kreations, who sadly went out of business last year.)  K’s had a number of outstanding blends featuring this scrumptious Cookie Bread oil, and I loved them all, so when I saw that SMT had added it to their master scent list, I jumped at the chance to recreate a nearly forgotten favourite.  Okay, so that giant Rice Krispie round is adorable, but how does it smell?  Incredible!  It’s nearly an exact dupe, and I’m so, so happy with how it turned out.  I once made blackberry curd bars with a shortbread crust, and this smells exactly like those yummy treats – sweet-tart berry bakery.  If I conveniently forget my earlier promise to myself to never again buy another decorated sheet cake, I’ll have to get one in this outstanding blend.

Frosted Sugar Cookies

I regrettably didn’t have much luck with my choice of scent blends for these large frosted sugar cookies, the smallest blending option you could choose during customs.  Of the five, one is lovely, one is nice enough, one is pretty much a non, and two are completely wretched.

large frosted cookie collage

Starting off with the very bad, the two blends featuring Salt Water Taffy (blue and red frosting) are terrible.  It is so gross and artificial, overwhelming both blends with a nasty, phony scent that can best be described as “chemical pink.”  It actually reminds me of that cheap neon soap you occasionally find in mall bathrooms.  The very weird part here is I once received a sample from SMT of the Whipped Cream/Salt Water Taffy/Cotton Candy blend; I liked it so much, I decided to recreate it in a slightly larger format during this round of customs.  Whatever I received here smells nothing like that tiny sample; they are night and day apart.  I’ve also used Salt Water Taffy in two previous blends, and once again, it smelled nothing like this chemical nostril assault.  That leads me to believe the oil has either gone off in some fashion, or I’ve got something here other than Salt Water Taffy.  So gross.

Sweet Lavender and Shortbread Cookies, dark purple, is the big eh? of this order.  Lavender scents come in different varieties – herbal, medicinal, floral, gourmand.  Some are quite sweet, while others are steely and astringent, but they all share a fresh, green note that binds them a bit more firmly to the nature from which they’re derived.  This lavender has no fresh note to it whatsoever and it only barely smells like lavender.  It’s unbelievably light; lavender-oid, but not quite lavender.  A real non-starter of a scent.

Black Raspberry Vanilla and Lemon Poppy Seed, pale purple, is a lovely scent, with the Lemon Poppy Seed providing a tart, lemon-glazed backdrop for the slightly fruity, slightly floral Black Raspberry Vanilla.  This is a great lemon oil that I will have to remember for the next round of customs – it’s tart and fresh without venturing into that unfortunate urine-or-lemonade? territory occupied by so many lemon scents.

Honey Gingerbread and Apple Cider Latte, orange, is another lovely, comforting scent – a bit buttery and spicy from the Honey Gingerbread, and a lot juicy from the Apple Cider Latte.  A cozy autumnal scent, for you seasonal melters out there.

Rose Loaf

Yeah, you heard me; rose loaf.  A loaf of roses.  And it was definitely Bon Jovi who said he wanted to lay you down on a loaf of roses – I’m never wrong about these things. 😉

mango rose loaf collage

So pretty, right?  I can’t believe it got here in one piece.  That will make taking it apart significantly more difficult come melting time, but I think I’ll manage – this Mango Sorbet/Vanilla Waffle Cone/Coconut Cream Pie blend is a favourite of mine, and I’ve ordered it every time SMT has opened for customs in one iteration or another.  I think this blend smells like the inside of a Baskin Robbins ice cream shop, all crunchy, toasted waffle cones and creamy, icy, fruity things.  A lovely scent, and such beautiful presentation.

Decorated Sheet Cakes

Saving the big guns (and the big, busted guns) for last, here are the two decorated sheet cakes I ordered.

apple cider latte collage

And hey look, I managed to put Humpty Dumpty back together again!  Or at least I did for this photo.  We shan’t discuss the state of my hardwood floors, however, after this ultra crumbly photo shoot.  Wax smears for DAYS.

Really, though, taking a gander at this gigantic thing, an all time favourite blend of Apple Cider Latte, Ice Cream Scoop Bread and Vanilla Waffle Cone, it’s no wonder it shattered into about a dozen different bits –  it is positively loaded with little wax details, and that heart-shaped waffle in the middle (it’s actually double thick!) acts as a major stress point; all of the fractures in this sheet cake radiate out from that doubled up waffle.  None of that affects the scent, however, which, as always, is wonderful, like a cakey apple fritter.  My husband said after a few hours of burning, it smells like this pipe tobacco he used to smoke in high school (actually in a pipe, because of course he did.)  It really does have that fruity tobacco-type lean to it.  I’ve turned a couple of friends on to this fast favourite, and I absolutely adore it; like the Mango Sorbet blend, above, it has an all-the-time place in my customs cart.

cuppy cake collage

Finally, we have the sheet cake that made it to me mostly in one piece; a number of the little cupcakes on top sprang loose, but I was able to drop them back into place for this photo.  This delightful scent is my attempt at recreating Vintage Chic Scent’s Jackie O blend, a rich, not-too-cloying combination of buttery white cake, fluffy marshmallow cream and musk-tinged caramel.  And that’s very nearly what I got; this is an exceptionally close dupe.  I’m going to put this one away until my birthday, when I’ll finally sacrifice it to the warmer gods by making my birthday wish off its candlelit, mica-dusted top, as I have the last two years running.  That’s a fun little SMT tradition I look forward to every year. 🙂

On the whole, not a bad order, and totally in keeping with the scent success rate I’ve experienced across three other custom orders – it’s mostly all pretty good, if not great, with one or two unfortunate outliers.  Hey, sounds like life, not just wax life. 😉  Now to divvy up some of these goodies among friends and get to melting!

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SMT Scent Summit

SMT - Scent Summit Main Photo

Good morning, friends, and welcome, here in Ontario, to another swelteringly hot summer day.  We’re deep in the heat right now and just coming off a long weekend marred by inconsiderate, unpleasant weather, so everyone should be in a super great mood today!  So what better time to plan out a big scented wax order with Sniff My Tarts, who are opening for customs this coming Saturday?  I’d actually say it’s the perfect time for such an activity (anything that keeps you quiet, seated and three inches off the air conditioner, right?) especially with a couple of cool blogger friends and I guiding you through the madness.

I’ve posted about Sniff My Tarts before; I’ve placed two custom orders with them in the past, and shipping SNAFUs aside, I have always been very pleased with my products.  But jumping into the deep end of the custom wax world, creating scent blends when you’ve no idea what the individual notes even smell like in the first place, can be a confusing, daunting prospect.  Which is why a couple of blogging buddies and I have teamed up to share our custom ordering experiences, including our successful scent blends, in the hopes that you, too, can join in on the fun and mayhem this coming Saturday.

First, the pertinent details.  Sniff My Tarts will open for custom orders twice on Saturday, August 11th, once in the morning between 9 am and 10 am EST, and again in the evening between 7 pm and 8 pm EST.  Custom orders are taken on a first come, first served basis, and turnaround times for this popular ordering event (which SMT only holds twice a year) can be substantial – my last custom order took six months to finally make its way to my doorstep.  An order with SMT is very much a set-it-and-forget-it kind of proposition, as in make your choices, place your order, pay your money and then be utterly surprised and delighted when a gigantic box of wax that you had somehow forgotten about materializes on your doorstep in some months’ time.

If you go over to Sniff My Tart’s website and click on the “Custom” button on the left-hand side of the page, you’ll see the many formats that SMT is making available for customs – everything from multi-scent chunks, loaves and those incredible decorated sheet cakes, to chunky frosted sugar cookies, mini muffins and dainty macaroons.  Note that some forms are only available in individual scents (the macaroons), while others can accommodate blends of up to four different scents (pretty well everything else.)

After choosing the type of wax you’d like (I’m quite partial to those lovely decorated sheet cakes), begin to compose your scent blends.  You can find a comprehensive list (actually two lists) of SMT’s offered scents and their descriptions at the top of their homepage.  Keep in mind that the order in which you choose your scents does affect the outcome of your scent blends – the first scent you choose (sometimes called the overpour) will be the most dominant scent, with the second and third scents pulling up the rear.  So if you’re looking at a blend – say, this Mango Sorbet/Vanilla Waffle Cone/Coconut Cream Pie beaut I created some orders back – and thinking to yourself, “That sounds great, but I’m not sure I want that much Mango Sorbet,” move the scent notes around so the Mango Sorbet is in the third scent slot.  These are your custom creations – do with them what you will!

Birthday Sheet Cake

Having said all that, I’m also all too aware that creating your own delicious-smelling blends is a daunting, somehow needlessly complicated prospect, particularly if you’ve never done it before.  Which is precisely why I’ve composed this handy dandy list of some of my favourite SMT scents to help guide you through the seemingly endless blending possibilities.  Some of these creations are tried and true favourites – the Mango Sorbet blend, the Apple Cider Latte/Ice Cream Scoop Bread/Vanilla Waffle Cone blend, anything involving Marshmallow Noel and Candy – while others are hopeful shots in the dark.  What I do know for certain is if we weren’t talking about wax here, I’d want to eat every single thing on this list!

SMT - Sandra's Picks

If you don’t care for my BAKERY ALL THE THINGS approach to home fragrance, I’d invite you to peruse the infinitely more diversified scent lists of my blogging buddies Jay of The Scented Library and Julie of The Redolent Mermaid.  Over on both blogs you’ll find similar charts laying out Jay’s blends (fresh, airy, herbal blends shot through with fresh fruit and the barest bit of bakery) and Julie’s (natural, earthy, herbal scents heaped with mounts of mint and sweet Pink Sugar.)  Both have excellent, deeply varied tastes in fragrance, and they both like to experiment and blend outside the box (whereas seemingly the only requirement to me liking a scent blend is whether it could also possibly be mistaken for some sort of delicious dessert.)  And not for nothing, but they’re both pretty cool people with awesome blogs!  So please do check out Jay and Julie’s blogs for awesome additional scent blends, as well as their thoughts on the SMT custom dance.

As always, if you have any questions or would like a bit of guidance as you navigate the choppy waters of a custom wax sale, please do drop any one of us a comment and we’ll be happy to assist.  Who knows, we might even pick up some heretofore undiscovered scent blends.  Happy planning, friends!

Dollars and Scents

Customs Collage

Back at the beginning of the year I indicated that owing to an overabundance of stuff and an underabundance of life, I was going to attempt to curb my spending in an effort to not only stem the seemingly endless tide of scented wax (and other treatsie-type items) slowly overtaking my home, but to also put those “found” funds towards another far-more-important-to-me experience, namely another end-of-year trip to Disney World.

People call these cut-er-off regimes “no buys” or “low buys.”  I’m not particularly fond of the no buy approach – most tend to come at them as they would a diet (“I’ll start on Monday!”) and along with that comes a nearly identical rate of failure.  It’s hard to turn off years of poor shopping and hoarding behaviour all at once – if it was easy, you probably wouldn’t have to institute a no buy in the first place, and you definitely wouldn’t be in danger of being buried alive by your candle collection.

Low buys are a far more reasonable approach to financial management and stuff assessment, as they really allow you to examine your shopping habits on a bit of a forensic level.  Absent that so-tempting-to-walk-right-across-it no buy line in the sand, is this really how you want to spend your budgeted mad money for the month?  Don’t you already have this exact candle, plus three backups in the closet?  Do you even have room to store this stuff?  And even if the answer to all of those questions is yes, yes and no, I ran out of room two years ago, at least you’re giving a bit of thought to your purchases and where they fit into the scheme of both your life and your budget.  I just find it easier to operate within the confines of a reasonable framework than to cut myself off completely – the raze-the-earth approach rarely works in the long-term, often setting off an avalanche of “zero hour” purchases that badly undermine your efforts before you’ve even begun.

All that to say I’ve been on an unofficial low buy since the beginning of the year.  And when it comes to scented wax, one of my favourite treat-myself things, I haven’t placed any orders since November of last year.  So there’s nothing coming in, although there’s plenty going out – the flip side of the low buy coin is use-up-what-you-did-buy.  I’ve been diligently melting through my wax every day, and I wager I have enough there to keep me going for the next eight or nine months.

But I’ve been doing so well (correction: we have been doing so well; Mr. Finger Candy and I are prioritizing the crap out of this trip!) that I thought it might be of some benefit to share my progress on a monthly basis.  Perhaps you’ll draw some inspiration from my attempts to whittle down my wax and be a bit more mindful of my spending in the first place.  Also, this will hold me accountable to my low buy; there’s no slacking when the blogiverse is watching!

Without getting into specific numbers, I did very, very well this January, purchasing absolutely nothing of a discretionary nature.  Seriously, not a thing.  That’s ever so slightly less impressive when you remember that I am coming off a rather pricey Christmastime trip to Disney where I treated myself just fine, but all the same, I avoided FOUR pre-orders from favourite wax vendors, as well as about a half dozen movies I’d like to purchase and some DLC updates to favourite video games.  I estimate that my husband and I spent just $50 this month between the two of us on the non-essentials of life, a trend I’d like to continue for as long as it possibly can.  Building up a bit of momentum in the early stages of anything is key, let alone when you’re trying to correct years of cruddy financial behaviour, and marking off those huge initial strides is super motivating.

I also like that the other side of the low buy (the “use it already!” buy) forces you to actually use the things you’ve already bought.  So much of this fragrance and beauty and home decor stuff is limited edition, and the urge to stock up on and hoard the things you know you’ll never be able to buy again can be quite overwhelming.  But there’s really something to be said for actually using the things you bought, and deriving every bit of enjoyment from them while they’re in your possession.  Somewhere Tyler Durden has a bullshit, machismo-laden take on the things you own owning you, but who needs that walking set of abs anyways? 😉

This will also provide me with a great opportunity to share with you any beauty hits or scent slam dunks I discover over the course of the month – you just never know what gems might be languishing in storage.  Gems such as this custom loaf and half-and-half pie I nabbed from Sniff My Tarts during a quickie Thanksgiving sale.  All three are AWESOME – I may just be getting the hang of this custom blending thing. 🙂

Apple Cider Latte/Ice Cream Scoop Bread/Vanilla Waffle Cone

Apple Cider Latte Custom

I was super pleased with all three of these scents when I received them a la carte in one of last year’s customs orders.  Apple Cider Latte is the absolute ideal of an apple fragrance – crisp, juicy, tart, sweet and lightly, slightly spiced.  Coffeephobes need not turn up their noses at this wonderful fragrance either – that latte note is a deceptive one, hovering lightly in the background, providing just the barest hint of bitter to support all that sweet.  In combination with Ice Cream Scoop Bread and Vanilla Waffle Cone (a favourite “base blend” of mine that I like to pair with juicy fruits such as blackberries) it’s a total slam dunk – I think it smells EXACTLY like a warm, cakey apple fritter.  And now I want an apple fritter!

Mango Sorbet/Coconut Cream Pie/Vanilla Waffle Cone

Mango Sorbet Custom Pie

Vanilla Waffle Cone makes another appearance in this fantastic, sunny blend, which I created during my first customs order last year or maybe even the year before.  I’m very nearly finished that gorgeous decorated sheet cake, so it was time to re-up my stores of a fabulously fragranced favourite.  A scrumptious, fruity, creamy treat.  Holy gosh, is this blend ever yummy!  The only scent in my years of custom blending that I’ve seen fit to duplicate.

Starbucks Vanilla Latte/Vanilla Butter Fudge

Coffee Custom Loaf

And finally, one for Mr. Finger Candy, who loves coffee in all its varied forms (we stood in line for half an hour on Christmas Day at the Main Street Starbucks in the Magic Kingdom so he could get a keg-sized mega cold brew, the same keg-sized, apparently open-topped mega cold brew that later denied us entry to the People Mover after we had waited in line for half an hour for it as well.  WHAT THE HELL, MAN?!)  Hmm, I’m suddenly wondering if my husband even deserves such an adorable little loaf! 😉 I’m not totally sold on coffee scents, but this is a nice one.  SMT’s Starbucks Vanilla Latte fragrance is seriously decent, bearing none of the acidic bitterness common to coffee blends.  Nor does it smell like one of those appallingly powdery Swiss Miss concoctions – nothing here but a lovely creamed coffee scent, not too sharp, nor too milky.  And now I want a latte.

And with that, I close out January.  I’m proud of myself for sticking to my spending guns (again, proud of us) in the face of so much post-holiday temptation.  But I’ve got my eye on a much larger, hopefully more fulfilling, prize, the mere thought of which takes a lot of the sting out of abstaining from my favourite things.  Please join me again at the end of next month, when I hopefully have continued good news for you on the low buy front.  Until then, let us all go out and use the things that bring us happiness, and enjoy them for no more complicated a reason than simply because we can.

Candy-Coated Customs: A Haul Post

Pepp Framed SMT main collage

Hey, look what finally showed itself, my MIA Sniff My Tarts custom order!  I placed this order in the summer at the end of June, but through a series of misadventures (some mine, some Sniff My Tarts’, some the doing of the always reliable postal service) it did not come into my possession until two weeks ago.  But it’s here now, and I have some nice blends to share with you, should you share my affinity for sweet, fruity bakery and other candy-coated treats.

But before the pretty, a word to the shopping wise: No matter how you’re shopping – virtually or in the really real world – stay on top of your purchases, particularly if they are of the pre-order or money-down variety.  And if something seems off – say, the order you placed at nearly the same time stamp as a friend, who received her order months earlier? – politely check in with the vendor to see what’s what.  Odds are it’s fallen through the cracks somewhere in the process, and it’s up to you to start hunting it down.

Okay, on with the pretty!  And this order was sooo pretty; colourful, eye-catching and nicely packed so as to preserve all that nice design work.  I was delighted with everything I pulled out of the box, particularly the minty sheet cakes, one of which was broken, true, but that just made it easier to immediately sacrifice it to the wax gods as a sweetly scented offering to the upcoming holidays.  I’ve actually already melted through a solid third of it, and it’s only been two weeks.  Better slow down, Tilly!  There is such a thing as too much mint (NEVER!)

SMT Sheet Cakes Collage

Mmm, and what delicious choices they were, too, although very similar in terms of composition.  What can I say, I clearly was of a mind for mint when I placed this customs order.  On the left we have my attempt at a recreation of Rosegirls’ Peppermint Coconut Mallow, using a blend of Sniff My Tarts’ Peppermint, Sticky Marshmallow and Coconut Cream Pie.  On immediate cold I find the Coconut Cream Pie to be largely absent, although it may be adding an as-yet-undetected creaminess to an otherwise delicious blend of wintery peppermint and whipped marshmallow fluff.  And look at those darn cute little embellishments!

Peppermint Noel Sheet Cake

The second decorated sheet cake I got was a straight-up blend of Marshmallow Noel & Candy (a scrumptious combo of Vanilla Bean Noel and icy peppermint) and Marshmallow Fluff.  This smells quite a bit like perennial Bath & Body Works’ Christmas favourite, Twisted Peppermint.  Or a mint Tic Tac!  I love both, so you’ve got no complaints from me.

Peppermint Mallow Sheet Cake

And no Sniff My Tarts customs order would be complete without at least a handful of delightfully delicious (and absolutely gigantic) frosted sugar cookies.  Each one of these cookies, which span my palm, will give me five or six melts.

Framed Frosted Cookies

The slam dunks of this order were Blackberry, Ice Cream Scoop Bread and Vanilla Waffle Cone (a tart, almost tea-like fruit blended with toasty vanilla bakery, and oh holy cow is it great), Circus Concession and Blueberry Noel (candy apple-topped funnel cakes enhanced with sweet blueberry cream) and Christmas Wish and Vanilla Butter Fudge (pine, peppermint and vanilla sugar cookies iced with smooth butter fudge.)

Ever so slightly less successful, but still quite good, are Pink Sands and Red Delicious Apple (ooh, this one was nearly perfect, but it needs a slightly tarter, more candied scent than Red Delicious) and Lemon Curd, Marshmallow Fluff and Coconut Cream Pie (the Mystery of the Missing Coconut Cream Pie is once again upon us, leaving us with one super puckery, ultra lemony melt.)

The little frosted baby cookies are in Marshmallow Noel & Candy all by its lonesome.  Because simple is highly underrated.

Finally, I ordered a number of singular scents (or scent blends) in these adorable piped hearts, which came in just the loveliest assortment of Fall hues – the rosy pinks and caramel browns are just so beautiful together.  Each one of these hearts will give me three to four melts, depending on the strength of the blend.

Framed Piped Hearts

The big hit of this order was Apple Cider Latte, on whose many delicious qualities I already expounded here.  Of the others, Honey Gingerbread ranks a close, warmly spiced (but not spicy) second, with Under the Big Top (a creamy blend of Circus Concession and Vanilla Smoothie) joining them on the podium in third.  Pumpkin Marshmallow Latte is scrumptious, and actually smells like sweetened pumpkin puree, and although I think Willow’s Cuppy Cake could benefit from a lot more presence (it’s quite light on cold) I love its beguiling bakery blend of what I swear is white cake, strawberries and peppermint?  Or is that just residual mint from the two sheet cakes?  That only affected this one scent?  Hmm, seems unlikely.  And while I know that Ultimate Bakery is a much-loved favourite, I didn’t quite care for its Pink Sugar-laced blend of cinnamon apples and sugar cookies.  Must be that dastardly Pink Sugar at work again; we’ve tried so many times to be pals, and it just never works out.

So there we have it, my second Sniff My Tarts custom order.  ‘Twasn’t without its difficulties, but now that it’s here in my hot little burners, I’m pleased as punch with my choices.

Customs Crazy: A Sniff My Tarts Custom Wax Haul

smt-main-collage

Apart from nabbing items from one or two nearly-impossible-to-get-your-hands-on indie brands, the holy grail of the wax world is landing on your favourite vendor’s customs list.  Getting a chance to play amateur candle maker is always so much fun, while providing a great opportunity to indulge in the creative side of the process.  Plus, who doesn’t like saying, “Yeah, that amazing smelling thing?  My idea.”  With all humility, of course!

But as you can imagine, creating thousands of custom wax creations for hundreds of customers can be a rather daunting task, and so these kinds of openings don’t happen very often.  So when a vendor does open for custom orders, you jump on it, because who knows when and if it will ever happen again.

Which is the reasoning that led me to place a customs order with Sniff My Tarts, an entirely new-to-me vendor popular with some wise blogger friends.  Sniff My Tarts actually operates on a mostly-customs model, opening up just a couple of times a year for orders before closing down to then fulfill those orders.  In between, they offer up the occasional sampler or mystery box, and they’ve somewhat recently begun offering ready-to-ship items on their website from the customs over-pours.

I placed my order within five minutes of opening on December 1st, 2016.  The specific time is actually somewhat important, as placement on the production list is determined on a first come, first serve basis.  So if you got your order in quickly, it would be made and you would receive it well before the person who placed their order after, say, 45 minutes (who may receive theirs months later; further impetus to order fast, order early.)

Unless of course your order is being shipped internationally, in which case, get ready for it to take a three-week odyssey through the (Canadian) postal system, landing on your doorstep, cold and a little bit damaged, nearly three months after you placed it.  And that’s despite being quite high up the customs list.  And paying an absolutely ridiculous sum in shipping that I will not disclose to you, because if I did, you’d correctly assume I was a complete fool.  All I’ll say about that is if you’re an international customer (and this applies to any product, not just scented wax) pay very close attention to the shipping details.  As always, that’s where you’ll find the devil, and man, oh man, does he like his postal tariffs.

Anyhow, I really jumped in the deep end on this one, friends, and I’m pleased to report that for the most part, outrageous shipping shenanigans notwithstanding (and I’ll take most of the blame on that one for not seeking clarification on the exact details) my first customs order with Sniff My Tarts was a deliciously-scented leap worth making.  Let’s take a closer look at some of my creations.

smt-mango-coconut-waffle-cone-custom-collage

Starting off with the big guns, this is a decorated sheet cake in Mango Sorbet, Vanilla Waffle Cone and Coconut Cream Pie.  Apart from being just absolutely gorgeous (how am I supposed to ever cut into that adorable little glazed cone?) this cake smells incredible – as good as I had hoped (and I had pretty high hopes) or maybe even better.  I’d purchase this exact blend again in a heartbeat.  It actually smells just like the inside of a Baskin Robbins ice cream shop, all tart, fruity creams and sugary waffle cones.  Yummy!

smt-strawberry-mango-twinkie-custom-collage

The second of my decorated sheet cakes, a blend of Mango, Fresh Strawberry and Twinkies, is equally beautiful, but less successful in terms of execution.  My choice of Mango here, as opposed to Mango Sorbet, lends a floral note to the already quite flowery Fresh Strawberry, which is then amplified by the powdery Twinkies.  A real shame of a misfire, as this cake is so pretty and I now have so much of it (each cake is about one pound, eight ounces.)  But it regrettably smells like cheap little girl perfume – Strawberry Love’s Baby Soft?

smt-large-cookie-collage

The smallest blending option available were these large frosted cookies.  Each cookie weighs between four and four and a half ounces and spans my palm.  Available with the same number of blending options as the cakes (up to three), these substantial cookies are a popular choice if you’re looking to try out some unconventional blends on a smaller scale than the large pies and cakes on offer.  Let’s take a closer look at these adorable blended cookies, which also happen to smell pretty darn terrific.

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Starting with the top row and going from left to right, we have Blueberry Grunt Cake and Vanilla Marshmallow Smoothie (purple), a sweet and juicy confection that smells exactly like Strawberry Shortcake’s buddy, Blueberry Muffin.  I’ve only heard great things about Sniff My Tart’s blueberry, and this little cookie bears out the praise.  Incredibly delicious.

Next up is Pink Sands and Salt Water Taffy (pink), a soft, beachy floral roughened up with salty, rip-out-your-fillings taffy.  A pretty scent totally unlike my usual.

After that we have Danish Butter Cookie, Creme Brulee and Vanilla Butter Fudge (yellow), or as I like to call it, “Diabetes in a Wax Melt.”  So this one sounds a bit repulsive – I even thought as much myself when creating it for Mr. Finger Candy, who likes his scents far more cloying than I – but in reality, it’s a comforting delight of creamy vanilla bakery, sweet and buttery without being butter-oid.  A splendid blend.

Moving down a row, we have Pomegranate, Mango Sorbet and Celtic Moon Spice (brown), a sweet and slightly spicy blend that has me going back and forth on the “I Love It/I Hate It”-o-meter.  I was attempting to recreate a favourite cocktail with this one, forgetting that the drink itself contains a hefty dose of super sour raspberry to balance out all the SWEET!  As blended, I think this cookie is not quite tart enough, with a powdered sugar kind of lean to it that just doesn’t agree with my nose.  Thankfully, I think I have a way of literally tarting this up a bit, so all is not lost with this conflicting blend.

Finally, we come to Sweet Lavender Marshmallow Cake and Lemon Cake Pops (also purple), a beautiful, bright and fresh blend that smells like springtime.  Lavender and lemon are scents I like in the smallest of doses only, but they’re wonderful together in this pairing, with the light gourmand notes softening the steely, almost soapy astringency of both.  A decorated sheet cake in this would have been so lovely!

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Continuing on with my custom picks, I also chose three bags of no-fuss chunks, tiny little petit four-shaped wax melts that remind me of the “Eat Me” cakes Alice scarfs down on her journey through Wonderland. Available with the same number of options as all the other blendables (up to three), these little no-fuss melts really live up to their moniker – just drop one in your melter and you’re good to go.

Starting at the top, we have a blend of Pizzelle, Blackberry and Vanilla Marshmallow Smoothie.  I was a little hesitant about the Blackberry in this one, confusing it initially for Blackberry Jam Butter Cookies, a popular fragrance oil that I really, really dislike.  But Sniff My Tart’s Blackberry is straight-up fruit and juice, and in combination with the crisp, waffle cone-like notes of the Pizzelle and the creamy Marshmallow Smoothie, the whole thing comes off smelling like fruity tea and cakes.  It’s really not at all what I was expecting – it’s better.

Moving down, we have another Blackberry blend, this time Blackberry, Mango and Twinkies.  This is another unexpectedly delicious blend – fresh, fruity and a tiny bit floral – that works in spite of its components, which simply don’t mesh very well.  Going forward, I think both the Mango and Twinkies scents will be off my customs menu.  But I like this blend very much – in combination, the Blackberry and Mango notes remind me of an old school Party Lite fragrance.

Finally, we have the blend I thought was going to be a total slam dunk, a combination of Strawberry, Vanilla Waffle Cone and Cream Cheese Frosting. These chunks actually don’t smell like anything at all, an effect I’m chalking up to the fact that this bag was savaged at Customs – sliced open and then left to freely rattle around the bottom of the box.  Never stop taking pride in the service you provide, Canada Post. 😦 I’ve since rebagged them, in the hopes that they somehow reconstitute themselves.  Fingers crossed.

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Moving away from my custom blends, I also chose four piped hearts in single scents (or scent blends) in Marshmallow Noel & Candy (white), a crisp, nose-tinglingly yummy vanilla-mint, Apricot Vanilla (yellow), a close recreation of Sally Hansen’s ultra sweet and fruity apricot cuticle cream, Blueberry Grunt Cake (purple), a luscious blueberry tinged with the barest hint of crunchy bakery, and Carrot Cake (brown), which I actually don’t care for at all.  Nutty, so nutty.  Carrots and nuts.  My wedding cake?  Yes!  But as a home fragrance?  Not so much.

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Finally, for my husband, who loves coffee scents, I purchased three bags of small frosted cookies (four cookies per bag), one in Sprinkled Sugar Cookie Latte (light brown) and two in Starbucks Vanilla Latte (darker brown.) Coffee scents are not really my thing, but Mr. Finger Candy assures me that these two scents are legit, and who am I to argue with that?

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These are the samples I received with my order, a small grubby tart (love that term, “grubby tart”) in Sticky Pink Marshmallow, a popular, Pink Sugar-based blend, a small frosted cookie in the improbably delicious combination of Blackberry Latte (fruit and coffee, whaaaaa?) and two cubes of Red Macintosh Apple, a super strong apple that, despite being securely wrapped, permeated the entire package and most of my condo’s mail room.

Finally, a quick word on Sniff My Tart’s customer service, of which providing tantalizing samples is indeed a nice part – it was wicked prompt and super friendly.  Upon learning that my package had gone MIA (an event well beyond their control by that point) they assured me that virtually none of their shipments had ever gone missing for good, but that if it didn’t show itself soon, they wouldn’t leave me hanging.  It was a deeply considerate gesture – one that turned out to be rather unnecessary given that my order finally showed itself a couple of days later, but appreciated all the same.  My order was also nicely packed, with each item wrapped snugly and securely in bubble wrap.  Or at least it was before it hit Customs. You can’t tell from these pictures, but my strawberry sheet cake is in four jagged pieces.  I think it, too, may have been savaged by the same handsy agent that worked over my strawberry no-fuss chunks.  Why the berry bias, Canada Post?!

Most importantly, though, my order smells bloody fantastic, and absent one or two scent choice SNAFUs and some stupid postal tomfoolery, I’m overwhelmingly pleased with my order.  I’ll definitely be back for a second round of customs (only next time I’ll try to find a way to maximize that shipping charge.)