by BR Kellie
There is nothing quite like walking into BRHQ. The moment you step in, you're enveloped by the cosiest, sweetest, most delicious scent. That would be because BR Merilyn is a diehard fan of Glasshouse Candle's A Tahaa Affair. A scent that's described as "ambrosial with heavenly caramel and coconut, it’ll transport you to the beaches of Tahaa". I've never been to Tahaa, so I can't speak to the description being correct, but as far as "heavenly caramel and coconut" goes, Glasshouse Tahaa is all that and then some. The only thing I'm not a fan of? The price. So I did a deep dive into the world of candle dupes, and found a website that said Kmart sold a Tahaa dupe. Naturally, I had to buy it, as well as the OG, and put them to the test, taking three factors into consideration: their makeup, their unlit scent throw, and their lit scent throw. Overall though, the big question was could a $19 Kmart candle be a dupe for a $60 Glasshouse fave?
Tahaa vs Vanilla Noir: The Basics
First of all - it needs to be noted that the Kmart candle was initially called "Tahitian Vanilla". At some point it was changed to "Vanilla Noir", but the notes on the packaging remain the same.
Glasshouse A Tahaa Affair notes: Top Notes: Pineapple. Middle Notes: Coconut Fruity, Frankincense. Base Notes: Caramel and Vanilla.
One of the questions BR Natalie put to me was if the Tahaa candle was soy. Detective cap on, I noted that the website said it was a "soy-based wax blend". Further investigation didn't turn up what this soy-based wax blend meant. However, it's noted on many candle forums that soy wax blend usually means it's a mix of soy and paraffin wax. While I can't say this is the case for the A Tahaa Affair, I do find it interesting that they don't mention what the blend is, even on the box.
Kmart Vanilla Noir notes: As from the Kmart website: Enjoy hours of fragrance with this deluxe candle made from luxury notes of double layering of vanilla, citrus, floral, iris, tonka bean and musk.
As for the candle composition? They say it's a soy wax blend, then note that the makeup is paraffin and soy.
While I know that there are folk out there who are not fans of paraffin in candles, this article from McGill University makes for an interesting read if you're worried about the health aspect of burning candles.
First thoughts: I got my sniff on the moment the Kmart candle arrived - and it did smell a little like Tahaa, albeit a touch more citrussy. As you can see below, the packaging is basic and the label arrived a little beat up looking. The colour is also very much not the same as Tahaa. Also, it's a three wick candle, compared to Glasshouse's two wicks. (They do have a three wick version of Tahaa, but it's $109, and I'm not a squillionaire.) At this stage, I was not convinced this was a winner.
First test: Unlit Throw
One thing I adore about Glasshouse candles is that they throw their scent even when unlit, so I wanted to see if the supposed dupe could do the same. To make this as scientific as possible, I placed each candle in the same spot in my home's foyer on separate days.
The moment my daughter walked into the house on the Tahaa day, she uttered the words "Mmmmm, it smells like Peter Alexander", and she wasn't wrong. Unlit, the scent of Tahaa permeated the foyer of our house. It was a wonderful way to come home.
As for Vanilla Noir? You'd get hints of its scent, but it was nowhere near as all-encompassing as Tahaa. Though when I did get a whiff, I did enjoy it, and felt it was Tahaa-esque in fragrance.
The winner? Clearly, Glasshouse A Tahaa Affair.
Second Test: Two Hour Burn Time #1
In order to see if Vanilla Noir smelt like Tahaa when lit, I decided to burn them both for two hours at the same time, but in separate parts of my house that were similar in area size. For this first test, Vanilla Noir was placed in my open-plan living area. Tahaa remained in the foyer, which opens out to the hallway, bedrooms and bathroom.
Quickly, Vanilla Noir filled the open-plan area with the most delicious scent. I definitely noticed the vanilla, but what I enjoyed more was the burnt caramel scent, with a hint of citrus that gave it depth.
With its hallway placement, A Tahaa Affair was interesting. Despite its amazing throw unlit, once lit it didn't blow up the area with its aroma in the first hour. Unless you were a metre or so away, you could barely smell it. It was more noticeable by the end of the second hour, but still not great. What did not impress me at all was that the candle had begun to tunnel. This is not something I expect from a $60 candle.
Third Test: Two Hour Burn Time #2
For my next test, I placed Vanilla Noir in the hallway, and Tahaa in the open-plan living area, then lit them for two hours once more.
Tahaa took its time scenting the area, but to be fair, it's a two wick candle vs a three wick candle, so I have to take size into consideration. However, after an hour the area smelled delicious.
As for Vanilla Noir in the hallway? Once lit, it had more throw than Tahaa did, scenting the foyer, my bedroom and my office nicely. Perhaps if I'd burned it longer than the two hour test time, the rest of the area would have been just as beautifully scented, but as I had to leave the house, I had to snuff out the candles.
So, do we have dupeage?
Is Kmart Vanilla Noir a dupe for Glasshouse A Tahaa affair? No. I don't think it is. That being said, it's more like Tahaa's more sophisticated sister. Instead of a sweet caramel scent, it's more of a burnt caramel scent, and, truth be told, I might even prefer it. Also, for $19, it's an absolute bargain, that will last a long time, even with regular burning. Would buy again.
So, have you found a dupe for A Tahaa Affair that we need to know about? Are there any Kmart beauty dupes you've heard about that we need to try? Sharing is caring, so get chatting below!