Imagine you're going to take a nice long bubble bath after a long day of work. You pick your favorite body wash and bath bomb, you pour yourself a fun beverage, and you bring in some some candles to light. After all, you want to create a cozy atmosphere to set the mood. But upon sparking the wick to fill your senses, you suddenly get a whiff…of pasta water?

A pasta water candle (yes, a candle that is meant to smell like the water you cooked your pasta in) recently hit the shelves, selling for $70. It's made by DS&D, a brand known for its fancy fragrances and candles. With notes of saline water, semolina wheat, and a base note of “chef's secret,” it joins a slew of other uniquely-scented candles that have filled our homes with strange aromas over the last few years.

The history of food-scented candles

Oddly-scented candles that fall under the food category are not new. And I'm not talking about apple pie and vanilla scents here. IKEA made a meatball-scented candle in April 2021 to bring the smell of their classic Swedish meatballs from the store to your home. There was a pickle candle created by Vlasic in late November 2022, and a Roma heirloom tomato candle from Flamingo Estate in 2020. There was even a croissant candle made by OVEROSE in 2016. Sales of luxury candles have increased by 53% since 2019, so who is to argue that these funky-smelling candles aren't a good investment or the right direction for companies to produce?

Do people actually buy these candles?

Certainly nobody expected some of those brands to release a candle, let alone a candle so oddly-scented. But it did garner the attention of the public. It is like Goop’s vagina-scented candle. I am not sure who is actually buying it, but it sure did create a lot of press and attention from the public.

This pasta water candle from DS & DURGA feels the same. Not only does it bring attention to the brand, but the candle is in collaboration with New York City-based Italian restaurant Jupiter. The next time I go to NYC, I feel compelled to try this place’s food and see if it smells like a candle.

The reviews on the pasta water candle

There are mixed reviews on whether or not the candle actually smells like pasta water. Ryan Bush (@fiarvest) reviewed it on TikTok and said it “smelled more like dirt, but in a beautiful way.”

“Dusty earth... like grass in the winter,” he said. “It has a warm metallic [scent.] It is not what I was expecting in a good way.”

Many reviews from Reddit are mixed.

“They had it burning in the store as well, and it smelled maybe a bit like yeast or dough, but not specifically like bread,” one user wrote. “I guess that sort of, boxed pasta smell?...Would’ve loved more umami. Even a bit of butter? Parmesan?”

“So far, it is truly a pot of boiling pasta water,” another wrote. "I think I am smelling a little warmed up salt”.

Personally, this candle is not something I would spend a penny on, and definitely not 7,000 pennies. Part of me wants to see what it smells like, but I would rather just walk into their store and have a sniff than buy one to test it out. There are larger luxury candles around the same price range with beautiful scents that I would rather spend my money on. Plus, I prefer the classics, like lavender or vanilla, for when I want to relax.