Part of the Spanish summer that they don’t mention in the holiday brochures is the inescapable truth that several days of escalating heat and humidity quite often lead to a humdinger of a storm. We get them in the UK too, of course, but there’s something extra spectacular about the weather here on the mountain – it’s quite often little short of biblical. Put it this way: we don’t do drizzle.
We once stood (well, cowered) on our terrace, staring out at whirling black clouds heading straight for us, just like in that scene in “Raiders of the Lost Ark” where the baddies get vaporised by the power of the Ark’s spirits. The clouds passed over us, but not without first dumping a month’s worth of rain in about 15 spectacular minutes. We have a water deposit under the terrace (for watering the garden in times of drought), which started the day empty and was full by the afternoon – it holds 20,000 litres!
On that famous occasion we actually had friends staying, and had to retreat inside while the heavens roiled and groaned and unleashed their torrent of water, and our friends clearly thought their summer holiday was over – and then suddenly it was gone, and wonderful great shafts of sunlight lanced through the clouds.
We all stepped outside gingerly, checking that the garden hadn’t been washed away, and all chorused something to the effect of: “Wow, the air smells beautiful!” You could still smell the rain itself, but mingled with the herbs we grow on our front step, and as we walked through the garden, it seemed that the rain had washed away the dusty cloaks on our lemon and lime trees and sharpened their citrus loveliness. And there was still that gorgeous alchemy of the wild mountain flora, surrounding our house and garden; in fact, we’ve always thought of this fragrance as a sibling to First Light. As fragrant experiences go, it was delectable, and, as sometimes happens, the name for the candle came to us immediately: Cloudburst. So did the image for the label – which we LOVE, and the box is even decorated with silver foil shafts of sunlight.
Our fantastic perfumer Marianne Martin was unfazed by tackling ‘rain’. In fact, unlike some of our fragrances, she came up with the perfect version first time, with not a single tweak necessary: a blend of bergamot, lavender, basil, lemon, and lime with ozonic notes to open the fragrance, with middle notes of forest pine, fennel, neroli, and thyme, supported by base notes of rockrose (labdanum), and patchouli. Technically: a ‘Fresh’ fragrance.
“This glorious blend beautifully captures the distinctive, unusual, and unforgettable scent of a cloudburst on the mountain.”
And, by the way, this candle (rather like its sister First Light) has one of the best ‘cold throws’ (the release of fragrance once the candle has been lit – for at least an hour – then extinguished. Yes, it’s the fragrance that keeps on giving!