A mysterious journey through time with Manifest Destiny Candles

Our review of the most unique candles you’ll see this year

photos: we heart this

A sepia tinged photo, the edges frayed by the passing of time…a mysterious message that beckons exploration…an obscured history enveloped by an alluring scent… These are just some of the enigmatic elements used to create the stunning line that is Manifest Destiny Luxury Candles.

Created by Meike Kopp, who’s own background is as fascinating as those of her characters, these beautiful candles are the debut products from Manifest Destiny. They were developed after Kopp realized she wanted to turn her stories and history of aromatic guided journeys into an offering of “neo-vaudeville style” candles.

Packaged within each gorgeous black box (as seen above) is a soy based candle encased in a metallic votive that will burn for 80 hours. To date, there are two collections of candles; Series I and Series II and each Series contains four distinct candles ($40 each) inspired by an actual antique photograph.

From these vintage photos Kopp imagines a character and a fable (an enclosed booklet includes a teaser of each fable and each can be found in its entirety on the website). In turn, each fable intersects with the fable of another candle’s character creating multi-layered, intertwining stories.

Embracing both masculine and feminine sensibility, these candles are meant to offer more than just an array of delicious scents. The key ingredients found within the candles matches those within their corresponding fables; enchanting elixirs like spilled vermouth, night blooming jasmine and pouch tobacco abound.

The moment you smell one of these candles and read the coinciding tale, you’ll immediately feel immersed in a past that somehow feels comfortable, familiar and a little haunting… and they leave you aching for a memory. A memory with fragile, yellow pages of musty, tattered books, a quiet open plain where shadows of passing clouds dot the landscape, the weight of a rusted cold skeleton key, the gentle clatter of alchemist bottles, the smell and feel of dirt, rough cotton linens and burning oil lamps.

I was the happy tester of series II candle Nouvelle Orleans with scents of absinthe and Spanish moss and an image of two young girls holding hands. I soon found myself lost in the world of young Byrdie Walker, daughter to a slave and a Cheyenne Indian woman. Her strange visions lead her down a path of discovering who her father was and in turn give her a sense self.

Not only was the story fascinating, but also I was immediately drawn into the candle’s heady aroma of an almost creamy spiciness and subdued earthiness. Potent but not overwhelming, it filled the room with a deep, sensual, muskiness.

The wht team was fortunate to receive Manifest Destiny candles from both series to test, including :

Nouvelle Orleans Hymns of spirit and surrenderabsinthe and Spanish Moss.
Frolic An evocative romp into your childhood senses grass, bees and wind.
Hunter’s Reign Waiting for the moment, the moment is herebourbon, moss, leather and pouch tobacco.
Vintage Velvet A vaudevillian act in 5 senses cognac and amber.
Sea Flyer The Great Bird Descends - North sea wind, wild heather and salt marsh grass.
Dark Forest Baptized by Nature’s breath - incense cedar, crushed violets and sequoia.

Wow. How many of you are scrambling to order right now based on some of those mind blowing note blends?

If these amazing candles weren’t enough, Kopp has created “Oracles of Destiny,” a line of 10 greeting cards featuring similar vintage images with a message or “oracle.” The card I received of a young boy dressed in lederhosen and smoking a pipe with the message “Embrace the sophisticated child within” definitely made me smile. Beautiful and amusing, these cards are a fun way to send a bit of mysterious wisdom to a loved one.

Does Manifest Destiny have you intrigued? Unsure of which candle’s winding journey you want to explore? Then read on through the comments to hear more about our other testers’ experiences of tales and treasures unveiled.

5 votes, average: 5.00 out of 55 votes, average: 5.00 out of 55 votes, average: 5.00 out of 55 votes, average: 5.00 out of 55 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5 (5 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
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Kari is a Minneapolis based artist who drinks too much coffee and enjoys taking pictures of the strange foods she eats. She’s always running 10 minutes behind despite her clock being an hour fast. You can find her musings on art, music and food at her blog, Tuna Fish Casserole.

Disclosure: This review includes products that were provided by the manufacturer/PR firm for our consideration. For more info, or any questions, please see our disclosure policy.

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Written by kari

13 Comments

  1. Profile photo of sherrishera
    sherrishera

    I love these candles…so pretty. They are at once charming, modern and vintage. The silver cup that houses the soy candle is gorgeous; the photo (mine, Frolic, is of a little boy on a hobby horse) is old and evocative. When this candle has burnt down entirely this will be a beautiful vase. Of course the 80-hour burn time means it won’t be used for flowers anytime soon.
    Evocative is what this candle strives to be and it accomplishes it well. Frolic seeks to “romp into your childhood senses” of grass, bees and wind. And while the candle doesn’t necessarily smell like grass or bees or wind, the sweet sandalwood-y scent surely reminds me of the great outdoors rife with wildflowers and fresh cut wood. The picture does the rest, telling the story where I imagine a time before I was born when summer smelled just the same as it did when I was kid. Then, just as I’ve imagined my own story, I read this post and find that there is a beautiful story made just for this candle! How wonderful and creative that this candle not only lights a fire in one’s own imagination, but shares its own story of inspiration!
    Definitely one of the finest candles I’ve ever owned. Gift-worthy indeed. 5 stars.

  2. Profile photo of irene
    irene

    I love these beautiful candles sooooooooooooo much and got a real kick out of reading the fable online that goes with it. Not only me, but so does anyone who comes near to the candle. I have the amazing- very amazing 80-hour “Dark Forest” Baptized by Nature’s Breath candle. Everything about this candle made me happy. The smell Oh MY LORDY- of course wowed me – Incense cedar, crushed violets and sequoia. It also is made in the USA! Yeah, for products of such quality to be made on our own soil.. Love it- the story they have posted on line you must read.. a picture really does tell a fable! I want to read them all now. A candle like this is a great idea to give as a special gift- I eagerly give it an easy 5 star rating.. Fantastic!

  3. Profile photo of Stef Andrews
    Stef Andrews

    Fabulous post @kari! You do a great job of describing the journey that these candles take you on.

    An old friend of mine used to collect photographs of people he didn’t know. He never bought them, they were just ones that he’d find places (on the street, in library books etc). And he used to make up identities for all the people in them; a cousin who moved to Russia, his transvestite grandfather, his sister’s husband who raises goats. They were always funny, but it got to the point where I’d see him and ask about his cousin in Russia, and he’d spin an elaborate tale about her latest adventure. I always loved it.

    Mainfest Destiny does this on a much bigger, and more beautiful level. You believe the stories you read about these photographs, and most important – you care about them. Building this amazing anticipation to lighting the candle and becoming totally enveloped in these people’s history. It’s bloody genius, I tell you!

    And the candles, my god the candles. We should have taken a video of @tyna and I sitting on her bedroom floor, passing them back and forth trying to decide which one we had to have. There wasn’t a clunker in the bunch. The notes are so beautifully balanced, revealing themselves in layers. They are absolutely stunning.

    Vintage Velvet became mine (which really, I knew from sniff #1 that I had to have it). Cognac and amber are everything I want in both a perfume AND a candle; a deep, rich, boozy concoction that really does bring to mind velvet. I adore this scent. Honestly, I don’t know if I have ever smelled such a good candle!

    Best of all, it fills the room. Don’t you hate when a candle smells good in the jar, then you light it and it the scent is no where to be found? Not the case here. The scent is strong, but not cloying. You can even smell it when you walk by it and it’s not lit! I have this on my vanity right now and love smelling it wafting around while I’m doing my makeup in the AM.

    5 bright, beautiful stars. I always want one of these in my house! And can’t wait to try the next one.

  4. Profile photo of Mel
    Mel

    Are you kidding me right now?!! I am so upset – youguys all have me worked up over these candles – I have to have one now – and it does not appear that they sell them online!!! The closest vendor to me is in Chicago (2 states away), so I CAN’T get one of these???!!!! UGH…please Manifest Destiny, consider selling these online if the reviews are going to be this raving! If I’m wrong, someone please let me know, but the website sure looks to be vendor only.

  5. Profile photo of kari
    kari

    @melinda, I couldn’t find any ordering info on the site either. I was totally lamenting the fact that Chicago seemed to be the closest for me too should I want more of these candles (and I really really do)!

    Maybe there’s more retailers than what is listed on the site?

  6. Profile photo of Kellie
    Kellie

    When I first saw my candle (Sea Flyer) I was floored! I have never seen such a unique, beautiful, or classy candle. The concept behind this line is amazing! They really just draw you in and set a mood better than any candle I have ever known. Every person who has walked into my house has commented on just how gorgeous this candle looks and smells. It is just intoxicating to the senses. Sea Flyer truly makes you feel like you are at the ocean. It is just so fresh and calming. I would without a doubt purchase this scent again but I also can’t wait to try the other scent stories.

    If you are in the market for a high end candle look no further. Manifest Destiny is the first line of candles that I feel is truly worth the price tag. They are simply stunning!

    5 huge stars from me!!!!!

  7. Profile photo of lipglossandspandex
    lipglossandspandex

    @Kari, your descriptions are just amazing! What a great review.

    The packaging is just gorgeous, but yikes, $40 is a bit steep for a candle… I guess if they actually do burn for 80 hours it’d be worth it though. The scent options seem a little peculiar, so I might have to go to Portland and check them out in person (I’m lucky there’s a retailer just across the river from me!)
    Marilyn @ Lipgloss and Spandex recently posted..Random facts about me- from A to Z

  8. Profile photo of Tyna Werner
    Tyna Werner

    Wow, wow, wow. I know it’s just a candle, but the Manifest Destiny candles are everything and more the girls have already stated! If you are (or know) a girl that “loves stuff” she will be bowled over by one of these stunners! Keep in mind, this is a newish line – so if you can’t find them near you know, fingers crossed lots of new buying possibilities will soon be here

    I tested Hunter’s Reign and from the outer packaging, a sturdy and reusable black box with vintage photo I was in love. The black tissue wrapped, silver vased candles are gererously sized and make a great, shiny statement piece in any room of the house. And I too love @sherrishera ‘s idea of reusing the empty holder as a vase – or possibly a holder for eyeliners on my vanity!

    My candle and box has a vintage photo of moustached man in uniform standing next to a mounted deer head. As a vegetarian it’s pretty creepy – but kind of in a good way. Plus I picked this candle out for the amazing and unique scent – Hunter’s Reign boasts notes of Bourbon, Moss, Leather and Pouch Tobacco!

    This is not your typical flower scented candle with a hint of red currant to make it “edgy”. These candles are grown up and sexy and completely unisex. As a matter of fact, Hunter is most likely geared towards men (Bourbon and Tobacco) and it gives a great semi spicy, semi sweet, slightly musky scent that I adore.

    The $40 price is steep, but sadly I’ve spent much more on candles – what can I say, I heart them! And as mentioned, these candles will make one fantastic gift. A total 5 star item if I ever saw one!
    Tyna Werner recently posted..New Budget Beauty – Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Balms

  9. Profile photo of Mel
    Mel

    Did anyone test Memoir of a Sphinx? I’m trying to decide between that one and Frolic since I can only treat myself to one! And if you’re reading this and don’t know yet, Tyna found a couple sites that do sell them online!! (I don’t know how to include the link right here sorry!)

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