The Folklore Collection was the first collection born from The Merry Wick and has a special place in my heart. This collection and the entire concept of The Merry Wick came to me during the "event that shall not be named" (the pandemic). It seems a bit redundant at this point for us to keep saying that this time in our lives has been so pivotal; we all experienced it, we all know that it garnered times of togetherness and times of loneliness and isolation. While I have had my fair share of negative experiences and emotions associated with this time period, I, like many of you, if you are here, found solace in the little things. One of those things being Taylor Swift's album, Folklore.
As a swiftie, i'm sure you are familiar with the feeling of needing to give entire lecture length spiels to friends and family members, explaining everything she does so that people will learn to appreciate her. Since I am sure you already agree that she is lovely, there is no need to try to explain why this album was so magnificent.
Folklore was released about 5 months into one of the most isolating times in our lives. The first few weeks were strange, but there was almost a thrill of a challenge, I can make it through this for two weeks, how hard can that be? But as we all know, it was not a temporary two week change. The following months kept getting harder, suddenly we hadn't seen our friends or family for so long it started to feel like it would never end. I don't know when others started to hit their breaking points, but mine was quickly approaching right before Folklore came out.
This album was the comfort, myself and so many others needed in a time that was utterly terrifying. Every song felt like a warm embrace, even if it was a sad one. There was something so emotional about this album, all of the feelings expressed within in are so raw and the imagery is so vivid.
That intense emotion and imagery is what gave me the idea for the Folklore Collection, everything about the songs felt so real and personal, almost as if you were living it yourself, it was so easy to feel like you were in the story they were portraying. Then one night while I was listening, I had the thought that the lyrics we so descriptive not only could I mentally visualize the scenes playing out, but I could feel the environment, the textures and the scents. I don't know if everyone makes entire movies in their head for songs, but I do haha.
Cardigan was the first song I heard from the album and immediately fell in love with it (as i'm sure we all did). Still every time I hear this song, it bring me so much comfort. Now, I know it isn't necessarily a happy song, but there is hope at its roots and I was severely lacking hope when this album came out.
I knew I wanted to scents to be warm and comforting, to emulate the way the song makes me feel, the scents I ended up choosing were... Lavender Tea + Cotton + Sweet Cream
The Lavender Tea is an obvious reference to the "vintage tea" line that opens the song, but it also is highlighting the mature and confident tones that the main character of the song evokes, such as the lines "I knew everything when I was young" "I knew you'd come back to me". Though there is a lot of pain in the song, there is a certainty and hope that is very present in the lyrics. The Cotton scent is more obviously referencing the infamous "cardigan", but I also chose to include it because it is a very familiar and soothing scent for people. I often get comments that this scent creates a nice warm and clean aroma to a home that is comforting and calming like a fresh cozy batch of laundry. The Sweet Cream in this scent not only helped bring a sweet element to the more mature and fresh scents of the Lavender Tea and Cotton, but it has slight floral hints of rose and jasmine that really bring everything together and help give the fragrance a bit of a "blossoming" feeling that I feel like is evoked from the instrumentals of the song.
Tears Ricochet took me a few listens to get the full picture of what this song meant to me and how it felt. There truly is a lot going on in this song, sadness, bitterness, but also a surety.
The more I listened to this song, the more it started to dig at a lot of personal feelings of betrayals from several different relationships in my life, and I knew this one had to be a bit dark and mysterious, but also with a warmth to it, so I ended up going with a blend of... Amber + Birch + Smoke
The Amber scent represents the bits of light and warmth that are in this song. Even when we leave any kind of relationship bitter, eventually we recognize that there was some good in what we experienced even if ultimately that relationship had to end for the better. This song feels like and through the lyrics depict the stages of a fire and the Amber is like final embers of a dying fire.
The Birch in this fragrance brings depth and maturity to the overall scent. In my mind, this son takes place in the woods, wandering, reminiscing and healing. That imagery, combined with the themes of fire made me want to have a nice strong spicy wood aroma included. The spice of the birch helps represent the bitter and resentful emotions that are at the core of the lyrics. However, the maturity of the scent represents the certainty that despite the pain, the choice to leave was the right one.
In the reverse, the Smoke is meant to evoke the feeling of uncertainty and immaturity, particularly felt in the line "I didn't have it in myself to go with grace", it eludes to the possibility that the main character reacted to the situation in a way that would be interpreted as immature or impulsive, the more I listened to this song the more it felt like, although there is some healing in it, there was a lot of unresolved emotions in it as well. Overall, all of these fragrances come together to help create the aroma of a fire that is deep and dark, but also has a hint of warmth and bittersweetness to it, just like the song.
Where to even start with Illicit Affairs?? There is so much complex emotion in this song, this was probably the most complicated scent to get "right".
To me, a lot of the songs on this album take place in a small gloomy and rainy seaside town. I know Taylor technically only said that Betty, Cardigan, and August are connected, but I truly feel like all of these songs feel connected to me.
I felt like this song had to feel damp and dark, but sensual at the same time. Like modern Phantom of The Opera vibes. I eventually found this emotion with a blend of...
Merlot + Sea Salt + Rose Petals
The Merlot in this scent has strong notes of Black Cherry and Black Currant which are both very deep, rich, bright scents that I felt evoked the dark emotions that are strung throughout the song. Not only are these scents very heavy but the berry qualities help lend themselves to the erotic themes at play.
The notes of Sea Salt in this scent, really lends itself to the complexity of the song that I wanted to add to the fragrance as well. The oil used to add the sea salt notes, also has layers of plum and and citrus that help add more of those dark but also bright aromas. Adding an element of salt to this scent was important to me, not only because of the depth it added, but that it matched the depiction of a sea side town that I had in my head.
Lastly, the Rose Petal notes in this scent are to lighten up the dark berries and add to the sensuality of it. While musically the song feels dark and sad, similar to tears ricochet, there is a hint of the lingering sweetness of the relationship somewhere within the despair and bitterness.
Betty is one of the lighter song on the album, and of course not to say that there aren't deeper themes in the song that are sad at their core, it's a bit of a feel go song no? haha
Because this song isn't as complex or deep as the others, I felt like coming up with the scent was simple. There was 100% a bonfire at betty's party, I know it's not mentioned, but I feel it in my soul that there is a bonfire. So with that being said, this scent was always meant to smell like THE PARTY, so it felt right that it was a blend of...
Apple Sangria + Bonfire + Spruce
I knew from the beginning that this scent was going to be woodsy, and that it just had to have apple in it, hence the Apple Sangria. The fun part about not only getting to get the right apple scent for this candle, was that there was sangria involved, because you know there was alcohol at the party. Is it likely that teenagers would opt for sangria over bear for their bonfire party? Probably not, but I like to think that Betty is a classy lady, and would have classier drinks at her soiree.
As previously mentioned, I refuse to believe there isn't a bonfire at said party, which meant there of course had to be notes of Bonfire. To be more specific this specific scent has hints of Sandalwood, Clove, and Saffron in it to make a nice warm spicy scent.
I don't know if it is the siren song of the harmonica, but the other thing that I am convinced of about Betty, it is that she lives at the edge of a forest, the perfect location for a bonfire party, so to evoke that imagery of partying by the forest, I decided to add some Spruce to the mix and all of the scents came together to represent what I imagined Betty's party to be.
With the Lakes, I took it back to looking for inspiration from all of the imagery that is described in the lyrics.
The Lakes is her haven, a safe place to escape and heal, so I knew that the scent had to be light, etherial, and floral.
If you don't know, there are a LOT of floral oils out there to choose from, so getting the right combo for this one without it being headache inducing took some times, but I eventually found a nice calm and sweet combination with... Magnolia + Vanilla + Ocean Rose
Magnolia was a perfect floral note for this candle as this particular oil has hints of Peony to it as well which are both very earthy florals that are not overpowering the way some flowers can be. I wanted to choose a floral that wasn't overly sweet because while the song depicts a place that is soft and safe, the rest of the lyrics are actually dark and hold a kin of despair and escapism that isn't "sweet".
The idea for the Vanilla was actually more inspired by the music than the lyrics. Many of the instrumentals in the song hold long notes that feel very "rich" and "ribbony" to me. Vanilla felt like the right kind of sweet to mix in the tone down the florals.
Finally, we have the Ocean Rose, often times Rose is super overpowering, however this Rose is rather mild and has notes of Lily and Honey to help dampen down the parts of rose that can tend to be headache inducing.
I am really happy with the way these scents blend together to make a sweet light floral, this was the first candle from the Folklore Collection that I burned all the way through, and would often burn two at once so it would fill up the entire house.
So there you have it! All of the thought processes that went into developing these scents, it was really important to me that these felt right , I was never going to be comfortable throwing together some scents and slapping a Taylor title on it just cause I could. These songs mean a lot to me as I know they mean a lot to many people, especially during the time that these songs were released.
To anyone who has already picked up some of these scents or to those of you who are planning on getting some, I truly hope that you enjoy these and you feel that they do these masterpieces of songs justice. Love, Sam of The Merry Wick