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Nov 6, 2017 7:31 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

East End Signature Candles Are A Hit, Offering Different Scents For Different Villages And Hamlets

Brittany Torres pours the wax and essential oil mixture into the glass votives where they will cure for 12 hours. COURTESY BRITTANY TORRES.
Nov 9, 2017 1:50 PM

What does Southampton smell like? What about Bridgehampton? East Hampton? Westhampton?Ask Southampton native Brittany Torres, who designates a unique scent to many of the municipalities in Southampton and East Hampton towns and transforms each one into a candle.

She said the fragrances are based on her memories of the specific village or hamlet, most of which date back to her childhood.

“For example, Water Mill, which has an apple scent,” she explained. “I used to go apple picking with my family at the Milk Pail, and we would get the apple cider donuts. So I knew that I wanted there to be apple in it.”

The Southampton, made with cotton, gardenia and white tea, smells like fresh cotton and reminds Ms. Torres of a job she had working for a prestigious Southampton family. She said the house on the water always smelled “clean, fresh and sophisticated,” and she wanted to re-create that in the scent of her candle, which is both her and her customers’ favorite.

Other East End candles include the Bridgehampton, which evokes the scent of honeysuckle and freshly cut grass, and Westhampton, which smells of lavender.

The memory-stirring aromas of the Bridgehampton, Southampton and Westhampton candles make up three of the original six assorted East End scents that Ms. Torres used to create her unique candle business, Hamptons Handpoured. Her original collection also included Long Wharf, representing Sag Harbor, made with cedarwood, vanilla and honey; East Hampton, made with cashmere, fig and strawberry; and The End, representing Montauk and made with sandalwood, bergamot and spice.

The 32-year-old entrepreneur started experimenting making candles for her family and friends in 2015, using small crockpots in her East Quogue kitchen. While she still brings her work home with her and uses those same crockpots, she has since launched an official line of soy-based handmade candles infused with plant-based fragrance oils, “made right here in the Hamptons,” pouring batches in her mobile studio parked behind her home. She named her business Hamptons Handpoured in December 2015.

“Candles create an experience,” Ms. Torres said. “When you light a candle, it relaxes you. Especially for those people who are familiar with the East End, [it] ties with memories.”

Hamptons Handpoured grew from six assorted candle scents to more than 40 different varieties, spanning from Montauk to Huntington, in a little over two years.

Kelly Kirkpatrick, owner of Therapy Life and Style, a small boutique on Main Street in Southampton and a longtime friend and previous boss to Ms. Torres, said her favorite candle is from the newer collection. It is the Sagaponack, made from blue raspberry, cherry and red wine, which smells strongly of blueberries, she said.

“If you come into [my] store and that one is missing, it’s probably because it’s in my living room,” Ms. Kirkpatrick said, adding that her boutique was one of the first shops to sell Hampton Handpoured Candles.

The inspiration behind Ms. Torres starting her business wasn’t all strawberries and honeysuckles, though.

Four years ago, she suffered severe bouts of fatigue and chronic headaches. After having a fainting spell, she accepted that something was wrong and underwent a series of tests, discovering that she had a vitamin B12 deficiency.

The diagnosis led her down the path of homeopathic remedies—“I didn’t want to have to take medicine my whole life,” she said—and she discovered the healing properties of essential oils, which she incorporates into her candles using plant-based fragrance oils.

Aromachology, a science that studies the interrelationship between psychology and scent and the effect it has on behavior, quickly became a big part of her life, and she wanted to share it with others. “I always liked candles, so I thought, Wouldn’t it be nice to have a scent that makes you feel at home?”

Ms. Torres started giving handmade candles as holiday gifts and said she got very positive feedback. The actual “aha” moment came when she realized just how often she would light candles in her own life.

“While I was going through my health problems, I would take a lot of baths, and I would light candles,” Ms. Torres said. “I always light a candle after I clean the house and when I have guests over. It changes the vibe of the house as soon as you light a candle.”

From there, she worked to perfect her craft, buying plant-based fragrance oils such as balsam, which is said to reduce inflammation, prevent infection and speed wound healing, and lavender, which is said to eliminate nervous tension, relieve pain and enhance circulation, at wholesale prices. She heats 4 pounds of soy-based wax flakes to 185 degrees in one of six Presto crockpots—one is assigned to each specific candle to avoid sullying the scent—and adds 8 ounces of fragrance, stirring it both clockwise and counterclockwise to form an even consistency.

The mixture is then transferred to a steel pitcher and cautiously poured into a glass candle base with a nickel-free, leaded-wick, where it will sit for about 12 hours to cool and cure. The finishing touch is a brightly colored label—a different color for each scent—that reads “Hamptons Handpoured, made in small batches.”

While small batches are appealing in many ways, because they allow Ms. Torres to make adjustments and pay more attention to detail, the method is time-consuming. The process described takes approximately 16 hours from start to finish and makes only a dozen 6.75-ounce candles of the same scent.

“It’s a lot of work,” Ms. Torres said. “I work pretty much every day, but when you love what you do, it just becomes part of your daily life.”

Her candles range in price from $12 for a 3-ounce candle to $28 for an 8-ounce one. They are carried by 24 stores on Long Island, 22 of which are on the East End. Customers can also purchase them online at HamptonsHandpoured.com or visit the website for a list of boutiques and salons that carry them.

Ms. Torres has also made signature scents for stores like Carleton Clothing an online store that wholesales to shops across Long Island, Therapy Life and Style, and Hampton Coffee, which she admits is only because she loves their coffee so much.

Her plans for the future include adding different lines, offering larger sizes and nicer vessels—but not, at the moment, a storefront. A brick-and-mortar store would be great, she said, but “just too expensive.”

“She’s been taking it to the next level, and I think that’s great,” Ms. Kirkpatrick said of Ms. Torres’s current ambitions. “Her candles have taken off so well. I’m really happy for her.”

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Hampton Bays should smell of the ocean.
By sgt202 (58), Hampton Bays on Nov 7, 17 10:11 AM
1 member liked this comment
Congratulations to Ms.Torres!!! I have one of her candles, brought to me by her wonderfully sweet father and love it!! Best of luck to you!!
By LilOnes21 (23), hampton bays on Nov 7, 17 10:46 AM
1 member liked this comment
Her candles are the best !! They make amazing teacher gifts and holiday gifts as well!
By Charct81 (2), East Hampton on Nov 9, 17 9:26 AM
1 member liked this comment
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