There isn’t a more respected, beloved or treasured brand in the world of home fragrance than that of Rigaud. A luxurious and powerful product line that has captured the hearts of avid followers like Jacqueline Kennedy and Diana Vreeland since the mid-twentieth century – no other brand can hold a candle to it, pun fully intended.
I’ve been a fan of Rigaud for years, the first time I saw their original cyprés green candle burning in a boutique next to the Four Seasons George V in Paris. I was immediately taken by its scent, purity, elegance and form. What I saw was a bubble-free glass, dancing flame hovering above liquified oil, a small silk bow tied around the glass container and a silver lid, or snuffer, that sat nonchalantly beside the candle. I remember staring at it and immediately being drawn to not only the thick, freshness of the cypress, but the ease of it all.
Aside the candle were two others wrapped in Rigaud’s legendary black and white zebra packaging – waiting for someone to unwrap them, unleashing their fragrance potential.
After learning more about the brand, I began to unfold Rigaud’s history, legacy and plans for tomorrow. Deeply rooted in a proprietary pour and fragrance creation – Rigaud has retained its status amongst the world’s “in-the-know” clientele because everything they create is flawless. It’s not overthought, but attention is in the detail. From the various scents they offer, to candles in all sizes – travel (35-hour burn time), mini (30-hour burn time), demi/medium (60-hour burn time), standard/large (90-hour burn time) and the prestige (150-hour burn time).
For over a half-a-century, Rigaud has retained its roots by not compromising the ingredients and materials that make-up their candles. Instead, they’ve emphasized the importance of layering scent in your home, office or hotel room – releasing room/fabric sprays that are meant to enhance the beauty found in the burning candles. As I am constantly traveling and living out of hotels, I often bring along a Rigaud travel candle or mini candle, as well as a fabric spray. Upon checking-in, I will kick-off my shoes, spritz my hotel pillows and comforter with the Reine de la Nuit spray and light the corresponding candle. The result is an environment that instantly uplifts my mood and wraps me in a cocoon of true beauty and luxury.
Over the years, the daughter of Rigaud’s original founders, Elizabeth Carrette, has taken over the business. Her goal has been to retain the brand’s hallmark – yet take it confidently forward into the future. She has done an incredible job, carefully working with her partner in the United States, Ms. Debbie deGroff, to select retailers who can properly tell Rigaud’s story. We spoke recently with Ms. Carrette in Paris to get her thoughts on the brand’s past, present and future.
IC: What is the inspiration behind Rigaud?
EC: La Maison Rigaud is the creator of the first perfumed candle in the 1960’s. The story of “Les Parfums Rigaud”, one of the oldest perfumeries in the world , dates back to 1852, at the dawn of the Second Empire. It still belongs to the same French family, whose philosophy is to maintain the quality and the luxury of its candles to remain the one and only candle in the most elegant residences all over the world.
IC: Where did the iconic black and white packaging come from?
EC: Mario Rigaud created the Cyprès candle, he chose the perfume and invented a very exclusive wax. At the same time, his wife Viviane turned the Boutique Rigaud, Rue François 1er in Paris, into a private salon, where she received the most elegant ladies. Blessed with unerring taste, she wanted a packaging that would never be dated and chose the timeless black and white zebra paper, heightened with a red ribbon.
IC: What is your personal favorite scent from Rigaud and why?
EC: I remember the Cyprès burning on my father’s desk and its perfume reminds me when I was a teenager…but now, my favorite one is Vésuve. This blending of incense and amber is almost addictive for me…perhaps because I created it myself!
IC: What does the Rigaud brand mean to you and your family?
EC: Like every family brand, I suppose…when a brand has your own name, you feel very proud of it and want it to be faultless.
IC: What makes Rigaud particularly Parisian?
EC: Its refinement, in every small detail…like the hand-made knot or its typically French precious fragrances. It’s an elegant way to welcome your guests, to make them feel good and relax in a delicately perfumed atmosphere, specially dedicated to them, or to share a candlelight dinner with your lover as if you were in Paris…so romantic! Rigaud perfumed candles are the symbol of Parisian good manners.
IC: Where do you see the Rigaud brand in 10 years?
EC: Luxury is still a dream for thousands of people in the world. I hope that, little by little, they will reach their ideal and become our future clients!
IC: What separates Rigaud from its competitors?
EC: Undoubtedly its beyond compare in wax and ingredients, the care with which it is manufactured, inspected and packed. This is Rigaud.