Ikea X Byredo's Ben Gorham: a review of the entire collection

OSYNLIG, the Ikea x Byredo‘s Ben Gorham collab we’ve all been waiting for since 2018, will finally be hitting stores November 1*! The collection counts 13 scented candles, housed in keepsake ceramic votives. Ikea X Byredo's Ben Gorham: a review of the entire collection

If like most of the world you are trying to stay at home, going out and sticking your (unmasked!!!) nose in a bunch of candles is perhaps not a priority in your life right now. Making said home a little more cozy however, should be. So, I got my hands on some wax samples to bring you more thorough product descriptions than Ikea’s one-liners. Case in point: the Lilac and Amber candle in the collection is described as a “flowery scent of lilac with hints of amber.”

GIF Stanley (The Office) blinking

Ikea I love you honey but I’m gonna need a little more than that.

Let me note however that I do not consider myself an expert in the field. My knowledge is intermediate at best. Nevertheless, I hope my interpretation of the fragrances will help you make your choice if you decide to shop for these online.

*Belgian release date. For the duration of the lockdown in Belgium, the candles are exclusively available through Click & Collect.

Review: all 13 10 scented OSYNLIG candles

The collection is divided into three families: Fresh, Floral and Woody. Each of the 13 different fragrances is available in a 10 cm high votive accompanied by a lid that doubles as a tray. Additionally, one hero fragrance of each family is offered in two more sizes. A small votive (7 cm high) without the lid and a large pot with four wicks.
Ikea doesn’t make note of the burn time.

The candles are a paraffin/vegetable wax mix and have a cotton wick. The regular votive is priced at € 9,99. The large size will set you back € 24,99, the small € 4,99.

Due to 2020 being what it is, the release of 3 of the fragrances has been delayed to later this year: Cassis and Freesia, Swedish Birch and Juniper and the highly anticipated Firewood and Spice.

Note: I haven’t seen the collection in real life yet, but a few readers that have, have told me the colours of the ceramics are depicted brighter. I’m not sure whether that’s because of the one-of-a-kind nature of the baking/glazing, screen settings, or overly saturated photos.

The “Fresh” Family

Ikea x Byredo's Ben Gorham - OSYNLIG scented candle Basil and Mint

Basil and Mint

As a fan of Jo Malone’s Basil & Neroli Affiliate link, I was very curious about this one. Upon first impression, the mint seems a little lost in the overpowering herbaceous basil.

Once the wax melts though, there’s that subtle touch of mint, which enhances the energising quality of the basil. This would be a fantastic candle to light during your work from home hours.

Ikea x Byredo's Ben Gorham - OSYNLIG scented candle Fig and Cypress

Fig and Cypress

Diptyque’s Philosykos Affiliate link, & Other Stories’ discontinued Fig Fiction and Carven’s Paris Santorin all have that juicy fig note in common. I don’t really get that from Fig and Cypress, as if the fig has not quite fully ripened yet.

I detect a hint of citrus and presume I can find the cypress in the soft, airy freshness. Although I have to admit I’m not very familiar with cypress as a fragrance note. Sorry ’bout that.

Fig and Cypress is one of the three scents offered in a smaller and a larger size.

Ikea x Byredo's Ben Gorham - OSYNLIG scented candle Pomegranate and Amber

Pomegranate and Amber

This should be renamed Red Skittles and Amber. Surprisingly though, I don’t hate it.

The amber brings a nice warmth to an otherwise sugary sweet scent. The pomegranate is a bit too sweet and nice to feel natural. Don’t judge this one by the way it smells in the store though. If you’re into fruity fragrances, I don’t think you’ll regret getting Pomegranate and Amber. I’m just not that type of girl.

Ikea x Byredo's Ben Gorham - OSYNLIG scented candle Tea Leaves and Verbana

Tea Leaves and Verbena

When I was a kid, I liked to pretend to “cook” by shredding the leaves of different trees and bushes. After this culinary session (ahem) the green scent would stay on my hands for hours. When solid, that is exactly what Tea Leaves and Verbena smells like. Once lit however, the tea note presents itself and you’ll find yourself surrounded by the comfort only a cup of black tea with a drop of lemon can provide.

Beautifully composed, 10/10 would recommend.

Ikea x Byredo's Ben Gorham - OSYNLIG scented candle Cassis and Freesia

Cassis and Freesia

The release of Cassis and Freesia has been postponed to later this year. It was not available for sampling yet. Here’s my thoughts and projections on what it could smell like. 

According to Fragrantica, “cassis” refers to the leaf and bud of the black current plant. My nose isn’t advanced enough to properly detect the difference between the plant and its fruits. But if I have learned one thing from unknowingly spraying on Giorgio Armani’s Sí eau de toilette Affiliate link is to avoid these two notes like the plague.

You see, both cassis and black currant have a wee hint of cat piss in them. I believe some people are just more prone to catching that whiff than others, just like some people will find coriander tastes like dishwashing liquid (it does). So this is a personal observation.

However if you enjoy the EDT sister of Giorgio Armani’s bestseller, you’ll be pleased to learn freesia is also listed among its notes. Not to say the candle will smell like the perfume, but it might give you an idea of its vibe.

Ikea x Byredo's Ben Gorham - OSYNLIG scented candle Cotton Flower and Apple Blossom

The “Floral” Family

Cotton Flower and Apple

When I first sniffed the solid wax, I was Emily In Paris’ Jean Cadault catching a glimpse of Emily’s tacky bag charm, screaming “RINGARDE” as he flamboyantly storms out of the room.

In spite of the initial horror, some heat transforms this violently apple-y scent into a balanced and enjoyable fragrance. Not my favourite, but not as ringarde as I made it out to be, initially.

Ikea is aware of the marketability of well-known notes though and offers Cotton Flower and Apple in two additional sizes.

Ikea x Byredo's Ben Gorham - OSYNLIG scented candle Lilac and Amber

Lilac and Amber

Lilac is like lavender’s quiet little sister. It’s not as loud or in-your-face and won’t remind you of toilet freshener as much. This candle is one of my favourites in the collection. It would make a great bath time fragrance as it does have that same soothing quality lavender has. The amber grounds an otherwise whimsical scent and adds the touch of warmth and coziness most of us seek in a home fragrance.

I am not very familiar with lilac in fragrances but I do find this very lifelike. Like you’re jamming your face in a bouquet.

Ikea x Byredo's Ben Gorham - OSYNLIG scented candle Peach Blossom and Bamboo

Peach Blossom and Bamboo

Ladies, gents and everyone in between: we have a winner. Peach Blossom and Bamboo is an undoubtedly feminine fragrance, unlike the often androgynous scents Byredo puts forward. There’s something enchanting about the delicate floral expertly blended with the fresh, green and slightly woody bamboo.

Unlike many girly fragrances, Peach Blossom and Bamboo does not rely on sugary sweet or fruity notes. I like!

Read more: My 5 favourite girly perfumes

Ikea x Byredo's Ben Gorham - OSYNLIG scented candle Rose and Raspberries

Rose and Raspberries

I love a good rose. Raspberries, eh, I’m on the fence about. But this unexpected mix has got me pleasantly surprised. It is reminiscent of Coach the Fragrance, featuring the same two notes. Or even Rochas’ Mademoiselle Rochas, a similar fruity/rose combo.

Again, this is one of those candles that only really comes to life when it’s burning. Don’t judge it too harshly by its solid state.

Ikea x Byredo's Ben Gorham - OSYNLIG scented candle Sandalwood and Vanilla

The “Woody” Family

Sandalwood and Vanilla

Many connoisseurs will tell you sandalwood is the true ringarde in the room. In fact, the running gag is that the entirety of Brooklyn, New York, smells like Le Labo’s Santal 33.

Despite the “experts'” opinions, there is nothing wrong with a safe scent. Sandalwood and Vanilla is reminiscent of an expensive concept store or a boutique hotel lobby. It’s inviting, it’s lush and it smells expensive AF.

If you’re not into the vanilla Ikea typically offers, fear not. In this composition, the vanilla retreats to the background and is merely a gentle nod instead of the habitual punch in the face.

Another winner, in my book.

Ikea x Byredo's Ben Gorham - OSYNLIG scented candle Tobacco and Honey

Tobacco and Honey

Thus far, Tobacco and Honey is the least accessible fragrance in the range due to its somewhat challenging tobacco note. Although they don’t have many notes in common, I could see T&H and YSL’s Black Opium Affiliate link being siblings. If vanilla-based Black Opium amped up the coffee and went a little gentler on the florals, their vibes would totally match.

Don’t get me wrong, they don’t smell alike – but they do offer that juxtaposition of a roasted/burnt quality with a lil’ something sweet.

The sillage on this is impressive, too. I melted a chunk of wax the size of a thumbprint for a minute or two and my boyfriend noticed it from the other room, haha.

Tobacco and Honey is one of the three scents offered in a smaller and a larger size.

Ikea x Byredo's Ben Gorham - OSYNLIG scented candle Swedish Birch and JuniperSwedish Birch and Juniper

The release of Swedish Birch and Juniper has been postponed to later this year. It was not available for sampling yet. 

Ikea x Byredo's Ben Gorham - OSYNLIG scented candle Swedish Firewood and SpiceFirewood and Spice

Although this is one of the three scents that won’t be available in Belgium until later this year, my dear friend Jessica sent me this from the Netherlands as a gift (along with one of her beautiful plants – I think it’s a Philodendron Ruby but I do not have a green thumb).

I had expected Firewood and Spice to have a slight charred quality, like actual burnt firewood, and spices like clove and cardamom.

Now, I have never smelled a pumpkin spice latte, let alone drank one, but I imagine drinking one in front of a fireplace smells kind of like this candle. It’s warm, inviting and it’s giving me all of the fuzzy feels. If you light it for about 20 minutes, you’ll notice the vanilla-based scent if you’re sitting at the table where it’s placed. After about an hour, it subtly fills my open plan 60m² living space.

Would I have liked the charred woods and the cardamom? Yeah, sure. Am I happy with what I got instead? You betcha.

OSYNLIG: Invisible design

Creative Leader at Ikea James Futcher about the collaboration with Byredo's Ben Gorham
About the scents, Futcher says: “I like that they’re going to be a bit divisive – people will have to smell them and work out which ones they like and which they don’t.”

Unlike most hard-to-pronounce Ikea names, Osynlig is an actual Swedish word that means “invisible”. The retailer believes that design is more than just what we can see. “I think there’s something really interesting about how we mostly think of the home as a physical thing,” James Futcher, Creative Leader at Ikea, states. “Invisible design is that layer on top of functionality that completes the home, the intangible things like lighting, mood and atmosphere. [Developing Osynlig] was never about making scented candles as much as it was about encouraging the many people to tap into memories, other abstract things, as they construct their own homes.”

Similarly, Ben Gorham’s ambition with luxury perfume house Byredo is to “translate memories and emotions into products and experience”. In fact, Gorham created the very first Byredo fragrance “Green” in an effort to mimic the way his father smelled.
About the collaboration with Ikea, he says: “The way your home smells is very emotional and plays a huge part in how you feel being there. It isn’t just about things being functional and practical, it’s the place where you come together with family and friends and make memories.”

Imagine if it smelled like hot dogs and köttbullar though.

Byredo's Ben Gorham collaborated with Ikea, resulting in a 13-piece collection named OSYNLIG.
I made this one clickable for a zoom. @bengorham is his Instagram handle, by the way. You’re welcome.

Whew, my nose needs a rest now. Are you picking up any of the candles? And if you’ve smelled them – I’d love to hear your observations! Do we agree? Do you think I have missed the ball by a mile? Fragrance is such a personal thing, I’m sure there’s lots to discuss.

Until next time!

Signature XO Vicky

10 Comments
  1. Thank you!
    I hope we’ll get them online soon, considering another lockdown starting this Thursday in Uk.
    Lylac and woody aromas for me I guess 🙂

    Nx

  2. Oh ik ben hier zo benieuwd naar! Thanks to jouw guide zou ik het nog wel aandurven om ze online te bestellen, hopelijk lukt dat met de lockdown.

    1. Ah fijn, dank je! Ik hoop inderdaad dat ze alsnog online beschikbaar zullen zijn, vooral gezien de drukte die er altijd heerst voor en na verstrengde maatregelen? Wat hebben mensen toch zo dringend nodig van bij de Ikea??

  3. Ohh ik ben zo benieuwd naar meningen hier! Ik heb ze gisteren gekocht (o.a. swedish birch and jupiner & sandalwood & vanilla) en beide al aangestoken. Ik ruik alleen echt bijna niets… ligt dat aan mij? De kaars zelf ruikt heerlijk maar zodra ik hem heb aangestoken ruik ik echt niets, zelfs niet op 1 meter afstand als de kaars op mijn bureau staat. Ervaren jullie dit ook? Vind het zo jammer want had er een paar gekocht.

    1. Oh da’s jammer inderdaad! Omdat ik zelf enkel samples gebrand heb kan ik niet echt uitspraken doen over hoe ver de geur reikt… Ik gok dat in die zin, de kwaliteit ongeveer gelijk staat aan de andere geurkaarsen bij Ikea? Die vind ik eigenlijk ook nooit echt sterk ruiken.

  4. I couldn’t wait to purchase this candle. I purchased rose and raspberries. Smell is pleasant when unlit. This candle has almost no throw. I placed it in the living room and couldn’t smell it at all. The living room is fairly large with high ceilings to I moved it to the bathroom. Still no scent. So disappointed. I didn’t expect it to be on par with the Byredo but I did expect better. It was only $9.99 and the jar is lovely. I won’t buy another one.

    1. Another commenter, Maud, pointed that out as well! So unfortunate. I’ve only melted wax samples so I couldn’t really judge the throw, but I’ll be wary when purchasing.
      Thanks for your comment!

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