Have you ever read a history book or watched a historical drama and dreamed of going back in time to know what the past was like? Since time travel is still something from science fiction, we can only experience history through one sense at a time. There are tons of historical costume designers, musicians who specialize in tunes from the past, dedicated caretakers who work hard to preserve homes from the past, and cooks who want to experience what past delicacies tasted like and understand the diets from centuries long ago. The cooks get a general idea of what kitchens might have smelled like, but what about the average history nerds who want to understand what pleasant scents the past might include? How can a casual history nerd experience a sensory journey from the past?
Look no further than KLEIO, a small United States business that wants to give its customers, who they refer to as “time travelers,” a sensory journey into the past through their custom-made candles. They are named after the Greek muse of history, Kleio (or Clio), their emblem. The face of Kleio faces the left to honor the past.
Now I know what you are thinking, why review candles? What does this have to do with history books and the past? Here is the cool part about KLEIO. They do more than just take random scents from the past and make candles. Instead, they work with historians and historical institutes to create unique experiences for their time travelers so that they can enhance the history learning experience.
I would like to thank KLEIO for allowing me to enjoy this extraordinary sensory journey. I was blown away by how these candles and packaging were, and I couldn’t wait to dive into the past.
The time capsules are black and gold cylindrical containers, with one side having the gilded Kleio image. On the reverse side is a piece of parchment with the corresponding writing style with a “sealed” date to complete the illusion of a time capsule. Each candle is wrapped carefully in tissue paper with a key corresponding to the era. Once you open the tissue paper, you are greeted with a lovely black and gold stopper with the words “Unlock History” etched into the material. The candles are encased in gilded glass vessels with a unique emblem corresponding to each candle.
Now that I have attempted to describe the packing for the time capsule candles let me explain what candles I received and what my sensory experience was with each candle. For the candles inspired by books, I have included my book reviews on the books.
Scent: Ancient cacao, chocolate, Mesoamerican vanilla bean, and copal resin.
The Sweet Cacao candle was made in collaboration with the Fine Cacao and Chocolate Institute to create a sensory journey to ancient Mesoamerica and their ancient rituals dedicated to cacao. It is a complex, decadent cacao scent that transported me to a time and place that I was unfamiliar with, but it was thrilling. It shows the importance of cacao in the past, especially to Mesoamerica and its culture.
If you would like to learn more about the Fine Cacao and Chocolate Institute and their research, you can find more here: https://www.chocolateinstitute.org/
Scent: Resin Incense, ancient scrolls, and sacred papers.
The Secret Archives candle collaborates with author and historian Sandra Vasoli for her latest novel, “Pursuing a Masterpiece.” In the book, Vasoli’s modern-day protagonist, Zara Rossi, visits the Secret Archives at the Vatican Library and discovers an incredible mystery. This candle is comforting and reminds me of my childhood in a library and falling in love with studying history.
If you want to read my review of “Pursuing a Masterpiece” by Sandra Vasoli, you can check it out here: https://adventuresofatudornerd.com/2022/12/01/book-review-pursuing-a-masterpiece-a-novel-by-sandra-vasoli/.
My Dearest Friend
Scent: Caramelized sugar, cinnamon spice, nutmeg, freshly baked bread, buttercream, vanilla bean, and almond.
The My Dearest Friend candle is for the American Revolutionary War enthusiasts in your life. It reminded me of my childhood and the biography I read years ago called “Dearest Friend” by Lynne Witney. This candle was so comforting, based on a bread pudding recipe that Abigail Adam used regularly. I can just picture Abigail making this recipe for her family and her husband, John Adams, as he is helping form the foundations for the United States of America.
Fun fact: The writing on this candle’s time capsule is Abigail Adam’s handwriting.
Scent: Ancient tapestries, ancestral books, and black tea resin.
In collaboration with historian Gareth Russell for his latest biography, “Do Let’s Have Another Drink: The Singular Wit and Double Measures of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother,” Kleio’s latest candle is the Bowes-Lyon candle. Based on the scents from Elizabeth the Queen Mother’s childhood home, Glamis Castle, this candle transported me to a Downton Abbey-style castle. It felt like I was sitting in the drawing room reading a book while the Bowes-Lyon were discussing Elizabeth becoming the Duchess of York.
If you would like to read my review of “Do Let’s Have Another Drink: The Singular Wit and Double Measures of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother” by Gareth Russell, you can find it here: https://adventuresofatudornerd.com/2022/12/13/book-review-do-lets-have-another-drink-the-singular-wit-and-double-measures-of-queen-elizabeth-the-queen-mother-by-gareth-russell/
Overall, I found my KLEIO experience immersive and so unique. Each candle had its signature style and gave me a different sensory journey. I thoroughly enjoyed having a KLEIO candle next to me on a side table while curling up with a good book and a cup of tea. This is a perfect gift for any history lover in your life, of yourself, especially if you want to experience the past from the comfort of your own home. I cannot wait to see and smell what new sensory adventure they will take their time travelers on next.
If you want to explore KLEIO’s catalog or know more about their products and collaborations with the vast history community, check out their website: https://kleio.global/home.