Busting Myths: What Gives Hemp Wick Its Unique Aroma?

honeybee art

Discover the truth about the distinct aroma of hemp wick as we debunk the honey scent myth and unveil the real factors that contribute to its unique smell.

Key Takeaways:

  1. The honey smell in hemp wick is a myth; the scent comes from the natural properties of hemp and the wax used, not from honey.
  2. The production method of the hemp wick contributes to the smell and burn rate.
  3. Sustainability is a core value in hemp wick production, even if it means the product doesn’t smell like roses or fake beeswax.

The Honey Scent Myth – Busted

The misconception that hemp wick should smell like honey has been widespread for years. In reality, the scent of hemp is far from this sweet substance. It’s important to understand that the aroma of hemp wick comes from the combination of natural hemp fibers and the wax used in its construction. This unique smell is often mistakenly associated with honey due to its mildly sweet undertone. By educating ourselves about the true nature of hemp wick’s smell, we can appreciate this sustainable product for what it truly is.

We can tell you from experience that when we are waxing hemp wick our building absolutely smells like paradise. It’s especially wonderful during the cold winters in Poland. It creates a great relaxed atmosphere as you leave the cold and enter the warm building where the waxing is taking place. The sweet smell hits you like a candy fog. For us though that it where it ends, once the hemp wick is waxed the smell of the yarn does overpower the smell of the wax and that is totally normal.

While some may argue that certain brands of hemp wick carry a strong honey-like smell, it’s crucial to point out that not all hemp wicks are created equal. Differences in manufacturing processes, quality of raw materials, and type of wax used can contribute to the variance in smell among different brands. Consequently, the “best hemp wick” is not because it has the “best smell”. A universal honey-like smell to all hemp wicks would be an oversimplification.

Moreover, certain hemp wick manufacturers may use water retted, wet spun and overly processed yarns, resulting in a product that is more easily masked by the smell of the beeswax. This could be the root cause of the honey smell misconception. It’s important to differentiate between the natural smell of hemp and the added aroma from the beeswax or overly processed fibers.

The Making of Hemp Wick and Its Impact on Smell

The production method of the yarn used significantly contributes to its distinct “smell” and burn rate. For instance, wicks made from dry-spun yarn burn slower and tend to have a stronger smell as they have only undergone mechanical processing. On the other hand, wet-spun yarn produces a faster burning wick due to the intense processing it undergoes, which also affects its natural aroma.

Furthermore the “retting process” all affects the color and the smell of the yarns. If the yarn is a very light color it has probably been water retting. This is normal in arid countried like Egypt but water retting is banned in the European Union and only allowed in certain closed cycle systems.

The choice between dry and wet spun yarn isn’t just about the burn rate and smell. It also affects the texture, strength, and durability of the yarn. The intense processing that wet-spun yarn undergoes results in a smoother and shinier surface, which can be mistaken as a sign of higher quality. However, the raw and natural texture of dry-spun hemp wick offers authenticity and a clear testament to minimal processing.

It’s also worth noting that the type of wax used plays a significant role in the final aroma of the hemp wick. Beeswax, the most commonly used wax, has a natural sweet aroma that contributes to the final smell of the wick. This combination of wax and hemp fibers creates the unique scent profile of hemp wick that is a “honey smell”. After all there are trace amounts of honey in beeswax.

In the image below you can see a variety of colors in the beeswax after honey extraction. These colors are from the unique pollen gathered, the age of the wax, and many other factors. It’s our job to clean and filter it with steam, filters and gravity.

Raw unfiltered beeswax straight from the honey extraction

Natural Bast Fibers – An Aromatic Unmasking

Bast fibers, such as hemp, are known for their natural, hay-like smell. This earthy aroma, which some might find less appealing than the sweet scent of honey, is the real smell of hemp. Embracing the natural aroma of hemp is part of appreciating the sustainability and authenticity of hemp products.

Raw fiber example

See in the photo below three different samples of hemp, all from France. As you can see they differ slightly in color – more blonde through brown. Why? There are a few answers for this. The variety of hemp grown and the amount of time the fibers were retted and how they were retted. You have to understand that hemp is not like corn. It’s not uniform and many different factors effect the color and quality of the hemp fibers. Especially weather. We all know how big of difference the weather can be from town to town on a given day in a local area.

Hemp wick comes in many different thicknesses of yarn.

When we talk about sustainable fibers like hemp, it’s crucial to remember that these natural materials aren’t odorless. Their aroma is a testament to their eco-friendly nature and minimal processing. A genuine hemp wick product embraces the natural smell of hemp. Not attempting to mask it with an artificially fragrant wax or use overly processed fibers.

By choosing our hemp wick, you’re not just selecting a high-quality, slow-burning wick. You’re also supporting a sustainable industry that prioritizes eco-friendliness over artificial fragrances. The next time you light up a hemp wick, take a moment to appreciate its real, natural aroma – the smell of sustainability and authenticity.

Why Does Processing Matter?

The level of processing that hemp fibers undergo directly affects their aroma. When hemp is overly processed, it can lose its natural, earthy smell. This creates a blank canvas for other scents, like the smell of wax, to dominate. Therefore, when you detect a strong honey smell in a hemp wick, it might be due to the over-processing of the hemp fibers, not a natural characteristic of hemp itself. We read comments on instagram – some love the smell and some hate that it “smells like a barn”. The important thing is that this natural scent does not impact the taste of your herb.

Different methods of processing can also alter the burn rate of the hemp wick. For example, wet spun yarn, which is extensively processed, creates a faster-burning wick, while dry spun yarn, which undergoes minimal processing, results in a slower-burning wick. As consumers, understanding these nuances can help us make more informed purchasing decisions.

At the end of the day, what matters most is choosing a product that aligns with your values. If sustainability and minimal processing are important to you, then a hemp wick that retains its natural, hay-like aroma may be the right choice.

See this video below for a method of processing that we disapprove of.

Embracing the Real Scent of Hemp Wick

Breaking down the honey “myth” brings us to the doorstep of the real aroma of hemp wick, a scent that resonates with sustainability, minimal processing, and eco-friendly practices. Yes, it doesn’t smell like roses or strongly like honey, but it carries an authenticity that’s deeply tied to its natural origin and sustainable production. When we buy hemp wick, the scent we experience should be a reminder of the eco-conscious choice we’ve made. This scent does not carry over when it is being burned. Hemp wick burn cooler than butane.

This acceptance of the real scent of hemp wick is about more than just dispelling a myth. It’s a statement of support for sustainability and authenticity. It’s a call to value products for their real qualities, not the artificial attributes we’ve come to associate with them. The scent of hemp wick is the scent of making a conscious, informed choice. It’s about choosing a product that supports the planet and appreciates nature in its truest form.

So the next time you pick up a hemp wick, remember to appreciate it for what it truly is. Embrace its natural scent, understand the values it represents, and be part of the movement towards sustainability and authenticity. Because the real aroma of hemp wick is not just in its smell, but in the values it stands for.

Conclusion: Celebrating Hemp Wick’s True Aroma

Ultimately, the real smell of hemp wick can be far from a honey scent. It’s an earthy, natural aroma that symbolizes its minimal processing and eco-friendly qualities. In debunking the honey myth, we’ve journeyed through the processes involved in creating hemp wick and discovered the influences behind its unique scent.

Through this exploration, we’ve not only uncovered the truth behind hemp wick’s smell but also discovered the importance of supporting sustainable, minimally processed products. By choosing hemp wick, we’re championing eco-friendliness, authenticity, and sustainability, all wrapped up in a unique, earthy aroma. Now that’s something truly worth celebrating. If you loved this article we would love for you to share it.