Back when I was growing up in the 70s, my parents always ensured there was a supply of candles in the cupboard under the sink. This was in the event of a power cut, an occurrence so frequent that - as I just mentioned (in the previous sentence) - we had a supply of candles in the cupboard under the sink.
They were just regular candles of course. White ones, about the length and girth of a bratwurst. You know the ones: default candles. Yer basic ones, which didn't do anything other than illuminate. Although, at a stretch, I suppose I could've thrust one at my father's face, to burn off his eyelashes. That might have passed a minute or two while I waited for the telly to come back on. Oh well...
Back then, the only time candles ever came close to being whimsical was on birthdays. These "birthday candles" weren't kept in the cupboard under the sink, but were in the junk draw in the kitchen. Alas, they didn't smell of anything, apart from a faint whiff of burning, once you'd blown them out.
Now, candles come in all shapes, sizes, and scents; Raspberry Regret, Midsummer Toast, Herman's Private Request, Railway Baguette, Glazed Walnut, Duckhenry Responds... etc.
You even get shops which sell nothing but these stinking candles. Indeed, the top celebrity, Bob "Spit The Dog" Carolgees owns a candle shop. Which, sadly, he chose not to call 'Bob's Candle Wheeze'.
SHOPKEEPER: How can I help you, sir?
CUSTOMER: Candles. 4D Candles.
SHOPKEEPER: Here you are, sir: a set of traditional Norwegian dolls, which I have placed inside a tin. You know: fjord-y can-dolls.
CUSTOMER: Not fjord-y can-dolls! 4D candles. You know: candles what do exist in four dimensions.
The Shopkeeper starts foaming at the mouth, farts, and dies.
The Resident Evil VII 4D candle is billed as "horror-scented", and is designed to enhance the experience of playing Resident Evil VII, by smelling like the creepy house in which the game traps you.
Specifically, it claims to offer: "The scent of horror, fear and adrenaline."
What does horror smell like? Blood and other intestinal juices, presumably. What about fear and adrenaline? Surprisingly, they don't smell like a pair of pooey pants.
According to a 2008 study, when people are scared they release a chemical pheromone through their sweat-holes. Other people can detect these pheromones, and respond in kind. Basically, fear is contagious (imagine going to a doctor and telling them you contracted cowardice from a candle).
In the study, scientists exposed volunteers to two types of sweat; sweat from exercise, and sweat exuded by people who were about to jump out of a plane. Apparently, volunteers' amygdala and hypothalamus - the brain regions associated with fear - became more active in those who breathed in the "fear" sweat.
At the very least, I was hoping that when I smelled the Resident Evil VII 4D candle, I would have a more active amygdala. Unfortunately, my amygdala didn't do anything. For me at least, the 4D candle didn't really smell at all, unless I shoved my beak right into it.
The smell I picked up when I did that was - specifically - the smell of a fake fire, which reminded me of the Jorvik Viking Centre in York, where you a ride around a pretend Viking village as artificial scents are whispered into your face.
I found it quite pleasant, but get a foot or more away and I couldn't smell a thing, apart from my own inherent fetor.
My other half has a far better sense of smell than I do. For this reason, I spend much of my life with a clenched sphincter, for fear of letting slip a "racy compliment", which she'd be able to detect from some 500 yards away.
I've been doing it so long that this has become my default state. She's of the belief that there's something wrong with me, because - as far as she knows - I never, ever, let slip a "lively tribute".
Anyway, flatus aside, she rather likes the smell of the 4D candle, describing it as "A mixture of sandalwood and spice, with a subtle hint of lemon".
Indeed, she had it lit yesterday while she was working, simply because she "likes the smell". I had a good look, and it didn't seem as if her amygdala was more active than usual, but I suppose it's quite hard to tell, if somebody isn't jumping around, looking actively for threats.
Given this, I can only judge that the Resident Evil VII 4D Candle is a massive fail. If the candle is meant to evoke fear and horror while playing a video game - and somebody is lighting it up because it "smells nice" - then that's not really very good.
I mean, the mansion in Resident Evil VII doesn't look like it smells nice. The kitchen alone was full of rotting food.
Also, let's take issue with the name, shall we? What makes this candle any more four dimensional than all other candles, which also exist in a single interwoven spacetime continuum? Aren't all candles, in a sense, 4D? Presumably, they're borrowing the term from "4D" cinema - where a scratch and sniff card, or having a mammal 'pulted into your face by a member of staff - is enough to justify the tag.
Digitiser's Mr Hairs and I once went to the Munich Beer Festival, where we shared our own encounter with "4D" entertainment.
For those who haven't had the pleasure, the Oktoberfest takes place in a large park, and is basically a bunch of aircraft hangar-sized temporary sheds full of Bavarian drunks wearing lederhosen, foreign businessmen, and oompah-pah bands. It's rather awesome, and right in the middle of it all is a huge fun fair.
When we visited, one of the fairground attractions had a name which might be familiar to fans of Biffovision and Mr Biffo's Found Footage: Sensorium Part III. It was a "4D" laser show, which accompanied laser projectionss of, say, blue whales, with splashes of water, or smoke, or bubbles.
Anyway. Point is... given the effort on the part of the creators of Sensorium Part III - which was in its own way sort of quietly impressive - I'm not sure a bit of nice smell really justifies the 4D monicker. Especially given that the smell itself is barely consistent with the content of the game.
But then, I suppose they had to do something to try and justify the fifteen quid asking price
SUMMARY: An overpriced pleasant smell.
REVIEW: NINTENDO SWITCH
REVIEW: RESIDENT EVIL 7 (PS4, XBOX ONE, PC - PS4 VERSION TESTED)