MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - Kristin Johnson has several nods to her Scandinavian heritage scattered around her New Brighton home.
But few can hold a candle to Johnson's aromatic creation.
"I like the nostalgia of lutefisk. My great-grandparents would make it on holidays. The scent just brings you right back to those times," said Johnson.
Johnson came up with the idea for a lutefisk candle a couple of years ago after she heard a story on the radio about people making unusual candles.
After being mentored by a local candle maker, Johnson found a company in Chicago that could recreate the pungent scent of the traditional Scandinavian dish of cod cured in lye and decided to start her own line called Uff Da Candles.
"Some people say it smells like rotten fish but it smells better than rotten fish. A candle is supposed to be 90 percent wax, 10 percent scent. We found with these lutefisk candles, you need to go five percent scent 95 percent wax to make them palatable. Smellable," said Johnson.
Johnson says she started selling her sour-smelling candles on her website and at stores around the Twin Cities, a couple of weeks ago.
She says they make a perfect gag gift, with emphasis on the gag.
But she believes there are some older Minnesotans of Swedish and Norwegian descent who'd have a hard time turning up their noses at them.
"A friend of mine bought it for her father for his birthday. She said 'My dad loved it. He couldn't stop smelling it. He just loves lutefisk and this was so fun for him,'" said Johnson.
Johnson plans to introduce other Scandinavian-scented candles, like Swedish meatballs, bread and butter pickles, and tater tot hotdish.
But for now, she's content letting her candles raise a stink, just in time for the holidays.
"It's fun to go ahead and have a silly idea and turn it into something and see what happens and how to spread the joy and fun of it," said Johnson.