Pretty much all shoe polish uses solvent to keep the wax soft enough to spread. Once the polish is applied to the shoe the solvent evaporates.
Solvents in shoe polish range from Naphtha (petroleum based) to Turpentine (pine based). I have a decent size shoe collection, so I am polishing shoes quite frequently, my wife hated the smell of the solvents in any of the polish I would use so I created my own polish using orange oil as the solvent. Orange oil is similar to Turpentine as a solvent, but has a pleasant citrus smell.
A number of Styleforum members use the polish, and even a bespoke shoemaker, that is a member of this forum, thinks it is great shoe polish. It is certainly a viable option if the scent of solvents bother you.
Thank you for your response Glen.
I do understand the theory applied to solvents and wax. However, my experience with Kiwi is that the God-awful smell wouldn't go away. Worse yet, the wax is too inferior to be a decent shoe polish.
I appreciate your idea of utilizing the citrus acid oil as solvent. I might as well give your polish a try some day. It is potential. However, I'd recommend you expand the paste wax line. There are types of shoes that I'd like to have a hand-rubbed finish (i.e. brush shine) rather than a high gloss.
Saphir and your polish is considerably the best, and why? It is not the price tag nor where it was made, but the material used. Even when turpentine is somewhat annoying for certain individuals, it is still natural, and it evaporates fairly quickly. Once fully evaporated, it leaves a pleasant scent. Natural solvents not only smells pleasant but are also less harmful compare to petroleum based solvents.
Bespoke shoe makers used Kiwi for one reason, and one single reason only - it's cheap and easy to find in large bulk amount. Other than that, compare to other "generic" brands, Kiwi is definitely the loser. As a shoe maker, you don't waste your money too much on shoe polish. You make the shoes, you don't polish the shoes. The finish lies primarily on the leather dye and aniline color, and therefore only a small number of shoe makers would either use traditional recipe shoe polish or higher quality shoe polishes.
The other thing I hate about Kiwi is, not only the solvent is screwed, the wax is also something else. It is definitely not carnauba nor beeswax. It melts under sunlight, unlike Saphir, consider Saphir is buttery and softer in consistency. It sticks and gum up and ruin good brushes.