I think you did a fantastic job on the candle! It is very realistic.
I do tutorials all the time and they have taught me so much. Sometimes I feel a little guilty like it is cheating or something, but that usually passes quickly, and no it definitely is not cheating it is being smart and learning from a teacher.
I'll usually do a tutorial and then do some originals....the tutorial always has better composition and gets better responses. But my originals are getting better all the time. I know it's just a matter of time that I won't be needing to view the tutorials any longer.