Candles can be either the best or worst gift to receive. If you love it, amazing – you’ve found a new happy place. If you hate it, you have to control your face after smelling it as you try not to gag. Much like perfume, candles are a very personal decision; They can enhance your interior styling, evoke memories, and even change your mood.
With so many scents, brands, and candles out there, how do we decide? Scents can be split up into six unique “fragrance families” – I’ve chosen a unique candle from each category to help you choose the perfect one.
No one does citrus scents quite like Jo Malone. Their signature scent, Lime Basil & Mandarin, is both energetic and refreshing. The sweet smell of mandarin orange mixes with robust basil and crisp lime in perfect harmony. Put this versatile and luxurious candle anywhere: the kitchen, the bathroom, the bedroom, or the office. You can light it in the morning, afternoon or evening – it is the ultimate multitasker, and forever a classic.
Fresh + Clean
In collaboration with famed illustrator Julie Houts (@jooleeloren), theSKIN has curated a limited-edition candle to both refresh and relax your senses. When asked what it smells like, everyone gives a different answer – some say it’s reminiscent of sesame oil, while others swear it’s grapefruit – it’s basically the mystery flavor lollipop of candles. The secret? It’s a pure mixture of bamboo and darjeeling (with a hint of woody mahogany). And don’t even get me started on packaging: Julie Houts embraces theSKIN’s ethos in her own satirical style with a bespoke illustration. Bonus: it comes with a chic af lilac lighter.
Earthy + Woody: The coziest candle of them all, ELLIS BROOKLYN’s Pseudonym is a tempting invitation to a warm night in. The fresh top notes of fig and bergamot melt away to make room for the earthy blend of sandalwood, pepper, and jasmine. If you’re missing autumn weather, or just want to set a seductive mood, Pseudonym is peak “earthy + woody”. Not only does it smell great, but the combo of their soy wax blend and their recycled, lead-free, handmade glass container is #sustainable.
“With so many scents, brands, and candles out there, how do we decide?”
If the idea of a fruity candle makes you scrunch up your nose, I get it. Fruity scents immediately make me think of that one store at the mall that you can smell from 500 feet from their door. OVEROSE gets it right with Anamorphine. The raspberry lemon base has a sweet, feminine note but the hint of tobacco balances and grounds the scent so as to not come off as too sickly sweet (we see you @bathandbodyworks). Without being able to smell it, the best way I can describe it is reminiscent of a high-end raspberry jam you would put on a scone – not too sweet, not too strong, but just right.
Fornasetti’s Ortensia is an actual (secret) garden. From start to finish, using this candle is a ceremonial experience. The candle comes in a box with a keyhole cut out, and the jar? Hi – she’s a literal work of art (in fact, Fornasetti doesn’t even consider it a candle but a “scented decorative object”). If you haven’t smelled this signature scent, let me break it down – with top notes of ivy, lily and white rose you experience garden vibes right off the bat, followed by middle and base notes of tuberose and musk. If you’re looking for a lush and romantic scent, look no further.
Sweet + Spicy
Looking for that perfect marriage of sweet + spicy? Feminine + masculine? Delicate + rich? Look no further than Tom Ford’s Tobacco Vanille scented candle. This androgynous candle is all of those things. The warm and indulgent combo of tobacco and vanilla (obvi) along with Turkish rose oil, coffee essence, and patchouli oil is sure to be a classic scent for any household. Ford says it best himself: this candle is “all man unless worn by a woman.”
I would be remiss if I didn’t include the forever classic: Santal 26, perfected by Le Labo. Who doesn’t already know about Santal? Here’s why this version is different: it weighs in at almost 3 pounds and comes in a literal wooden crate. And for only $480, this is the epitome of indulgence.
Best for the undecided
If you’re not sure what you like, and my descriptions haven’t sold you (I’m offended) – swing for The Collector by Tom Dixon. With 12 unique fragrances in one set, you’ll be able to sample scents from floral to spicy and refine your preferences.
Cire Trudon’s L’Eteignoir is officially the most elegant candle accessory ever. It’s a simple, but chic way to put out your candles (and since you’ve indulged in a nice one, why not do it the right way?). Use the gold loop to push the burning wick into the melted wax, coating the wick and extinguishing the flame sans smoke. Life changing.