Scented candles we’re coveting

Scented candles have helped us stay (mostly) sane this year. A bold statement, but when we’ve spent more time than ever at home – working, raising families, interacting with partners or house-mates on a 24 hour basis or simply trying to get through the day alone – it’s been an easy way to instantly change a space, a vibe, with fragrance.

And it seems we’re not alone in this perfumed passion. Sales of fragranced candles, along with ‘premium food’ have been one of the mood-markers of 2020.

As The Guardian newspaper recently commented, ‘cold weather and coronavirus restrictions encourage Britons to hunker down for winter,’ reporting that what we’re been turning to are ways of making ourselves feels better, hence: ‘Sales of scented candles, potpourri and essential oils for diffusers jumped 29% in October, according to the research group Kantar.’

It makes sense. Candles can help us feel calm – not only for the scent, but focusing on the flickering flame awhile. They bring a feeling of warmth and comfort, a cosiness that’s been sorely needed as the temperatures in the U.K. plummeted and the darkness drew in. We’ve gone from tropical exoticism in the bathroom to torrid sensuality in the bedroom (or the kitchen, why not?). We’re using zingy scents to get us going in the morning, soothing smells to help us wind down of an evening, and traversing the world through our noses all the many, many hours in-between.

Because good grief, how we’ve longed for ‘newness’ – and the act of lighting a scented candle can genuinely shake you out of the doldrums!

Quite apart from how fabulous some of the containers look, and how good quality candles can contiunue to scent a room even unlit; they also make thoughtful gifts. But personally, we’re doing the ‘one for you, one for me’ rule with the following selection of some of our favourites to stock up on. Which will you give, and which are you coveting for yourself, we wonder…?

Ruth Mastenbroek Ancient Frankincense £55 for
Cosy as toasting your toes by a roaring fire, this is one to light, snuggle up on the sofa and read something unashamedly soothing with. Or kick back with a frivolously festive film. The warmth of frankincense, precious resins of myrrh and labdanum are tickled by pink pepper up top and swaddled in rich patchouli in the base. Aromatic notes of cypress and pine, meanwhile, remind us of walks through the woods – wrapped up in your favourite coat, savouring the frosty freshness of the air. Sublime!

(PS: Get your hands on a mini size of either Ancient Frankincense or the Rebel County candle as part of our sumptuous Indulgence Discovery Box, for £36 / £32 for VIPs)

Boujee Bougies Queen Jam £55 for 220g
Outrageously jam-y, this sashays up with bucket loads of berries – raspberries and bilberries, to be precise – and oodles of rose petals; that unctious stickiness shot through with flashes of tart green to prevent it being sickly. Olfiction perfumer Pia Long has created a stunning evocation of a Finnish preserve that feels equal parts grown up glam and giggle-inducing frolics. Check out their entire range via the super cute mini candles for £25 (buy one of each and you’ll get one free as part of their launch offer, while stocks last!)

Floral Street Sunshine Bloom £28 for 200g
A welcome shaft of sunlight for the duller days, this scented candle keeping the memory of summer vibes alive with luminescent notes of jasmine, creamy fig leaf (which smells like being on holiday – close your eyes and you can almost feel the sunshine, hear the waves…). Meanwhile, wild orchid, black pepper, incense and salted musks manage to be both delicious and vibrant. This is a solar scent that truly sparkles and recalibrates: a fragrant re-set for the mind, if you will.

 

La Montaña Siesta: £39 for 220g
We don’t know about you, but getting absolutely anything done right now seems to sap twice the amount of energy as usual. We could all dearly do with a daily siesta, but not all of us can make that space in our day. This candle cossets with lavender, juniper and thyme – an herbaceous breeze from a garden as you ‘close your eyes and imagine yourself drowsing on a hot afternoon, gently swinging in a hammock in the shade of a tree, with the crickets chirruping, and the sun-baked fragrances of the countryside lulling you to sleep.’ Oh we’re SO there…

Tom Daxon White Narcissus: £25 for 185g
A winter’s walk captured in fragrant form, here, with a bouquet of white flowers – gloriously heady narcissus and hyacinth – and the snapped-stalked freshness of galbanum and green violet leaf, which manages to temper the otherwise fabulously blowsy floralcy. Tendrils of cardamom-infused smoke drift drowsily through the cold, still air as gaiac wood and cedar smoulder on the shady vetiver base. One to gift those who are about done with cinnamon and eggnog and are checking the weather forecast, hourly, for the first signs of spring. That’d be us, then.

By Suzy Nightingale

Scented candles for summer: bring the sunshine in!

Scented candles have become a staple for many a home these past few months – establishing a sense of calm or uplifting spirits when we may have felt rather trapped indoors – and affirming the long established massive rise in sales of fragranced candles year ’round…

It seems practically a century ago, now, but in 2018 it was reported that the U.K. ‘candle economy’ was already worth £1.9bn. With some online retailers recently reporting that sales of scented candles over the Covid-19 lockdown period have massively spiked, Emma Fishwick, account manager of consumer trend monitors, NPD UK Beauty, said that this proves ‘…how important home comforts are to us. We have seen from our data that consumers are increasingly turning to self-care to improve wellbeing during the Covid-19 pandemic. People are utilising scents to create a calming ambiance while confined at home during this period of uncertainty.’

Many of us will be missing out on a summer holiday abroad this year, too, as travel restrictions continue, and so we’re going to focus on the positive changes we can make to ensure our homes feel even more welcome, or sending lovely scented gifts to friends we miss. And we feel sure we wont be alone in stocking up further on some of these beautifully evocative, so-summer-y scented candles that guarantee to let the sunshine in

Inspired by Empress Eugenie’s historic, sun-drenched Corsican villa, this wafts forth a grove of salt-tinged lemon trees, ripe figs and smooth cedar.

Cire Trudon Cyrnos candle £74.95
Buy it at harrods.com

Their best-selling fragrance has been transformed into a candle, so now you can fill your home with the luminious floral bouquet of Turkish rose garlanded with crisp lily of the valley and beautifully powdery peonies.

Parfums de Marly Delina candle £65
Buy it at harveynichols.com

 

Acqua di Parma teamed with California-based La DoubleJ for this limited edition Arancia di Capri candle, transporting us directly to the Italian Med via sparkling, cardamom-speckled citrus.

Acqua di Parma + La DoubleJ Arancia di Capri candle £60
Buy it at ladoublej.com

Escape to tropical climes with the scent of Madagascan ylang-ylang, Moroccan jasmine, rose and heavenly frangipani for intimate summer evenings (or whenever you just want to unwind).

Sana Jardin Revolution de la Fleur candle £48
Buy it at sanajardin.com

A stroll along an English coastal resport on a sunny day is perfectly evoked with banks of windswept wild flowers, lush countryside grassiness and slightly spicy undertones to warm your cockles as the sun sets over the sea.

Laboratory Perfumes Gorse candle £45
Buy it at cultbeauty.co.uk

By Suzy Nightingale

The Alchemistress solves your scented candle woes…

Are your scented candles burning too fast, or creating that dreaded ‘tunnel’ (or ‘core’ to give it the correct name) of doom, where the wax only melts in the middlle and traps the wick? We’ve all exclaimed profanities and desperately dug around with nail-files to try and save them, but we just watched a BRILLIANT Instagram video that solves these woes with ease…

Lesley Sparks (hello, nominative determinism anyone?!) is also known as ‘The Alchemistress‘ – an independent maker and purveyor of the most beautiful perfumed candles. And she has got tips and tricks up her scented sleeve to make sure your candles perform to their best and (most importantly) ultimately to save your hard-earned money.

You can watch the instructive ‘How To’ on her IGTV channel, and afterwards, if you find yourself casting your eye critically over your previous burning performance (and general lazy lack of candle maintenance) then you’re in great company, as that’s exactly what we did, too. For shame!

Looking around The Perfume Society home-office, we suddenly realised that we already owned one The Alchemistress candles, in fact (look, we have quite a few scented candles, okay? It’s not a problem, we can stop any time we like… we just don’t ever want to). It’s called Persian Nights – a smouldering mix of sultry spices, featuring cardamon, black pepper, orange, ginger, coriander, patchouli, cinnamon and cedarwood – and has us dreaming of more exotic climes, and when we can next travel there, every time we light it.

 

 

The Alchemistress Persian Nights Apothecary Jar £8.95
thealchemistress.co.uk

…And now, of course, having watched Ms. Sparks’ instructional video, all our candles will be burning more brightly from now on. We hope you find it just as helpful as we have!

By Suzy Nightingale

Scenting the ‘sulking room’ with candles we covet…

Which candles should you scent a boudoir with? Here’s a list of just some we’re swooning over…

The word boudoir comes from the French ‘bouder’, meaning to pout or sulk, and for centuries has been a private, feminine space to indulge ones desires. Boudoir-type fragrances evoke images of face powder and rosy lipsticks, be-ribboned furnishings and velvet chaise-lounge to swoon on while reading love letters – or to recline on silken cusions while eating violet cremes and idly flick through the latest papers, searching for scurriolous gossip.

In fact, the boudoir was often the only place a woman could do as she liked, historically, and so they became intimate places of great mystery, a sanctuary to write and dream in, or a hotbed of sensual power.

In our just-published ‘We’ll Always Have Paris’ issue of The Scented Letter Magazine (which recently won another Jasmine Award from The Fragrance Foundation – we’re so thrilled to say!) we foucused on boudoir perfumes you should try; but there are so many more ways of scenting this ‘sulking room’, and here we’d love to share with you some of the candles we’re currently coveting for our own boudoirs and bedrooms.

A dreamier duo you’d be hard-pressed to find – burn this limited edition separately or (our favourite) together for a deliciously naughty infusion of soft, powdery caresses that follow, perhaps, a crack of the whip…?

Diptyque Leather & Violet Duo Set £94 for 190g candles

Evoking memories of orchid-hunting trips – tales regaled to you while you recline in something too sheer to be seemly – this blend of exotic blooms and smooth cedar will certainly get your senses swooning while he drones on.

Urban Apothecary Oriental Noir Candle £30 for 300g

Lady Blanche is busy lady, dispensing ‘female-friendly advice’, so Penhaligon’s intriguing story goes, from within her boudoir. There, the scents of rice powder and makeup mingle with rose perfume, and (we gather) utter lasciviousness.

Penhaligon’s The Powder Room Candle £48 for 290g

Narcotic tuberose was once banned by polite, Victorian society, for fear the heady scent was causing flighty females to experience involuntary orgasms. My my. We can’t vouch for that, but it is very lovely.

Kilian French Boudoir Candle £60 for 220g

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Scratch ‘n’ sniff! La Montaña’s clever new way to shop virtually for scented candles

We’ve always believed that smells can transport you across the miles – and through time, too. And La Montaña is proof. Since Cassandra Hall launched her beautiful candle brand a couple of years ago (India Knight’s a fan – and so of course are we), we have been whisked to Spain with every whiff.
The trouble with buying scented candles – not ‘sight-unseen’ but perhaps ‘smell-unsniffed’ – is that you just don’t know what you’re getting. So La Montaña offers a terribly clever way to experience the candles, in the form of beautifully-illustrated scratch ‘n’ sniff cards! ‘

Explains Cassandra: ‘As La Montaña is principally an online business – we like dealing with our customers directly – we have invested in some haute technologie to sample our candle fragrances via crystal technology. It’s hard for people who don’t live in London to sample our fragrances – so we have beautifully-printed sets of our seven fragrances with clear, resealable labels which give an utterly true rendition of each fragrance.’

Simply peel back the clear panel and there’s a perfect, evocative representation of the smell. (We’re using ours as scented bookmarks!) Excitingly, Cass has 100 sets of these scented cards to offer exclusively to Perfume Society readers. Simply click here to e-mail her – be sure to mention The Perfume Society – and prepare to enter the wonderful, aromatic world of this ‘rising star’ candle brand. What’s more, one lucky reader will receive a full-size La Montaña candle of their choice.’

Cass spends most of the year in Spain and the fragrances recreate the different smells she associates with that country. There are seven scents altogether, of which our three favourites are the following:

Alfredo’s Café – inspired by the scents of her village square: coffee, black tobacco and brandy, swirling with leather and incense from the nearby church. As Cass says, ‘Alfredo and his café are real – and wonderful.  The only thing missing from this fragrance is the sound of old men slamming down their dominoes.

Three Kings – celebrating a winter festival (a highlight of the colder months), we’ll leave it to Cass to describe this: ‘The trees surrounding the village create a background of cedarwood notes mingled with trampled pine needles, while frankincense and myrrh from the church make an accord with traditional, homemade turrón (almond nougat) and a brightening tot of brandy.’ We’re almost there, thanks to a sniff of this seasonally-perfect fragrance…

Cloudburst – zingy, sense-awakening and just so refreshing, this evokes the mountainside after a summer storm, when notes from Cassandra’s herb garden blend with the fresh citrus from lemon and lime trees, alongside the scent of wild mountain fennel and rockrose (cistus).

The other fabulous fragrances are Sacred Roses, Gálan de Noche (night-scented jasmine, rose, ylang ylang and orange blossom), Winter Oranges and First Light.
As above, click here to e-mail. Once you’ve received your set, we think you’ll be tempted to try the candles for real – there are lots of options (ranging from £18 for an individual mini candle, which burns from an impressive 15+ hours, to £30 for a 40+ hour full-size candle). And on our Christmas wishlist for sure is this 7-candle set, below, with all the miniatures in one beautiful presentation box (at what we think is a jolly reasonable £75).
Time to say ‘hola!’ to La Montaña, we think – just in time for a feliz Navidad
lamontana.co.uk

Watch one of our favourite-ever florists, Robbie Honey, fashion a Christmas wreath

In the September issue of The Scented Letter, we shared with readers superflorist Robbie Honey‘s favourite scented flowers for arranging at home – to mark the debut of his stunning candle range. Robbie is ‘the fashionista’s florist, with clients who’ve included Vivienne Westwood, Valentino, Armani and – most famously – Christian Dior.

Now, in the run-up to Christmas, we bring you a great how-to video in which he demos the creation of a stunning yet deceptively simple Christmas wreath.

Robbie spends much of his time jet-setting between New York and Shanghai, the two cities where he’s in hot demand as a teacher of floristry. So we know you’ll find the video really easy-to-follow. (And probably fall just a teeny bit in love with Robbie, as everyone seems to.)

Robbie Honey‘s candles will no doubt be seen – and smelled – on all the smartest dinner tables, this Christmas. Perfect for a ‘white Christmas’, each celebrates a single note  white floral in the most stunning way, choose frm heavenly, breath-of-spring Muguet des Bois, sultry Jasmine, intoxicating Tuberose and ravishing Casa Blanca.

Each a fabulous, flickering reminder that after the holidays are over, spring – and then summer – are just around the corner.

Robbie Honey Candles £42 each (or £150 for the full collection)
At Robbie Honey