Scented Candles: Your Guide to Fragrances

We all love scented candles.  Luxurious, calming, and also THE perfect gift. But choosing a fragrance in a department store or online can be overwhelming. We’re faced with an enormous variety of candles, labelled with seemingly obscure names such as Nectarine Blossom, Golden Solstice, or simply “Evocative” (evocative of what?). With all the choices, how do you choose a scent that will match your personal style or pick something that your bestie will love?


Start by choosing your scent family.Scented candles.

The basic families of scented candles are;

scented candles


Find out what notes are in the candles your considering.

Once you decide on a scent family that you love, find a detailed description of the candle and choose fragrances with top and base notes within that family. (If a fragrance doesn’t have a description at all, you might want to pass it up for something that is more clearly defined).

Notes are the ingredients used to make up the fragrance oil, and can range from plant and flower extracts to wood and spice scent molecules. Be aware that not all fragrance oils are the same quality. The cheaper the candle is, the more likely it is that cheaper and synthetic oils were used. A candle using oils from a named area or renowned fragrance house is more likely to smell authentic. Some of the best quality fragrance oils originate from Grasse in France.


scented candlesThe top notes of a fragrance are what you smell first as a candle starts burning, these are usually lighter than the other ingredients, and act to define the primary fragrance burst. Examples of top notes might be coconut, amber or fig. Top notes typically evaporate first.


scented candles


After about 30 minutes of burning a candle, top notes will give way to middle and eventually base notes. Base notes contain molecules that last longer than top notes. They are the lasting core of the fragrance and are usually a version of a floral, wood, or vanilla essence. One example in particular, and our most popular fragrance, is Amber & Ginger Rose. This fragrance starts with top notes of warm amber and spicy ginger and then gives way to a deep and sensuous rose fragrance.


Find out the strength of the candle you are considering:

Fragrance oil is blended into wax at different percentages.  When choosing a scented candle, one may want to consider the occasion or environment. I often light candles before dinner throughout the house. It’s part of a little ritual that I do each evening, to unwind from the day. However I don’t want overpowering fragrances while I’m eating, so I choose softer scented candles , such as our Japanese Chrysanthemum Pillars in Tuberose. When I’m having a party I like stronger fragrances to make a more memorable event. I use more candles and especially glass filled candles with stronger fragrances to make a bold statement, such as the Natural Light Home Fragrance #3 in Ruby Grapefruit or #5 in Moroccan Rose.


scented candles

How to get the most our of your scented candles:

  • Give it time: When burning a candle, especially for the first time, allow it to burn long enough for the wax to pool to the edge (if it’s a glass filled candle) or about ¼” to the edge if it’s a pillar candle. This is usually 2-3 hours for natural wax candles which burn more slowly. A wider wax pool will throw more scent into the air.
  • How many? To scent a bathroom or closed bedroom, one candle should be sufficient. To scent a large living area or semi outdoor area, use one candle for every 4sqft. To add fragrance to an outdoor patio or garden party, concentrate several candles in one or two areas to create a scent zone that people will notice and comment on.
  • Maintain your investment: Read and follow the manufacturers burning instructions: Keep the wick straight and trimmed, and avoid drafts for an optimum burn.



Final Word

What are your favorite fragrance notes? Use the comments box below to let us know your personal favorites.