Today’s best scented candles are more than a pretty centrepiece – they have the power to alter and enhance your mood. A clean, crisp fragrance will clear the air when you’re feeling foggy-headed, while a rose-tinted bouquet will bring a flicker of romance to a cosy evening in. For the exhausted, a lavender candle will encourage deeper sleep, and grounding cedarwood notes should slow a racing mind.
But finding the best scented candle for you (or a lucky recipient) is more than a matter of scent, because not all are created equal in terms of materials, burn time and scent throw.
The new school of soy and coconut-based candles is sure to appeal to those on a clean-beauty path. Brands such as Eym are using aromatherapy oil blends to bolster the soothing effects of a flickering flame, while emerging perfumers Sana Jardin and D.S. & Durga are shaking things up with spectacular, space-filling scents.
And of course, for a candle that looks as good as it smells, the stalwart Diptyque and Byredo still reign supreme. All of the candles below rank high when it comes to burn time and intensity – all you have to do is select the scent that speaks to you.
Byredo’s Bibliothèque candle proved so popular on release, the brand made it into an eau de parfum. The appeal? A uniquely evocative scent that combines plum and vanilla notes with the softest hint of leather to recall the cosiness of a wood-panelled library.
If you’re lamenting the lack of character in a rented property or new home, this is your fastest route to those comforting homely vibes. (It’ll also make a perfect housewarming gift.)
Rose scents are ubiquitous, but few have brought out the earthy aspects of the natural flower as well as Malin + Goetz. Refreshingly crisp, this Otto candle contains notes of grapefruit and geranium, ensuring the result is decidedly more green than powdery. The apothecary-style jar will look especially chic in a bathroom, too.
Sana Jardin is a perfect example of how to create a brand with social conscious, but that’s not the sole reason to invest.
Steeped in the top-selling Tiger By Her Side (also available as an eau de parfum), this candle throws a heady, rose-tinted amber scent that lingers for days. It’s warm, spicy, and smells – as any good candle should – like a fine fragrance.
If you need a push to give this stellar brand a go, consider that every sale empowers female flower harvesters through reliable employment and business mentorships.
It’s not just the signature slogan on Bella Freud’s candle that makes an impact. The hand-poured soy wax is infused with a blend of essential oils that will fill the most high-ceilinged room with ease. Patchouli and musk dominate here, creating a cosy, sophisticated take on Woodstock-era incense.
Created by a husband-and-wife team in the UK, Eym’s candles blend minimalist appeal with a strict all-natural ethos – from the soy wax to the cotton wicks and pure essential oils (even the prohibitively pricey rose oil can be found here).
Don’t be misled by the name of this one – it’s not overtly masculine. In fact, the lavender and vetiver blend offers the mind-soothing powers of a traditional lavender candle, with none of the associated sweetness. It’s subtle, slightly strange, and sure to send you off to sleep.
A love letter to Diptyque‘s hometown, this limited-edition Paris en Fleur candle is brimming with romance. Rose petals take centre stage, but a gentle patchouli undertone brings a deeper intensity.
This brand-new candle is a fresh alternative to Neom‘s classic Perfect Night’s Sleep scent. It’s formulated with chamomile, rather than lavender, yet will quieten a racing mind just as well.
Three wicks are set into a sustainable vegetable-wax blend, which will burn for up to 50 hours.
Continually copied yet never matched, Jo Malone‘s citrussy candle is legendary. This weighty three-wick iteration will make a beautiful centrepiece to a coffee table, and ensure the perky, herbal-tinged fragrance fills any space.
This might not be the most attention-seeking candle in Paltrow’s roster, but it’s undoubtedly the most beautifully scented. Sweet yet not sickly, this delicate candle combines a juicy tang of ripe apricot with an unusually soft sandalwood base.
Of course, the all-natural soy wax and steam-extracted essential oils will come as little surprise here.
Clean Reserve really sets the standard when it comes to responsible production, from using soy-based inks to employing solar-powered producers.
The scents are all beautifully clear and crisp, but this one – which smells exactly like just-laundered sheets – firmly gets our vote.
As the oldest candle makers in the world, Cire Trudon creates scents steeped in history.
An ode to Mademoiselle de La Vallière and her love for tuberose, this votive is heady and opulent, but with a crisp hit of bergamot to balance the intensity.
Fornasetti‘s decadent candles can fill a room with scent like no other. Powerful yet pretty, the white rose and jasmine blend in this hand-poured candle (created by renowned perfumer Emmanuel Philip) feels feminine yet sophisticated. The 60-hour burn time is impressive, too.
This article originally appeared on Harper’s BAZAAR UK.