Though the luxury candle market has been on fire in recent years (yes, pun intended!), maybe now more than ever is an appropriate time to consider experiencing one in your home if you haven’t already. The shelter-in-place policies have many of us analyzing our spaces more carefully and finding ways to break up the monotony. We are cooking more, which offers its own transportive scent qualities, but a scented candle is something altogether different.
Candles and Aromatherapy
Although they can certainly function solely as beautiful design objects, with custom brass holders from Skultuna or oversized concrete vessels via Le Labo, the therapeutic possibilities of their scents have been studied and found to have measurable effects on mood and sleep. You could try a rosemary, peppermint, or cedar candle to help increase energy and focus for your work environment, or light one with lavender or clary sage in the evening to encourage relaxation and sleep, or get romantic with some of the more animalic wax offerings, like Oud from Diptyque.
On the other hand, some candles, like my favorite Feu de Bois from Diptyque, lean more towards nostalgic olfactory escapes. In this case, it’s the wood-burning fires of a youthful ski trip to the brisk Colorado mountains, where coming home to this fragrance signified both utter exhaustion from a long day out on pine-filled slopes and complete, enveloping satisfaction.
High Quality for Medium Price
I think a good scented candle is usually not like a fragrance one wears. They are linear because you don’t work gradually through top, middle, and base notes as you do with a perfume, and since it fills all the available air in a room, less avant garde formulations seem to work better for me. The effect should be immediate and, in my experience, if you can’t already tell, Diptyque is still a reigning champ in this regard. Plus, their candles are in a medium price range, around $65, and are quite powerful, which reflects the natural raw materials they use. According to Fabienne Mauny, Diptyque’s CEO, via Business Insider, their production is done manually and only in small batches to ensure quality with many natural raw materials.
Non-Paraffin Wax Candles
If you prefer a non-paraffin wax candle, you’d be hard pressed to find better candles than the soy-based ones from Cire Trudon. I’ll leave it up to you to go down the rabbit-hole of paraffin vs soy vs beeswax. The price is almost double Diptyque’s, and the quality and long-lasting fragrance is there to match. I especially love Spiritus Sancti, a blast of church incense that doesn’t hold the solemn and possibly oppressive connotations for me that it might for others, since I didn’t grow up religious. Instead it brings me to the colorful autumn gardens and temples of Kyoto, Japan.
Elevate Your Quarantine
Though some people may be concerned about the higher price tags of these luxury candles, after much experimenting with lesser-known brands, I can attest that you really do get what you pay for, especially from companies whose business is focused mainly on candles and fragrance. I highly recommend trying one out and elevating your quarantine.
RJ Kaufman is the founder of PORTIVES, a recently launched fragrance marketplace site designed to be a central place for people to buy & sell both new and used perfumes, candles, oils and incense. They also interview perfumers and fragrance aficionados, including AGEIST’s own David Stewart. His other work is as a musician under the name Kauf, but 7 years ago he was hooked into the fragrance world when one of the women at Barney’s (RIP) beckoned me over to sample Frederic Malle’s “Bois D’orage”, the first luxury/niche perfume he had the pleasure of smelling. It’s still one of his favorite fragrances with its dominant green angelica note, though hius collection has grown quite substantially since then.