Around this time of year, our house is filled with scented candles. I love making our home cosy and fragrant whilst masking the smell of the spicy food we cook regularly. Needless to say, over the years, I've built a reasonable amount of experience around sniffing out not just a great candle but also a really good deal. I've also learnt that you often get what you pay for but not always; there are a few really good but accessibly priced candles out there. Also, whilst I am partial to natural wax and organic fragrance, this doesn't always result in a great scent.
Cire Trudon: I might as well start with a true luxury candle and my current absolute favourite. Cire Trudon is possibly the oldest luxury candle maker in the world. I've waited a long time to make this splurge and the recent Selfridges sale was a good excuse. I've read mixed reviews of Cire Trudon so I really wasn't keen on simply 'burning' my hard earned money on a candle that fails to deliver. The Cire Trudon website lists the fragrance notes in the candle to give you a sense of what to expect. After my online research I was mulling over Spiritus Sancti and Carmelite. I ended up buying Bartolome and it is *divine*! It reminds me of Christmas mass from my childhood in India with its sweet smell of frankincense along with notes of vanilla and vetiver. It is a very comforting smell that quick permeates the room. It smells wonderful even when unlit. Whilst I cannot claim experience with many more Cire Trudon numbers, this one is most certainly the best candle I've ever tried.
Diptyque: I've been a long time fan for Diptyque because of their great fragrances as well their fashionable containers. However, not all my purchases have been that great. For example, I simply hated the very popular Figuier candle. However, Baies, Noisetier and Feu De Bois are super fragrances ( in my opinion) and will continue to be popular choices for my home. Diptyque candles generally have good 'throw' and make stylish containers once they are finished. I usually tend to source mine from the Liberty of London sale or in the Selfridges sale.
Rituals: I like the Rituals brand a lot. They are non-flashy and make really good quality, luxurious products at accessible prices. Their Spring Garden candle is a favourite and I had high hopes for the Under the Fig Tree Autumn/Winter candle. However, I was terribly disappointed as it smelt of nothing all the away till the end. I even ask my husband and friends if they could smell it ( just in case my nose was playing up) and they confirmed it smelt of nothing. So, give that one a miss but worth giving the other fragrances in the brand a try.
Jonathan Ward: I discovered Jonathan Ward though a combination of TK Maxx and Achica. The reviews were excellent and they use really good natural products. The containers are beautiful too. I bought Katryusha and Gypsy from the Russia collection, Kiss in Rio and Santissimi Amalfi. Whilst they are all very nice scents in their own right and last well and quickly permeate the rooms they are burning in, the fragrances are rather masculine. I don't mind them in small doses but not something I'd want to burn for too long. However, if you like musky, woody scents, this is well worth trying.
True Grace: My first True Grace candle was an impulse purchase Manchester Trafford Centre. It was called Sacristy and evoked a sentiment similar to that of Cire Trudon's Bartolomeo. It was a beautiful fragrance but not very powerful. It would work in a small cosy room but not necessarily effective in large spaces. That said, I think the candles are reasonable priced and worth checking out. John Lewis stocks them too and it is worth stalking them in the sales.
White Company: I like the airy, minimalistic aesthetic of White Company. I've tried two of their home fragrances and they were both, in keeping with the brands' style, fresh and beautiful. Compared to the likes of Cire Trudon and Diptyque, they are much more accessibly priced. My only disappointment was that they simply didn't last. I used to burn the candles for about an hour a day and they only lasted a couple of weeks. That is about half the recommended lifetime for the candle. Otherwise, they make lovely fresh scents at accessible prices (especially if you buy in the sale).
To wrap up, here are a few tips on candle buying based on my personal experience.
1. If you fancy a certain type of candle, always do your research and read reviews online in advance. I usually look to makeup alley.com and blogs for reviews. This doesn't always work as people's perception of scents does often vary but it does help you avoid big mistakes.
2. Go to a shop that stocks them and have a smell. Do this more than once if you are looking to splurge a little. I have found that my perception of smells sometimes differs depending on the time of day and my own mood.
3. The best deals are usually online and the best sales I find are Harrods, Selfridges and Space NK. The best times for these are around the time of the Boxing Day and Spring sales. Harrods and Selfridges release codes a few weeks before Christmas that work on most brands If you can't be bothered waiting, have a look on Achica, TK Maxx and Secret Sales for flash sales.
Merry Christmas and happy candle buying in the sales! Ann x
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