True statement: I love candles.
Real talk: I can be a bit of a candle snob.
Bridging the decor and lifestyle categories in the fragrance industry, candles are often created as an extension of a brand or an existing scent. Sometimes, and that’s the moment I live for, they illustrate a completely fresh concept with its own rules. A perfect gift. The ultimate home accent. I just can’t say no to a great candle.
So what makes a candle great, you may mask? How do you justify the splurge? My criteria revolve around the scent, packaging, overall aesthetic, its message, and, of course, how it burns.
Two words of advice:
- Don’t ration a candle. In order to burn well, it must stay lit for at least an hour. Otherwise, it will tunnel. Tunneling: the awkward indentation in the wax that occurs when a candle has not fully melted around the rim. Fail.
- Place your favorite candle in a small space where it will emit a fragrance even when it’s not burning thanks to its strong cold throw. Cold throw: the scent intensity of the wax when it’s not melted. Hot throw: the other way around; candle lit, wax melted.
So what are my favorite candles? Some I’ve been burning for over a decade, some I only just discovered earlier this year. One is so new, it literally launched this month. Each one has a unique story behind its scent and features a first class sensory journey. They’re all pretty special. File under: burnnnn bitch!
IIUVO – Bullshit
Created in collaboration with Stefan Brüggemann, this casually posh blend is full of it. And it’s all good. Great actually. Bullshit burns beautifully and highlights grapefruit, lavender, rose, musk and tonka bean among other notes. Sweet and earthy, it’s got depth. Personally, I keep it unlit in the bathroom most of the time since the distinct aroma calms and centers me while I shower. Because ADHD. Insanely creative, the bespoke master duo behind
IIUVO can do no wrong in my book. Check out my musings on the brand in this post from last year. Available at iiuvo.com (£70.00), totokaelo.com or ln-cc.com ($120), mecca.co.au ($140)
POUR L’AIR – Nap Lovers
Launched earlier this month, Pour l’air enters the artisanal luxury space with an intriguing and absolutely mesmerizing concept. Inspired by moods, stories and states of mind, each fragrance reflects a moment in time. Nap Lovers, my new bedside staple, is a complex yet airy fusion of a fig tree–its leaves and fruit all the way down to its roots with crisp notes of linen and a summer breeze. Truly impressive, the stunning jar and comforting vibe of Nap Lovers proves that a candle can be an objet d’art. You know you’re curious; other scents include Mr. Rose and Studio Secrets… pourlair.com ($80)
JO LOVES – Christmas Trees
This British gem is not to be missed. Not one tree. Many trees. That’s JO LOVES’ authentic, on point Christmas Trees candle. Think fir, pine cones, sparkling snow and the unmistakable festive and familiar seasonal crispness. It is only available this time of year and sadly, for all of us Stateside, it’s next to impossible to find in the U.S. Joyful, elegant and timeless, Jo Malone MBE is an extraordinary nose with an uncanny ability to fluently translate an idea into fragrance. joloves.com (£50.00)
MALIN+GOETZ – Neroli
As a fan of Neroli (skin, body, hair, personal fragrance, everything – seriously), I consider this MALIN+GOETZ candle to be the most balanced act among my citrus favorites. Bitter orange, orange blossom, petitgrain and a touch of lemon, iris and musk, so fresh and clean I want it burning all the time everywhere. Borderline purifying, Neroli is a peculiar floral with earthy, green and slightly effervescent notes. Deliciously chic. malinandgoetz.com ($52)
Colleen Rothschild Beauty – Hygge
Hygge is Swedish for “the art of savoring life’s simple pleasures.” and this candle does not disappoint. With a successful range of innovative luxury skincare on her plate, Ms Rothschild’s latest launch into the living space expands her impeccable aesthetic. Swanky yet inviting, she combines soothing chamomile with white floral notes and tops it off with a warm cashmere musk. Expect the unexpected. The Hygge candle may sound almost creamy. It is anything but. Mind clearing and relaxing, the approachable aroma is the new classic. colleenrothschildbeauty.com ($49)
Maison Francis Kurkdjian – Mon beau Sapin
This couture take on the balsam tree aroma, only makes holiday appearances. Master perfumer Francis Kurkdjian captures the season’s spirit with woody, fruity and herbal notes that extend the memory of a Christmas tree to the holiday dinner table. Sophisticated but sans the designer elitist feel, this limited edition is pretty spectacular. The gold jar with intricate etching alone makes for a classy decor touch. NeimanMarcus.com ($65)
LAFCO – Ski House
Hailing from one of the chicest downtown New York destinations, LAFCO turned its original curated retail element into a namesake lifestyle brand. Part of the House & Home Collection, each candle is named for a specific living area and features space fitting aromatic infusions. Current favorite: Ski House aka Feu de Bois. Firewood perfection with no mess, soot nor cleaning involved. True to life, the stately jar borderline mimics the ambiance of a real fireplace. Lafco.com, Nordstrom.com ($60)
VOTIVO – Red Currant
I’ve been hoarding these candles for close to two decades. There are no other comparables to this perennial favorite of mine. Unique in the home fragrance space and an irreplaceable and permanent fixture in our home, this tart scent is sharp, sparkling and sweet without being cloying. Intense but never overwhelming, it burns incredibly well, lending its notes generously to even the largest room. One of the most affordable luxury candle options out there. Read: the perfect hostess gift. Nordstrom.com ($28)