There’s an overwhelming number of ways to scent your home these days - from reed diffusers to fancy ones that billow out vapour - but none can match the charm of a candle.
There’s something hypnotic about the flame’s non-uniform wavering, the slow melting of the wax, the waves of fragrance and the soft light they give off.
Scented candles sometimes get a bad rep, thanks to the proliferation of Fabreeze-esque cheap ones with stereotypically feminine scents like ‘Tickled Honeysuckle’, but there are plenty out there that offer rich and complex, almost earthy, fragrances. Here are a few of our favourites.
1. Paddywax Foundry Tobacco & Vanilla: £35, Acassa
Here’s a simple but eminently pleasing combination from the US-based candle maker, which comes in a curved metallic bowl. Beautiful though vanilla is, it can be a bit sweet after a while, but here the muskier tobacco balances it perfectly. So good you’ll be trying not to play with the melted wax. Burns for around 130 hours.
2. Penhaligon’s Maduro Leaf Candle: £95, Penhaligon's
Housed in a wooden box reminiscent of a Cuban cigar case, this triple-wicked candle has a wax so dark it looks like ink as it burns, and its cedarwood, patchouli and oakwood notes evoke dark wood and long conversations in armchairs. It’s pricey, but you get a staggering 110 hours of burn time.
3. Country Candle Company’s Wonderwick Spiced Lime: £16.99, The Country Candle Company
Wondrous isn’t an overstatement; we can't get our head around how these wooden wicks burn at the same rate as regular ones (this gives you 40 hours of burn time). Not only do the wooden centres make for pleasant gazing, but they actually crackle like a log fire, bringing instant calm to the room. There are eight scents to choose from, and our pick is the zingy spiced lime. These also come in black class holders.
4. Tom Dixon Fire: £80, John Lewis
This candle, which comes in a distinctively-shaped casing, emanates a complex aroma of cypriol oil, musk and amber designed to evoke ‘the scent of smoky scorched timber and hot dry tarmac’. For large rooms there’s also a pyromaniacal four-wick option. Around 40 hours of burn time.
5. Fornasetti La Femme Aux Moustaches: £115, Amara
This may be the best-smelling candle of the bunch. Encased in a ceramic vessel and adorned with the artwork of the late Italian designer Piero Fornasetti, it immediately makes the room smell like an opulent Moroccan opium den, with notes of lavender, thyme, smoky cedar and incense. It’ll burn for around 60 hours.
6. Illume Boulangerie Jar: £14, Anthropologie
This blend of sweet vanilla, butter and caramel smells so good you’ll be struggling not to dig in a spoon. It’s a sweet but completely intoxicating fragrance that will usher people subconsciously into the room. You’ll get about 40 hours out of this attractively packaged candle.
7. Iiuvo emmie: £50, LN-CC
At 190g, this is smaller in size than many of the others, but it’s huge in fragrance, which it’ll give off for 40 hours. The emmie edition has a top of myrrh and galbanum, core of cedar, vetyver and patchouli and base of moss and lichen. The minimalist ‘O’ design makes it looks very stylish, and the bowl gives off a warm glow as the candle burns. The London-based brand has two other candles, inspired by perfumes from the south of France.
8. Cire Trudon Ottoman: £62, Amara
Whisking you to the ‘maze of Constantinople’ might be a stretch, but this is certainly a very transportive scent, rich in honey tobacco, Turkish rose, smoked leather, musk and Patchouli. Made by a candlemaker with over 350 years’ experience, it comes with a regal-looking gold seal.
If money wasn't an object, we'd have to opt for the beautiful offering from Penhaligon's. But our Best Buy goes to Paddywax, whose Foundry Tobacco and Vanilla candle gives off stunning scent. The 130 hours of burn time makes it excellent value for money, too.