LET IT GLOW
Nothing says Christmas like a scented candle, but are there ways to make yours work harder?
Set the scene with scented candles
What will your scented candle tally be this Christmas? Given, received, maybe even burnt? If you’re anything like us, not inconsiderable. But here’s the thing – how does your home actually smell? If sales of fragranced wax are on the up (John Lewis & Partners alone reports a surge in demand over the past year, especially for luxury brands) and the offerings ever more enticing (Commodity at Space NK and Maison Christian Dior are chic new launches we’ve loved in 2018), we should all float through the year in a delicious cloud of fig and sandalwood.
However, while scenting the odd corner of a room is one thing, filling your entire home with fragrance – and making it last – is another. So what’s the secret?
‘Fragrance rises, so place your candles lower down and you’ll smell them sooner – especially in large rooms with high ceilings, which can be hard to fill with scent,’ says candle guru Jo Malone, founder of Jo Loves. ‘Try the bottom of an unlit grate or fireplace, to trap the fragrance and stop it from wafting away.’
To infuse a whole house with scent, place large candles at the foot of a staircase with glass candle cylinders over the top to throw fragrance even higher (we like LSA International Oak Candle Holder and Glass Shade, £65). Underperforming candles work best in the smallest room of the house – usually the loo – where they’ll fill the space. ‘If you’re expecting guests, light candles an hour before they arrive, but put them out after a couple of hours to prevent the wick flopping to one side,’ says Jo. Also let surfaces melt out to the sides of the jar before blowing them out to ensure they burn evenly the next time you light them, and trim wicks to around 5mm between burns to prevent smoking (dedicated trimmers are easier to use than scissors – try The White Company Wick Trimmer, £15). Finally, keep the
Amber, woods and rich blooms linger for longer
inside of their jars looking pretty with kitchen towel and a dab of washing-up liquid, says Jo.
As for the scents themselves, heavier notes linger for longer – think amber, woods and rich blooms, such as jasmine and tuberose. ‘Citrus and lighter floral notes need more warmth in the air to bring them out, so save those for spring,’ says Jo.
To seal the deal, supplement candles with room sprays (mist curtains, cushions and bedlinen) and reed diffusers (Urban Apothecary Reed Diffusers, £35, smell out of this world – try Oudh Geranium or Oriental Noir). Keep their scent circulating by placing them in open spaces rather than in corners, and turn a few sticks every day – never the whole bunch at once, or the liquid will evaporate too quickly.
Of course, a variety of candles is best for social occasions. ‘Create, change, keep it lively,’ says Laurent Delafon, CEO of United Perfumes. For an intimate winter gathering, try candles with smoky or woody notes. Floral Street Fireplace Candle, £28, is the perfect dupe for a log fire, while JOGB Living Mojo Sensual Candle, £65, is rich with incense. For a sparkling party, use lots of floral scents to mimic cut blooms (No 22 Centrepiece Scented Candle, £40, is all lush white petals and freshly snapped stems). But to soothe sore heads the next day, it’s back to the log fires or something soft – Rachel Vosper 1 Wick Candle in French Lavender, £30, is comforting, and the jar’s beautiful.
Mealtimes require a particularly sensitive approach. ‘Subtle herbal or spicy scents work well with most foods, but anything too strong will distract the nose from the meal, so light your candles earlier in the evening and put them out just before your guests arrive,’ says Laurent. Once blown out, replace with unscented tapers and tea lights for atmosphere, then do as Jo Malone does and bring in a few miniature scented candles with pudding to refresh the mood and to get rid of foodie odours.
But however you use your candles, make sure you do actually use them. With an impending Christmas set to boost your tally, there’s no reason to save for never.
Rachel Vosper 1 Wick Candle, £30. Comes in an array of soothing fragrances and elegant jars JOGB Living MOJO Sensual Candle, £65. A rich and welcoming blend No 22 Centrepiece Scented Candle, £40. An armful of freshly cut white blooms
Molton Brown Muddled Plum Single Wick Candle, £42. A festive punchinspired blend of plum, rum and honey Diptyque Limited Edition Amande Exquise Candle, £53. Marzipan notes of almond and tonka bean Floral Street Fireplace Candle, £28. Warming birch and Tuscan leather brightened with raspberry
John Lewis & Partners Winter Spice Amber Candle, £18. The store’s bestselling Christmas scent, this year in glowing amber livery
Rituals The Ritual Of Yalda Candle, £19.50. Inspired by festivities in ancient Persia, with pomegranate and watermelon
Crabtree & Evelyn Noël Poured Candle, £42. Fir, citrus peel and mulled wine spices say instant Christmas
Crabtree & Evelyn Supper Club Candle, £42. Light herbal notes make this an ideal dinner companion
Neom Limited Edition Precious Moment 3 Wick Candle, £45. Uplifting ginger, citrus and vetiver help to counter the post-lunch slump Cire Trudon Odeurs d’egypte Amon Classic Candle, £78. A hypnotic fragrance combining incense and cedarwood
Elemis Joyful Glow Candle, £27.50. Soft and comforting vanilla, orange and cinnamon
Jo Loves Christmas A Layered Candle, £80. A trio of layers takes you from pine needles to log fires via fruit and spice
Cowshed Winter Candle, £38. A floral take on festive, with rose, ylang ylang, cinnamon and clove