I am a candle fiend. Rare is the evening when I don’t have one flickering as I read, type, watch Strictly Come Dancing – and I often light one during the day when I’m at home, just because I can. They are such a treat – and everything looks so much lovelier by candlelight. And smells better. You could never go wrong if you bought me a candle.
Unless, that is, it was a horribly synthetic scent. Or one of those cheap candles which smell of nothing or, conversely, are overpoweringly strong and have more than a hint of cheap loo cleaner about them. Those, I would not thank you for. (Well, I would, because I am a nice, polite, well-brought-up girl.) Here’s the W&W pick of the best scents for your winter.
The White Company‘s candles are, by and large, terrific (and not extortionately priced). To me, Winter smells like Christmas – all cloves, cinnamon and hint of (chocolate – not really) orange. I have it burning as I type.
I have been pleasantly surprised by Crabtree & Evelyn this year – their Noel candle is everything a winter candle should be: citrussy with cloves and nutmeg. Delicious. And that red glass jar has a very fetching star design through which the candlelight can glow. If you have yet to buy your Christmas candle, make it this one.
True Grace has much to recommend it: a British brand producing beautiful natural candles in exquisitely patterned glass jars (inspired by an archive 1930s pattern). You can buy them online or find an edited selection at John Lewis. Village Christmas, with notes of pine, amber and eucalyptus, sounds perfect for a cosy night in, but I also like the idea of Cinnamon and Clove, the warmth of Fig is a cold weather classic, and Rosemary and Eucalyptus could blast winter germs away. And who wouldn’t want to capture the old-fashioned charm of a Library or a Bonfire.
Going up the ££ scale, I would recommend Jo Malone’s Pine & Eucalyptus candle but, a. it’s sold out and b. it’s not actually my favourite winter scent. That would be the gorgeously deep and seductive Pomegranate Noir with its dark heart of plum and pomegranate spiked with heady lily and pepper. The George Clooney of the candle world.
In my dreams I would burn Cire Trudon candles but, um, I am not sufficiently monied. They are beautiful and do smell divine – if you are thinking of what to buy the person who has everything, this would not go amiss. Diptyque is another cannot-go-wrong brand. My wintery scents of choice would be Feu de Bois (which smells like a walk through the woods, smoke curling to the sky from a village house; Pomander, which is the most delicious clove-studded orange smell ever; and Baies, a more complex, herb-infused scent.
Worth seeking out is Annick Goutal’s Noel candle. It is entirely beautiful and sophisticated.
If you love candles but are worried about what, precisely, you are releasing into the atmosphere, then head to Neom, where the candles are all-natural, totally free of synthetics, and they are huge. The Christmas Wish candle, with mandarin and cinnamon is no-brainer, but the Harmonise will see you through from October ’til March.
P.S. When you’re styling your candle, try mixing it in with reflective candlesticks and non-scented (cheap) tea lights and pillar candles. You’ll get the gorgeous glow long after you’ve blown out that expensive scented candle. Cunning, no? And do try placing candles in front of mirrors or mirrored surfaces, to maximise the flicker.