Coats are coming out, the nights are drawing in and we’ve got a hankering for pumpkin spice latte. All this can only mean one thing: autumn is upon us.
The “season of mists and mellow fruitfulness” can be magical, but it can also be cold, dank and dreary in Britain. Candles, with their warm, sepia glow and seasonal fragrances, can be the perfect antidote to the short gloomy days.
And there sure are hundreds of them around. To make your scented candle shopping easier, we gathered and tested a range that we hope will light up your life and fill the room with fragrant joy.
Our selection includes candles with typically autumnal scents and those with a fresh take on the aromas of the season. We’ve featured those with traditional cotton wicks and others with wooden wicks, while some are handcrafted and others not. We also sourced from well-known brands, smaller independents and those companies that are new on the scene.
How we tested
We lit and burned each candle for a minimum of two hours firstly, as is always advised to ensure even melting, noting the potency and notes of the fragrance. We extinguished them and checked for any lingering scent in between burns. Then we relit several times – remembering to keep wicks trimmed to about 3mm – to check that the scents endured for the entirety of each candle.
The best autumn candles for 2021 are:
- Best overall – Olhten bosky: £27, Olhten.com
- Best wooden wick candle – Witchy the high priestess candle: £26, Witchyhq.com
- Best essential oils candle – JOGB mojo sensual candle: £65, Jogbliving.com
- Best pillar candle – St Eval oak, folk scented pillar candle: £14, St-eval.com
- Best delicate fragrance – The White Company autumn signature candle: £20, Thewhitecompany.com
- Best luxury buy – Perfumer H pepper: £135, Perfumerh.com
- Best Scandi candle – Skandinavisk hygge scented candle: £35, Skandinavisk.com
- Best aromatherapy candle – Scentered escape aromatherapy candle: £27.50, Amazon.co.uk
- Best small-batch candle – Soap Daze canyon soy wax candle: £19, Soapdaze.com
- Best rich aroma – A House Like This fyre: £18, Ahouselikethis.com
- Best floral scent – DS & Durga Rama won’t you please come home scented candle: £60, Osmology.co
Sweet fruit scents are the marmite of the candle world – they’re either loved or hated. But the pear and fig fragrance put out by Olhten’s plant-based soy candle is exquisitely balanced, perfectly straddling sweet and earthy. When lit, the aroma delicately fills the room without being overpowering, and we found the scent remained present for the entirety of the candle’s almost 50 hours of burn time.
We like that the brand uses only paraben, silicone, CMR and phthalates-free essential and fragrance oils, and we love the minimalist matte white with black lettering glass jar. The candle comes beautifully packaged in 100 per cent recyclable paper and cardboard, tied in a yarn bow and adorned with a branded wax seal; its arrival would delight anyone, making it a charming gift.
Witchy the high priestess candle
Best: Wooden wick
We could all do with a bit of enlightenment as the days grow shorter, and this candle is an obvious choice for just that. The perfume-grade scent is a heady blend of woody, herbal notes and crisp citrus that lifts the spirits on even the darkest of afternoons.
Intriguingly, it comes topped with two ethical crystals – obsidian and amethyst – which you remove before burning, and the tarot themed glass container is inspired. We particularly like how the FSC-certified wooden wick allows the 100 per cent soy wax to melt evenly without tarnishing the glass with soot and that it burns for about 50 hours.
JOGB mojo sensual candle
Best: For essential oils
Have all those overcast days got you wondering where you left your mojo? We have something here that could help you find it again. The 100 per cent pure essential oils in JOGB’s 225g candle will give you a lift when you need it most, with cedarwood, coriander seed, sandalwood, rose absolute, ambrette seed and bergamot among the sensual mix.
The fragrance is potent and noticeable both when the candle is lit and for some time after it has been extinguished. Meanwhile, the design of the dark grey glass container is sophisticated, with a damask patterned logo for a boudoir vibe – it will look right at home on any bedside table.
St Eval oak, folk scented pillar candle
Best: Pillar candle
Sometimes it’s just too darn chilly and miserable to brave an autumnal forest walk. On those dank days, just light up this oak scented candle instead to bring the atmosphere of the forest indoors. Close your eyes and take in woody notes of oak and forest foliage set to a backdrop of spice. It’s almost as good as the real thing, except you stay warm, dry and mud-free. St Eval’s candles are hand-poured and hand-finished, and they are excellent value for money, with up to 68 hours of burn time.
The White Company autumn signature candle
Best: Delicate fragrance
As Keats rejoiced inTo Autumn that the season fills “all fruit with ripeness to the core”, The White Company celebrates the sweet harvest in its own way. Notes of pear and quince evoke childhood memories of scrumping (unless you were fortunate enough to have had fruit trees in your garden) and baking tarts with the fruits of one’s labour. The scent is delicate – enough to diffuse throughout a modestly sized room – and warming without being too sweet, which we really liked. The burn time of this candle is about 28 hours.
Perfumer H pepper
Best: Luxury buy
Perfumer H combines luxury with sustainability as the brand’s handcrafted candles come in hand-blown glass containers, engraved in gold, that can be used again and again with the refill service. The scents are opulent, distinctly high quality and potent enough to fill the room and linger long after the flame is snuffed, which is not surprising since the person behind them is perfume maker Lyn Harris.
Pepper is a magnificently earthy fragrance, with its frankincense, cedarwood and angelica seed notes conjuring the effect of long, soul-soothing walks in deep amber woodland. Each 325g candle comes in a recyclable, monogrammed gift box with instructions on how to best care for your exceptional product.
Skandinavisk hygge scented candle
Best: Scandi candle
The initial buzz around hygge might have subsided in Britain, but we’re still here for it. This candle encapsulates the meaning behind the Danish word for cosiness that has no direct English translation. Contained in a beautifully painted tan glass vessel with a raw beechwood lid is a generously scented Swedish rapeseed wax blend candle that fills the air with autumnal aromas galore, including apple and cinnamon and warming tea. We love this candle’s balance of sweet and earthy perfumes and the fact that it burns for a lengthy 50 hours.
Scentered escape aromatherapy candle
Best: Aromatherapy candle
For spa vibes at home, Scentered’s products are second to none. With therapeutic-grade essential oils, the 220g Escape candle is designed for those times when one has to “shift gears”, which is precisely what comes with the dawning of a new season. Oud, frankincense and sandalwood notes come together for a woody and herbal, but also surprisingly fresh, fragrance that will be a fantastic partner to your autumn yoga or meditation routine.
Soap Daze canyon soy wax candle
Best: Small batch candle
The sweetness of spice is offset by earthy frankincense, smoky vetiver and fresh citrus to create a gorgeous scent in this natural and vegan candle, which is hand-poured in small batches and gives about 25 hours of burn time. The fragrance is subtle, and we tested it in a smaller room to get a more powerful aroma hit. If you love the scent of this candle as much as we do, you can also buy a matching soap in the same fragrance.
A House Like This fyre
Best: Rich aroma
Not having an open fire to light in autumn can be pretty devastating, but this candle can help mimic such an experience on miserable days. Ignite the flame of this 220g candle for a powerful mix of earthy saffron and smoky embers, rich jasmine and intoxicating cologne. The fragrance is potent, suitably permeating the air, and we like the violet glass jar, which is designed to allow only certain light to pass through to ensure the longevity of the scent.
DS & Durga Rama won’t you please come home scented candle
Best: Floral scent
DS & Durga attempts to capture the spirit of Diwali, its lights and aromatics, in this tan-glass contained candle – and it does an excellent job of it too. Heavenly sweet and earthy wood and floral scents come through amid a slightly dominating, almost creamy tuberose richness. It all works gloriously together, and who doesn’t adore the powerful, alluring fragrance of tuberose? We love the illustration on the label and that this candle gives you a whopping 60 hours of subtly fragranced air.
The verdict: Autumn candles
The remarkably well-balanced fragrance, sophisticated design of the matte glass jar and attention to detail make Olhten’s bosky our best buy. The scent has a goldilocks quality – it’s not too sweet and not too earthy, it’s just right – and it’s gorgeous for illuminating a room during autumn.
For the latest discounts on candles and other homeware offers, try the links below:
While we’re thinking ahead to those colder months, why not read our round-up of the best portable heaters that are sure to keep you warm and snug this winter
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