While we might mourn the end of the warmer weather, there’s no better excuse to hunker down and shut out the rest of the world with a delectable winter candle – not least during the festive season.
The perfect antidote to dark mornings and the freezing cold, home scents have got a lot more sophisticated in recent years. Inspired by walks through the woods and crackling firesides – with notes of smoky tobacco, herbs and spices – winter candles are the perfect accompaniment to a festive dinner party, a quiet evening getting lost in a good book, or to just brighten up a cold day.
Two or three hours should be sufficient for a scented candle to fill a room with fragrance (after that you’re just wasting it). Always trim the wick after each use and make sure it burns enough so that the top layer of wax has completely melted, otherwise you’ll get an uneven burn or “tunnelling” where the wick makes a hole in the middle of the wax.
Some candles come with a handy lid to put on top of the candle once it’s been extinguished it to avoid any smoke – you don’t want the smell of smoke smothering the beautiful scent the candle has just created.
How we tested
We lit each candle for two hours and considered at how unusual and interesting the fragrance was and whether it had a unique twist on typical “wintery” notes like cinnamon, incense and woods. Once it was extinguished, we checked for any lingering scent or “cold throw” (when you can smell the wax even when it’s unlit). We also looked at the jar it came in and whether it provided a cheery addition to a coffee table or desk.
We placed the candles in different spots in our home and we did notice how some of the cheaper candles, while not having as much of a strong throw as their luxury counterparts, were perfectly pleasant if we placed them by our laptop or on a bedside table.
The best winter candles for 2021 are:
- Best overall – Penhaligon’s roanoke ivy: £60, Penhaligons.com
- Best for meditation – 7 Over 7 knowing alpine: £65, Live7over7.com
- Best luxury scent – The Perfumer’s Story fig ambrette: £49, Theperfumersstory.com
- Best for an evening of self-care – Coco de Mer enraptured figment massage candle: £40, Cultbeauty.co.uk
- Best for bookworms – 4160Tuesdays hiding in the library: £29.50, 4160tuesdays.com
- Best for working from home – ME invigorated candle: £9.99, Theperfumeshop.com
- Best for a romantic evening indoors – Boujee Bougies cuir culture: £55, Boujeebougies.com
- Best for unwinding after a long day – Old Man and Magpie cinnamon and clove: £15, Oldmanandmagpie.com
- Best for an olfactory trip to Paris – Miller Harris tabac: £45, Millerharris.com
- Best festive fragrance – Diptyque sapin de nuit: £33, Diptyqueparis.com