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10 best summer candles to burn this season, from fresh citrus scents to sweet florals

Transport yourself to warmer climates and find notes of coconut and vanilla that are reminiscent of long afternoons on the beach – or delicious hits of mint, rum and lime from poolside mojitos

Pippa Bailey
Saturday 29 June 2019 10:37 BST
Burn your candle for at least two hours at a time to help it burn down evenly rather than the wick burrowing down and leaving wax up the sides of the jar
Burn your candle for at least two hours at a time to help it burn down evenly rather than the wick burrowing down and leaving wax up the sides of the jar (The Independent/ iStock)

Alas, we can’t all be on a permanent summer holiday, but a well-chosen scent can conjure images of sunnier climes sun cream, turquoise sea, Mediterranean cliff-top villages in the familiar comfort of your home. Our summery picks are a delicious combination of zesty and refreshing, warm and breezy and sensuous and evocative.

They’re potent too, which means the scent disperses or throws well around the room; many (though not all) cheaper candles smell great in the jar but don’t reach far when you light them at home. So while our top picks may feel pricey, you’ll get more scent for your money, and they all burn for at least 40 hours, some as many as 60.

Burn your candle for at least two hours at a time (and maximum four to help it last), until the wax has melted in a pool across the surface, to help it burn down evenly rather than the wick burrowing down and leaving wax up the sides of the jar.

If your candle gives off black smoke when you light it and leaves sooty residue up the side of the glass, it’s because you need to trim the wick before burning. You can buy fancy clippers to do it, or else just use a sharp pair of scissors.

We burned each candle for at least two hours to observe how evenly they burned, how far the scent dispersed and how long it lasted once the candle had been blown out; all our favourites were still perceptible in our flat hours after we'd finished burning.

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps us to fund journalism across The Independent.

Laboratory Perfumes gorse scented candle: £45, Laboratory Perfumes

Burn time: 40 hours

We’re not sure we’ve ever wanted to eat a candle more than we did when we first sniffed this. It is citrusy and lightly spiced but in a zesty, crisp way, rather than a thick, heavy way. We love its minimalist, laboratory-flask-style packaging, too.

Buy now

D.S. & Durga breakfast leipzig candle: £60, Osmology

Burn time: 60 hours

Brooklyn-based D.S. & Durga take an unusual approach to fragrance, building scents that are evocative of a particular moment, such as the smoky "portable fireplace" and rain-on-tarmac "big sur after rain". Our pick for summer, breakfast leipzig, with its notes of almond, coffee and butter transport us straight to reading a book outside a cafe on a summer city break.

Buy now

Skandinavisk lykke scented candle: £24.65, Trouva

Burn time: 45 hours

When a brand from the world’s happiest nation (Denmark) names a candle lykke that’s happiness to you and me take notice. It’s sweet, fresh and gentle, with notes of apple, lemon and spring flowers. You can’t help but feel more relaxed and, yes, happier when you smell it.

Buy now

Byredo cotton poplin candle: £57, Space NK

Burn time: 60 hours

Byredo’s cotton poplin is a perennial favourite for its simple, delicate scent, with chamomile, linen and cedarwood it’s fresh and breezy, like clean linen drying on the line in the sun. We’re also suckers for its black jar and matching wax and wick.

Buy now

Boy Smells Lanai scented candle: £35, Osmology

Burn time: 55 hours

Boy Smells’ pink and black packaging is made for Instagram, and its unusual scents are pretty attractive too. Named after an island in Hawaii, Lanai is a tropical and lightly spiced fragrance a welcome change from the sweet, cloying nature of most coconut scents.

Buy now

Anya Smells sun lotion orange flower and musk candle : £50, Cult Beauty

Burn time: 30-40 hours

English fashion designer Anya Hindmarch’s candle range is full of her signature sense of fun and enthusiasm, and it doesn’t get much more enthusiastic than the "yes!" emblazoned jar of sun lotion. It’s a blend of bergamot, orange flower and cedarwood for a perfect hot holiday scent, evocative of the eponymous suntan lotion.

Buy now

Atelier Cologne orange Positano scented candle: £55, Sabina

Burn time: 60 hours

Named for a village on Italy’s Amalfi coast, Positano was off to a strong summery start before we’d even smelled it. It’s a salty, citrusy scent that conjures strong sun, a light sea breeze and bright blue water. The blue bottle has a narrow neck so you’ll need a gas lighter or long matches once it burns down.

Buy now

Malin + Goetz mojito candle: £42, Space NK

Burn time: 60 hours

There isn’t much else that conjures the uplifting, fun experience of a summer holiday with friends like a mojito, and this candle brings that home with its fresh notes of mint, rum and lime. A refreshing cocktail of a candle.

Buy now

LA Bruket grapefruit scented candle: £55, Liberty London

Burn time: 45 hours

We love the chunky, dark terracotta-orange of this glass holder from Swedish brand LA Bruket almost as much as we love its scent. Its name sums it up well: this is a clean, fresh, bright citrus powerhouse.

Buy now

The Nomad Society daydreamer scented soy candle: £35, The Nomad Society

Burn time: 85 hours

This is a sweet, creamy, sun lotion-like scent with notes of vanilla and coconut. Subtle and not overpowering, it’s easy and relaxing; a scent reminiscent of long, lazy afternoons on the beach or reading by the pool.

Buy now

The verdict: Summer candles

Laboratory Perfume’s gorse is everything we love in a summer scent: light and zesty, it somehow simultaneously calms the mind and invigorates the senses. For something richer and more decadent, reach for Anya Smells’ sun lotion or Atelier Cologne’s orange Positano.

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