14 unexpected holiday candles to sniff all winter long

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A few things for sure about the holidays: There will be people getting their Christmas music ready and ready to be released the day after Thanksgiving; You will receive at least one gift that you do not want; There will be no shortage of burning festive candles. Unless you feel like a Grinch is going on, you know exactly what candles we’re talking about—tested and authentic holiday scents you can almost smell the moment you start them. think about them. We’re talking fresh pine, spicy gingerbread and maybe something minty.

Nothing is necessary Mistake with these traditional scents, and for many, these are the scents they associate with holiday cheer and spending time with loved ones. But this season, several candle brands are trying to change things up — and have resulted in some pretty interesting and unexpected pairings.

To uncover the inspiration behind some of these non-traditional home fragrances, we spoke with experts from some of our favorite children’s candle brands, like Otherland, DS & Durga and Anecdotes. Read on to learn more about the next generation of holiday scents that smell nothing Just like your standard Christmas tree.

Inspiration strike from real life

For brands re-imagining holiday fragrances, drawing from personal experience is key. “We want our products to reflect both memories and moments,” said Julie Maskulka, CEO and founder of Anecdote Candles. “Memories offer nostalgic scents while moments can be simple pleasures that we take for granted.”

For example, Otherland’s Gold Plated Collection (one of two holiday lines this year) includes candles that bring Abigail Stone, the brand’s co-founder and CEO, back to the fancy, “bigger than life” Christmas party her mother’s boss throws during her stay. childhoods. Moonstruck has notes of white mahogany and smoked birch that remind her of sneaking out of the party for a breath of fresh air,” while Black Velvet took inspiration from the black tie dress code and finished. combines alpine violets, iris woods and jasmine night flowers in a way that is reminiscent of “sipping a French 75 and spinning on the dance floor as the big band plays”.

Similarly, David Moltz, co-founder of DS & Durga, created the brand’s new 2022 Lightable Latkes candle based on his family’s Hanukkah tradition. “The smell of fried latke is the smell of the season for us,” he said. He adds that the reason the scent works so well as a candle is because when you light it, there’s a natural combination of the flame and the potato scent that makes it feel authentic to the real smell of the lakes. being cooked.

With all of these next-generation scent blends, the trick is to convey memories in a way that captures how they feel without being too obvious. Anecdote’s mistletoe candle, for example, contains no notes of actual mistletoe. Instead, it is “a rich, layered fragrance with notes of apple, saffron, blackcurrant and amber, intended to express the festive nature of the mistletoe tradition”.

What came first, the name or the candle?

Like the chicken and the egg, there are no real answers here.

“The name always, always, always comes first,” says Maskulka of Anecdote processes. Her branding is unique in that each candle has a name, but also an anecdote underneath it. For example, the label for Snow Day says “smells like a change of plans and a cup of cocoa”. So the group started with a name, decided on an accompanying anecdote and afterward create a perfume that best suits the feeling and mood they evoke.

In contrast, Cook Stone has a strict process where “scent speaks for itself,” which means Otherland candles don’t have a name until they’re in the final stages of the recipe. At that point, it was a group activity with her team, where everyone shared their ideas, ultimately reaching an idea that everyone felt best represented the fragrance. That doesn’t mean it’s easy, though: “There’s rarely a consensus on a name, so we have to argue about all of them,” she says. And you’ll notice that each candle has two words in its name and three words that describe the scent (instead of the usual base, middle, and top notes)—a branding decision meant to keep things clear. as clear and concise as possible for the client.

Moltz likes to mix it up and say, “usually I get an idea [for the scent] first and then I will tighten the name perfectly. He adds that sometimes it works the other way around, but in the end, the name is just meant to represent what the scent is all about.

Shop our favorite surprise holiday candles

DS & Durga, Portable X-Mas Tree — $65.00

For the brand’s third iteration of this seasonal candle, you’re getting more than just fir myrrh. There are also notes of clove water, spruce, amber and Austrian fir, which combine to create a scent that screams, “I’m not your Christmas tree base scent. Friend.”

Otherland, Alpine Crystal — $36.00

For a surprising twist on a candle, you can expect to smell like snowy pine, this one features notes of juniper twigs, cold tonics and lemon foam for a delightful blend. Fun fun more like a drink than the great outdoors.

Heresy, Dirty Santa Candle — $65.00

Heresy is known for its enticing aromas (…like Gwyneth Paltrow’s “This Smells Like My Vagina” candle), and this alluring combination of pine, warm cloves, oak moss and leather deserves it. has a place on Santa’s naughty list. And yes, we’d say that’s a compliment.

Candyer, I’m Dreamin of a Pink Christmas — $31.00

Reds and greens can be a bit overwhelming at this time of year, but what about pink? Now that’s a welcome turning point. This unexpected scent combines delicious buttercream, angel cake, and a dash of bourbon to create a fragrance (but not too sweet) that will make you drool.

Hotel Lobby, Candle House — $56,00

If being sent to Aspen isn’t in the plans for you this holiday season, you can get a little taste of the good life by burning this boujee. The lingering scent of cinnamon, bergamot and amber will warm your home long after the candle is blown out.

Lavune, Ember Candle — $42.00

It wouldn’t be a holiday without a yule login loop. Even if you don’t have your own fireplace, this wooden candle will bring its scent right into your living room. Shooting mode: activated.

Chillhouse, Cashmere Coffee — $38.00

While not technically a holiday blend, this candle features notes of rhubarb, frame, cedar, and bright sandalwood that are meant to be reminiscent of dropping in. a classy Soho bakery to enjoy. For us, it evokes the cozy feeling of being wrapped in a new cashmere blanket while eating leftover Christmas cookies.

FORVR Mood, Burr Candle — $38.00

This candle wants something hot to keep you warm during the cold months. Jackie Aina, the brand’s founder, says its strong fragrance creates a feeling of being at home in a cabin in the woods.

Snif, Old Saint Wick — $44.00

We give you, a Christmas tree overhead, if you will. Thanks to notes of sandalwood, apple blossom, rosemary and jasmine (with Siberian pine, fir balm and cedar), your home will smell like a freshly cut fir tree on display. in a luxury ski chalet.

Shared Heir & Holiday Candles Everything Well — $68.00

This candle is the definition of sophistication. It swaps the zesty balsam scent with warm cardamom and sandalwood, providing that cozy, intimate feeling you might have ignited this past December. There are also tonka beans and chestnuts to add sweetness and reduce the spiciness.


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