Every season has its definitive, nostalgia-inducing scent. In summer, it's the balmy combination of warm air, sunscreen and barbecue; come spring you're likely to get a whiff of fresh air and fresh laundry. It's harder, though, to pinpoint winter's signature scent. There is that distinct smell of firewood permeating people's homes or the baked goods wafting from someone's oven or another. But you could also say the fragrance of winter is the ever-present scent of freshly-cut pine.
We aren't ones to pass up a challenge here at HuffPost Home, so we rounded up 20 home fragrances that claim to embody all the things about winter that we love, and put them to the test: What is the most authentic holiday home fragrance out there?
To determine the most Christmas-y scented candle money can buy, we had our editors rate each one on the following:
On a scale of 1-10, how likely is this fragrance to...
... Evoke holiday cheer
... Take me back to childhood holidays
... Make me want to cozy up next to it on a chilly winter night
... Smell like the holiday ingredient it promises
Naturally, we couldn't test every candle, diffuser or air freshener on the market, but here's how the ones we did test ranked:
Caldrea Plum Bergamot Clove
: 1.86 What the website says
: "Utterly familiar, charmingly new. This glam new take on a holiday pomander burnishes clove and amber over blood orange. Breath in the warmth of the season." What we say
: "Something spicy, but not Christmas." "More like a cologne." "I feel no holiday cheer."
: 1.94 What the website says
: "A refreshing and luscious marriage that combines the essence of sweet Balsam, California Redwood, a hint of French Sage and the bouquet of White Flowers." What we say
: "Not spicy enough." "Why is this considered holiday?" "I just want cookies and evergreen, dangit!"
Mixture Holiday Jubilee, Holiday Festival
Holiday Jubliee Score
: 1.1 What the website says
: "A holiday tradition. Light and flakey. Warm almond notes finished off with juicy cherry." What we say
: "If this is what a jubilee smells like, then I don't want to be there." Holiday Festival Score
: 2.45 What the website says
: "Burnished chestnut, creamy maple, anise, coconut and a touch of chocolate. Holiday warmth." What we say
: "Evokes vanilla cheer." "Smells like a pile of warm sugar cookies."
Paddywax Balsam + Fir
: 2 What the website says
: "Our signature Soy Wax, paired with Balsam & Fir fragrance notes, and hand-poured." What we say
: "Soap." "Powdery."
Yankee Candle Mistletoe
: 3.3 What the website says
: "The woody scents of mistletoe, berried, pine boughs and holly create this holiday tradition." What we say
: "Smells like I'm standing under a Christmas tree." "Would never burn." "What does mistletoe smell like?"
: 3.3 What the website says
: "Our signature Soy Wax, paired with Fir, Mistletoe & Fresh Mint fragrance notes." What we say
: "More like a laundry basket."
: 4.8 What the website says
: "Our signature soy wax, paired with White Spruce, Holly Leaves & Frosted Cranberry fragrance notes." What we say
: "It's a nice light scent, like soap and flowers. Not feeling the Christmas vibes though."
Good Nature Orange Clove
: 5.45 What the website says
: "Pomegranate, cinnamon, nutmeg, hyacinth, and ripe plum are blended with aromatic notes of green pine needles, warm cedarwood, black amber, and treemoss." What we say
: "While not very holiday-ish, this would be a nice scent for any season."
: 6 What the website says
: "Our signature Soy Wax, paired with Wassail fragrance notes." What we say
: "Mellow, but yummy nevertheless, and the jar is pretty." "It does kind of smell like a warm beverage."
Yankee Candle Christmas Cookie
: 6.18 What the website says
: "Buttery rich, vanilla-scented, holiday sugar cookies." What we say
: "If holidays mean treats to you, then this is the holidays." "So sweet smelling." "I love cookies, so I was into the baking cookies smell."
Alassis Noble Fir & Juniper
: 6.8 What the website says
: "Sophisticated scents incorporate familiar aromas with contemporary notes – effusing holiday spirit in unexpected ways throughout the celebratory season." What we say
: "Love it, just not Christmas to me." "Smells like a nice Christmas tree farm."
Glade Sparkling Spruce
: 7 What the website says
: "Feel the snow crunch under your boots as you join your friends for the tree lighting in the town square. Hints of frosty pine and evergreen fragrance fill the air, along with a wonderful sense of anticipation." What we say
: "Like a fresh forest rain." "Smells like the decoration boxes when you open them." "Is this the one that cute dude sings about in the commercial?"
Good Nature Balsam And Cedar
: 7.3 What the website says
: "Notes of mandarin orange and holiday berries accent the comforting fragrance of pine, balsam, and fir needles." What we say
: "100, 100, 100." "The pine notes gave me a headache."
Yankee Candle Candy Cane Lane
: 8.1 What the website says
: "A favorite holiday place where delicious dreams are made, with tingly peppermint, sweet cookies and creamy vanilla icing." What we say
: "It isn't often you find a candle that nails the mint scent..." "Reminds me of baking." "This IS a candy cane."
Mixture Holiday Yule, Holiday Caliente, And Siberian Fir
Holiday Yule Score
: 6.6 What the website says
: "A blending of strong spruces, pines and firs just cut from the forest." What we say
: "It doesn't smell like a yule log, but this is the holidays in a nutshell." "It nails Christmas for me." Holiday Caliente Score
: 7What the website says
: "Rojo caliente. This is pure red hot cinnamon; almost sinful." What we say
: "Smells like a crackling fire." "Hot cinnamon." "A little on the potpourri side, but a nice scent." Siberian Fir Score
: 9.3 What the website says
: "Pure, freshly-cut Christmas tree. A Strong fragrance of Siberian Fir balanced with a touch of sweet nectar." What we say
: "A fir, plus cookies, plus happiness." "Love!!"
Bath & Body Works 'Tis The Season
: 9 What the website says
: "Celebrate the perfect holiday with a festive medley of bright red apples, cinnamon, cloves and deep green pine notes." What we say
: "It's 'the season' in a jar." "Probably because I spent childhood holidays at Bath & Body Works."
Bath & Body Works Fresh Balsam
: 9.3 What the website says
: "Bring outdoor beauty inside with the invigorating scent of crisp eucalyptus, fir needles & cedarwood musk." What we say
: "My fave 'tree' related scent by far."
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