Move aside, Diptyque…
With swoon-worthy scents and chic designs, luxury candles are the must-have home accessory for a cozy winter. But Diptyque is just a gateway drug. Breath in deep and fall in love with one of these hidden-gem brands, guaranteed to light your fire in a whole new way.
The bold and minimalist modern fragrance brand Iiuvo was realized in 2015 by London-based duo Tomi Ahmed and Leo Gibbon. Using the very highest quality materials and all natural formulations, Iiuvo brings us three core candles (Ajon, Emmie, and Woodgrain), plus an über-chic collaborative candle alongside conceptual artist Stefan Brüggemann named ‘Bullshit.’ Wickedly irresistible and disruptively creative, this apocalyptic-black candle wafts with Sichuan pepper, rose, musk, and guaiac wood. (And how great is that packaging?)
This Denmark-based brand brings the vast and raw natural beauty of the Nordic landscape into your home with the three-candle Escapes collection. Housed in simple-but-stunning embossed ceramic and wood vessels, these candles are not only a visual breath-of-fresh-air, but the aromas are truly special and transportive. My favorite is the wild and fresh Heia (Norwegian for heathland), which sings of windswept hills of heather, thyme, bearberry, and leaf sap.
Victoria Cator’s eponymous candle collection shows off an exceptional obsession with the evocative world of scents and expert talent in building a scene through fragrance alone. The handsome Touche Bois wafts of poetic visceral imagery: With layered notes of juniper, leather, and musk, this candle is described to evoke a “cavalry man as he vanishes out of the tack room.” Did I mention they’re also positively stunning?
Home fragrance expert Rachel Vosper is the real deal. In her enchanting atelier in Belgravia, she creates bespoke fragrances for the world’s elite (think Saudi royalty and Laurent Perrier champagne)—and it’s no surprise because everything she produces is divine. From the vessels, to the fragrances, to the obvious artistry, Rachel Vosper candles are the epitome of elegance. The candles have an impressive throw that fills the room even unlit. Please do yourself a favor and have a gander at the scent library and try Choisya. With olfactory elements of bittersweet orange blossom, bergamot, neroli, and translucent white woods, this just may be my new favourite candle.
Birch & Brook’s emphasis is on craftsmanship and quality—and you can tell. This quintessentially English collection of candles with names like Fireside, Dressing Room, and Secret Garden, create a gentle and charming atmosphere with their quiet decadence and impressive throw. With a heart of cinnamon and clove bud, the bestselling Library candle is the perfect cozy scent for the cold months ahead.
Sweet and girly Etta French candles are made to surprise and delight with a small piece of jewelry hidden within the wax of each fine fragrance candle. The jewelry (rings, necklaces, bracelets, charms, etc.) comes from over 100 different designers, yet even without the unique buried treasure, Etta French candles boasts feminine, floral aromas designed to enchant.
Achingly cool Brooklyn perfumery D.S. & Durga focuses on translating worlds into whiffs. Pulling inspiration from objects, places, and characters, D.S. & Durga condenses complex narratives into stylish seashell pink glasses. For example, the romantic and mysterious Spirit Lamp candle paints this outré picture: “At tea service in Madame's colonial parlor, the psychic resides amid Bohea black tea vapors, the radiant heat softened by milk, while a shining silver lamp is heated by a naked flame.” Gorgeous, ghostly, atmospheric—I’m dying for the whole collection!
Ultra-luxurious Ortigia evokes the essence of Sicily within every product. Starting with the decadent, gilded packaging, Ortigia candles add a shine of exotic sumptuousness to any living space—and we haven’t even talked fragrance yet! With opulent scents like Fico D'india (powdery fig and cedar); Zagara (orange blossom and fragrant wood); and plush Pomegranate, it’s a good thing there are two shops in London (Marylebone High Street and Duke of York Square) because you’re going to need to stock up immediately.
Sharply contemporary and wildly original, the aromas of the slick-but-handcrafted Urban Apothecary brand weave a story in botanicals that is both totally new yet totally balanced and unforced. In Oudh Geranium, rich, dark Oudh (one of the most expensive raw fragrance ingredients in the world) is offset by the crisp and healthy tone of geranium, then deepened with a base of amber, vetiver, patchouli—resulting in a multifaceted, one-of-a-kind candle unlike any other on the market.
Designer Bella Freud’s quirky candles are stylish in matte black presentation holders scrawled with white script—a look you may remember from her embroidered sweaters favored by Kate Moss. In her candle, Fairy Tale of New York (named after Shane MacGowan’s punk rock Christmas song), we get an interesting intermingling of blood orange and coriander, a heart of mimosa and saffron, a resonant base of myrrh resins and amber oils, and just a trace of smoky tobacco for some extra attitude. Anyone who loves New York will love this.
Based out of Vancouver, Canada, these great outdoors-inspired candles are made using coconut wax and fragrances from Grasse, France. Kept in tidy ceramic jars, their masculine scents range from the deep and smoky (Voyageur, Railroad, etc.), to the green and woodsy (Dandelion, Trail’s End, etc.).
British family perfumers since 1730, this heritage brand uses only the very best fragrance oils and ingredients. Operating with a clear dedication to traditional ways, it’s no surprise that the end product is the utter embodiment of restrained luxury and superiority. With a lovely range of deceptively simple fragrance combinations (i.e. Hyacinth & Bluebell; English Fern & Blackberry), my choice for ushering in the colder months has to be the lush, oriental Cinnamon & Tangerine candle, where splashy citrus notes are steeped with the warmth of spices, a base of sweet vanilla, and “a tot of brandy to warm the heart.”
Founded by Jennifer McNabb, M&J London makes “ethical luxury” candles with minimal environmental impact—and what’s not to love about that? Not only is each candle made with recycled glass (that can later be up-cycled into a drinking glass), vegan-friendly wax, and locally sourced, sustainable packaging, but a percentage of the proceeds goes towards the woman’s charity Nia. If you’re not in love already, you will be once you find out that each candle is inspired by a place and season; for example, the earthy Autumn in New England warms with succulent and spicy notes of cranberry, pumpkin, and maple syrup. Do yourself—and the world—a favor by stocking your house with these wonderful gems.
Made from a chemical-free recipe of soy wax and essential oils (not synthetic fragrance), these are clean, unpretentious candles with complimentary aromatic blends, such the soothing Lavender + Bergamot, refreshing Orange + Cedarwood, and flirty floral Rose + Patchouli.
I’m a sucker for good packaging, so on their cool designs alone, The Chapel wins for serving us luxe with spellbinding edge. An award-winning salon, The Chapel created this collection of candles to include just three fragrances: Oparus, Mellifera, and Noctula—my pick for its intoxicating notes of violet and juicy red fruits.
ROAM candles, by lifestyle product designer 42 Pressed, capture the essence of global cities like Paris and Los Angeles, and are sold alongside trendy corresponding map prints. Smelling of lavandin (a variety of lavender), black pepper, oakmoss, and the warm note of labdanum, the super-chic London candle makes a distinctive gift for anyone who loves the Big Smoke.