If Yankee Candle is your idea of hell on earth (as it is for me), consider these artisan candle makers, who are using natural essential oil blends in wholly interesting combinations.
These candle makers have made an entire business targeting me! Paddywax makes soy wax candles using real essential oils inspired by great writers. Lately I’ve been using the “Oscar Wilde,” which is a delightfully herby combo of cedarwood, thyme and basil. Together the smell very leathery, like how you might want an old library to smell.
These candles are the height of luxury, incorporating natural scents in a way that feels like perfume, but is subtle enough for use in the home. They burn for a ridiculously long 90 hours. Driftwood, my favorite, features Water Hyacinth, Driftwood and Tonka Bean.
Tanwi Nandini Islam is my new hero. She’s a scentaholic in Brooklyn making her empire of candles, natural perfumes and other body care products. They feel global but personal, which is an interesting feat. Sourcing from all over the world and mixing herself, she makes scents that have a strongly floral component. For an amazing seasonal approach I’d try the Wildflowers and Rain showers soy candle.
Everything about Brooklyn Candle Studio’s approach to making candles (nodding to 19th century apothecaries, using natural scents) is awesome. The company uses long-lasting soy wax and braided cotton wicks as well as natural essential premium grade and phthalate-free essential oils. Try the Montana Forest candle for place-based serenity.
This fascinating artisan candle maker in Ohio is harnessing ideas and scents from the Rust Belt in place-based combinations such as blackberry and arugula, moss and brownstone, or thistle and milk. For a truly location-inspired scent experience, try one of her Rust Belt candles.
These artisan candles from a Canadian candle-maker burn clean and are long-lasting, with simpler scents harnessing the individual essences. Rarely does Nick Rabuchin use more than three oils at a time. Try the Point Grey, a marriage of cedarwood, balsam and vanilla.
While I’ll always fall for the pared-down, apothecary aesthetic of most artisan candle makers, I’m a sucker for a funny package. At over $100 a pop, its Poison Apple candle is a splurge worth reckoning with. But for the right receiver, it might bring just the right amount of subversive whimsy to gift-giving.
Candlemaker Julia Leaphart spent her childhood in the foothills of the Himalayas, and her candles are inspired by a sense of nostalgia she carries with her. Try the Bluebell Forest, with woodland florals, – bluebells, violets, jasmine, rose and lily of the valley.
Do you have a favorite alternative to mass-produced, icky-smelling chemical candles? Please tell me about it.