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Saturday, January 08, 2011

There’s A Light...Scented Candles For Cold Winter Nights

By Olfactoria

Marina kindly invited me to contribute a weekly post to her lovely blog. I am honored to do so every Saturday, but before I start, let me tell you a few words about me.

My name is Birgit aka Olfactoria, I live in Vienna, Austria, the Perfume Capital of the World (just joking ;)). I am a thirtysomething mother of two boys and when I am not writing my own perfume blog Olfactoria's Travels, I am a psychotherapist in Vienna, the Psychotherapy Capital of the World (seriously! We have a lot of shrinks here, but even more neurotics ;))

I will write chiefly about home scents over here on PST and make that sort of my specialty, but if something else in the wonderful world of perfume strikes my fancy or begs to be told, I will do just that :)

I not only love to marinate myself in perfume, but I like to do the same for my surroundings.

A well scented room is so much more inviting and makes me and hopefully others feel at home instantly.

In my earlier life as a normal person (i.e. before I had children), I loved to light candles around the house. They immediately deliver a sense of wellbeing, their soft light alone is comforting and cosy. Combine that soft light with a great scent and you have a wonderful invention.

We just made it through the Holidays, so it is not too late to mention the most Christmas-y candle of them all: Annick Goutal´s Noel. A limited edition, that returns every year around Christmas, it smells like the tree itself (better if your tree is a little mangy) and is a must have for the season. I use it throughout winter; it evokes that feeling of walking through a snowy forest, snow and pine branches crunching underfoot, the air cold and crisp, the promise of warmth and hot cocoa just over the next hill

Another seasonal delight is L´Occitane Spicy Cinnamon Candle. It is a pretty straight forward, no-frills cinnamon scent that provides warmth, without turning all out food-y, which I don’t like in any room but the kitchen.

Speaking of which: In the kitchen itself, I like a vanilla scent more than anything else. There is nothing more comforting or assuring for me than vanilla. On myself, as a perfume, I prefer my vanilla to be smoky, dark and set off with decidedly non-gourmand notes, but as a kitchen scent, sweetness is more than welcome. I tested many a candle (vanilla is the most ubiquitous of scents when it comes to candles, but also the most abused, there are horrors out there, I would not want anyone to ever encounter).

What I found to be the best vanilla yet (I’m not done with my quest, but will I ever ;)) is Tiziana Terenzi Almond Vanilla, a shamelessly expensive candle, handcrafted in Italy that is of a very high quality that may just justify the price though. It features notes of almond, coconut, heliotrope and vanilla. It makes me feel good, the second I smell it. It is a good mood contained in wax.

There is one more vanilla candle without which this post would not be complete: Baobab Madagascar Vanilla. It is the most pure, unadulterated vanilla scent possible, it is creamy and sweet, like an off white cloud, languishing in the winter sky, smooth, mellow but radiating out with a considerable strength. Baobab is a brand by a Belgian entrepreneur who designed the collection inspired by African influences gathered on her travels through the continent. The candles and beautiful vessels they come in are all handmade, and easily qualify as luxury items :)
The final items I want to write about today are classics that helped define the genre.

Diptyque candles where the first ones to seduce me and lead me into the world of terrific smelling rooms. My first love from this brand was Figuier (I love their people version Philosykos as well, but that is a topic for spring). In winter there are several options from Diptyque that I love. Myrrhe, Pomander, Opoponax and Ambre are my favourites. They are nice to combine too; one can create individual home fragrances by simultaneously burning different scents at once. Those four are from the permanent line. Diptyque regularly offers seasonal scents before the Holidays, this year there were Pin, Olibane and Orange Epicée. Sadly I did not get to smell these before they sold out.

As I wrote at the beginning, I USED to burn candles regularly, back when I had no children. Of course I still use them, only way more carefully, mostly at night and only very high up ;)

But mainly I use diffusers these days, since the accident probability is less high.

But that is a story for another day…

Most candles featured in this post are available from First in Fragrance, but that is only practical for European readers. In the US Diptyque and L´Occitane are readily available from various sources you probably know better than I do. Tiziana Terenzi candles are available from her own website which also features an online store. Further Information on Baobab candles can be obtained from the website.

Image courtesy of

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Blogger tmp00 said...

Let me be the first to write "welcome"!

I've been coming around about candles and am very happy to get a guide to them..

1:30 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Olfactoria, thank you for the information. I have almost no experience with home scents but I plan to improve in that area. So I look forward to reading your posts.

3:43 AM EST  
Blogger Tara said...

Birgit, how wonderful to know you will be posting regularly for PST. Lovely review - as you say,cold winter nights make this the perfect time of year for lighting scented candles. I have been meaning to get the Diptyque Opoponax candle for a while so your fondness for it has encouraged me even more!

6:30 AM EST  
Blogger Ines said...

I'm always looking for new ideas for candles as there are so many out there these days that i have no idea where to start from. :)
Thank you for the rundown and I'm looking forward to more of your posts on PST.

P.S. Does mentioning diffusers mean you will next talk about them? I'm very interested to find out more as I never used them before. :)

6:57 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

That Tiziana Terenzi Almond Vanilla candle is calling my name. I just know your posts will be trouble :))

7:03 AM EST  
Blogger marsha said...

Welcome Birgit! I look forward to your posts!

7:21 AM EST  
Anonymous lady jane grey said...

Here, another Viennese resident (no shrink, but probably a neurotic...).
I's a pity you left out Jo Malone's Pine & Eucaliptus - to my knowledge a limited edition and sofar I only was able to get it in her London shops.
The other absolutely fabulous one is Ormonde Jayne's limited edition Christmas candle "Navidad", deliciously scented with Clementine, Cardamom and my favourite food ingredient lately: Tonka beens. Truly magic, just as everything from lovely Linda Pilkington.

10:00 AM EST  
Anonymous Victoria said...

Lovely post and welcome to PST! I love the idea of burning a candle on a cold winter night. One of my favorites used to be Amouage Fall Leaves (or something like that.) It is a rich amber fragrance, very beautiful.

10:29 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Tom,
Thank you :)
I probably wouldn´t light too many candles in the perpetual sunshine of California either (that is jealousy speaking). It is more of a winter comfort - we have candles, you still have all your toes ;)

12:22 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you are welcome! Thanks for reading :)

12:23 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Tara, Opoponax is is really yummy, great when it is cold outside.

12:25 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ines, hi!
You are so right, there are so many to choose! I will indeed write about diffusers next, so look out for next Saturdays post :)

12:28 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

M, I am dangerous when it comes to inducing "needs". But so are you! ;)

12:30 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you, Marsha!

12:33 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Lady Jane Grey!
Someone from Vienna!
I heard many good things about OJ Navidad, I only have the Tolu candle, which I adore, but it would have been a very long post indeed, if I had mentioned every candle I love. ;)
Schönes Wochenende!

12:36 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

V! Amouage candles, ah, utter luxury! I never saw the one you mentioned, but I only have access to a limited number of the line :(

12:41 PM EST  
Blogger Flora said...

Olfactoria, I am delighted to have you join us! I have been thinking about exploring home scents lately so this is wonderful. :-)

I love vanilla anything too. I received a huge Slatkin Vanilla Caramel candle for Christmas -it smells SO good, I can't bear to burn it!

10:58 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Flora,
I am so happy to join you :)
I'm glad people are interested in home scents, I wasn't sure. I know what you mean about not wantijg to burn it, I have a few cherished ones too, that get only sniffed and stroked ;)

1:59 AM EST  
Blogger Ashleigh said...

Hello Birgit! What a lovely article- I'm excited to be contributing to PST with you. I have two candles burning right now in fact...


10:04 AM EST  
Anonymous Marian said...

I've been lazy about exploring scented candles, though I'd love for my home to smell delicious! I look forward to reading your posts, Birgit, and having a new world open up! Welcome!

10:26 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Ashleigh, thank you for your nice words! At my house there are currently four candles burning, thanks to my husbands cooking adventures, an emergency overdose was indicated ;)

1:15 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you so much, Marian! I am glad there is interest in this topic. A nice smelling home is so much more welcoming and I feel it improves my mood as well as that of my family.

1:20 PM EST  
Anonymous Mens Perfumes said...

The winter always brings out a desire for the twinkling smoothness of candlelight throughout the house. Though scented candles are my choice during warmer months, in the winter

2:49 AM EST  
Anonymous cerise said...

Birgit, thanks for reviewing your favorite home scents! I look forward to hearing about diffusers because I could never tell they gave off much scent in stores.

Almost every day throughout the Winter I scent my home, so I'm intrigued to hear about your favorites. I've managed to find reasonably priced pine and fir scented candles that create that woodland scent inside, but I'm always on the lookout for one that's particularly special. A candle I love from Dyptique is Feu de Bois, which is not a tree scent but a wood smoke scent.

Thanks again!

9:53 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Cerise,
Diffusers are indeed hard to test, but there are companies that even offer samples for their diffusers, which is a great idea imo. For the best fir/pine scent you should really try Annick Goutal's Noel candle or room spray, it is perfect!

11:22 AM EST  
Blogger David Adams said...

Wonderful post! I love Diptyque. Feu de Bois is my favorite. I'm anxious to try Annick Goutal candles. I love her perfume. I'm sure her candles are lovely.

5:57 PM EST  
Anonymous Kalyn said...

I'm a huge Diptyque fan as well. Scents & Sprays sells all of them and I can't get enough! Pomander is a wonderful winter fragrance, as well as Feu De Bois.

8:08 PM EST  

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