Warm, woodsy candles are among our favorites.
Hinoki Fantôme Candle Smells
Who this is for: Anyone who enjoys warm, woodsy aromas without wanting to smell like they’re sitting around a bonfire.
The following are some of the reasons why it’s fantastic: The Boy Has a Strong Smell Hinoki Fantôme Candle has a complex, difficult-to-define aroma (hinoki is the Japanese word for cypress, and fantôme is the French word for ghost). There’s an earthy woodsmoke at the forefront, laced with warm amber, sweet vanilla, and a smidgeon of mossy freshness and florals. It’s fragrant without being extravagant, creating a beautiful, scented backdrop for any occasion—whether a dinner party or a day spent thinking. The wax is cleanly poured and the wick is nicely placed, providing for an even burn. This candle shed 12 grams of wax during our melt test, giving it a total burn time of 20 hours, according to our calculations. The white wax and wick contrast nicely with the black glass vessel, and the signature black-and-pink label is stylish and eye-catching.
We found that the labels on several of the Boy Smells https://graciemoonscents.com/ candles were not precisely straight on the vessel, and that the shiny exterior of the glass tends to exhibit fingerprints. These are minor nitpicks, but they have an impact on the overall appearance. Also, these candles produce a lot of soot, but the black vessel hides it, and you may improve the burn by trimming the wick on a regular basis. Finally, there is no lid included with this candle. A lid would be preferable because it would help seal in the aroma and maintain its intensity, as well as prevent dust from building on the wax’s surface.
We also liked: Boy Smells’ Polyamberous Candle has a lovely and eclectic aroma, with geranium, tobacco blossom, tonka bean, spices, and incense. The traditional appearance and woodsy aroma of our pick win out, although this one is a close second.
Amber & Moss Standard Soy Candle by P.F. Candle Co.
Who this is for: Anyone who wants to feel like they’re walking through a lush alpine woodland on a long—yet completely undemanding—walk.
The following are some of the reasons why it’s fantastic: Amber & Moss Standard Soy Candle by P.F. Candle Co. offers a balanced scent of pine resin and earthy moss, with notes of minty eucalyptus and rich vanilla. The wick is perfectly centered, and the wax is poured evenly. The distinctive vessel of P.F. Candle Co. (an amber-colored jar with a gold lid and brown paper label) is simple, allowing it to blend in with most dcor. The lid can also be used to catch any leftover smoke after you’ve extinguished the candle. In terms of cost per ounce ($2.80) and longevity, this candle is a steal when compared to the others we examined (it lost just 9 grams of wax over an hour in our melt test, giving this candle a calculated burn time of 23 hours). This is one of our favorite scents, according to deputy editor Jason Chen (who has admitted to spending upwards of $100 on a single candle), and senior staff writer Lesley Stockton (who has told us she “hates most scented candles”).
Flaws but not dealbreakers: While we admire this vessel’s utilitarian style in general, the faux-typewritten label feels a little fragile. If you don’t like it, you can cut it off with a razor blade or turn it so the label faces a wall—the amber-colored jar looks lovely on its own. This candle isn’t the most intensely perfumed we tested, which may be a disappointment for those who enjoy a strong aroma. However, it has a more deep and subtle scent than most candles in this price range.
We also liked: The P.F. Candle Co. Golden Coast Standard Candle, which has undertones of wild sage, warm honey, and sea salt as well as a pine-forward aroma. Overall, we think the Amber & Moss is more intricate and delightful, but this one is a fine substitute.
Tobacco Flower Form Candle made of Paddywax
Who this is for: Anyone looking for a delicate, smoky-sweet aroma in their house, as well as someone with an eye for stylish crockery.
The following are some of the reasons why it’s fantastic: The Paddywax Tobacco Flower Form Candle smells like orange, cinnamon, patchouli, clove, and sandalwood, and even though it doesn’t contain nicotine, its smoky-sweet scent is addictive. It inspires us to put on a bluegrass album and construct a patchwork quilt. Warm, spicy, earthy (but not musty), and floral, like a sprig of jasmine, the aroma is warm, spicy, earthy (but not musty), and slightly floral. This candle costs roughly $2.70 per ounce, and we think the vessel alone is well worth the money—solid, it’s attractive, and unbranded, with a matching ceramic top. You may simply repurpose it as a trinket container, or you can refill it with a fresh candle if you’re feeling crafty. The Paddywax candle lost 13 grams of wax in an hour of testing, therefore it should last roughly 26 hours, according to our calculations. This candle also has two wicks, which helps it burn more evenly due to its size. Sarah Kobos, a senior picture editor who grew up near the Paddywax factory in Nashville, said she loves all of the company’s candles and buys them whenever she visits.
Flaws but not dealbreakers: This scent isn’t as strong as some of our other recommendations, but it still creates a warm fragrant backdrop. It also has a messy pour, with a few stray wax ripples around the edges. However, we don’t think this is a big deal—if you let the wax melt all the way to the edges on the first burn, it should smooth things out.
The Paddywax Spanish Moss Form Candle has the same fantastic vessel as the Tobacco Flower candle, but with a different geometric design and a green glaze instead of white. This one is even more effective. It smells like melon, honeysuckle, bee pollen, rainwater, marsh grass thickets, and crawling vines to us.
Apotheke Candle with Charcoal
The Apotheke Charcoal Candle has a subtle smell, an elegant look, and one of the longest burn periods of any of our recommendations.
Who this is for: Anyone who wants to re-create the atmosphere of a trendy restaurant or boutique hotel without spending more than $40.
The following are some of the reasons why it’s fantastic: After a hard rain, the Apotheke Charcoal Candle smells like burnt sandalwood and cedar. It’s really aromatic, but not too strong or overbearing. This candle, like our pick from Peacesake, comes in a matte-black container that hides soot streaks, fingerprints, and other smudges. It’s fashioned of black wax, which gives it a monochrome aesthetic that’s both modern and timeless. This candle, aside from the Voluspa, has the best burn period (39 hours, according to our estimates) of all of our options, shedding only 8 grams of wax in an hour of testing. The wick appears to be well centered in the jar, and the soy-blend wax is cleanly poured.
Flaws but not dealbreakers: We wish this candle had a lid or dust cover, as much as we appreciate the way it looks. Even though the vessel might theoretically be used to house pencils or beauty brushes, it doesn’t appear to be designed for that purpose.
The Apotheke Earl Grey Bitters Candle is just as beautifully made and elegantly designed as the Charcoal, albeit the frosted glass displays more soot and smudges than the black vessel. The smells of herbaceous bitters and zesty bergamot are also present, and the scent has a luscious creaminess to it. It’d be ideal for someone who loves a more subtle scent.
Brooklyn Candle Studio, Minimalist Palo Santo Candle
Who this is for: Anyone who enjoys the heavy aroma of palo santo but prefers to burn candles rather than wood chips.
The following are some of the reasons why it’s fantastic: The Palo Santo Minimalist Candle from Brooklyn Candle Studio has a strong scent that resembles a fat shard of palo santo, a fragrant wood native to Latin America. The front end has a sweet, minty, fruity freshness to it, while the back end has a harsh, smoky ashiness to it. It’s the kind of perfume that transports you right away. This one comes in a reusable glass jar with a brass cover, much like our P.F. Candle choice. The jar itself is simple but attractive, and the label has an apothecary-like feel to it. The soy wax is evenly and cleanly poured, the wick is nicely centered, and the candle burns evenly and cleanly.
Flaws but not dealbreakers: Unfortunately, this candle has the shortest burn period of any of our picks—roughly 13 hours. During our tests, it lost 17 grams of wax in an hour, which is around the weight of a tablespoon of kosher salt. In that time frame, only the one from Yankee Candle burned through its wax faster. Furthermore, while we like the label’s appearance and feel, its shiny white surface will certainly attract fingerprints and smudges. We’ll happily overlook those flaws because this candle has such a lovely scent and is just $30.
We also liked: We wish the streets of Brooklyn smelt like the namesake Brooklyn Escapist Candle from Brooklyn Candle Studio. It’s fun to imagine yourself in the shady, verdant backyard of a multimillion-dollar townhouse while burning this candle. There’s a lot of leather and florals in this smell, and while it’s strong, it’s not overpowering. Although we love the aroma of our BCS pick, this one isn’t far behind.
Baltic Amber Large Jar Candle by Voluspa
This Voluspa candle is extremely aromatic, with a resinous, warm, and inviting scent. It has the longest burn period of any of our choices and is less expensive per ounce than the majority of the candles we examined.
Who this is for: Someone who enjoys large, bold aromas and frequently burns candles.
The following are some of the reasons why it’s fantastic: Warm, spicy, woodsy, resiny, and musky, with a hint of freshness at the end, the Voluspa Baltic Amber Large Jar Candle has a thick, enveloping aroma. It’s one of the largest candles we tried, weighing in at 18 ounces, and packaged in a sturdy glass jar with a metal lid that suctions on to establish a tight seal. The vessel is elegant and intricately patterned, and it may be easily cleaned and reused. The wick is well centered, and the coconut-based wax is cleanly poured. This candle lost only 9 grams of wax in an hour during our melt test, giving it the longest calculated burn period (57 hours) of any we tested. It’s also one of the cheapest candles we tested, at $1.70 per ounce, and we think it has more smell depth than most candles in this price range. The candles from Voluspa are inexpensive, but “they don’t smell basic,” according to picture editor Michael Murtaugh. “Those who enjoy the giant Yankee Candles should upgrade to these.” There’s also an absurdly large, 123-ounce version if you decide you really like it.
Flaws but not dealbreakers: This candle’s major flaw is that it only has one wick, which can cause it to burn unevenly due to its size. Furthermore, because the perfume is so warm and syrupy, it might become uncomfortable after a while, particularly in a small, enclosed room.
We also enjoyed: It was difficult to choose between the Baltic Amber and the Voluspa French Cade Lavender Large Jar Candles, since both aromas wowed us (especially given their low cost per ounce, which was second only to Project 62 candles). This candle doesn’t smell like any lavender we’ve ever smelled, but it’s nonetheless exquisite, and the perfume lasts a long time in a space. It smells like powdered soap, freshly laundered linens, and new leather.
Fresh and floral candles are among our favorites.
Candle Keap Lavender + Petals
Who this is for: Someone with a little spare cash and a soft spot for the aroma of fresh flowers, as well as someone who could use an additional rocks glass for their bar cart.
The following are some of the reasons why it’s fantastic: The Keap Lavender + Petals Candle smells perfectly like a field of lavender with your nose buried in a bouquet of peonies (we imagine). Despite its small size, this candle’s aroma was able to fill a space with ease. In our wax-melt testing, this candle performed admirably: it shed only 9 grams in an hour, resulting in a predicted burn time of 23 hours. The vessel has a pleasing squat shape and heaviness, whereas most glass containers are flimsy and inexpensive. Editor Josh Lyon has had a Keap membership on and off for several years, and he enjoys cleaning out the empty vessels and repurposing them as whiskey tumblers (after removing the labels, which are easy to remove because they don’t utilize adhesives). As an added bonus, of all the candles we evaluated, this one comes in some of the most durable packaging—all of which is plastic-free!—making it more likely to arrive undamaged.
Flaws but not dealbreakers: Keap candles are the most expensive we examined, at roughly $7 per ounce (or around $5 per ounce if you subscribe on a monthly basis). However, we believe that the extra cost is justified due to the long burn period and strong smell. Also, while the Keap candle does not come with a lid, it does come with a paper dust cover that can be used in between burns.
We also enjoyed: We intend to burn the Keap Wood Cabin Candle throughout the winter (if it lasts until then). It produces a vibrant fragrant landscape, with woodsmoke at the center and notes of lush evergreen boughs, freshly cut firewood, and moss-covered bark surrounding it. The scratchiness of a Pendleton wool blanket draped over your shoulders is practically palpable. Even if smoky scents irritate your throat and make your eyes water, like the Serenity by Jan bonfire-scented candle featured in The Office’s infamous “Dinner Party” episode, you might enjoy this candle.
Candle for the Daybed in Otherland
Who it’s for: Anyone with a playful, modern sense of style—and a penchant for roses. (It’s especially useful for travel or gift-giving because of the airtight lid.)
The following are some of the reasons why it’s fantastic: The Otherland Daybed Candle is everything but subtle. It smells like a rosebush in full bloom, and it’ll knock your socks off. The vessel, like the powerful smell, is not a wallflower. It’s constructed of white ceramic and has an exuberant yet refined magenta paper label, and it appears to be weighty, strong, and stylish enough to reuse. The lid suctions onto the top of the candle to help lock in the scent, and it also serves as a drink coaster when removed. The wax appears to have been neatly poured, and the wick is centered. During our testing, this candle lost 12 grams of wax in an hour, giving it a calculated burn time of 19 hours. You may acquire it as part of a “choose your own” collection of three candles for $90 if you want to try a few different aromas.
Flaws but not deal breakers: This candle is a little pricey (out of our picks, only Boy Smells and Keap candles cost more per ounce). However, we believe the price is justified due to the high-quality materials and craftsmanship.
We also liked: The Otherland Canopy Candle smells much like the Daybed and comes in the same beautiful jar. Everything a forest canopy should be: lush, verdant, luscious, grassy, cool, and meditative. We had a little more fun with our pick’s loud blooms, but just slightly.
Project 62 (Target) Ceramic Wellness Candle with Lavender and Eucalyptus
Who this is for: Someone who prefers a light, neutral aroma (because to allergies or migraines, or simply personal preference) and a reusable container.
The following are some of the reasons why it’s fantastic: The Project 62 Lavender + Eucalyptus Ceramic Wellness Candle from Target smells quite similar to real lavender and eucalyptus, albeit the eucalyptus’s mintiness is more of an afternote. This candle smells slightly soapy and powdery, so it’d be great in a bathroom, and it has a more delicate perfume than most of our recommendations. This candle performed admirably in our melt test, losing only 7 grams of wax in an hour, and we anticipate a 37-hour burn time based on our calculations. The fact that the container is unbranded (the label is a paper circlet that can be readily removed) makes it repurposed appealing. It’s also the only Target order that arrived completely undamaged, indicating that the ceramic is more durable than others (the other Target-exclusive candles we tested, from Threshold and Hearth and Hand, were damaged in transit). To top it off, this candle is the cheapest of the bunch, costing only $1.10 per ounce.
Flaws but not deal breakers: Because there is no lid on this candle, dust can easily gather on the surface, and the aroma may fade faster in storage. In addition, the container’s bottom has a rough texture that appears to damage furniture. Finally, the quality control on this candle appears to be lacking—the wick on ours was off-center, and the wax pour was sloppy around the borders. However, given the low price, these minor flaws are easily overlooked.
We also liked: Target’s Project 62 Aloe + Bergamot Ceramic Wellness Candle, like the Lavender + Eucalyptus candle, is perfect for folks who prefer a faint aroma. Its unbranded cement container, which begs to be repurposed as a succulent planter, is also one of our favorites. However, we like our option because the perfume has a touch too much vanilla for our liking.
Mala the Brand Cereal Candle is one of our favorite sweet and zesty candles.
This soy-based candle is a refined take on Froot Loops (yeah, you read that correctly), and it comes with a wooden or cotton wick option.
Who this is for: Someone with a refined sense of scent to match their refined sense of humor.
The following are some of the reasons why it’s fantastic: Mala the Brand’s Cereal Candle smells precisely like your favorite sweet cereal (think Froot Loops, Fruity Pebbles, or Trix) if it were designed by a skilled perfumer. “It smells just like Froot Loops,” said video producer Nikki Duong, “which sounds strange but is so, so wonderful and soothing and nostalgic.” The aroma is fruity, floral, and creamy, and the container (a miniature paint can) is whimsical and quirky. You get to enjoy the soothing, comfortable sizzling sound of the wooden wick (or, if you prefer, a cotton-wick variation) even after your nose has tuned out the aroma. In our melt test, this candle performed admirably, shedding only 7 ounces of wax in an hour, giving it a predicted burn time of 32 hours. The wax in the candle we examined is a soy blend that was carefully poured. The wick is perfectly centered, and you won’t have to trim it if you choose the hardwood wick. In addition, for every purchase, the company plants a tree. When you check out, you can select your preferred packing (a reusable cloth bag or a cardboard box). The metal vessel can also be recycled, repurposed, or returned to the manufacturer for re-use.
This candle has flaws but they aren’t deal breakers: it costs $4.40 per ounce (from our testing pool, only the Otherland, Boy Smells, and Keap candles cost more). It also boasts the quickest return policy of our recommendations, with only four days to return it if it was damaged in shipment.
We also enjoyed the following: Clean Cotton Candle by Mala the Brand smells exactly like laundry—detergent suds, dryer sheets, and (as the name says) freshly washed cotton sheets. It’s less nostalgic and whimsical than Cereal, and a little more astringent. However, if the smell of freshly laundered bedding brings you delight, this is the candle for you.
Neroli & Musk Sanctuary Candle by Peacesake
This is for someone who enjoys zesty flowery scents (as anyone who watched the final round of the 2021 Scripps National Spelling Bee knows, neroli oil is derived from bitter-orange blossoms). Although this candle may easily be classified as “woodsy” or “floral,” we believe the brilliant, opulent notes of neroli set it apart.
Why it’s great: The Peacesake Neroli & Musk Sanctuary Candle is one of our favorites. We can’t get enough of the scent, which reminds us of the ruins of a large house overrun with jasmine (perhaps after a light rain), and we can’t get enough of it. The scent is strong and refined, with notes of orange flower, petitgrain, neroli, and jasmine that blend well with the musk and cedar base. The wax is soy-based and neatly poured, with a well-centered wick. It was 12 grams lighter after an hour of burning in our melt test, giving it a calculated burn time of 20 hours. The vessel is made of matte-black, thick recycled glass that feels durable and robust, and it’s elegant enough to be reused as a junk drawer. The black color of this vessel, like that of the Boy Smells vessel, helps to cover soot streaking, and its matte texture hides fingerprints better. The cork stopper is tasteful but useful, and the label is one of the most attractive we’ve seen (though it’s easy to peel off if you want to remove it).
Flaws but not dealbreakers: This candle isn’t inexpensive at $4.20 per ounce, but we think the nuanced smell and reusable bottle make it well worth the money. Also, after a few weeks of use, the lid on ours began to crack around the edges, which is frustrating but not uncommon for cork (and we like that it’s a biodegradable material).