Flickering candlelight – there’s nothing like it to bring warmth, romance and life to a room.
As we transition from cosy nights in to entertaining for spring outdoors, lighting candles lifts the spirits. They’re so hot right now, there’s even a new kind of consultant whose job it is to create signature scents for the capital’s high-end homes.
These “scent concierges” are in demand at the moment. Beauty expert and “A-list nose” Alexandra Soveral is one of them – she created a range for the shared spaces at the Buxmead development on the Bishops Avenue, one of the most expensive streets in the world. Even interior designers, including Victoria Cator and Tom Dixon, have gone crazy for creating their own blends.
Shoppers are inundated with branded candles these days, but not all candles are created equal. “You want to look for two things: pure essential oils and natural wax, such as soy wax,” Soveral says. Check the packaging, although manufacturers often use blends of different waxes together with natural and synthetic scents, so it’s hard to be certain.
As with aromatherapy, scented candles are said to improve mood and reduce stress. Candlemaker Sophie Clarkin of The Bird Box, says aromas simulate our primitive emotional responses. “The nose directly links into the limbic system, and anything we smell can trigger instinctual feelings, which can flood us with memories,” she says.
Clarkin says her husband was getting headaches from the expensive candles she was using around the house, which turned out to contain synthetic fragrances. When she couldn’t find an alternative, she decided to start The Bird Box (thebirdbox.com), which makes a range of organic soy wax candles with cotton wicks, scented with 100 per cent essential oils, from her small workshop in Berkshire (it’s located next to a nature reserve, hence “The Bird Box”).
With spring already in the air, what scents should we be thinking about? “In the daytime we want fresh herbal and citrus scents, but once the sun goes down I prefer romantic scents for the long warm evenings,” Soveral says. “Jasmine, patchouli, vetiver and cardomom are great scents, heady and mysterious.”
If you’re giving the gift of smell, consider which of the five basic scents would best suit the recipient: floral, citrus, spice, wood or musk? “The fragrance 99 per cent of people like is lavender and geranium rose,” says Clarkin or go for simple scents like orange blossom or verbena.
The current trend, says Victoria Cator (victoriacator.com), is for more unusual scent combinations. “I think oud and violet will be popular for spring and summer as people move away from singular scents,” she says.
If you really want to splash out, Buly 1803 has candles with no paraffin or petrochemicals, which sell for £118 a pop (including delivery, Buly1803.com). They’re a centrepiece in themselves that will have guests waxing lyrical about your fragrant hospitality.
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