Unlike pot pourri and bath salts (straight into the charity shop bag, thank you very much Gran), there’s something about scented candles that’s still a little bit spesh. They look pretty and if you spend a bit more, they shouldn’t give you a migraine: bonus. Sales are booming too – Achica, the online luxury store, says sales went up 80% between 2011 and 2012.
Diptyque and Jo Malone are the pioneers of room fragrance, but if buying Irish is your thing, your luck is in. We have become one of the most prolific purveyors of scented candles in Europe. Sure we’re a veritable wax haven.
Here are seven whiffy waxes you won’t want to evade.
- Wicklow-based Max Benjamin is the Daddy wax and one of our best-known brands, each season churning out new flavours to enjoy, in the simplest of packaging. They’re paraffin-free and made of soy bean wax blended with sustainable waxes such as canola, beeswax, and coconut. The latest yummy scent is Winter Tree & Moss.
- Sinead O’Connor (no, not that one) of Amie Organics (very top pic) makes natural vegan hand-poured candles using essential oils rather than fragrance oils. Her packaging is just dotey and the blends include delish combos such as Mandarin, Vanilla, Cinnamon & Ginger and Lemongrass & Sweet Orange Oil.
- The newest blender on the block is the work not of candle makers, but interior design duo Joseph Ensko and Helen Roden. The Georgian Collection is intended to transport you to 18th century Georgian Ireland and each scent is reminiscent of five different rooms of an Irish country house. The handmade candles are blended using oils and all-natural soy wax and they have lead-free wicks.
- La Bougie Candles are made using essential oils and aromatics at perfumer Lucy Hagerty’s chandlery in West Cork. The Sage & Bitter Orange one uses extracts from every part of the orange tree with sage and juniper added – the whole thing is meant to remind us of the olde worlde barbershops in Lucy’s folks’ hometown in Italy, dontyaknow.
- Cloon Keen Atelier is all about the poshness. The jars are bold and impressive, like something you’d expect in a swanky hotel, and with blends such as Green Leaves, Fig, Amber & Wood and Mint, Blackcurrant, Rose, Moss & Musk, these remind me of Parisian maker Diptyque’s offerings more than any other on the market. They’re made in Galway.
- Bog Standard from Co Down has hippy-dippy packaging for the cupcake generation, and despite the name (misleadingly derogatory, methinks) the product is interesting with Oirish-inspired varieties such as Irish linen, orchard, clover, rose, field and hedgerow. They do mini and normal-sized candles and are 7% fragranced, compared with an industry standard of 3%.
- Brooke & Shoals – just how elegant is double-barrel branding, eh? The packaging is smart to match and these candles are made with high levels of both fragrance oils and essential oils, with a natural soy wax. There’s a floral range, a citrus range and a Christmas range, and my fave is the relaxing Neroli & Lavender, which is divine for the boudoir.