Thursday 24 November 2016


One of the best times to write about fragrance is as we approach the festive season. Throughout the previous twelve months there will have been numerous launches and products, but during Christmas we fall back on some old favourites and maybe introduce a few new ones. With this in mind I've been working hard, honestly I have, to find this year's top five candles. Whether it's delicate, inspirational or even historical that you're looking for I think that I've found something for everyone. So, close the door, pass me a mince pie, reach for the matches and let that fragrant flicker combat the winter cold.

A surprise entry at fifth place is a candle that just missed last years list but is available online at Harrods this year. Estee Lauder’s Modern Muse is a whopping 283g for £40 so is a very impressive gift. It’s very true to the original scent and for a large single wick candle it burns surprisingly evenly. The strength of this candle is impressive, which might explain why I’ve got through three of these already this year, so it’s a “must have” on any Modern Muse lover’s Christmas list.

At number four we see my only “Christmas” candle choice this year. Jo Loves, the new company set up by Jo Malone, has again released their much-loved Christmas Trees. At £50 for 185g, the pine is wonderfully understated and the smoky amber is given a sweet touch thanks to a hint of dried fruits. The overall scent reminds me of midnight mass, a glass of port, and presents under the tree. It truly is the scent of Christmas, and the glass lid just adds that final touch of style that we've come to expect from Jo Malone. Christmas Trees is available online or directly from the Jo Loves boutique.

Guerlain’s exquisite Hiver en Russie makes its appearance at number three. Now this candle has been around for a while but it is often overlooked. The name translates as Russian Winter and the country’s palaces, samovars and religious ceremony inspired the fragrance. The mysterious black wax holds the scent of smokey tea, frankincense and a smooth amber wood. Hiver en Russie makes an interesting alternative to the usual “Christmas” aromas and is available from Selfridges and Harrods at £57 for 180g.

The penultimate place is taken by the famous “gift-giving” company Jo Malone London and their new fragrance Basil & Neroli. The candle has an Autumnal feel, with what can only be described as a boxing day freshness, and the aromatic quality from the basil mixes perfectly with an orange floral. It makes a wonderful change to the vanilla heavy offerings from most companies at this time of the year, and at £42 for 200g you can’t fail but to impress. Basil & Neroli is available online or from any Jo Malone London boutique.

The top spot for 2016 goes to a new company that won a well-deserved Fragrance Foundation Award at this year's ceremony. Marina Barcenilla Parfums, formerly The Perfume Garden, has released a range of candles that takes their inspiration from her award-winning fragrances. The Patchouli Flower candle has very quickly become a firm favourite with me, and I’ve reordered it twice already. With a blend of rose and ylang ylang over a richly flavoured patchouli and sandalwood base, it provides the most beautifully warming aroma. Patchouli Flower is £39 for 210g and is available from

Whichever candle you go for this year please remember to observe the instructions and NEVER leave a burning candle unattended! To read my candle list for 2015 you can click on the image below.

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