Monday 16 May 2022

COTTAGE GARDEN by Karen Timson

Karen Timson Cottage Garden Candle
One of the industries that has seen phenomenal growth in recent years has been candles. This was partly driven by individuals starting up during the pandemic as a way of earning extra money but, even with this now behind us, there doesn’t seem to be any sign of a slowdown. However, from expensive luxury brands to the more modest home kitchen ones, the selection of scents and their performance varies dramatically. This is why hunting out a truly excellent and versatile candle is always a challenge. Cottage Garden by Karen Timson is the latest to join an already saturated marketplace, but this one is pretty special.

Karen Timson is a name that niche fragrance fans will be familiar with, but candle collectors may not have heard of. She launched her company in February 2019 with a pair of fragrances based on Arthurian legend and followed this up with a further duo based on Grecian Gods and Goddesses. Her most recent scent, Rio del Rio, takes samba as its inspiration and promises to “inject some excitement and intrigue into your day”. The reasons behind Karen’s decision to launch her own brand centred around unfulfilled ambitions and personal triumphs, but her openness has also inspired women around the world.

Karen is a breast cancer survivor and, while many women find it hard to speak about the challenges, she has been incredibly open with her journey. It was partly this realisation of mortality that gave her the final push to train in perfumery and achieve an ambition that started in childhood. Karen had always had a love of scent, both around her and from her beloved fragrances, and so decided to train with John Stephens of The Cotswold Perfumery. John’s credits are expansive, and he was able to help her discover her particular style and also put in place the foundations for Karen Timson Fine Fragrance.

Karen Timson Cottage Garden Candle Box
So, why the sidestep to candles? Karen had previously already created a pair of candles in collaboration with another brand but, with 2022 being a year of new beginnings and fresh opportunities, she decided the time was right to launch two under her own name. Her goal was to release two candles that brought an element of relaxation and reflection to the home environment. However, in an unusual twist, they also had to have an uplifting quality as well. Bluebell Wood is the first release, and brings together the piercing floral with the grassy quality, but it’s Cottage Garden that I guarantee you’ll go mad for.

The fragrance of the candle is based around a traditional English garden but, from the outset, I want you to expand this idea to a slightly overgrown walled garden. You get a floral blend of rose, neroli and mock orange, so there’s a touch of jasmine within the scent, alongside an aromatic lavender. However, there’s a feeling that the sun is hitting the foliage and blooms, so there’s also the scent of green stems alongside an enveloping warmth. Now, that walled garden presents itself as a background aroma of dry frankincense, but it’s paired with a hint of ancient moss-covered steps to complete the scent. The candle has a wonderful throw, and a few of these inside a church or chapel would make the most incredible wedding fragrance.

Cottage Garden and Bluebell Wood are available from the Karen Timson website at priced at £30 for 300ml - the price will increase to £40 after the initial launch promotion. [Sample provided by Karen Timson]


  1. Hello Stephan, just the mention of John Stephens brought back memories of his 2 amazing scents that he created for Dukes of Pall Mall, many moons ago, so I'm guessing that Karen has had an amazing teacher.

    The candle sounds really different from the usual garden type ones that I've smelt in the past. Just from reading your vivid description, brought a picture of the garden to my mind. Sounds wonderful.

    1. Hello Barry, the scent definitely goes in a very different direction to the usual garden scented candles, and it's the overgrown aspect that I really love. Best, Stephan