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Winter weather is officially here – yes, even for TQE’s California-based contingency. We’re turning to our favorite candles for (metaphorical) warmth. Hygge, if you will.
Inspired by rapid-fire Slack messages circulating our team’s top cozy candle picks, we wanted to share our favorites with you, too. From editors who have tried practically every candle from every brand, read on to learn which ones we’re burning down to the last remaining bit of wick.
Diptyque Baeis, from $40
I am a candle fanatic. Just yesterday, I received two separate texts requesting my “favorite fragrant candle recommendations.” People often tell me they can smell my apartment before they get to the door – just by sense memory. My go-to candle, which does no wrong for any olfactory taste or season, is Diptyque’s Baeis. This isn’t a novel pick, but it’s tried and true, and worth its price. The blackcurrant and rose notes are strong and slightly intoxicating in the best way, and the potent scent permeates a room – making it a cost-effective burn. Yes, I’ve tried the “dupes,” and no, they don’t smell quite the same (they’re often too saccharine, and lack the Diptyque candle’s ideal throw).
YIELD Scarpa, from $12
A new contender and favorite for my bedroom is the Scarpa Candle from YIELD. The intermingling of palo santo and vetiver creates a scent that’s grounding and a little seductive while still feeling light and airy – particularly delicious when it’s raining out.
Scott: EDITION Hotel Candle, $80
I remember it like yesterday. I first discovered my obsession with this scent walking through the lobby of Ian Schrager’s Miami Beach EDITION. His footprint has expanded to locations in New York and Los Angeles since then, and the smell of each hotel is simply intoxicating. It will be in my forever candle rotation -- it's that good.
Umama: Birthdate Candle, $48
My Birthdate Candle just gets me. From the custom signature scent of sage, jasmine and Palo Santo to the tarot card reading, my inner Sep 1 Virgo loves this candle. It’s become a morning ritual of mine to light the candle, use the tarot cards to lead my journal prompts and feel calmness in my day. The natural soy and coconut wax blend has an impeccable 60-80 hour burn time that's packed into a compact reusable glass. The aesthetic matches the neutrals in my living room. Plus it's always a conversation starter with my friends reading the label and agreeing, “Yup, this is you.” Now I gift it to all my friends. Simple and personal.
Sarah: Snif and Hotel Lobby
Snif Instant Karma, $42
When the colder weather hits, I immediately have to transition my apartment into a cozy winter escape. This means smokey red wines, fluffy blankets, holiday movies and woodsy candles. A warm and dreamy scent, Instant Karma is an aromatic blend of cardamom, nashi pear, black plum, geranium vetiver, cedarwood, and black tea. Known for its try-before-you-buy model, Snif makes buying fragrances (and now candles) easy. With its bundled at-home experience, you can test each candle for seven days. Keep what you want and send back what you don't – but, be warned, you just might end up loving all three. Each candle burns for 60 hours and Snif only uses premium fragrances with a high-end blend of soy and vegetable wax that is non-toxic, paraffin-free, vegan, and cruelty-free.
Wishing you were on a beach soaking up the sun? We've all had those escapist moments, dreaming of a five-star beach resort vacation. While this candle doesn't come with an all-inclusive pass to a swim-up bar, it will make your home smell like the hotel lobby of a luxury Miami Hotel. Inspired by some of the world's most coveted travel destinations, Hotel Lobby Candle specifically designs each fragrance to be reminiscent of its corresponding locale. I personally love each of the HLC candles that I have, but Miami is an all-time favorite with notes of bergamot, white petals and green citrus, as well as cedar, patchouli, and exotic amber.
Lauren: Hannah Candle by Bonam Kim, $98
Auralie is a Seattle-based retailer that offers a curated mix of slow fashion brands, and focuses on the way design can embody a tool for us to explore and express ourselves. Via their edited marketplace, I discovered the Hannah Candle from Bonam Kim. Made from 100% organic bee and soy wax with an 8-hour burn, this candle is sure to bring in the "feminine divine" energy and elevate any space.
Tiffany: Boy Smells Rhubarb Smoke, $39
There are a gazillion cool candle companies on the market right now. But when you want an olfactory experience, look no further than Boy Smells, which hand-pours coconut and beeswax blends to craft candles with gorgeous, gender-neutral scents (the brand prefers to use the term “genderful” to describe its desire to accept all expressions of identity and celebrate everyone). Packaged in a reflective purple tumbler, the Rhubarb Smoke candle encapsulates Boy Smells' ethos—a rich yet playful mix of traditionally masculine and feminine fragrances like wild fig, incense, rhubarb, tobacco, violet leaves, tanned leather, black tea, patchouli, birch, and smoked papyrus.
Rosemary: Calyan Wax Co. Oakmass + Amber, $27
This may be a normal human trait, but smells are so impactful to my overall mood. I am a sucker for a nice sultry yet fresh scent that immediately fills the room-- and Calyan's Oakmoss + Amber candle is just that. It's warm, but not spicy. It's fresh, but doesn't smell like laundry detergent. Plus, the candle's cold throw (pardon my candle lingo) is just delightful. Every once in a while I will move around my room and get a gentle whiff of the deep sandalwood and bright citrus when it's not even lit. Plus, 5% of your candle purchase goes towards anti-trafficking initiatives across the country. A purchase that truly does good.
Kaleigh: Cancelled Plans French Exit, $32
Every time I light this candle I feel like a fancy lady. The scent is just…expensive. Burns clean, powerful scent, and blends in with any decor.
Lillie: ESPELMA Fig Candle, $135
There are three things I look for when choosing a candle – smell (duh!), style, and sustainability. This Fig Tree refillable candle from ESPELMA gets a 3/3 from me. I'd describe this scent as fresh pear and fig notes that create a woody scent with a fruity balance. Chic, minimalist and timeless, this candle looks incredible on my coffee table. To top it all off, you can purchase wax refillables in the scent of your choice so you can continue to use the handmade glass it came in. I'm truly obsessed and can’t get enough!
Grace: Ritual and Fancy Candle, $34
These flower-embedded candles from Ritual and Fancy from MadeTrade are absolutely gorgeous. These small batch handcrafted pours feature one-of-a-kind floral designs that smell as good as they look (with pure aromatherapy essential oils.) Something about having botanicals embedded in the wax, and a wooden wick, makes them feel special and unique -- plus, MadeTrade only carries brands that are eco-friendly, ethical, and sustainable.
Kristen: Spoken Flames Candle, $34
These candles are truly a sensory delight for everyone! Receive the box, light the wick, and pull up your Instagram app to get the full experience. Using the brand's custom IG filter, scan the associated candle to hear affirmations in real time via augmented reality. Each candle is naturally made with coconut wax, hand-poured in NYC, has soft-cracking wooden wicks, and a unique, golden shimmer (my favorite part!). Plus, they're generously scented for a full immersive experience.
Head over to @thequalityedit to let us know your favorites, or shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re eager to hear about your scent-sational picks – and will gladly test the ones you’re curious about pre-purchase.