The best new scented candles to freshen a stuffy winter house

Nights in with toasty cashmere and patchouli, gunsmoke and cedar

As your granny may have phrased it, I am a demon for a scented candle. This love was inherited from my mother, who engaged in little personal indulgence but who always wore perfume and always had a candle burning at home in the evening. As I grew up and got my first summer job in a factory assembling Dell computers, and then working through university in various jobs, I got to experience the joy of buying her a nice candle for her birthday. I would put money aside for a high quality, beautifully scented one – the type she would never buy herself – and as a result, I still associate a good candle with comfort and with home.

While, like my mother, I tend not to buy very expensive candles for myself (why is it always easier to facilitate someone else’s indulgence rather than our own?), I do try to buy wisely. Cheaper brands use fragrant oils only towards the top of the candle, so they lose their potency as the wick burns through the wax. The real thing is powerfully fragranced for every second of burn time.

Nest is a US brand founded in 2008 that is new to Ireland. Its Mint & Eucalyptus candle (€45 at is the perfect fusty smell banisher. Occasionally, I'll go downstairs when I wake in the morning and feel accosted by the olfactory hangover of last night's dinner, or that slightly stale aroma that central heating and an old house conspire to pump out. In spring, life's less fresh smells can be remedied by throwing the windows wide, but in January it's another matter. This candle is crisp, clean and potent, and feels neither too sultry nor too full of itself for daytime burning.

Tom Ford Bitter Peach candle (€114 at Brown Thomas from February 10th) is a real indulgence, and really only for those with a spacious budget and an intense love of a scented candle. The fragrance is exquisitely flamboyant and juicy – the olfactory equivalent of wearing sequins on a Wednesday night. Think of crisp, biting peach, blood orange, rum and cognac nestled in a base of toasty cashmere and patchouli.


On the subject of indulgence, Balmain x Trudon candle (€120 at is the very thing. Balmain creative director Olivier Rousteing created this fragrance with perfumer Emilie Bouge. It is rich, nostalgic and bold with notes of cedarwood, gunpowder, cigar and a frisson of black rose. Rousteing famously fragrances his home and studio with Cire Trudon products, so it is an interesting collaboration.

If you're buying a candle as a gift and are unsure what the receiver may like, going woody is a safe bet. Bamford Ember Love candle (from €34 at is mellow, with delicious notes of woody smoke, cedar, frankincense and warm, buttery labdanum. It is a deeply comforting winter scent for nights in by the fire with a hot drink and a good book while the rain beats down outside.

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