The best scented candles for the summer season

My mother’s house always smelt beautifully of something-or-other burning gently on the coffee table

Scented candles were one of my mother’s few indulgences. Her house always smelt beautifully of something-or-other burning gently on the coffee table. While I have far too many indulgences, candles are one of the small joys that connect me to my mother. I hoard them on a shelf under the dresser, but not in the classic sense of hoarding. They aren’t stored unused or covetously kept for “special occasions”. Being alive is a special occasion, so I always have a candle on the go. The hoarding comes from a fear of running out, so there will be one burning in the livingroom and three or four backups waiting valiantly on the shelf to be drafted.

As a result, I am perpetually on the hunt for the best new candles. Molton Brown Black Pepper Re-Charge Signature Candle (€68 at Molton Brown stores and online) is one of them.

I’ll opt for a different candle depending on my mood and needs. Sometimes, the house has a slightly stuffy, heavy feel that needs to be counteracted if there isn’t time to dust or weather to throw the windows open for the afternoon. This fragrance is spicy and will redeem a drab environment quickly. It screams neither summer nor winter, and just feels homely.

The Handmade Soap Co Lavender, Rosemary, Thyme & Mint Candle (€20 at is not new, but it is one of the best. I buy and burn this Irish candle regularly, and it has an herbaceous, clean scent that really lifts a room. I love it for daytime, especially if people are visiting. It will always garner compliments.


If you are looking for a candle that unrelentingly screams summer but doesn’t feel too obvious or insubstantial, try Nest New York Gray Malin Ocean Mist & Sea Salt Classic Candle (€55 at

Nest is new to Ireland through Cult Beauty and the brand simply doesn’t make any bad candles. The scent is incredibly intense to the last drop. They burn slowly, evenly and come in pretty, reusable glass containers. This limited-edition candle evokes salty air and hot sun on bleached driftwood. It’s a summer house in a glass.

When I recently had the chance to corner a stylist known for directing beautiful interiors shoots and bother her with my questions, she confessed to loving an outdoor candle. I was intrigued by this most indulgent of all possible candle-related indulgences. When she has people over and sets the table for outdoor dining on a still, balmy night, she will scent the air with candles. The first thing that came to mind was my mother-in-law shouting “Am I paying to heat the street?” if you open the front door during winter. Then I recalled that candles are a gorgeous, fleeting sensorial experience anyway. Why not elevate a special dinner or outdoor space on one of the approximately four days a year when the weather will permit it?

Rituals The Ritual of Karma Garden Candle (€40 at Rituals stores and online) is bountiful, affordable for its size, and intensely scented for outdoor use and living indulgently this summer.

Product of the Week

Jo Malone London x Richard Quinn Tuberose Angelica Design Edition Ceramic Candle (€106 at Brown Thomas Grafton Street)

Laura Kennedy

Laura Kennedy

Laura Kennedy, a contributor to The Irish Times, writes about beauty