Friday Post: A Way With Christmas Candles

Cire Trudon Nazareth Scented Candle

Living with a joy refusenik means Christmas has yet to make an appearance round my way. We have a wreath on the door and an open box of Cadbury’s Heroes but as yet no tree, fairy lights or Ocado order. There may be pastry-based snacks, but absolutely no carols or family members at any stage. Fortunately, said refusenik does appreciate a pretty smell, so as of today I’m firing up an ambient Christmas with the help of a mother lode of scented candles. When he’s woozy with opoponax, I’ll hit him up with some Bowie & Bing and he might just cave.
My partner-in-crime? Laurent Delafon of United Perfumes, possibly the most charming man in perfumery (yes, even more lovely than the last) and an expert in home fragrancing. Here’s what he has to say about scenting yours this Christmas…
‘You may want to bring in different smells at different times of the day, but you must always be careful not to overload your senses. It’s like make-up – if in doubt, less is always more. If you’re at all unsure, try walking out of the room and coming back five minutes later….you should notice the scent but not feel attacked by it.’ Apart from the obvious (burn on a flat surface, keep away from pets and children and never leave unattended…two of which I ignore on a regular basis) Laurent also offers the following tips, some of which I have actually noted, and can report that they do make a great deal of difference…Burn your candle away from drafts, open windows and doors and it will last far longer… Instead of blowing your candle out (which can produce an acrid smell and quite a bit of smoke) try drowning the tip of the wick in the liquid wax (but don’t forget to unbend it afterwards)… Trim your wick to roughly 1.5cms every time you re-light a candle, and the first time you set fire to a new one, wait until the whole surface turns liquid before you blow it out again ­– both will ensure an even burn.


On Christmas Eve… So what’s it to be, a quiet night in with The Baby Jesus, or a big ol’ fashioned booze up? If it’s the former, try an ecclesiastical blend of incense and precious woods, says Laurent. ‘Sandalwood and several other precious woods help with the release of serotonin – the hormone of happiness. It’s no wonder they were used so much in religious rituals.’ Cire Trudon Spiritus Sancti Scented Candle (£50) captures the smell of lingering incense on the old stones of a cathedral, or take your sandalwood straight up with Diptyque Santal Candle (£36). On a more secular tip, Laurent makes a case for the pomander notes of orange and mulled spice – try Cire Trudon Nazareth Scented Candle, £55), The Hype Noses Mon Bel Oranger Candle (£46 at or Laura Mercier Spiced Roast Chestnuts Candle (£25).

On Christmas Morning… Here, Laurent’s vote lies with light and citrusy scents. Apothia Plush Scented Candle (£30), G Baldwin & Co Geranium & Lemon Aromatherapy Candle (£6.09), and Jo Malone Lime, Basil & Mandarin Home Candle (£38) are all crisp, uplifting and energising, but not too stringent for a morning-after mood (should’ve stayed home with The Baby Jesus, huh?).

Cire Trudon

While You Eat… Or rather, not. ‘I think it’s a shame to burn scented candles during a meal – it distracts from the food and might be just a tad over-kill,’ warns Laurent. ‘However, I do think it creates a great atmosphere if you burn scented candles in the dining room before you serve the food, so light them earlier on in the evening and once your guests have arrived take the candles outside and put them out.’ Notes that will make way for your meal might be green tea, dry and subtle spices, or a spice and vetiver mix, says Laurent. Cire Trudon Abd El Kader Scented Candle (£50) has a heart of mint, ginger and clove, with lemon and spearmint and blackcurrant freshening up the top. Or try Jonathan Ward Idina’s Locket Organic Soy Candle (£30), with green leaves, cloves, cinnamon and bergamot.

After Eating… Clear postprandial perfumes with a scent that isn’t too strong but lingers delicately, says Laurant. ‘Spices and dry woody notes are good for getting rid of cooking smells and cigarette smoke, but florals are to be avoided at all costs!’ I must quiz Laurent on this one – too cloying perhaps? Anyhow, he loves the ‘striking’ mahogany and ginger of Apothia Soul Scented Candle (£30), and woodsy-spicy blends of Cire Trudon Pondichery, Carmelite or Empire (£50 each), or try the warm and tangy woods of Diptyque Feu de Bois Candle (£36) and Miller Harris Terre de Bois Scented Candle (£31)

Jo Malone

On New Year’s Day… Clean, serene and soothing are your watchwords. On Laurent’s list are encouraging aromas such as tea, vetiver, mint leaves and eucalyptus…and the Cire Trudon Dada Scented Candle (£50) has all of these. ‘A clever mix,’ says Laurent, ‘soothing yet uplifting and absolutely gorgeous.’  Also worth lighting your first match of the year for are Jo Malone White Jasmine & Mint Home Candle (£38) and Malin + Goetz Vetiver Candle (£34), or to clear an especially sore and sorry head try the straight-talking mix of menthol, eucalyptus, camphor in Cire Trudon Chandernagor (£50), or the cedarwood, eucalyptus and rosmemary blend of Elemis Cedarwood Spa Candle (£25).

One Response to “Friday Post: A Way With Christmas Candles”
  1. Helen says:

    He loves Christmas. He just can’t admit, lest his entire persona crumble around him. True facts. You’ll be pleased to hear my Christmas candle remains intact. I daren’t light it until Christmas Eve!

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