The 5 best fall candles

Confession: I am a candle lady. I almost constantly have one burning in my apartment, and I use them like aromatherapy, to enhance or boost my mood. As with perfume, there's a subtle seasonality to candles: in warmer weather, I go for lighter, more citrusy or floral fragrances, whereas in cooler weather, I want something more spicy and warm. To be honest, fall is my favorite season for many reasons—not for the pumpkin-spice clich├ęs, but I do love more substantial clothing (like sweaters and boots), food (give me a bowl of pasta, please), and, yes, scents—the warmer the better. I tend to gravitate toward anything rich and woody, and bonus points if it smells like a wood-burning fireplace, which, in my opinion, is one of the most cozy, comforting things ever. Now that it looks like we've had our last hot day of the year (knock on wood), here are my five favorite fall candles. 

Boy Smells Hinoki Fantome $36

Notes: Resin, hinoki, cardamom, jasmine, moss, guiac wood

Why I love it: Temples in Japan have a very distinct smoky incense smell, and while it's been 20 years since I've been to that country, this candle smells exactly like how I remember it. This one has a pretty potent throw (that's candle-speak for how strong the scent is), although I've found that like all Boy Smells candles, it can burn a little unevenly. I love firing up this one in the morning when I really need to focus on work, as there's something almost meditative about it. 

Mar Mar Los Angeles Mono No Aware $50 

Notes: Tobacco, vervaine

Why I love it: The name of this candle is a reference to a Japanese phrase (yes, Japan again!) that loosely translates as "happiness that something has happened mixed with sadness that it's over" and if that's not a beautiful complexity, then I don't know what is. Mar Mar is an amazing brand that employs adults with disabilities to pour their candles, and so far I have yet to find a scent of theirs that I haven't loved (North, my other favorite, almost perfectly captures the eucalyptus-and-jasmine essence of San Francisco). 

Diptyque Feu de Bois $72-$105

Notes: Woody

Why I love it: This candle tends to end up on every best-of list because it's straight-up iconic, but more importantly, it smells like a chic fireplace—in other words, that warm, dry, woody scent, minus any damp smokiness. Think of it as what it would be like if you burned some expensive firewood, like sycamore or cedar. This candle is pricey AF, but it's strong, and while there are a ton of imitators, nothing quite captures the air of luxury that this one does. 

Maison Louis Marie No. 4 Bois de Balincourt $36

Notes: Sandalwood, vetiver, amber wood

Why I love it: You could buy a Le Labo Santal 26 candle could buy this one, which smells exactly the same and is basically a third of the price. While the smoky-woody scent is best in autumn, I do burn this one year-round, and I end up going through several of these a year. I will say that the quality of this brand can be somewhat inconsistent—sometimes they burn unevenly and/or smoke like crazy, so make sure you always keep your wick trimmed. (For more tips on how to make your home smell like Le Labo Santal for less, check out this post.) 

NEST New York Hearth $46

Notes: Oud wood, frankincense, smoky embers

Why I love it: I jokingly call this "the poor woman's Feu de Bois," even though it's not remotely cheap (however still significantly less than FdB). Where FdB leans into more of a dry fireplace vibe, Hearth has a more prominent frankincense note, which makes it even better for the holidays, in my opinion. This candle is so magical, even the oud wood—an element that usually gives me a headache—smells good to me. And bonus points for the slight '70s vibe of its vessel, which reminds me of my childhood in the best possible way. 


Lovely said...

I'm a sucker for candles, and these are great suggestions.

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Tracy said...

I love a good candle! The Boy Smells ones are always so good!


Laura B said...

All of these candles sound amazing! And they are beautiful too! They would make great gifts!

Gail Is This Mutton? said...

Rich and woody sounds fantastic. I'm obsessed with oud. Thanks for linking.

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