Vanilla, Bacon, and Gravy

The do’s and don’ts of scented candles

Lea Krusemeyer (She/Her) // Staff Writer
Chelle Lussi (she/he/they) // Illustrator

The stanchions are out again in front of Bath & Body Works in downtown Vancouver. That means it is time for candle talk. From what I learned over the last couple of years of being a candle girl, the more is not the merrier. It is better to decide on one nice scent and stick to that. In the candle business, it is important to go for quality over quantity.

The world of candle scents is a vast and diverse one, offering an array of options to suit everyone’s needs and desires. Let us explore the vast variety of candle scents and help you to find your perfect candle match. 

Beginning with an old classic and a favorite of mine — lavender. This scent does not just smell amazing, it also helps reduce stress and anxiety, as well as migraines and headaches. My grandma used to put a little branch of lavender under my pillow every night as a child, and  burning a candle with the same smell transports me right back into those cozy childhood memories. Lavender does have the tendency to help induce sleep, so I would advise lighting up those candles in the bedroom and not in the living room. 

For the living room, my year-round favorite, Vanilla. Vanilla-scented candles are a little more on the subtle side and can help with creating a calm and cozy atmosphere, perfect for movie nights or reading a book curled up in your favorite blanket. A personal favorite of mine is the vanilla-scented candle from Anthropologie, it is a little on the pricier side but it lasts a long time and I can assure you it is worth every penny. 

Now let us talk about some of the more modern candle creations. Last year at a friend’s house I smelled a London Fog candle for the first time and it made me want to pick it up and take a big sip right there and then. This also works for chai-scented candles or any other variation of tea. 

I did make the mistake of assuming that all warm drink-scented candles would be this amazing, and might have discovered the world’s most horrible smelling burning wick on that journey. On a cozy winter evening a few years back, I lit up a chocolate-scented candle and it is hard to describe the smell as anything other than sweet. All I could smell for hours on end was sweetness, like putting your head into a pot of melted sugar and taking deep breaths. This might sound like heaven to some, but for me, it was a nightmare. One trip to the garbage bin and a very long walk in fresh air later, I walked back into my house just to be greeted by the same smell lingering in the air. It took two days to get my house back to normal. Don’t be like me, save your house from chocolate candles.

Light up some flowery scented candles instead — they might not immediately scream holiday, but traditions can be bent and no one is the candle police and can tell you what you should or should not be burning this winter season. A nice rose or lilac scent while you are getting ready to start your day, sipping your coffee will surely put you in a good mood. 

Now, before I let you turn the page and enjoy the next article, I must give one more warning. Do not buy any kind of candle that is food-scented. Bacon, chicken, turkey, or gravy— sadly I have seen all of those as options over the years and they have all disappointed. Who wants to lay in bed surrounded by the heavy smell of gravy all night? These smells have a nauseating effect and create an environment that is the opposite of calming or cozy. 

In the world of growing candle enthusiasts, everyone is entitled to make their own mistakes and discover what burns well for themselves. However, if I can stop even one chocolate-scented disaster, I have done my duty.

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