I love a good candle.
They look so nice atop the fireplace and give off such a cosy glow when it’s cold and dark outside (yes I’m anticipating winter…) I love burning them all year round filling the house with a delicious homely scent.
While many candles are made from beeswax, and ergo a no-no for vegans, it is quite easy to find a range of plant-based options – from high end to more reasonably priced.
Starting with high end, I was delighted when I recently found out Diptique candles – probably the Rolls Royce of the scented candle world – are made from a manmade wax. On top of that, while the brand does make a range of skincare products, these are not tested on animals. I discovered this extremely welcome information while browsing the always excellent Logical Harmony blog.
While many of the scents from Diptique are amazing, I particularly like the Tuberose one (£42 standard size, £20 for the mini) which I can’t even really begin to describe in words. According to the brand: “Enigmatic and beguiling, this heady flower deploys its captivating sensuality at dusk.” That clears that up then…I find tuberose to have a scent reminiscent of lilies. This is not a powdery or sickly floral, more a heavier and sophisticated smell. While expensive, it dispenses the scent really well, filling the room and lingering after. It also carries the iconic Diptique label that adorns any setting well.
Next up is the White Company’s Fresh Fig candle. I tweeted the company regarding its animal testing policy, and someone tweeted back almost immediately with the requisite info, which was very pleasing as this product smells amazing. Another man-made wax (I believe this one is mineral-based) this candle is said to have a burn time of approximately 28 hours – not bad for its £20 price tag. Fig scents can vary – this is a very (as the name might suggest) ‘fresh’ one, with notes of fresh plants. As the White Company says: “This evocative scent is like sitting beneath a sun-warmed fig tree in Provence. Notes of fresh fig, succulent cassis, citrus and tomato-leaf give way to bracing vetivert and a touch of sweet lilac to create this year-round welcoming and elegant scent.” That sounds like a fair summation of a really well-priced and classic product.
For something completely different, and much sweeter, I like to burn the Pacifica Island Vanilla candle. Annoyingly enough, these are really inexpensive in the US – clocking in at around $5. Over here though, I had to fork out £18 in Holland and Barrett. It was worth it though, as I love the brand and its ethos. The entire company (which makes loads of body products and make-up) is entirely vegan – no animal secretions are ever used, and nothing is ever tested. According to Pacifica, this soya-based candle is: “Inspired by the unique magic of Tahitian vanilla, this sensual blend sets sweet and sultry vanilla absolute, with honey-jasmine notes and a touch of fruitiness, against a deep and beautiful base of tea.” While it is the sweetest of my picks, it’s not sickly-sweet. While the vanilla is strong, the tea base-note gives it a really interesting twist. This again is very effective at scenting a room quickly. Definitely one to try if you prefer less floral smells.
A real surprise buy was the Royal Botanical Garden’s Kew Fig and Rose candle – which I picked in up in none other than Sainsburys for the bargain price of £8, though it’s listed at £15 on Kew Garden’s own site. This is probably the most pungent of my selection – which is a good thing as it smells so delicious. Definitely a different fig-vibe from the White Company one, this soya-based candle has a much heavier and muskier scent. It quickly dispenses fragrance when lit, and also provides some localised fragrance when unlit (it is that strong). That could be off-putting for someone who doesn’t like strong smells, but most people seem to like this one.
My last pick is another soya-based candle – this time from quirky brand Temerity Jones. I love the look of the frosted glass with its retro font. Definitely a decorative piece as well as a sensory one. The scent of this one is Wild Rose and Cashmere which doesn’t sound very vegan, but I was assured by a salesperson that no actual cashmere was used in the creation of this candle! By far the most subtle scent – a light floral – this is great for people who don’t want anything overwhelming, but like a little whiff of something classic. It generally retails at between £7 and £10 (depending on where you buy it) and burns really evenly and slowly.