Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Did You Know? Highly Fragranced Candles

Candle competition is fierce. Oh, you may not believe it given that candles are a frivolous luxury to most. But there are a lot of candle manufacturers out there, as well as independent chandlers, and it's not surprising that people think a candle is a candle is a candle.

One factor in candle choice is fragrance. The fragrances available to candle makers are outstanding, from realistic bakery scents to natural florals and spices. If you are shopping for a candle (or several) based on scent, please proceed cautiously.

It's easy to go to a store or boutique or craft show, see a candle you like, and give it a whiff. Mmm, that smells delicious! But be aware that candles with an intense fragrance when not lit may well be overloaded with fragrance oil.

You see, candle fragrance oils are designed to throw their scents when warm. That puddle of liquid wax in the center of the candle while it's burning is called the melt pool. It's the hot wax that allows the fragrance oil to flourish and throw its scent throughout the room.

If a candle has an intense cold throw (scent given off when candle is not lit) it could be it is overloaded with fragrance oil.  This makes shopping for a candle easier for some, but it also means the candle could smoke more while burning due to excessive oil in the wax.  (This isn't to say a candle should have no scent when it isn't burning, but it should not be overpowering.)

So when you're shopping for candles and you don't think the fragrance is strong enough off the shelf remember the scent will intensify in the candle's melt pool.  A responsible candle maker will include enough fragrance oil to scent a room beautifully when the candle is lit, but not so much to cause excessive smoking.

Shameless plug:  I pay special attention to the amount of fragrance oil I put into every candle sold at Auntie B's Wax.  It may not be the strongest smelling candle off the shelf, but my melt pools are to die for.

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