Aromas have the power to tap into the essence of human memory. Both the manufacturers of scented candles and those who buy them seek those fragrances that erode dark thoughts and replace them with the nostalgic recall of the past; the poignancy of lost youth and the warmth of home, family, comfort and hearth.
According to the National Candle Association, an estimated 75 to 80 percent of all candles sold in the United States are scented. Annual retail sales are estimated at approximately $3.2 billion. Currently, fragrance is the dominant factor affecting candle purchases. Manufacturers are closely allied with fragrance companies to insure that their candles will not only be competitive, but also burn pleasantly and safely. Consumers buy scented candles to enhance their home décor; reduce stress and to provide a channel for the aromatherapy.
Some facts about scented candles
The majority of scented candles are a blend of both natural and synthetic fragrances. Scents must be both appealing to consumers and monitored for safe candle use. Both those who manufacture scented candles and those who buy them are driven by one subliminal reality that is always at the forefront of both manufacture and sales. A fragrance always represents the sudden capture of a memory long faded into time. Its essence triggers the compulsion to buy that scent and keep it close.
Manufacturers carefully choose from more than 2,000 essential oils and aroma chemicals, each morphing into an integral layer of a new and unique scent. Major candle producers usually offer consumers a product line consisting of between 1,000 to 2,000 varieties of candle shapes, types and scents. Many safe fragrance materials are found in other scented products as well including: perfumes, bath soaps, lotions and shampoos.
Scented candles and aromatherapy
Research has indicated that when properly introduced into the environment, fragrances can greatly alter moods and emotions. Dating back some 5,000 years to the ancient Egyptians, fragrant essential oils were used in baths, massages, and the embalming process. Scents selected for aromatherapy stimulate the senses and provide soothing energy for the mind, body and spirit. With continued use, scented candles light the fragrant path to a state of well-being.
Scented candles and the work force
In Tokyo, Japan, scents are constantly used to improve productivity in the workplace. For one firm, this translates into a lemon scent in the morning; roses at midday to reduce stress and the scent of cypress in mid-afternoon as an energy-refresher. The scent of peppermint is part of the afternoon regimen at the Tokyo Stock Exchange as well.
Roger Howell, the Modern Merlin of Alpha Aromatics
Perhaps not as much of a wizard as Merlin, the fabled magician of King Arthur’s Court, Alpha Aromatics’ chief perfumer, Roger Howell, comes about as close as any mortal can get. More than thirty years of hands-on experience and expertise have made him an extraordinarily gifted and scientific perfumer. Vice President of Operations at Alpha Aromatics as well as Vice President of the American Society of Perfumers, Howell is the master of the fragrance universe, and he and his team have assembled the top 12 selling seats for candle manufacturers.
Citron Blossom Cassis
More of a masculine fragrance, this floral, dewy and sensual scent is perfect for intimate dinners and evenings by the fire. Cozy restaurants, ski lodges and other places that cater to winter sports and clientele might find their hotel guests unwilling to leave their rooms with this sexy scent wafting from strategically placed candles.
Beachwood Vetiver & Sea Spray Driftwood
One whiff and you are at the beach with your toes digging in the warm sand, even if you are freezing body parts off somewhere in the dead of winter! This blend of sweet smelling coconut, exotic vetiver oil and salty sea air tinged with eucalyptus, jasmine, sun-dried driftwood and tangy seaweed is a wonderful inducement for sales in stores selling soaps and lotions; salons, day spas; beauty and massage parlors; tables on small beach-side cafés and restaurants; in the lobby or waiting rooms of travel companies; doctors’ offices and even yoga studios. The scent is certain to evoke peace and warmth and serenity.
Huckleberry Sugar Blossom
This strong, mostly feminine scent evokes feelings of comfort, home and a cozy fireplace with the mouth-watering promise of huckleberry pie fresh from the oven. This fragrance is a combination of floral, citrus, brown sugar, a touch of fresh spice and caramel. Manufacturers might direct their marketing to specialty kitchen supply stores; small bakery/cafés and even to realtors to attract clients to the empty kitchens of vacant homes for sale.
Amber and Vanilla Blossom
The sweet scent of vanilla is definitely feminine and very sensual. Because it is so often a vital ingredient in scrumptious desserts of all kinds, the association with food is inescapable. Blended with rich, slightly sweet and earthy amber, this fragrance packs an emotional connection with warm holiday times is very powerful. For manufacturers and marketers, consider this for both private and office holiday parties; tables at intimate restaurants and cake and confectionary shops.
Red Currant Persimmon
Punchy, zesty, sweet and slightly tart, this aromatic herbal blend is tempered with floral notes of rose, jasmine and geranium, all of which evoke sensuality and relaxation. This candle scent would complement hair salons and spas; stores featuring bath supplies and possibly in the lobby of government offices such as the IRS while awaiting unwelcome questions about your most recent tax return. It would also fare well placed on a table or shelf in your own mud-room or entryway when expecting demanding houseguests you would rather send over to your neighbors. (This is especially potent during holiday times.)
Water Lily & Hyacinth
Victorians treasured the sweet and lingering scent of hyacinth, and this aroma gracefully melds with the fresh, slightly sweet and lemony fragrance of water lily. The fragrance is also a bit fruity with the slightest whisper of vanilla. This scent could be featured in specialty or gift shops selling all types of water-related products; both for sea and surf and one’s own bathtub or shower.
Sparkling Citron and Oak Barrel Vanilla
Sensual, calming and sweet notes of vanilla are blended into this complex scent with sharp notes of mulled fruit and warm wood. The touch of oak coupled with invigorating citron brightens moods and sharpens powers of concentration. Candles infused with this scent might fare well in busy offices with many distractions; home work areas and possibly lecture and study halls and libraries at universities.
Indonesian Patchouli Amber
A member of the mint family, true patchouli is velvety, woodsy, sweet and very sensual. When coupled with amber, which never stands alone in a fragrance, it takes on rich and earthy notes of vanilla; cedar-wood; sandalwood; frankincense and myrrh. This distinct scent has aspects that can appeal to both sexes. Marketers might consider featuring this scent on beauty and skin care counters in department and specialty stores; cosmetics, men’s toiletries and haberdashery.
Goji Berry Mango
The tartness of the goji berry, also known as the wolfberry, combines with Asia’s king of fruits to render a slightly sweet fragrance that is tropical, succulent and tinged with traces of peach and plum. Travel agencies promising vacations along the sunny shores of remote emerald beaches should consider placing a candle infused with this fragrance on the desks of all their agents to both suggest and inspire prospective clients.
Acai and Pomelo
Pomelo oil is a refreshing and energizing fragrance reminiscent of grapefruit. This citrus note brightens and uplifts both moods and surroundings. When coupled with the acai berry from the Amazon Rainforest, the resulting scent is uniquely sweet, light, tropical and fruity. Scented candles on the counter of book and specialty-card/stationery stores might enhance sales, as consumers must momentarily focus and at least scan the merchandise before purchasing.
Saltwater Sea Musk
This refreshing candle scent is one of summer, inspired by the natural refreshing aromas of the sea, the source of all life. Blended with the complex aroma of musk, this primarily masculine aroma takes on sensual, warm, spicy and woodsy animalistic notes. This fragrance is the perfect enhancement for marina-related businesses that sell dock space; fishing and tackle and/or beach apparel and supplies.
More than 10,000 diverse candle scents are available to American consumers. Candle manufacturers have the enormous task of creating, marketing and correlating their scents directly to the businesses they wish to attract. This requires subliminal manipulation to which consumers readily respond. They open their wallets to purchase that scent that takes them back to another time and place; to memories lost but now regained from the mists of times past.
Final thoughts on candles:
It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness. ~ Eleanor Roosevelt