We take candles VERY seriously here at Capsule, and now for the first time ever, we present to you CAPSULE’S SCENTED CANDLE AWARDS where we bring you the very best scented candles that deserve a spot in your home.
Editorial directors Kelly and Emma took on the insane job of sniffing just about every scented candle in the country to bring you this comprehensive list of 20 best scented candle award-winners, including our personal favourite picks, as well as the highly coveted People’s Choice Award, voted on by you on our Instagram page (@capsule_nz if you’re not following!)
With a wide range of scents, price points and vibes, we proudly present you with our first best scented candle awards!
THE BEST BOUGIE ONE – DIPTYQUE 34 BOULEVARD ST GERMAIN
This is what you want to burn on your first important date to show that you have both money and class (yes, candles really ARE that powerful). It’s subtle and fresh, with notes of fig leaves, damp moss and blackcurrant, making it just the right amount of sexy and bougie.
THE BEST ONE YOU CAN ALWAYS RELY ON – ECOYA VANILLA & TONKA BEAN
An update on a classic, the Ecoya Vanilla and Tonka Bean smells like dependability and cosiness. It is HYGGE in a jar – a yummy, creamy and gentle vanilla that somehow reminds you of your childhood but feels very **adult**. This one used to be straight vanilla until Ecoya updated it, and we’re so glad they have. An instant classic and a worthy edition to the best scented candles list!
THE BEST ONE ‘FOR HIM’ THAT’S ACTUALLY FOR YOU – MALIN + GOETZ DARK RUM
Husky smoky rum and leather gets lightened up with creamy vanilla. This smells like you’re on the set of Mad Men and Jon Hamm just poured you a scotch – something for everyone. That or a sexy pirate.
HIGHLY COMMENDED: THE BEST ONE ‘FOR HIM’ THAT’S ACTUALLY FOR YOU – NEVE WHISKEY WOOD SMOKE
Want to set a cosy vibe in one fell swoop? This is your cosy cabin – log fire, pipe (sure?), blankets and a red wine. The wooden wick also means you get a flickering flame AND a crackling sound. It’s a cottage in a candle and you’ll be singing Tennessee Whiskey involuntarily under your breath before you know it
THE BEST ONE THAT’S FLORAL BUT NOT TOOOO FLORAL – PAOLA PEAR & WHITE FREESIA
If you want to love florals but you are a bit afraid of florals, this is a gentle mix of freesia, lily of the valley and patchouli, mixed with pear and melon. On the scale of floral overload, this is like a gentle walk past a meadow, versus being smacked in the face with a bouquet.
THE BEST GROWN-UP FLORAL ONE – GLASSHOUSE FRAGRANCES FOREVER FLORENCE
You’re under the Tuscan sun, walking through a flower market, wearing some sort of white linen and carrying a basket of fresh fruit, laughing whimsically. If there was a candle that smelled like a Coastal Grandmother, it would be this (it’s actually wild peonies and lily with a bit of peach). Give this to everyone in your book club.
HIGHLY COMMENDED: THE BEST GROWN-UP FLORAL ONE – THE VIRTUE NARCOSIS
Described as ‘sensual and devastating in equal measure’, this is an alluring and dark floral blend – there’s rose, sure, but balanced with sichuan pepper just to keep things as non-grandmother as possible. It’s Bridgerton to Austen in terms of rose candles: It’s a big, bold scent. This candle has THROW – like, Dame Val level throw – so if you like your scents huge, this is your guy.
THE BEST ONE GOOD ENOUGH TO EAT – GLASSHOUSE FRAGRANCES A TAAHA AFFAIR
POV: You’re Charlie, in the chocolate factory, walking past a lake of molten caramel. If you have less of a sweet tooth and more of a sweet entire body (aww!) and you really like walking past Peter Alexander stores (yes THIS is that smell) then this is your heaven.
THE BEST ONE FOR SLEEP VIBES – LUSH SLEEPY
The famous Lush sleep/twilight fragrance! It’s the most peaceful blend of vanilla and lavender and it’s designed to send you off to a dreamy sleep. This candle is small, mighty (and very purple, which gives it mixed votes at Capsule) but if you’re all about setting your evening routine for bed time, this is a delightful addition.
THE BEST SEXY ONE – BYREDO BIBLIOTHÈQUE
‘This is what sex SHOULD smell like’ (Anonymous Capsule member). Designed to smell like old, wood-panelled libraries, it’s evocative and sensual, like you’re embarking on an illicit affair while wearing a trench coat in Paris and we’re sorry but that’s simply the vibe we want going into 2023.
HIGHLY COMMENDED: THE BEST SEXY ONE – LE LABO PALO SANTO 14
Every time we mentioned this one, we whispered *Palo Santo* because this is a candle that inspires reverence, for crying out loud. Both comforting and yet mystical, this mix of cedar wood and patchouli, with the addition of palo santo, a native Peruvian tree, is said to remove negativity and that dear friends is SEXY. Who amongst us doesn’t need this candle after the past few years?
THE BEST FRESH AND FUN ONE – HIVERN BLACK ORCHID AND CLOVE
Also inspired by wanderlust – ‘Incense rituals and warm-skinned rides through Seminyak fields’ – this is a more grown up and subtle fresh option if you like your scents fresh, but with a bit of a stronger base. Base notes of musk and cedar are jazzed up with lemon, clove and bergamot. Hivern is a Kiwi-owned company as well, so you can support local (while dreaming of Seminyak) and if you head to their website, all of their candles come with their own playlist for the perfect sensory experience. We’re looking forward to trying the other scents in their range!
HIGHLY COMMENDED: THE BEST FRESH AND FUN ONE – DUSK SPARKLING BELLINI FLORENCE
If you can’t be sipping a bellini while in Florence, this candle can at least get you there spiritually. This is ZESTY as hell, sweet but not too sweet and the sparkling notes make it pop. Plus, Dusk has this crazy candle technology that ‘freshens the air and banishes odours’, so is this basically a spring clean?
THE BEST SUMMERY ONE – KIP & CO SEA GYPSY
Firstly, wouldn’t we all want to be referred to as a ‘sea gypsy’? This is a big, summery blend of sea salt, native honey, eucalypt and beach sand to really make you feel like you’ve set your out of office, you’re taking off to the coast and you’re glamping indefinitely.
THE BEST ONE FOR WOO WOO – CRUSHES BURNT SAGE
Oh no! You’re called for a last minute coven and you’ve lost your sage stick? Or you need to exorcise a bad day (or date) out of your life? Who do you call???? THIS CANDLE. It’s ‘created to be cleansing and purifying’ and it feels like walking through a mossy woods in your gumboots (in a cape). It’s calming, it’s soothing, it’s zen in a candle.
THE BEST ONE YOU DON’T NEED TO LIGHT – ASHLEY & CO TUI AND KAHILI
The smell of posh bathrooms everywhere, this is a statement candle that just goes about its business whether you light it or not, the scent is THAT good. Ginger helps ground the lily, while the mix of sandalwood and mimosa keep it fun.
THE BEST TROPICAL ONE – CIRCA WATERMELON AND COCONUT
It can be a real risk to include a fruit scent in a candle but this is a risk that this candle takes on with ease, goddamnit, making your house like you’ve just sliced up the juciest, freshest watermelon (or made a watermelon and coconut mojito, a blend that sounds like something that surely should exist?) Absolutely divine.
THE BEST ONE FOR REMEMBERING – ECOYA CELEBRATION
The scent of warm vanilla and musk is both comforting and sentimental, without being cloying. ‘Warm’ is the perfect description of this candle, as it’s designed to be a candle for celebration and remembrance – to honour special occasions but also remember the people we never want to forget. If you’ve got someone who’s coming up to a special but also poignant day on their calendar, this would be a lovely gift.
THE PREMIUM AWARDS
EMMA’S PICK OF THE BUNCH – DUSK BURNT SUGAR AND BERGAMOT
This is what we imagine Nigella Lawson’s kitchen smells like. Delicious notes of vanilla, praline and chocolate are balanced by bergamot and violet for the MOST perfect blend. If I had a grown up Strawberry Shortcake doll (am I dating myself with that reference?), i would want it to smell like this.
KELLY’S PICK OF THE BUNCH – CIRCA OCEANIQUE
‘This candle smells like you’ve got your shit together.’ Did you know that was the energy that a summer candle could give you? Well, it is. Salty, breezy and beauty and clean – this is an early morning dip, bringing in your dry sheets from the washing line, gathering herbs from the herb garden. You are serene. And it’s just a scent that makes me smile every time I smell it, and isn’t that the best measure of the best scented candles? If i could have one of these in every room of my house, I would!
PEOPLE’S CHOICE, VOTED BY YOU – ECOYA VANILLA AND TONKA BEAN
We asked, you answered: On a poll conducted on our Instagram account asking for the best scented candles, we asked our readers and followers for their favourite scented candle, and the result was overwhelming. It seems everyone loves a classic.