Many of us are content with finding a favorite seasonal candle and relying on that fragrance to carry us through the calendar’s coldest months. Some of us may even buy two or three different scents to rotate in and out as the weeks go by. But for a select few of us, even that is not enough. We want a veritable plethora of seasonal candles, and we want to know exactly how to combine them into scent blends that transcend a single fragrance. We don’t want vanilla, apple, or bourbon—we want vanilla-apple-bourbon. And if takes lighting three candles at once to get there, that’s exactly what we’ll do.
If you fall into this category of immense candle commitment, odds are, you’ve already stocked up on your go-to scents of the season. At this point, you’re merely curious how to combine them. But combining candles isn’t always as simple as lighting two candles in conjunction. Some smells overpower others. Others are too subtle to blend. And some scents that seem like they’d play well together end up clashing when paired.
Believe it or not, there’s an art (or maybe a science) to pairing seasonal candles. And we reached out to Eduardo Valadez, diptyque Director of Marketing, to get the low-down on all things candle combining. Because there really are some classic candle combos that work every time, some experimental pairings that have the potential to surprise and delight you, and some questionable blends that are worth avoiding at all costs.
1. Stick with Mother Nature
“Think of combinations as you’d experience them in nature,” Valadez tells SheKnows. If two scents wouldn’t naturally occur together, they might not pair well. Alternately, if two fragrances are frequently found together in nature, they might combine magnificently.
One example of this? Fireside candles and amber candles. (Ditypque’s Feu de Bois/Ambre combination is one of Valadez’s favorites.) Fireside candles often boast smoky forest scents, while amber candles tend to offer notes of spice, greenery, and woodsiness. Many of the plants and trees these candles draw from are found together in nature, so it’s little surprise they blend magnificently in candle form.
2. Strike a balance
“You want to find a complement and balance,” Valadez says. While it may seem sensible to combine two powerful floral notes, their similarity (in scent and intensity) may cause them to clash. (“It may be too overpowering in a room,” Valadez notes.) You might be better off combining your floral note with something woodsy or green, Valadez says.
A perfect example of this? “Baies + Roses,” Valadez says. “This combination of green and tangy accents of freshly picked berries highlights the floral, gently spicy scent of fresh roses.” But other combinations work just as well. Valadez loves pairing fruity Pomander with smoky Feu de Bois for the same reason. And he says Santal and Tubereuse make a stunning combination, too, because “the velvety scent of the sandalwood, blends with the green, heady accents of tuberose.”
3. Go exploring
“By combining two scents you create a unique and personalized olfactory landscape,” Valadez says. “Without complicating [things], to each their own.”
Follow those basic guidelines—find scents that are similar enough to be found together in nature, but not so similar they’ll clash or compete—and start experimenting. If two fragrances seem like they’ll play well together, give the combination a try. Maybe you’ll discover they have overlapping notes—or contrasting notes that complement one another.
And if something doesn’t work, blow one of the candles out, and light another.
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