Believe me, I understand just how much the Internet does not need a blog post making candle recommendations. But I also understand that it is the small things that bring the most joy, and I’ve had this list of small(ish) candle companies I love and regularly shop from at the ready to share for a while, so here we are.
I love a Diptyque or a Trudon as much as the next person willing to spend too much on wax that liquifies at the light of a match, but there is a special kind of warm fuzzy ignited in my bones when I’m burning something that feels less known. Isn’t it funny how discovering scents that feel signature to us is such a buoying feeling? Here are three smaller candle makers I recommend:
I discovered Flamingo Estate’s insanely delicious Roma Heirloom Tomato candle a few years ago when I was thinking about a Burt’s Bees toner I’d used in my 20s that smelled exactly like tomato stems. I didn’t even need a toner that astringent, I just adored the smell. Tomato greens are one of my favorite scents on Earth, and in the fall of 2021, I found myself wishing I could make my house smell like I was living in a tomato plant (yes, really). A quick Google, and I discovered Flamingo Estate: beautifully branded, simple, chic packaging, and an ethos that resonated with me. I bought one tomato candle, was transported directly into tomato vines in the dead of summer, and have been hooked ever since. I cannot over emphasize how special this candle is. (PS: if you want to try one, you can get $20 off if you use my refer-a-friend code.)
Richard Christiansen’s beautiful passion project has blown up in the past few years, with recent features in the Times and collaborations with celebrities you have definitely heard of—but all for good reason. The products are unparalleled. From their incredible pantry goods, to bath, to (of course!) candles, Flamingo Estate has become one of my favorite gifting destinations for others and for myself. Beyond the Roma Tomato candle, I recently tried an Olive Tree candle and (gasp!) might love that even more. It’s a clean, green, clarifying scent that also feels luxe with a touch of spa vibe. I really love to burn it when I’m working—oddly, I find it helps with my creativity?
I’ve mentioned L.A.-based Voyage et Cie in the past, as I adore their beautiful Tuileries perfume (a must for rose lovers). But, they’re also an incredible source for candles. Beyond some of the big candle makers, I can’t think of another small brand with such a wide selection of scents, all of which are unique and luxe, with great throw and longevity.
Their site has a great scent finder to help you narrow down fragrance based on your preferences, but I also like that you can order small sizes to find your perfect match. The jasmine-scented Provence candle is beautiful if you like something heady and a little sexy in the bedroom; I’ve also burned and loved the St. Paul de Vence candle, scented with Lily of the Valley (muguet) in the spring time. Scents are available in small formats or even as perfume samples, so you can find a scent you love before committing to a whole candle.
Burner beware: the scents are heavily loaded, which I personally like, but subtle, “barely-there” candles these are not. In fact, for that, check out:
I picked one of these up on a whim at Whole Foods one day—they are sold there regionally, at least in every California store I’ve shopped in. Always a fan of orange blossom, neroli, and petitgrain, I was drawn to the fresh, clean scent of the Orange Blossom candle (and the super simple packaging was a bonus too). This particular candle was great for our kitchen; I liked it’s light, lingering scent so much I ordered a few small votives directly from Enlighten to check out some of their other scents.
Saguaro Blossom was fruity and floral and somehow smelled exactly like how I imagine a desert flower to smell. The Rose Bouquet candle is nice too if you’re rose-curious, but for someone like me who doesn’t mind a heady rose scent, it wasn’t a repurchase.
Still, if you see this brand in Whole Foods, give it a sniff. I would happily grab an Orange Blossom candle from Enlighten for a kitchen or powder room, any day.
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Also: have not tried but, I can’t not recommend Anecdote candles for something highly giftable. Tell me you don’t have someone in mind that’s a perfect match for one of their cheeky names. I’ll wait. (Find stockists here!)