Welcome to Buy Choice, in which we pick one everyday item, cut out all the noise, and present you with nothing but the best options on the market.
“Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.”
A Buddha-inspired quote that, iffy origins aside, holds a lot of truth. Candles work best as a shared pleasure.
They’re great as gifts. They can set the mood with loved ones. Done right, they can even evoke memories of a special time or place.
But we’re not talking about your typical Yankee Candle torches. Below, 12 candles that offer something unique ... and an experience you’d certainly want to share.
For evoking New Jersey: Homesick
Not kidding. Homesick’s M.O. is to craft soy wax candles that represent the 50 states in an olfactory sense (they also have a few for cities and other countries). Not sure why Idaho costs almost twice as much as any other state, but as far as New Jersey goes (“The scent of candy apples, cranberries, and fresh ocean air. Cool down on a summer night with notes of soft cotton and vanilla”), the concept passes the sniff test. Plus, they’re relatively cheap ($30, except for Idaho), they’re on Prime and they have a long 60-80 hour burn time.
For evoking America’s best: The National Parks of Washington Gift Set
What’s that smell? It’s the scent of redwood trees and protected forest land, my friends. Good + Well Supply Co. has crafted candle sets inspired by the National Parks. Vegan, eco-friendly and made in Seattle.
For lightening the mood: Nordic A-Frame Cabin Candle
Scents of whiskey, spicy citrus, bay laurel and "disconnected wifi" infuse Huckberry's nascent entry into candle crafting.
For film buffs: A24 Movie Genre Collection
A collab between the film company A24 (Ex Machina, Mid90s) and Joya, these scented candles evoke iconic movie genres. The “Western” wick features scents of fir needle, eucalyptus, saddle leather and firewood. Burn time is 50-60 hours or “33 movies.” (If you buy three candles, enter the A24JOYA at checkout for $24 off your order and free shipping.
For setting the mood: burn. by maude
Just released, this hand-poured “aphrodisiac” massage candle is made with skin-softening jojoba and lavender oils that imbue your bedroom with notes of amber, cedar leaf, lemongrass, tonka bean and medjool date. Pour on the wax (it’s moisturizing but not hot) or just use it to freshen up the room.
For not burning bridges: Jonathan Adler Bourbon Pop Candle
A solid gift for party hosts, JA’s soy/paraffin blend arrives in gift box and within a metallic vessel that can be reused as a vase. Scents of cognac, plum and cedar wood. The copywriting here? Also a gift. “Feels like: William Faulkner, a Secret Society at Yale, buckskin breeches, a date with your ex.”
For drinkers: Ranger Station Scent No. 1
Manly scents (pine, leather, cedar) and minimalist packaging are a winning pair. But the key to this one is versatility: The carafe doubles as a lowball glass when you’re done. (Prefer java over bourbon? United by Blue’s Off Leash Enamel Mug Candle doubles as your coffee holder when it’s finished).
For earthy elegance: Brand & Iron
An anomalous design company offering an array of homewares (leather goods, candles, etc.) handcrafted in a Vancouver studio. Each of the scents — Tobacco + Vanilla, Sweet Balsam, Oak + Moss, Yuzu +Birch — will have Febreze sprinting for the hills in shame.
For Northern Lights: Rare Mineral & Salt Water Warm Grey Candle by Kings Park
Not sure why a New York company utilizing ceramics from Portugal wants to evoke “Icelandic starry nights,” but this mix of mineral, muguet and salt water does the trick. And kudos on the design: The hole in the ceramic lid acts as both a dust cover and a snuffer, and the vessel looks great as a vase once the candle is finished.
For pure indulgence: Lime Basil & Mandarin Home Candle by Jo Malone
Peppery basil, white thyme and a hint of lime. As one editor notes about this candle, “It's basically the best thing that's ever happened to me. Absurdly expensive, but amazing.”
For lighting up the world: Starling Project
Interesting scent combinations (juniper and saffron, hyacinth and bamboo) and nice minimalist design from this Brooklyn candlemaker, which uses recycled glass, cotton wicks and ethically-sourced essential oils in their wares (they burn for 60+ hours). A portion of their proceeds helps fund solar projects in developing countries.
Nota bene: If you buy through these links, InsideHook may earn a small share of the profits on some items
Additional reporting by Tanner Garrity