The Top 10 Candle Fragrances

🕯️It’s Candle Season! 🕯️

As the nights draw in and we are spending more time indoors, it’s the perfect time to snuggle up, curl up with a good book and light your favourite candle.

So What are the most Popular Fragrances for Candles?

So we thought we find out what everyone’s favourite candle fragrances are. We asked the employees at Carvansons, spoke to our perfumers and perused the archives of our fragrance libraries to find the most popular candle fragrances.

But first, why are candles so popular?

Candles are timeless and have been used to help people relax and reflect for many years. When you relax through yoga/spa/massage, scented candles can be used to set the mood, purify the air and help to build a comfortable environment for you. They can also be used to help revitalise your home and refresh your mind. Large jar candles complement any home/surrounding decor and can make great gifts for friends and loved ones.

Top 10 Candle Fragrances – No. 1 – Vanilla

Vanilla Candle FragranceWithout a doubt, the most favoured candle fragrance was Vanilla.

The rich, creamy scent of vanilla regularly ranks highly and this was no different when we spoke to employees at Carvansons HQ. We have over the years created 1,000s of candles with vanilla as a key fragrance note. Our favourite is a rich Madagascan vanilla pod scent whipped with a hint of nutmeg.

Vanilla has a warming sensual scent and works well with base notes of crushed nuts, warm woods and soft, velvety musks. A vanilla scent also works well with citrus and other floral notes, creating a sweet and mellow fragrance.

Vanilla also has an addictive and intoxicating quality, perfect for creating a warm and inviting atmosphere.

Jane who works in the Carvansons Business Support department said,

“I love a gourmand vanilla note. It’s calming yet also warming. A vanilla scent works well in both candles and reed diffusers.”

fresh linen candle fragrance

Top 10 Candle Fragrances – No. 2 – Fresh Linen

In at number 2 is an oldie but a goodie!

Despite candles often being associated with quiet mood-setting and relaxation, candles can be used to bring freshness and life to stuffy and airless rooms.

A fresh linen scent creates a sense of cleanliness and freshness. Inspired by the smell of freshly washed laundry, fresh linen fragrances imitate what we ‘believe’ clean to smell like. This ‘fresh linen’ smell is a combination of aldehydes mixed with white florals and cedarwood. When blended these imitate a light cotton, floral scent that fills your home with a delicate aroma while neutralising unpleasant odours.

Fresh Linen carries the warm, familiar smell of fresh laundry, sunshine & pure white flowers, blended together to capture an authentic fragrance experience for your home.

Looking for fragrance oil for candles?

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Top 10 Candle Fragrances – No. 3 and 4 – Cedarwood and Sandalwood

CedarwoodThe third position and fourth were so closely fought we couldn’t decide, so in our chart of the top 10 candle fragrances, they share 3rd and 4th position.

These scents were very popular among the staff at Carvansons. The difficulty arose, however, when it came to deciphering which fragrance was which and which one they preferred.

So, to straighten it all out, what is the difference between Cedarwood and Sandalwood?

Sandalwood comes from deciduous trees in the Santalum genus, while Cedarwood comes from evergreen Cedrus trees (cedar tree). Although the two can be found in some of the same forests, they are different.

Cedarwood has a dry and slightly ambery odour that’s fresh and often reminiscent of pencil shavings whereas Sandalwood has its own distinct fragrance profile that is exotic, sweet, creamy, smooth, and warm.


The main smell of sandalwood is, unsurprisingly, woody. Once you smell sandalwood once, you’ll instantly recognise it for its unique fragrance. Sandalwood has balsamic, sweet and floral notes.


Cedarwood is less aromatic/camphoric than pine and is less earthy than patchouli. It contains less creamy sweetness than sandalwood.

Albeit very different fragrance notes they both have one thing in common which is that they are incredibly good at helping create the ideal mood in your home for relaxing and unwinding.

These fragrances were more popular with the men at Carvansons HQ, but many women also stated that these earthy but relaxing aromas were also big favourites with them too.

Dee in our Quality Control department said,

“Woodsy fragrances are great for setting a mood and for well-being.”

Top 10 Candle Fragrances – 5. Lavender

Dropping out of the top 3 is lavender. Despite having a huge search traffic it has waned in popularity in recent times, possibly as the fragrance has been depicted as old-fashioned. Despite this, Lavender is still a very popular room scent, promoting calmness and wellness. It is regularly chosen for its stress and anxiety-reducing qualities.

autumn candle fragrancesTop 10 Candle Fragrances – 6. Pumpkin

Despite the fact you may think of Pumpkin as a very seasonal scent with a more limited appeal and customer-base, pumpkin is a great scent for candles. With its sweet and musky scent, pumpkin combines with a wide range of scents which extend well beyond the Halloween and Autumnal months. Patchouli and cinnamon work well with Pumpkin scents. These pumpkin candles smell good enough to eat, although we wouldn’t advise it. Complementary notes of maple butter, cinnamon sugar and cookies combine to leave your home smelling warm and toasty.

Top 10 Candle Fragrances – 7. Citrus

The popularity of this scent is more than likely driven by the success of candles like the Lime Basil and Mandarin scented candle from Joe Malone. This fragrance has become one of the most famous in Cologne since Mülhens 4711 . Launched back in 1991, it took the industry by storm. With its uplifting citrus notes, a “transparent” quality, and the quirky addition of a fresh aromatic it became the “must have” fragrance. Since then it has become one of the biggest sellers and has now evolved into candles and reed diffusers, resulting in numerous copies and adaptations.

Top 10 Candle Fragrances – 8. Gingerbread

Another very seasonal fragrance but this time much more of a gourmand note. Homemade Gingerbread is the cosy scent of Christmas, baking and sugary treats. Gingerbread fragrances are a blend of sweet and spicy notes with hints of ginger, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, and brown sugar, finished with warm vanilla.

Top 10 Candle Fragrances – 9. Pomegranate

pomegranate candles

Another bestseller from the likes of Jo Malone, Pomegranate candles have grown in popularity over the last few years. Pomegranate, despite its tangy and distinct taste, actually has a much more rich, soft and delicate sweet scent. There is a green powdery nuance from the skin of the pomegranate, whereas the seeds have sweet, tart and winey aromas. This however is often not the fragrance people are trying to recreate with Pomegranate candles. They want the bursting juiciness of the taste of pomegranate instead of the smell.

Top 10 Candle Fragrances – 10. Rhubarb

Rhubarb has had a bit of reawakening over the last few years. This popularity coincides with the popularity of Rhubarb-flavoured gins. But we also believe that the stronger scents of dark cherry and rhubarb are becoming popular especially as people look to create a greater depth of scent and longer-lasting fragrances from their candles.

Looking for the right scent for your Candle?

This sector has seen massive growth over the last few years, driven by many people working from home and a greater focus being placed on mental health. Not all fragrances are suitable for candles and reed diffusers and we would advise you to test all fragrances with your candles and check for the throw of the scent before you purchase any fragrance for candles. We are able to create a variety of scents for candles all with a unique twist suitable for your brand.

To request samples of our bestselling fragrances for candles click here.

About Carvansons

Carvansons is a world-leading manufacturer of mass-market and bespoke aroma compounds for the UK and international markets. Founded in 1941, Carvansons design, test and manufacture fragrance oil for various industries. Our fragrances can be found in industrial and home care products, fine fragrance, room scents and personal care. Our experienced and dedicated team of fragrance experts are well placed to support and advise on the latest trends and research. We provide a bespoke and tailored service perfumery creation service that supports your needs. Working in partnership with our customers, we help create the perfect fragrances for their products and build long-term relationships.

We work with many different companies throughout the world, which include both household names and smaller, niche industries. As a result, we look to advise and consult with you on the perfect scents for your product through market research and new product development.

To contact our team, please click here.

*Please note: Any perfumes and products mentioned within this article are purely given as examples and are for reference only. We do not receive any commission for affiliated links/advertising. Before committing to any fragrance decisions, we suggest you conduct your own market research and seek the advice of a knowledgeable fragrance and perfumery specialist.