Candle Perfumery

You could spend a lifetime in the study of fragrances and even then you wouldn't know all that is to be known. However, science has made giant strides over the past hundred years and chemists can now replicate any odour very precisely in the laboratory - perfume manufactures spend millions doing this every year, it's a multi billion pound industry.

When I say they can closely replicate any smell, that means good or bad. One manufacturer has even produced a  fun fragrance called "Monkey Fart" which smells like, well yes, Monkey Fart - we're not quite sure what species of monkey was used as a model, but let's hope it wasn't gorilla, because that's not nice :).

Fragrances for candles are no different from any other perfume, they are made up essentially from short chain organic compounds (the shorter the chain the more volatile and short-lived is the fragrance).

You will hear perfumers speak of top (or high) , middle (or heart) and bottom (or base) notes of a fragrance, with the high notes being the highly volatile components you smell immediately and doesn't last very long, The middle notes are bigger molecules which take longer to evaporate and appear perhaps after a few minutes as well as lasting a lot longer, then finally, the really heavy bottom notes which don't develop in sufficient concentration for a much longer period perhaps even hours and can last for days. So with any fragrance, there is an initial belt which hits you, and after some minutes the perfume develops a much rounder character and finally you get left with the lingering base notes.

NB: The heavy base notes are longer chain molecules and tend to be more expensive to produce or obtain which is why many cheap perfumes don't contain so much and consequently are not so long lasting.

Candle perfumes use exactly the same components as any other commercial perfume and come distributed in a light oil which will mix readily in candle waxes (to a greater or lesser degree). If you imagine a candle wax as a sponge, you should be able to visualise how the perfume gets distributed and held in the wax matrix and while some of the lighter molecules will evaporate from the surface of the unlit candle in sufficient quantity to produce a detectable aroma (the cold throw) most of it is held locked in the matrix until the candle is lit.

Of course, it is in the interest of the candle maker to have some cold throw in order for customers to be able to select something they find pleasing. One thing you should understand though, is that very little of the fragrance of a candle is distributed (thrown) via the flame - in fact any that does get sucked up when the wax (fuel) burns, will be instantly destroyed in the very high temperatures that exist there and creates little or no odour. The smell from a candle actually comes from the melt pool, so the bigger and warmer the melt pool, generally the greater the throw will be (for a given fragrance). This is why choosing the correct wick for a scented candle is absolutely critical and this is why test burns of a new candle design are a fundamental part of the process for us candle makers.

If you think about it, you will realise there are a virtually an infinite number of variables you need to juggle to get consistent results. The perfume itself is a complex mix of organic molecules which evaporate at different rates, the wax used will determine how much of a given perfume can be held in its matrix, any additives (Stearin, Vybar, Bipol, Polymers etc. etc.) will have an effect on that too as will the size and shape of the candle and the configuration of the wick (or wicks). So, getting the combination right for any given candle is what sets apart amateurs from professionals and some candle manufactures can spend many months test burning different configurations to get the perfect result they and their customers are after. They will also retest for new batches of wax and new batches of fragrance because there can be subtle difference ( particularly with the wax - fragrances can be much more precisely controlled during manufacture).

Of course, a hobbyist just starting out can still produce exquisite candles by following the same techniques the pros use - test test test.

All of the fragrances we sell have been developed by expert perfumers specifically for use in candles and are safe and consistently good from batch to batch. We aim to test all of the fragrances we receive with the waxes, dyes and wicks we sell, to check their performance and give us the raw data that allows us to offer sensible advice to newcomers and established makers moving to our range of products - you can be confident of being able to achieve very good results with your own candle designs.

Because there are an infinite number of variables of wax, perfume concentration, additive concentration, and wick it is impossible for anyone to predict exactly which wick to use for a given application and combination of elements, but we can offer a guide on which wicks may be a good starting point, after that it's down to you and your testing. As your experience grows, you will get better at selecting the perfect wick for your projects.

As we mentioned above, testing is absolutely fundamental to candle making success and hand in hand with that premise is the keeping of good records so you can reproduce results consistently. We have created a Candle Design Record sheet which we use for our own testing and we have made a version available for free for our customers to use for their own records if they choose to. Click on the link below to obtain a .pdf copy and feel free to share it with your candle making friends.

SHARE with friends on your favourite Social Network
Share us on Facebook  Tweet Tweet Tweet  Digg Us!  Share us on Stumbleupon  Share on Delicious  Share us on Socializer  Share on Reddit  Share on Yahoo  Share us on Furl  Share us on Newsvine  Bookmark us on Google  

Copyright of this article is vested in CometX Ltd. All rights are reserved and the article (including any images, audio, video or other media elements) may not be copied or used in any way or in any form, without the express permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Visit to author

Return To List

Follow us on Facebook

C G - 09/10/2016
Very happy - i have bought from you before.
L C - 08/10/2016
Very nice looking forward to buying more as I venture into candle making
N N - 07/10/2016
Thank you for your last delivery very pleased
C t - 06/10/2016
Great improvement on the site in the past year! SO many more things to choose from and also Soap Making, wow! x
C t - 06/10/2016
Great improvement on the site in the past year! SO many more things to choose from and also Soap Making, wow! x
W M - 04/10/2016
I have gone for 12 of the red poly candle holders to see if they will do the job thanks for your help on the telephone this morning
J P - 30/09/2016
Really pleased as a new customer with the fragrances I tried on my first order and the fast delivery. I cant wait for you to have more fragrances to choose from as I think I will be a regular customer x
R S - 28/09/2016
Fantastic website! I have recently got into candle / wax melt making and I had such fun browsing through the things you have to offer. Perhaps clearer explanations would be helpful for us beginners. Loved the fragrance options!
L F - 20/09/2016
Excellent Service!! Highly Recommend.
C C - 20/09/2016
Fantastic quick service..thank you. x