4 Not-Gross Pumpkin Candles That Deserve A Sniff

Dare I say, "sophisticated pumpkin candles"?
Publish date:
September 29, 2014
candles, pumpkin, NEST, bath and body works, illume, linnea's lights, pumpkin candles, pumpkin scents

To me, the approach of autumn means the arrival of two major life improvements: 1) that I can finally wear my leather jacket and Docs, and 2) that I can stock up on a veritable mélange of seasonal goods. Real-talk: I’m mostly stoked to break out my basic-bitch-approved pumpkin candles.

However, I have yet to discover a pumpkin candle, that Holy Grail of seasonal scents, that doesn’t smell like a potpourri cornucopia doused in Glade Pumpkin Pie Diner room spray.

So today I’ve rounded up four not-gross, mostly-sophisticated candles to rectify this sad lack of pumpkin in my life and abode.

Illume Heirloom Pumpkin Large Tin Candle ($18)

When lit among a group of twenty-something girls, this candle elicits universally intense reactions, all of which resemble climax and/or swooning like an Ed Sullivan-era Beatles fangirl. It’s my favorite of the bunch, too: The top note is warm and sweet, like burnt brown sugar, but a spicy cinnamon bite tempers the syrup. I also detect clean, masculine hints of woody pine, conjuring a soft-spot suggestion of your high school boyfriend’s Old Spice deodorant. The burn time on this non-metal, lead-free wick is 55 hours of cinnamon-sugary bliss.

Bath and Body Works Mini Candles (3 for $10)

Bath and Body Works carries no less than 11 variations on pumpkin scents. When I visited, the store was offering a 3-for-$10 deal on Mini Candles. After a solid 10 minutes of studied sniffing, I picked up their Pumpkin Cupcake, Pumpkin Pecan Waffle, and Caramel Pumpkin Swirl candles (can you tell I have a sweet tooth?). A whiff of the Pumpkin Cupcake transports me back to those be-frosting’d elementary school Halloween class parties; the Pumpkin Pecan Waffles smells dangerously similar to Cinnamon Toast Crunch, my poison of choice as a snot-nosed sugar addict. The Caramel Pumpkin Swirl is the sweetest of the bunch. Burning all three successively is not for the faint of heart--my apartment smells like the scene of a mass murder at Candy Castle--but the scents are mostly pleasant: rich, nutty, and buttery. These suckers burn for 10 hours each.

Nest Fragrances Classic Candle in Pumpkin Chai ($34)

If you’re basing your candle-purchasing decision on aesthetics alone, choose this: The sleek, coffee-colored glass holder, perched elegantly on my side table, makes me feel like a sophisticated, capital-A Adult. Courtesy of the peppery chai infusion, it’s also the spiciest and most complex of the haul; had seasonal candles existed in the 19th century, I could imagine a Wilde-ian dandy burning this beauty in his boudoir. (Pumpkin and opium mix nicely together, right?) A hint of fresh melon keeps it sharp, and an endorphin-boosting vanilla note leaves me feeling blissful and kind of cuddly. In fact, I think it has aphrodisiacal qualities. Burn time: about 50 hours.

Linnea’s Lights Pumpkin Soy Candle ($32)

This natural, lead-free, hand-poured candle is clean in both production and smell: unlike the languidness of the Nest candle, or the ecstasy-inducing qualities of the Illume, this double-wick candle is actually refreshing. The initially sweet, apple-y tang gives way to a soapy undertone, which is less detergent-like than it is pleasantly restorative. And the nostalgia factor is in full force here, as I think I’m getting sugary hints of Fruit By The Foot beneath the bite of a fall-fresh breeze. Burn time: 60 hours.

I know I’m not alone in my love for pumpkin-scented miscellany. There’s a reason why, come September, smell-centric brands show hardcore commitment to the trend: pumpkin is an inherently nostalgic scent, pandering directly to our warm-and-fuzzy heart centers. Plus, pumpkin is straight-up yummy. Embrace the basic within!

Now I want to hear from you: What's the best, decidedly not-stank pumpkin candle you've ever sniffed?

Photos by Danielle Goldstein