I recently shared a YouTube video speaking in detail about all of my favorite fall, winter, and holiday candles — all of which are catalogued below. You'll also find some of my favorite gift sets, and the candles that are on my wishlist!
Ranging from low to high price points, there's a candle here for everyone.
$30 and under
Bath and Body Works — $14.50, 7 oz., single wick or $24.50, 14.5 oz, three wick.
One simply cannot deny the power of Bath and Body Works: they are easy to access in-stores or online (in the US), affordable relative to other candles, and seemingly limitless in their offerings. I highly recommend waiting for their sales because the 3-wicks go for $14.50. The sale is on now as of posting! That’s the only time I buy them and I usually stock up then. The trade off for candles at this price point is packaging the overall brand experience. But, I think the White Barn Collection honestly looks more high-end than it is, so that's what I go for.
Pumpkin Apple — This is a candle that bridges the two classic scents of fall. A straightforward blend of creamy pumpkin and fresh, crisp apple. Sometimes I find pumpkin spice fragrances to be a bit too sickly sweet, so I appreciate the addition off the apple in here. I find it lightens the overall fragrance and prevents it from becoming too sugary or gourmand.
Vanilla Birch — A lovely candle for fall and winter that isn’t too themed or on the nose. There is a soft vanilla note in here that is balanced by a light woodsiness. The woods note is light, not as heavy as a sandalwood, just enough to balance the candle and prevent it from becoming sweet. It’s a candle that works in any room at any time of day because the smell is on the lighter side, enough to make a home feel pleasant but not too strong as to have an obvious presence. A crowd pleaser.
Cranberry Woods — Cranberry is a highly underrated fall/winter fragrance note, in my opinion. An iconic winter fruit note. Cranberry Woods has the tart freshness of cranberry, fruity but not too sweet. The woods note is very subtle in here. Just enough to round out the cranberry and prevent it from being too sharp a fragrance. BBW brings this back year after year; it’s beloved because it’s easy to burn in any room at any time of day.
Marshmallow Fireside — This is a serious cold weather candle. It evokes roasting marshmallows over a campfire. The toasty caramelized marshmallow note merges with the smoky notes of a wood-burning fire. This one always makes my mouth water and it makes me crave a sweet treat, so be warned that this one will tempt you! It’s an after-dinner, dessert-y, gourmand candle for sure.
Fresh Balsam — A true, unadulterated balsam pine scent. It smells like a freshly cut pine tree, with the crisp sharpness of pine that cuts through the air. Pine at its purest. This candle also has a notably strong throw; the 3-wick is strong enough to fill my open-concept home. This is probably my favorite BBW candle, and I burn this one all the way from November to February because I enjoy that scent so much. I burn this when I don’t feel like burning my fancier holiday candles, and I’m more than happy to do so.
Otherland — $36, 8.1 oz single wick, 50 hour burn time. Otherland takes the cake in terms of packaging and the unboxing experience. Each candle comes in a substantial box with magnetic closure that reveals unique printed artwork which varies depending on the collection. The candle is housed in a secure foam packaging and comes with a box of branded matches that match the themed artwork. The candle vessel is made of colored glass, with themed artwork and a secure lid with printed artwork. From top to bottom, these are truly giftable candles. In terms of performance, I’ve found that some candles have a stronger throw than others, which I’ll detail below.
Rattan — In the permanent collection, Rattan is a year-round scent, though I find its warm sandalwood and musk fragrance to be very transitional. It’s the kind of candle you can burn at any time of day in any room. It’s not an obvious themed candle, just the kind of thing that makes a room pleasant and cozy.
Velvet Persimmon — In the Homestead Collection, Velvet Persimmon is probably my favorite Otherland candle that I’ve tried. With notes of persimmon, mulled cider, and velvety leaves, it is juicy and fresh while still being grounded. I also seem to get a pear note from this candle. The burst of juiciness from this candle awakens the senses, and everyone I know who has experienced this loves it. It fills the whole house.
Berkshires Granola — Also from the Homestead Collection, this candle has notes of creamy oat milk, toasted granola, and pumpkin seed. I found this to be a more subtle fragrance in the burn than the cold throw would suggest, so I found it best to in a smaller room. I think this would be an excellent scent for people who want the joy of a candle but are a bit more fragrance-sensitive or prefer lighter scents.
Woodlands — With notes of Palo Santo, Redwood Bark, and Smoked Vanilla, this is a true woodsy scent. It’s not as heavy as a sandalwood, but it does have slightly smoky and spicy notes that lend it a bit of complexity. Another beautiful home scent that’s not too obviously themed.
Personally I’ve got my eye on the new holiday Adorned Collection, especially Forest Veil. I’ve also heard wonderful things about Fallen Fir!
Boy Smells — $39, standard 8.5 oz, single wick. $86, magnum 27 oz., three wick. Boy Smells creates truly unique and unpredictable scents. Each of their candles seem to have a cocktail of a dozen notes, of which I can usually identify 3-4. Nonetheless, they create complex, experiential fragrances that always have an element of surprise.
Slow Burn — Designed in collaboration with Kacey Musgraves, Slow Burn is a truly deep, sensual, complex scent. With notes of incense, black pepper, elemi, guiac, raspberry, tonka, amber, and smoked papyrus, this candle is not for the faint of heart. It’s a midnight candle: sexy, sultry, smoky, surprising, best burned after dark. Truly unique, and unlike anything else I have.
I only have one wintery candle from Boy Smells, but they just released The Future Classics holiday collection that I’m dying to try. On the top of my list: Figurare.
Nest New York — $44, 8.1 oz., single wick; $70, 21.2 oz., three wick; $140, 47.3 oz., 4 wick. I’ve waxed poetic about Nest many times before. They’re my most repurchased and most gifted candles, and the brand I’m most familiar with. Laura Slatkin, the founder of Nest, is a fragrance queen. Nest excels at distilling familiar, nostalgic scents to their purest form, then elevating them and adding a touch of the unexpected.
Pumpkin Chai — The fall fragrance. Pumpkin Chai is a a classic fall fragrance made complex by the addition of spicy Masala chai and cinnamon. It’s not too sweet, not too dessert-y, just comforting and cozy and yummy.
Autumn Plum — A fall fragrance for someone who wants something different from the traditional pumpkin or apple scents. Released earlier this year, this is such an interesting, almost mysterious scent, slightly unisex. A deep plum note balanced by notes of autumn leaves and cinnamon-y spices.
Blue Cypress & Snow — Cozy and creamy meets fresh woods. Cypress meets creamy smoked vanilla, it somehow is woodsy yet round, warm, and inviting all at the same time. The vanilla is notable, but not too sweet as it meets the fresh cypress notes.
Birchwood Pine — The pine candle. Truly green and wood-forward, with notes of white pine, birchwood, and amber. An earthy, true woods scent that evokes a walk through the woods to cut down a real Christmas tree.
Holiday — My all-time favorite holiday/winter candle. I love this so much that I could burn it all year. In the middle of July I think about how I can’t wait to burn this candle. It’s definitely pine-forward, but balanced by pomegranate, cloves, mandarin, amber. The fruity notes make this a little bit sharper and a little bit fresher than Birchwood Pine. Everything that makes me happy about the holiday season.
Hearth — An oud scent that evokes curling up by a wood-burning fire on a late winter’s night. This has the body, sexiness, and smokiness of a true oud. A grown up holiday candle.
Nest creates beautiful holiday gift sets: three Holiday votives, a candle + room diffuser set, three petite diffusers, the list goes on.
Overose — $58, 8.4 oz., single wick. The one Overose candle I have is the Valkiria candle, with notes of fig leaves, vineyard peaches, coco milk, and cedar wood. While the peaches are reminiscent of summer, I actually find this candle to have a bit of muskiness and woodsiness that makes it quite transitional, the kind of thing I can burn year round, personally. I’d also love to try the perpetually sold out Croissant candle. The candles come in pink, lavender, or holographic vessels with minimalist black and white branding, truly Instagram-worthy.
Diptyque — $42, 2.47 oz, single wick votive; $78, 6.7 oz, single wick. The pinnacle of holiday luxury, Diptyque’s holiday candles are truly lust-worthy.
Sapin — This is the one I plan to pick up. Speckled with gold and emerald green with a gold lid, Sapin is the ultimate pine tree fragrance.
Biscuit — Also a strong contender for me, Biscuit is speckled in gold and maroon with a gold lid. With notes of spicy baked goods and patchouli, this sounds deliciously festive.
Flocon — With a gold and deep blue speckled vessel, Flocon is Diptyq’es snowflake fragrance. With notes of white musk and mimosa, this is the winter floral of the collection.
The Holiday 3-Piece Candle Set features all three holiday votive candles for $126.
I’ve also always lusted after the Diptyque Holiday Carousel, a delicate gold carousel with gilded pendants that you place over a burning candle. Propelled by the heat of the flame, the carousel spins and reflects shadow and sparkle. It’s basically a fancy toy for adults who love luxury. It’s available in this limited edition Holiday Carousel & Candles Set, with the Ambre and Feu de Boise Candle for $134. Ambre has the classic resin-y amber note, while Feu de Bois evokes a smoky fireplace. Wintery magic.