Scented candles have been an exploration of scientific discovery for perfumers since the 1850’s when Viviane Rigaud, the wife of celebrated Parisian perfumer Jean-Baptiste Rigaud developed and patented an innovative wax formula which held the Rigaud perfume. The earliest known candles were made from whale fat in China around 200BC and did not appear in Europe and the Middle East until 400AD. Being solely functional they were a source of light and measured time. They became the aesthetic and sophisticated fragrances of self expression we know today during the 1960’s when they started filling homes across the world with effortless chic, crisp clean smells which mirrored clean and tidy houses to musky romantic boudoir scents which enticed and wolf whistled your pheromones into a frenzy.

Our senses are powerful tools and ‘fragrance can influence cognition and behaviour. House sellers have been known to bake bread and cookies before showing around prospective buyers to cajole them into a decision. Many shops have signature candles burning in store as part of their brand strategy. Wandering around these stores you are lured into making purchases. I am sure the reason I cannot leave Anthropologie without buying something is down to the Voluspa range quietly goading me in the background

Scented candles have little to do with the deodorising fragrances popular in London during the Great Stink of the summer of 1858 when the Thames river resembled an open sewer more than a river. Today’s candles are instead designed to delight the senses in their own right. We surround ourselves with things which tell a story and whisper the intricate tapestry of our lives. Scented candles have become a part of this expression and we are filling our homes with an evolving array of fragrances which hold memories and dreams. We can’t all grind coffee beans and bake bread before a guest comes around, not with our hectic lives and busy schedules. With the progression of intelligent and aesthetically pleasing products becoming more popular in todays western society, I am sure we will be developing our own scented candles.


Ortigia candle


Frederic Malle fragrance chambers


One scent from the hypnotising Voluspa range


Annick and Camille Goutal French Perfumers


Miller Harris. One of Britains most successful perfume brands.




Tom Dixon.


The journey of discovery.