Learn to "talk the talk"
If you are a candle and fragrance fan, you may have heard a few fancy terms thrown around while browsing the candle shop or exploring the Candlefish Library. For those of you looking to brush up on your candle lingo, check out our guide of a few common candle terms.
This term refers to how a candle smells when it’s lit. It can also define how far the fragrance will “throw” in terms of circumference in a room.
This is how a candle smells before it has been lit. Fragrance typically smells stronger when you smell the top of an unlit candle.
Cloche or Bell Jar
These are the glass domes we use to cover our candles in the Library. Not only do they create a beautiful candle presentation and keep the dust away, they also provide a great way to smell all of the notes in that candle’s fragrance makeup, as opposed to just the top notes. In the Library, sniffing from the cloche captures a more accurate essence of how the candle will smell when it’s burning.
Volatile aroma compounds that are taken from plants, or plant essence oils. These are all natural oils, and are often used in aromatherapy.
White, chalky marks that appear often on soy candles. Similar to bloom on beeswax candles, frosting is natural with 100% soy wax and does not affect the fragrance or shelf life of a candle.
A “note” is a fancy word for descriptors of scents that you smell when you burn a candle. Fragrance notes fall into one of three groups, top/head notes, middle or heart notes, and base/dry down/bottom notes. Every candle and perfume you experience is built using a carefully crafted combination of top, middle, and bottom notes.
These are the first notes you sense when you smell a candle or perfume. These notes “introduce” the candle fragrance, and are typically fresh, light, and citrusy.
In perfumery, top notes are the fragrance oils that have the smallest molecules and therefore evaporate the fastest. In candles, these notes are the first experience of a candle’s cold throw, but don’t necessarily fade away over time (like a perfume on your skin would).
Often called “heart notes”, the middle notes of a fragrance are a bit more complex and full bodied than top notes.
They are often the superstar of a fragrance blend, providing balance and harmony to enhance the top or bottom notes. Some popular middle notes are classic florals, light fruits, berries, and spicy or herbaceous notes.
Bottom notes are the heavier, longer lasting notes that are often made of larger molecules.
Think vanilla, woodsy, amber, or musk. These notes bring balance to a blend by weighing it down and rounding out the experience. In a perfume, the bottom notes are the scents that last on your skin all day long.
Cure or Curing
Curing means to age the product (candle or soap). Once a candle is hardened it looks finished, but there are still changes happening with the molecular structure that the eye cannot see. The wax and fragrance needs time to bond and fully transform. Just like wine gets better with age, candles will get stronger with age.
Refers to the size of the pool of melted wax that forms around the wick of a burning candle. The larger the melt pool, the farther the scent will throw! Be sure to let your candle melt pool reach the edge of the vessel before extinguishing, this means no candle tunneling!
Carbon mushrooms form at the top of a candle's wick, caused by incomplete combustion. This can be caused by the type of wick, and cooler burning additives like petro, crisco & some scented oils. If your wick mushrooms, make sure to trim it with wick trimmers or sharp scissors before relighting.
We hope this little guide has helped improve your candle game! If you’re itching to learn more hands on, sign up for a Candle-Making Workshop at a store near you.
To step up your Chandler status at home shop our collection of Chandler certified candle accessories.
Still curious? Leave your questions in the comments below!