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Most Popular Candle Scents

The candle industry is a prominent industry in the United States, with over 10,000 available scents. The top scent according to Rustic Escentuals is Toasted Marshmallow. However, there are many scents that have proven to be popular over the years. Below, I will detail the top scents and trends in the candle industry.

Companies' top selling scents

When it comes to choosing which candles to purchase, scent and fragrance is the most important factor that consumers consider. In the United States, there are over 10,000 scents available.

To help find the most popular scents, the top selling fragrance oils from wholesale distributor Rustic Escentuals can be used. Fragrance oils go hand-in-hand with candle making. In January 2018, the top 10 scents were Toasted Marshmallow, Bora Bora, Coffee House, Salty Sea Air, Cranberry Salsa, Amish Quilt (a spicy and sweet fragrance), Birthday Cake, Bonfire Bliss, Leather, and Lemon Curd. Over the past 24 months, the only scent that showed up in every monthly top 10 list was Toasted Marshmallow, making it the most popular scent from Rustic Escentuals over the past two years. Amish Quilt was in the top 10 for 22 of the past 24 months as well.

Aroma supplier Alpha Aromatics has been in business for over 70 years, and they have noticed five scents that are consistently the most popular. These scents are Citrus Blassom Cassis, Beachwood Vetiver & Sea Spray Driftwood, Huckleberry Sugar Blossom, Amber and Vanilla Blossom, and Red Currant Persimmon.

National candle association's top scents and trends

At the beginning of 2017, the National Candle Association created a list of their top scents for the year. The list was given in alphabetical order instead of projected popularity and includes Acai, Agarwood, Amber, Basil, Blackberries, Blood Orange, Bourbon, Cactus, Cardamom, Cilantro, Coconut, Cognac, Dark Rum, Desert Sand, Dragon Fruit, Freesia, Ginger, Goji, Grapefruit, Jasmine, Juniper Berries (Gin), Lily, Lotus, Mandarin, Marshmallow, Mint, Moss, Oud, Peony, Pepper, Praline, Rhubarb, Rose, Saffron, Salted Caramel, Sea Sale, Suede, Tea Notes, Tea Tree, Tobacco, Violet, and Yuzu.
The National Candle Association also looks at several trends that are affecting popular scents. There has been a growing use of florals that are being paired with an opposite scent, such as berries or ginger. Fruity scents are evolving to include both a bitter and sweet element in the fragrance. The NCA also expects to see more earthy scents with peppery and spicy notes, as well as dusty and mossy notes (like mushrooms). During the holidays, there will likely be a rise in vanilla and baked scents, leading to more food-scented candles. The NCA also included a general list of trends that are on the way out and trends that are becoming popular.

Trends that are on the way out include artificial scents, scents that lack complexity, overpowering, sugary sweet, manufactured, common, and overtly feminine scents, along with broadly distributed brands. On the other hand, trends that are becoming more popular include essential, sophisticated, comfortably present, culinary inspired, earthy, edgy, and gender neutral scents, along with scents that give owners a sense of individuality.

Top categories

Candle making company GlobalTech Industries, Inc. broke down the many candle fragrances into five general categories: Vanilla, Fruit, Floral, Relaxation/Spa, and Edibles. The vanilla category has been the most popular over the years, and is now being paired with other scents to make more sophisticated vanilla scents.

The top fruit scents include lemon, the favorite, along with citruses, black cherry, melon and melon combinations, apple, peach, and pomegranate.

In the floral category, rose, lilac and gardenia, and herbal flowers such as tea rose, jasmine, and lavender are the most popular scents. The top relaxation/spa scents are ylang ylang (somewhat floral scent), mint, ginger, green tea, eucalyptus, and sandalwood.

Finally, the fifth category is edibles, and the top scents are sugar cookie, apple pie, gingerbread, mocha, coffee, and hazelnut.


In conclusion, there are many new trends currently changing the candle industry. There are also many scents that have proven to have staying power at the top, such marshmallow, vanilla, and lemon.
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Top Candle brands with a Purpose

Based on "The 2017 Holiday List of Stylish Candles Gifts That Give Back," we were able to provide a list of candle brands that give back to the community. By refining our search, we also found a number of candle brands that are primarily focused on giving back. The four candle brands with a purpose are Kobo Candles, Prosperity Candles, the Bridgewater Candle Company, and Mason Jar Candles. We were also able to find information on a number of candles made solely for charitable purposes, these are St. Jude Crystal Lidded Glass Candles, Love is Love Filled Candles, and Crate and Barrel’s Collection of Soy Candles. Below is a detailed brief of our findings.

Candle brands with a purpose

1. Kobo Candles

Every year, Kobo Candles "donates a portion of their profits to charity." The brands "GIVE line candle" allows consumers to log onto the Kobo website and "decide to which charity Kobo will donate to." The charities listed on the Kobo website are:

Nothing But Nets, a global malaria prevention campaign.
• The Adirondack Council, a New York-based citizen environmental group that works toward preserving the Adirondack Park.
Doctors Without Borders/MSF, a worldwide organization that helps to deliver emergency medical aid to those living in disaster areas.
Global Fund for Women, a grant-making foundation that invests in women-led organizations worldwide with the aim of advancing women's human rights.

2. Prosperity Candles

Prosperity Candles is a social enterprise that aims to support "refugees and artisans through candle-making." Their mission is to "create opportunities for families to escape poverty through entrepreneurship." Prosperity Candles connects directly with women artisans from around the world through a program that supports them in selling their candles locally and exporting to the U.S.

3. Bridgewater Candle Company

Through their partnership with Rice Bowls, the Bridgewater Candle Company aims to "feed as many orphaned children as possible." With every purchase of a " jar candle, Sweet Grace Collection candle, Mingle tin or holiday jar," Bridgewater makes a donation to Rice Bowls. This partnership, which began in 2010, has since provided "7 million meals to children in need."

4. Mason Jar Candles

Mason Jar Candles currently donates 10-15% of its profits to charity. The company supports a number of charitable causes in "education for those in poverty," world hunger, the global environment, and "mental health awareness and homelessness." Their impact is felt with each candle purchase. For example, "every 2 candles purchased" will "provide a new book in a classroom," and "every 6 candles purchased" can feed a child "for 3-4 weeks."

Candles with a purpose

The candles listed below are not made by candle brands, however, they are candles made in support of charitable causes. We have includes these candles for your interest.

1. St. Jude Crystal Lidded Glass Candle

For every purchase of the Crystal Lidded Glass Candle Pot benefiting St. Jude, which retails for $19.50, 50% goes directly to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and helps to "support research and treatment for pediatric cancer and other catastrophic childhood diseases." This candle is part of the St. Jude Thanks and Giving campaign, which encourages American consumers to donate funds "to support the ongoing battle to end childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases."

2. Love is Love Filled Candle

For every purchase of the Love Is Love Filled Candle, Pottery Barn has pledged to "donate 50% of the purchase price," to The Human Rights Campaign, a civil rights organization that works towards ending "discrimination against LGBTQ people." The candle retails for $24 on the Pottery Barn site.

3. Crate and Barrel’s Collection of Soy Candles

With this line of candles, Crate and Barrel partnered with Feed America and "with a $5 donation it provides 50 meals for Americans facing hunger." Crate and Barrel's aim is to provide 5 million meals through this initiative.


The four candle brands with a mission to give back to communities are Kobo Candles, Prosperity Candles, the Bridgewater Candle Company, and Mason Jar Candles. We also included candles made solely with the intention of giving back, these candles are not made by candle brands but they do serve a charitable purpose. They include the St. Jude Crystal Lidded Glass Candles, Love is Love Filled Candles, and Crate and Barrel’s Collection of Soy Candles.