Scent is a very important - of the five human sense, it is the one most closely tied to memory. It's no surprise then that the way a candle fragrance smells can significantly impact our mood and energy levels.
But as you're shopping online for candles, you might wonder... How am I supposed to know if I'm going to like the way that smells? It can truly be a shot in the dark... So let us light the way for you. We're going to break down some candle vocabulary for you so the next time you're out shopping for a new scent, you'll know what to expect.
Not every candle is created equally! There are many different kinds of fragrances, and each of them can be categorized into an umbrella "family" category.
Each family has many layers of categories and subcategories within it, which can get pretty complex. Here are the four main scent families on their most basic levels, and scents you might recognize from each:
1.) Floral Family - The floral family features any scent closely tied to any specific flower e.g. rose, lilac, lavender, sweet pea
2.) Wood Family - This family features woody and musky fragrances e.g. amber, musk, leather, vetiver
3.) Oriental Family - This family will fill your home with rich or exotic scents e.g. vanilla, myrrh, sandalwood, amber
4.) Fresh Family - Fresh family fragrances are comprised of bright and clean scents e.g. citrus, ocean breeze, eucalyptus, bergamot
By combining fragrance elements from different families, candles can be created that evoke many different emotions and energies. There is an art to the layering of scents, as a combination of two of the scent families can create something amazing and invigorating.
An example of this is a very sharp top note of citrus (bergamot and grapefruit) can be combined with a warm base note of vanilla to create an amazingly unique scent (we like to call this one Mermaid Daydream).
In the same way you'd follow a recipe to make a well-balanced dessert, you wouldn't make a citrus tart without a bit of vanilla and sugar in the batter! Like a sweet dough mixed with a sour filling, all of a candle's scent elements work together to create something uniquely inviting.
Top notes (also known as head notes) are the first hints of scent that you perceive with your sense of smell. These are often considered the first impression of your candle and are usually perceived as "sharp" or "fresh" smells. Examples of top notes are: citrus, bergamot, lemongrass, or herbal scents.
You may be familiar with the term "top note" when thinking about perfume or cologne. In fragrances meant to be worn on human bodies, top notes are very prevalent upon first spritz, but quickly evaporate, leaving the more stable middle and base notes to be enjoyed throughout the day.
Middle notes (also known as heart notes) are the "personality" of any candle's fragrance. These scent notes will start to appear almost immediately after the fleeting top notes have arisen. Throughout the burn time of the candle, these notes will stick around while the candle is lit and subtly drift into the base notes (which we'll discuss later).
In a good candle, middle notes will work with a top note to form a complimentary scent. Good examples of middle notes are scents like cinnamon, lilac, rose, and lavender.
Base notes are super-stable and tend to be the last smells to appear to our senses. Base notes start to appear after the middle notes and are typically the scents that waft and stick around throughout the burn time of a candle.
On a molecular level, these scents have the largest molecules. They evaporate out of the wax the most slowly, but once they appear, they have a powerful, long-lasting effect on your environment.
Most base notes are rich, sweet, or musky. They are the basic "roundness" of any scent - think vanilla, sandalwood, musk, or other earthy scents.
It's time to put your candle scent knowledge to the test! Now that you're an expert on the different candle families and what top, middle, and base notes mean, you should know exactly what you're looking for.
We think you'll love our scents! Each Jackpot Candles candle is hand-poured with a 100% soy wax base. Our amazing formulas are filled with custom blends of powerful scents. We specifically make candles that help you feel nostalgic, relaxed, or energized whether you're in your home, office, or play space.