What Actually Gives a Candle Its Scent?

How Much “Throw”, Do I Go?

The degree of scent a candle emits while ablaze is often referred to as the “throw”. The throw is a combo of density and distance the aroma carries astray, from the candle.  The next time you’re in a store picking out a candle for the bathroom, foyer or living room, you may want to consider a few things to ensure you’re getting enough bloom for your room.

Scented candles come in all sorts of shapes, sizes & makeups. Aside from the size of the candle, there are many more factors that go into the range of a candles throw. Most would suspect the percentage of fragrance oil used is the key determinant, however, there are many other contributing factors that help emit a rich, full-body aroma.

Type of Wax – As the leading ingredient, the wax used is the essence of a candles scent potential. If going with a beeswax or palm, you’re very limited in your scents potential. For pungent aromas, natural soy or paraffin wax candles offer the greatest aura.

Candle Sinkhole

Sinkhole Forming Down Center

Wick Size – Usually the thicker the wick, the larger the flame, in turn yielding a faster burn. This typically will result in more fragrance emitted into the air more quickly. While this may sound appealing, if your wick is too large it can produce a dangerously tall flame and your candle will burn out much quicker. To the contrary, while a thin wick will burn slower, it must be thick enough to produce heat far enough to reach the edges of the jar, so not to leave unmelted wax behind in the jar, thus leaving a “sinkhole”.  As a shopper you don’t necessarily need to look your wicks up and down before purchase…. a good candle should be designed so that the wick is proportionally fit for width of the jar. A perfect candle burns just to the edge of the jar, thus leaving no trace of wax behind. Hint: This is one of the best ways to tell if you have high quality candle.

Fragrance Oil Percentage – You guessed it, the higher percentage of oil used, the greater the scent strength will be. A high quality scented candle will usually have between 7%-12% fragrance oil.

Additives – Candle additives such as Vybar have found their way into the candle recipe by some brands to help retain their scent. These are often found when a low quality fragrance brand is used. The analogy here would be a preservative in say, a canned fruit. Most will pick a fresh tomato over canned tomatoes any day. Note: some additives can release toxins, and if you’re burning inside, it can be bad to inhale over a sustained period.

Cure Time – The time a candle has to cure, while indefinite, can impact its aroma output. What may be more important than the aggregate allotment of cure time is that the curing be done in even distribution. Many candles from big box stores like Walmart & Target have been said to only possess a strong aroma at the beginning of the candles burn cycle. By the time the candle is half way through, the scent has dissipated to nearly nothing. Some brands have been accused of only adding fragrance oil at the top third of the candle to cut down on costs yet giving the facade of a scent-heavy candle in the store.

Fragrance Brand – Similar to how the same clothing sizes can fit differently from brand to brand. The origin and/or brand used can significantly impact the strength of the scent. A good chandler will experiment with many brand and wax types before landing on a desired blend.

Jar Opening – The wider the opening the further the candles range. Believe it or not, an extra inch or two in diameter at the jars opening will make the difference between potpourri-ing a bathroom and a living room.

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