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Whether you’re looking to create an at-home paradise or light up the life of a loved one, there’s nothing quite like a candle to set the mood and create an ambiance. Here are 24 candle brands we’re loving right now.


Photography provided by Apothia

Apothia

Inspired by the culture, energy and sunshine of Los Angeles, Apothia is synonymous with beauty, design and style. Which makes total sense given that the brand is the brainchild of L.A. retail giant Ron Robinson. The moniker is a clever combination of “apothecary” and “utopia,” embodying the company’s principles beautifully. The City of Angels vibe is captured in varieties like bronzed (orange flowers, petitgrain, bergamot, jasmine) and scene (fig, juniper berry, pear nectar).


Photography provided by Claus Porto

Claus Porto

A Portuguese icon since 1887, Claus Porto has long offered a stunning portfolio of soaps, colognes, candles, home diffusers and the like. And the decades of expertise shine through in the brand’s dynamic scents, each of which captures the essence of Portugal by reflecting a different aspect of the country’s landscape. Banho, for instance, offers the uplifting aromas of Mediterranean citrus and comes in a textured porcelain vessel evoking Portuguese architectural motifs.


Photography provided by Boy Smells

Boy Smells

It’s no secret that we’re fans of Boy Smells (so is songstress Kacey Musgraves, who collaborated with the brand on the e). Sensuous, accessible and bright, the company’s candles are conceived beyond the gender binary with an aim to turn daily routines into rituals of self-exploration. We’re loving the hypernature collection, designed to transport you to new worlds where the beauty of nature is magnified into an eruption for the senses.


Photography provided by Harlem Candle Co.

Harlem Candle Co.

This Black-owned candle company is an homage to its titular town, offering scents that reflect the richness of Harlem. When founder Teri Johnson moved to the New York City neighborhood, she was eager to discover its rich history. Today, she teams up with award-winning perfumers to create candles that honor that vibrant past, with scents inspired by jazz singers Duke Ellington and Billie Holiday and the iconic clubs where they performed, like the Savoy Ballroom.


Photography provided by Saint

Saint

Saint got its start when Ira Dewitt, music executive and wife of St. Louis Cardinals president Bill DeWitt III, was having trouble finding a meaningful gift for a loved one who’d been diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. So she created this modern prayer candle with a cause. Made using holy oil blessed by both a priest and a rabbi, each Saint candle is designed to appeal to a different patron saint. Plus the company gives back, with a portion of proceeds supporting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.


Photography provided by Norden

Norden

This Southern California home accessories brand from husband-and-wife duo Pete and Erika Panciera is on a mission to bring warmth and comfort to the home through carefully considered, functional objects that are produced with a high level of attention to craft. Its candles, of course, follow suit. We’re particularly fond of topanga, which blends cypress, sage, grapefruit and birch tar. And when it comes to Norden home fragrance, there’s also incense, essential oils and room sprays.


Photography by @voyageandheart

Boheme

In scents evoking destinations like Havana, Istanbul and Tahiti, Boheme’s all-natural, clean-burning candles are created using only the highest quality ingredients (think custom-crafted oils, all-natural wax and cotton wicks). They’re designed to take you on a journey through space and time, recalling memories of cherished adventures. The brand’s muse? The bohemian woman, who is adventurous, free-spirited and always true to herself.


Photography provided by Maison Louis Marie

Maison Louis Marie

This storied luxury fragrance house carries on a strong botanical tradition that dates back to 1792. The brand is committed to both clean beauty (meaning no synthetic ingredients or animal testing) and the environment (with its sustainable packaging and 1% for the Planet pledge). Available in fragrance families from floral to fresh to earthy to spicy, Maison Louis Marie’s scents are decidedly delicate. (Available in the Twin Cities at Golden Age Design.)


Photography provided by Malin + Goetz

Malin + Goetz

Malin + Goetz is known the world over for its natural apothecary goods that have you covered from head to toe (literally). Its cult favorite fragrances translate beautifully into clean-burning candles that transform your living spaces into sanctuaries. They are all hand poured in Brooklyn by a father-and-son team and come in varieties like cannabis, leather, tobacco and tomato. (Available in the Twin Cities at Martin Patrick 3.)


Photography provided by Lumira

Lumira

Founded by creative director Almira Armstrong, this niche fragrance house out of Australia has been producing artisanal scents for the home and body since 2013. Armstrong taught herself how to make candles as a teenager, and today, Lumira’s handcrafted wares are created with that same level of care. The brands scents aim to transport you to a specific destination: a bustling urban environment, a luxurious island resort or a far-flung village in the countryside.


Photography by Tara Donne

MCMC

This Brooklyn-based family-run business is owned and operated by sisters Anne and Katie McClain, who handle fragrance formulation and sales/operations respectively. Taking their inspiration from memories, travels and people, MCMC’s offerings have expanded beyond just best-selling perfumes to include candles and room sprays in scents like Maine (inspired by a day spent on the island of North Haven) and Hunter (evoking an evening spent by the campfire in your favorite flannel).


Photography by Rikki Snyder

Barratt Riley & Co.

The signature body of work from Barratt Riley & Co. is a collection of handcrafted botanical scents made of premium, ethically sourced ingredients from around the globe. Taking form in candles, body oils, botanical mists and more, the brand’s aromatic formulations for the home and body appeal to the senses through the profound powers of scent and tactile experience, evoking memories, dreams and emotions while transforming physical space. Sign us up!


Photography provided by Nest

Nest

This New York sensation has taken America by storm. The company was founded by fragrance industry game changer Laura Slatkin, who has created home fragrance collections for more than 100 luxury labels (think Christian Dior, Estée Lauder and Ralph Lauren). So naturally it follows that her own brand, which boasts perfumes, soaps, candles, diffusers and more, would be a smashing success. As Slatkin muses, “The right fragrance can lift your spirits, calm your senses or set the tone for your day.” (Available in the Twin Cities at Ampersand Shops.)


Photography provided by Na Nin

Na Nin

Nan Nin debuted back in 2009 as a vintage clothing line celebrating nostalgia and kindness. Five years later, the Virginia-based brand expanded into the fragrance realm, with signature scents inspired by music and memories. Candles come in dreamy combos like fig leaf/olive branch, palo santo/desert rose, black pepper/cedarwood and sea salt/sand dunes. Taken altogether, Na Nin captures the ultimate pandemic chic aesthetic.


Photography provided by Apotheke

Apotheke

Although Apotheke is now known for its outstanding candles that honor life’s simple pleasures, the brand actually got its start as a humble soap company in founder Chrissy Fichtl’s cozy Brooklyn kitchen. On one momentous day back in 2013, Jim Brett, then president of West Elm, approached her Brooklyn Flea booth and placed a huge order — a fortuitous moment for both Fichtl and Apotheke aficionados.


Photography provided by Sun.day

Sun.day

Londoner Natasha Garbawi, who’s a fine artist and art director, started Sun.day as a hobby (or obsession, as she says). Heavily influenced by her family’s lifestyle rooted in botanical exploration, she’s been concocting skincare creams and balms since she was a child, and this naturally evolved into candles. It makes sense then that Sun.day products are handcrafted without synthetic ingredients and utilizing only ethical and sustainable practices.


Photography provided by Le Feu De L’Eau

Le Feu De L’Eau

Le Feu De L’Eau means “fire of the water” in French, which reflects the company’s unique candle-making process that doesn’t employ a mold and instead relies on water to sculpt the brand’s one-of-a-kind wares. It’s a process that was invented by cofounder Wendy Polish’s father back in the sixties. Indeed, Le Feu De L’Eau’s candles have a very vintage vibe.


Photography provided by Finn & Co.

Finn & Co.

This company’s luxuriously simple soy-based candles pay homage to the coastal life — the sun, the sea, the salt and the sounds of the beach. Finn & Co. offers two complementary signature scents: white sand, which is inspired by the classic white tee with notes of honeysuckle, mandarin and sea salt, and black sand, which is inspired by the little black dress with notes of sandalwood, vanilla and musk.


Photography provided by D.S. & Durga

D.S. & Durga

David and Kavi Moltz (an architect and musician, respectively) started niche perfume house D.S. & Durga based on their belief that the power of scent rivals that of sight and sound. We can dig it. The avant-garde brand has two must-visit New York City shops, plus its products (personal fragrances, candles and more) are on offer from a number of retailers nationwide as well as online. (Available in the Twin Cities at Idun.)


Photography by Jenna Peffley

Voyage et Cie

Female-owned Voyage et Cie embodies the ultimate blend of travel, fragrance and design. The brand’s organic and sustainable soy wax candles are hand poured in California and contain the finest fragrance oils. They’re all developed by proprietor Melanie Apple, who hopes to take you on an olfactory journey with scents that range from citrus to floral to herbal to woodsy.


Photography provided by Aerangis

Aerangis

Founder Alicia Tsai named this candle brand for the white, star-shaped orchid that sparked her first scent memory. It’s a fitting backstory for a company that’s on a mission to document life’s moments and unlock forgotten memories using the power of fragrance. Notable varieties in the signature collection include the ranch (tobacco and leather) and aging spirits (bourbon and toasted oak).


Photography provided by the 125 Collection

The 125 Collection

In need of a little pick-me-up? The 125 Collection’s got your back. Emblazoned with sweet, spicy and spirit quotes, the company’s candles are sure to brighten both your home and your day. Because sometimes you need a gentle reminder to “Trust Your Dopeness,” “Inhale the Future/Exhale the Past” or “Do No Harm But Take No Shit.”


Photography provided by Joya

Joya

This fragrance brand and design studio operates out of a former rigging garage in Brooklyn, which is a suitable spot given that Joya’s handmade creations pay homage to America’s explorers, entrepreneurs, artists and philosophers. The company partners with emerging artists, established designers and global brands to craft perfumes, candles, diffusers, soaps and art objects — all made in house with meticulous attention to detail.


Photography provided by the Harmonist

The Harmonist

The passion project of Uzbek diplomat and philanthropist Lola Karimova-Tillyaeva, this parfumerie takes its cues from the ancient Chinese practice of feng shui and harnesses the power of the five elements: fire, water, wood, earth and metal. The Harmonist’s candles reflect this focus with varieties like velvet fire, sacred water and matrix metal. Not sure what’s right for you? You can discover your element by plugging your birth date, location and time into the Harmonist website.

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