bougie buys: alison's favorite candles


I adore the sweet smell of scented candles and spring is my favorite time to let them burn; fresh air mixing with the flowery scents seems like perfect chemistry. The candles I use most often as a treat for my personal space are Dyptique. On a trip to Paris a bunch of years ago, I walked miles to 34 boulevard Saint Germain. I brought five back to NYC, all for moi. (You can get some for yourself at Bigelow’s, which has a nice selection, for $48 each.) Baies (black current leaves and Bulgarian roses) always reminds me of my friend Tim and his parties on 39th Street (circa early 1990s). Fig, my third grade bookbag — go figure. Click through to the next page to see five more candles that I like to hoard.


The Claus Porto Tuberose with its art deco glass and exoctic Portuguese origins, $32 at Saks.


I love the Aveda Shampure candle, $28. It is freah and clean.


The Animalia Magnet is off the chart. It is rich and sweet, with amber oil that sits on the bottom. It is really extravagant, $72 at, so I’m saving this for something special.


I can also vouch for the refreshing Thymes Moroccan Mint, $24 at

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I always love a candle in red glass — it gives the boudoir a boost. Add some G’s for Gucci and that’s a gorgeous (and pricey) candle, $90.

These are where my nose is at now. Not a dud in the group. Now you tell me, what are your favorite candles this spring? — Allison R.

From our partners

The only problem with Diptyque (and most of the candles on this list, actually, except Aveda) is… the wicks are not lead-free and the wax is not vegetable or soy wax. This means they emit harmful toxins into the air–for a candle this expensive, it’s kind of inexcusable.
If you want a range of fresh, intense scents and sleek packaging that won’t pollute your indoor air, I’d recommend two lines:


Angela M.

Though I, too, love Diptyque candles, Ergo’s bamboo scent is lovely. It’s so fresh smelling.

What do you all think of the Henri Bendel candles? They have a range of interesting scents, but they are from Limited Inc. (Bath & Body Works, White Barn Candle Co, etc – they’re all connected, and the Bendel candles have been sold at fancier B&BW stores, and IIRC the newer C.O. Bigelow concept stores, for a while). IME stuff from Limited Inc. tends to smell very synthetic after a while, so I haven’t wanted to pay the relatively high prices for these candles when there are cheaper alternatives (with soy wax, better wicks, etc). Still, Bendel has pretty nice packaging, not dissimilar to Dyptique.

There’s another line, used to be candle-shop exclusive but is now pretty easily found in Whole Foods or Wild Oats, but I can’t recall its name. Pacifica? Yeah, that’s it. They have very beautiful labels, but are of course not as high-end. Soy is available (though paraffin is default), wicks are lead-free, there’s a wide range of scents, etc. Illume also makes some nice stuff.


I second both the Henri Bendel and Pacifica candles-great pricing for high quality fragrance and a steady, clean burn.

I agree Ergo and Pacifica are high quality, richly scented candles. Pacifica’s large candle seems to be the best bang for the buck, very hard to find a $20 candle with such staying power.