Since the widespread implementation of electricity, I don’t know if there’s ever been a time we’re more in need of candles. For those of us in the southern hemisphere it’s getting darker and colder, sure, but more importantly most of us are in real need of a bright spot in our days just now, which a candle provides literally and figuratively. Fear not, though, this isn’t a time we’re suggesting treats at the pointy end of the price scale, lovely though they may be. Instead, we’ve put in the hard yards (do you hear the tiny violins playing?) to bring you our edit of the very best Australian candles, which you can light with relative fiscal impunity – they’re affordable to begin with, and your dollars are supporting local small businesses – whenever the need arises. With the world as it is at the moment, we prescribe daily use for maximum mood-enhancing benefits.

Sésame

Handmade in Brisbane by a Parisian woman, no less, Sésame candles feature fascinating, botanical fragrances which are best described as natural, though without ever veering towards hippy. They scent even a large, open room so well, whether lit and unlit, that my non-beauty-writer-husband declared they “have good throw” (reader, I’ve never been more proud.) The range is like nothing I have come across before, the best example being the watery coolness of Ghostgum, possibly my favourite, though I’d rather not have to choose just one. I’m not usually particularly into dupes, but I feel compelled to point out that the one exception to the uniqueness of the range is the floral, creamy, ever-so-slightly fruity Baies, which is the perfect affordable alternative to a certain luxury brand’s famous scent of the same name. The pleasingly hefty black glass vessels with minimalist white labels and black typography will suit any décor. Truly, I would not hesitate to buy one of these at twice their price.

Glasshouse Fragrances

It was only when sitting down to write this story that I realized Glasshouse candles have provided the scent backdrop, as it were, to a lot of very happy moments in my life. I was gifted the rich burnt sugar of A Tahaa Affair as a housewarming present when I first moved out of home, and the punchily tropical Montego Bay Rhythm a few years later to celebrate a special milestone. My husband and I love the sea breeze-esque Lost in Amalfi so much we burned it at our wedding. And from early December onwards, we enjoy the nightly ritual of lighting that year’s White Christmas (annually released in different festive packaging) until the sad day a few weeks later when the tree comes down. Recently rebranded, you can now expect a slightly more streamlined, refined look to the glass vessels and matching lids, though they still feature the same excellent quality fragrances.

Wildfolk

When it comes to both the packaging and scents, Wildfolk’s candles are like a contemporary upgrade of what you might once have found in an interesting craft shop in a charming country town. Each scent is housed in amber glass with craft paper labels and a wooden lid, a nod to the brand’s beginnings, when amber medicine bottles from a natural therapies clinic were repurposed as jars. The range runs the gamut from the calmly green, essential oils-heavy blend of Wreath, to the energising zest of Peppermint + Lemongrass. All give a pleasantly subtle fragrance when lit, and give off a particularly cosy glow through the warmly-tinted glass.

Babe

Packaged in chocolate glass shaped like a wine tumbler, the Babe candles instantly give off a laidback, cool-girl, ‘70s vibe. If you’re thinking of giving one of the candles in this edit as a gift, these come tucked inside their own canvas pouch, which is a nice touch. Not being the biggest fan of florals, Rosa isn’t a scent I would ordinarily pick, but I found myself unexpectedly drawn to the warm, relaxed rose. The wax didn’t burn quite as cleanly as others I tested, leaving some residue on the glass, but this is easily remedied with hot water and a paper towel once it’s finished. Just the thing, in fact, to fill with a cheeky merlot – while wearing corduroy flares, a turtleneck, and a sleek middle part, please.

Palm Beach Collection

There’s simply no other way to put this – Palm Beach Collection have really thrown me into a spin. There I was, a committed, long-time fan of their Sea Salt candle, and now they’ve given it another contender for my heart by introducing the Geranium, Neroli & Amber option to their new Wellness range. You see, this blend smells exactly like a high-end spa (just try passing by it without experiencing a strong urge to be wrapped in a warm fluffy towel, sipping a green juice… or, better yet, Champagne). Then there’s its whole look, very Scandi-meets-coastal, of frosted glass topped off with a practical, stylishly spare white rubber lid. Sea Salt, I’ll always love you, but there’s a new PBC candle in town. Looks like it’s matches at dawn.

Story by Zoe Briggs. Main image via Instagram @wildfolk_.

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