A Yankee Candle review right before the holidays might strike you as the best time to learn about these fantastic candles but, truth be told, any time of the year is perfect for a Yankee Candle.
During those stretches of time between celebrations, most of us aren’t ready to fire up the oven and bake a mound of cookies or a feast for family and friends for a nice smell. However, lighting a candle doesn’t require a lot of effort.
Dr. Rachael Hertz says an odor has no personal significance until it becomes connected to something that has meaning. With your initial encounter, you begin forming nerve connections that intertwine the smell with emotions.
So to recapture those wondrous feelings of the holiday season, without the calories or the work, light a bayberry or pumpkin pie candle. But maybe it’s too soon (or too late) for you to have a winter holiday replay, so how about a candle that smells like the beach? If you’re longing for the summer, perhaps the scent of a warm ocean breeze could lift your spirits.
Knowing that scents can have positive effects on mood, stress reduction, and a host of other benefits, it’s no surprise to learn that estimates of U.S. retail sales of candle products are huge. And most of those are scented. So, where did Yankee Candle get its start?
Yankee Candle Review, the Christmas Catalyst
This Yankee Candle review would be missing some critical notes if we didn’t start at the beginning. It’s a perfect place to start, don’t you agree?
It was Christmas of 1969 in Deerfield, Massachusetts, and 16-year-old Michael Kittredge had no money for Christmas gifts. Being ever the industrious fellow and knowing his mom would appreciate a homemade gift, he melted wax and crayons, using a milk carton as a mold. Voila!, his mom had her Christmas gift, a candle.
However, not only did his mom love the candle, but her friends did as well. One thing led to another, and the next year Michael found himself at the bank securing a small loan using his guitar, banjo, and an old stereo-system as collateral.
His friends told him Yankee Candle was a corny name, but nevertheless, Michael held firm, and six years after that crayon and wax Christmas gift, Michael incorporated his business, selling over $21,000 worth of candles.
The story continued
The success of Yankee Candle has to do with the vision of a young man who wanted to retain a sense of homey authenticity. Before the company became the world-wide behemoth it is today, they hand wrote the labels with whimsical story lines attached to each scent.
Michael, a die-hard fan of the Walt Disney company, would travel to Orlando several times a year to get display ideas because he wanted Yankee Candle to have the same emotional resonance as Disney World.
In 1993, BusinessWest questioned how a company could have so much success selling a product that’s been around for thousands of years. After all, candles have been functionally obsolete for almost a century, thanks to Thomas Edison.
The answer is: Yankee Candle does not sell pieces of wax and string. They sell entertainment, fantasy, nostalgia, and romance. Yankee Candle knows that scent is the quickest way to change someone’s mood, quicker than any other sense or modality because scent affects the emotional part of the brain.
After 50 years, Michael is no longer with the company he founded, and sheer volume forced the company to go from hand-made to mechanically made candles. But the commitment to scent lives on.
The candle industry is on, ahem, fire with Yankee Candle responsible for nearly half of all candle sales in the U.S. It’s ubiquitous, and its fans are obsessive, as witnessed by the popularity of the two Yankee Candle Village Stores.
There’s the one where the story began in Deerfield, Massachusetts, and one in Williamsburg, Virginia. The Deerfield location gets around 2 million visitors a year and consequently is considered one of Massachusetts’s top tourist destinations.
Now, let’s see if we can make sense of scents in this Yankee Candle review.
Candle Scents and Sense
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Understanding the process of developing and blending scents will help make sense why there are times your candle doesn’t smell as it did when it was new.
Natural or refined?
The most commonly used candle wax is paraffin. Other common candle waxes are beeswax, soy wax, palm wax, gels, and synthetic waxes.
Despite what you may hear, certain waxes are not better than others. Validated scientific studies have shown that all major candle waxes exhibit the same burn behaviors and produce practically identical combustion byproducts.
Candle manufacturers choose waxes, or blends, based on the suitability for different candle types, and their candle making preferences.
Candle manufacturers work closely with fragrance companies to develop scented formulations that are not only pleasing but will also burn safely and as intended. There is a maximum amount of fragrance that can be added to a candle before it no longer burns cleanly or properly.
That should answer the question many have about why they don’t put more fragrance into candles.
Most scented candles contain a combination of natural and synthetic fragrances. These fragrance materials may come from essential oils or synthetic aroma chemicals.
The aroma of a scented candle comes from two sources. First, from the unlit candle, called a cold throw. And second, from the evaporation of fragrance in the hot wax pool, called hot throw.
Upper, middle, or lower?
And now we make sense of scents, and in this Yankee Candle review, we’ll use musical analogies to understand better.
A note is the word used for descriptors of scents that you smell when you burn a candle. Fragrance notes fall into one of three groups, upper, middle, or lower notes, just like with perfumes.
In the world of scents, an accord is a balance of three or four notes, and together, they create an entirely new, unified odor impression. It’s comparable to a chord in music where two or three notes, when played in harmony, create a different sound.
Every candle scent is carefully crafted using a combination of upper, middle, or lower notes, and it’s much more complicated than just adding 10 drops of essential oil.
Upper, head, or top notes
Upper notes are the first notes you sense when you smell a candle, these notes introduce the candle fragrance and are typically fresh, light, and citrusy.
Top notes are responsible for the very first impression. The scents of top notes are responsible for attracting your attention and then smoothly transitioning to the middle notes.
Head notes are generally the lightest and most volatile of all notes. They may last a couple of hours, but they are meant to evaporate. Some typical top notes include sage, lavender, light fruits, ginger, and citrus.
Middle or heart notes
Middle notes are the foundation of most fragrances and make up anywhere from 40 to 80 percent of the total scent.
The superstar of a fragrance blend, heart notes are a bit more complex and full-bodied than top notes. They provide balance and harmony to enhance the top or bottom notes.In order to last longer, middle notes are generally pleasant, mellow, and balancing. The middle note compounds are much more complex than the top notes.
Heart notes are a combination of smooth floral or fruit tones, sometimes steeped with strong spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, or cardamom.
Lower, bottom, or base notes
Lower notes are heavier, longer lasting notes that are often composed of larger molecules. The ultimate function of base notes is to provide a lasting impression of the fragrance.Bottom notes bring balance to the upper and middle notes by weighing it down and rounding out the scent experience.
Base notes are often vibrant and smooth and are the longest lasting of the three classes of notes.
Keep the window open
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There are reasons you should only burn candles in well-ventilated areas. Most importantly, many people have sensitivities to scents, and research indicates that fragranced products, including candles, can trigger adverse health effects.
A 2009 study from the South Carolina State University warns about chemicals emitted into the air upon burning candles, and more research will provide a truly definitive statement. However, some researchers believe that long-term use of scented items might lead to asthma and other serious health issues.
Consumers often incorrectly believe their paraffin candles are sooting, but sooting is primarily due to flame and combustion disturbances. If the wick becomes too long or an air current disturbs the flame, small amounts of unburned carbon particles (soot) will escape the flame.
To avoid sooting, always trim the wick to 1/4 inch before every use and be sure to place candles away from drafts, air vents, or air currents. A well-made candle will create virtually no smoke when burning properly.
Yankee Candle Review: How We Did It
This Yankee Candle review is an independent analysis of three comparable candles. In our Yankee Candle review process, we looked at and compared the candle’s base material, scents, and professional and consumer reviews.
The goal of this Yankee Candle review is to provide you with sufficient factual, unbiased information so that you can make a confident, informed, and quicker decision in your next candle purchase.
Yankee Candle Classic Large Jar White Gardenia
- The stunning royal beauty of lush white gardenias in full bloom
- Housed in an ideal glass jar with lid to preserve the fragrance; removable label for a custom look
- Curated ingredients and premium wax deliver clean, consistent room-filling aroma
This year, Yankee Candle has 122 different scents in their Classic Large Jar Candle line. But for this Yankee Candle review, we will focus on the Yankee Candle Large Jar White Gardenia candle.
Yankee Candle says their premium-grade mineral wax blends together with just the right amount of fragrance oil. It then undergoes a cooling and heating process that results in a unique mottled effect on the finished candle. It’s a signature of Yankee Candles.
The wicks used in Yankee Candle’s are 100 percent natural fibers. That helps contribute to the estimated 110 to 150 hours burn time of their 22-ounce Classic Large Jar candles. The jar measures 4 inches by 4 inches by 7 inches and weighs 2.52 pounds.
Yankee Candle Review: The Competition
Let’s sniff out three of Yankee Candle’s competitors.
Goose Creek Pure Red Rose
- Layer after layer, it's nothing but juicy, creamy goodness. It's a homemade blueberry cheesecake.
- 24oz Double Wick with 120-150 hours burn time
- Maximum Fragrance Per Jar
The Goose Creek Pure Red Rose scented large (24 ounces) jar candle has a double wick with an estimated burn time of 120 to 150 hours.
Goose Creek candles are made with premium grade paraffin wax and therefore deliver a clean, consistent non-toxic burn. They make their candles in the U.S.
Our Own Candle Company French Vanilla
- THE SCENT: Special warm and inviting scent of French Vanilla
- SPECIALTY BLENDED WAX: 13 oz mason jar of our specially blended soy and paraffin wax. Proudly made in the USA.
- 100 HOURS BURN TIME. Lead-free wick with patented straightener to ensure proper burning every time.
The 13-ounce, French Vanilla scented candle from Our Own Candle Company is estimated to burn for 100 hours.
Our Own Candle Company makes their candles with specially blended soy and paraffin mix and has a patented straightener to ensure proper burning. They proudly make these candles in the U.S.
Capri Blue Volcano
- Scented Candle: Chic glass candle with a lid that burns up to 85 hours
- Capri Blue Volcano: Drift away with iconic notes of tropical fruit and sugared citrus
- Signature Collection: This classy silhouette is the iconic vessel that started it all
The Capri Blue Volcano candle is a perfect blend of citrus and sugar notes. This 19-ounce candle has an estimated burn time of up to 85 hours.
This manufacturer makes their candles with paraffin in many different and unique glass containers. And Capri makes these candles in the U.S.
To Sum It Up
In this Yankee Candle review, we’ve talked cents, sense, and scents. We enlightened you to the process of making scented candles, and maybe all the note talk got you humming a favorite tune.
In 50 years, Yankee Candle went from a broke high school boy making candles with crayons, wax, and milk cartons to one of the dominant candle companies in the world. They have the biggest fanbase among candle users for a reason.
They have candles of every scent you can imagine, and many more you can’t. All are waiting for you to light them, take a deep breath, and establish a memory.
It’s important to remember to prevent soot by trimming the wicks on your candles to 1/4 inch each time before you light your candle. Also, burn your candles in a well-ventilated area, but not near any air vents or currents.
Here are a few parting interesting Yankee Candle facts. A whopping 80 percent of Yankee Candle customers are women, with the majority of them in the 30 to 50 age group. They are mostly suburbanites who have families and are homeowners.
Are you one of those devout Yankee Candle fans? Let us know in the comments below what your favorite candle scent is.
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I began my writing career writing for various content firms, but it was under the tutelage of the editors here at SavantMag.com that I grew as a writer and editor. I love the content we write here and bringing solid reviews to consumers is rewarding beyond what I can even describe.