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Fall isn’t really fall until you’ve purchased a veritable plethora of fall candles, thoughtfully placed them around your cozy autumnal abode, and lit them all, at once, overpowering your nose with the aromatic equivalent of hygge. The scent of a crackling fall bonfire. The smell of a fresh apple-cinnamon cobbler, just pulled from the oven. The perfume of fresh pine. As far as fragrance is concerned, fall is 100 percent that bitch. And what’s perhaps even more delightful? All of autumn’s signature odors pair really, really well together, so you can burn a few at once and rest assured knowing you’ll end up with a seriously delicious scent blend.
There’s an issue with fall candle shopping, though: A lot of us don’t do it in-person. There’s an incredible array of worthwhile candlemakers these days, and not all of them have brick-and-mortar shops—let alone brick-and-mortar shops located nearby. Sure, we can still buy their wares online, but candles are as experiential as they are aesthetic, and it’s not like we can smell-test them through a laptop screen.
Consider this: You’ve stumbled upon a trendy new candle shop on Instagram. The labels are cute, and the fragrance combinations sound all kinds of enticing. You narrow your options down to three favorites, and ultimately pick one to order—each candle is an investment at $35, after all. You anxiously await the day it’ll arrive, and once it finally does, you rip open the package immediately. There it is, in all its adorable fall candle glory. Then, you smell it. The scent blend you thought would delight your olfactory receptors instead clashes with them. You light it, just in case the smell mellows out in warm aroma form. It doesn’t. You’re left with a $35 hunk of wax you have no idea what to do with. An autumnal horror story if we’ve ever heard one.
To prevent you from experiencing this unquestionable nightmare, I’ve dug up 41 fall candles and smell-tested every single one of them. Peruse the scent profiles below to find your fall candle soulmate. And trust that if you shop the below, you won’t end up with an odiferous horror.
Because campfires are one of autumn’s greatest joys. And candles that smell like campfires are basically the next-best thing.
FAVORITE: Few fireside candles manage to actually smell like a fall bonfire. Because fall bonfires smell like smoke, and evergreen trees, and crisp fall air all at once. And that’s a hard scent blend to master—though Diptyque does so with apparent ease. Feu de Bois offers notes of smoke and spice, with just enough sweetness to mellow things out. Rest assured you’ll catch me lighting this little beauty all season long.
FAVORITE: Where Diptyque offered a crisp take on the fireside candle, Cozier offered an almost sensual one. Boasting a mellow blend of oud (agarwood) and amber, Terre is basically the candle equivalent of that hyper-cozy blanket you snuggled up in the last time it rained. People who love vanilla—subtle vanilla, not sugary-sweet vanilla—may appreciate this plush take on the autumnal campfire. But those who prefer their woodsy candles to smell like dry, crisp, real woods may have better luck with other options in this category. (I happen to very much enjoy both—lucky me!)
The White Company’s take on the fireside candle offers sweetness and smoke in equal measure. Customers will get those crispy, spicy notes they crave from a campfire candle—plus some of the sweeter, warmer vanilla aromas we associate with fall candles in general. Mellow, sweet, spicy, and smoky all at once, Fireside covers the campfire candle basics without veering too far in any direction. No extremes here—just well-balanced smell magic (and a candle that first-timers will probably love).
A veritable mandle, Bath & Body Works’ White Barn Peppered Suede takes a classic woodsy fall smell (amberwood) and renders it in a decidedly new way. Whereas many woodsy candles take sweeter approaches to the fall campfire, Peppered Suede does the opposite. The black peppercorn offers the spicy smoke you cherish in a woodsy candle, while the bergamot notes deliver a citrusy freshness that keeps the candle feeling dynamic, rather than formulaic. Peppered Suede might just be the perfect fall candle to gift the friend (or dad) who’s fall candle-averse. It’s also a great option for the shopper who wants to get into the whole fall candle thing—without pursuing the most obvious (or indulgently sugary-sweet) route possible.
If you crave a fireside candle that’s dryer than Diptyque’s Feu de Bois, but not quite as dry as Bath & Body Works’ White Barn Peppered Suede, Bastide’s Au Coin du Feu might be your smell soul mate. Lots of musk, lots of spice, and just a little sweetness, Au Coin du Feu smells like a cozy fall bonfire—sans all of the s’mores.
Decidedly less smoky than the other five, Greenmarket Purveying Co.’s The Archivist Tobacco and Moss candle offers all the musky spice you love in a woodsy candle. But instead of rich smoke, you get mellow sweetness. Notes like cedar, teakwood, and earth keep the scent blend focused on nature, while leather aromas deliver just enough depth to land this one in the fireside candle category. Perfect for first-time campfire candle shoppers—and anyone who prefers their fall bonfire without a side of smoke.
Anecdote Candles’ Flannel and Fedoras smells a lot like Greenmarket Purveying Co.’s The Archivist Tobacco and Moss—woodsiness, spice, and musk in equal measure. But where Tobacco and Moss favors a little mellow sweetness, Flannel and Fedoras dives even deeper into musk and spice. Surprising notes like orange and grapefruit keep Flannel and Fedoras feeling bright and bold. It definitely feels more musky mandle than sweet campfire candle, but the smoke earned it a spot in this category nonetheless.
Smoked Leather was a tough one to categorize—it vacillates between musky fruitiness and spiced smoke. According to Urban Apothecary, this definite mandle offers notes of coriander, thyme, amber, cedarwood, leather, and suede—and its sleek appearance would surely lend itself to any home office.
Autumn is all about the apples—apple picking, apple pies, apple candles.
FAVORITE: “Leaves” is something of a misnomer here, because this candle doesn’t smell like autumn air—it smells like straight-up spiced apple cider. And every fall fan can surely agree that spiced apple cider is one of the finest autumnal aromas around. Think: warmed apples mixed with crisp spices. If this Bath & Body Works candle were a drink, I’d already be sipping it. (Needless to say, I’ll be lighting it all season long.)
FAVORITE: Bath & Body Works nailed one autumnal apple scent—hot apple cider—and Hillhouse Naturals just nailed another, equally delightful one: baked apples. Light it, and you’ll start salivating—expecting a delicious apple pie, apple cobbler, or apple crisp to come out of the oven at any moment. Hillhouse Naturals masterfully blended apple and cinnamon scents to create a candle that genuinely smells like a just-baked dessert—with none of the artificial or too-sugary fragrances that tend to pervade the sweet candle space.
Thought we’d already covered all the aromas in the apple candle space? Think again. P.F. Candle Co. tackled yet another decadent autumnal aroma: the smell of fresh apples. Visions of apple orchards and fall festivals will undoubtedly dance in your head as you light this aptly named candle. With overwhelming notes of fresh apple juice and hints of cinnamon, this candle smells exactly like your favorite fall memories.
Baked apples. Rich cinnamon. And just enough woodsiness to make you feel like you’re walking along an autumn leaf-strewn path. With every note, Yankee Candle’s Autumn Wreath encapsulates fall. According to the Yankee Candle website, Autumn Leaves kicks off with fresher notes like green leaf and apple, then transitions into spicier ones, like cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg. At the very end, you get a sweet aftertaste—woodsy notes and vanilla. The entire smell-scape will take you through fall from start to finish. I think I’m in love.
Yankee Candle nailed fall apples with Autumn Wreath, and then it nailed them again with Ciderhouse. Where Autumn Wreath goes spicy, Ciderhouse goes sweet. With notes like cinnamon bark, clove, nutmeg, and vanilla bean, the candle sits at the intersection of warm apple dessert and hot apple cider. If you can’t decide which of those fall treats sounds more delicious, this candle has your name all over it.
When I opened this candle, I expected to be overwhelmed with notes of PSL. But I was delighted to discover that fresh apple aromas dominate the scent blend. If you want a candle that smells like fresh apple juice and spiced apple cider and pumpkin bread all at once, Pumpkin Apple might just be your new go-to.
I’ve been a fan of High Country Candles since I visited Blowing Rock, N.C. for the first time years ago. (I may or may not have had a melt-down in the candle shop as I debated over which scents to take home with me, because it wasn’t possible to bring home every single candle, right?!) Their take on Baked Apple Crisp offers the classic fresh apple and baking spice notes you’d expect from an apple candle—plus some of the rich smoke you’d usually only find in a campfire candle. The best of both worlds? If you prefer your baked goods with a side of smoke, it definitely is.
Undoubtedly the most eye-catching apple candle of the bunch, Lucy’s Fall Harvest Candle smells like musky-sweet apples and just a hint of spice.
Would it really be a fall candle roundup without a ton of pumpkin spice options?
FAVORITE: I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little concerned when I first saw the words “pumpkin” and “peanut brittle” on the same label. I’m a big fan of each of those flavors in isolation, but combined, they sounded like pungent chaos waiting to happen. I couldn’t have been more wrong. When I opened the candle, I was surprised, delighted, and overwhelmed all at once. Delicious fall pumpkin notes dominated the scent blend, but the peanut brittle added some salty richness that really rounded the candle out. If you’re not into sweet indulgences, Bath & Body Works Pumpkin Peanut Brittle probably won’t be your thing. But this candle is, without a doubt, my thing. And it’s perhaps the one I’m most delighted to light this season.
FAVORITE: The first time I smelled this candle, my review notes read: “An absolute dream come true.” P.F. Candle Co.’s Spiced Pumpkin smells like pumpkin bread dipped in spiced apple cider. It’s fresh, it’s bright, and it’s perfect for lighting in the morning—and leaving on all day long. The fragrance blend never veers too far into sugary-sweet or indulgent territory, making it a perfect fit for anyone who appreciates an autumn aroma.
If you appreciate a candle that has a sense of humor, Anecdote Candle’s Basic might just charm your pants off. The candle blends some of the most iconic smells of the season—fresh pumpkin, cinnamon spice—and does so with absolute self-awareness. The candle claims to smell like “pumpkin spiced lattes and cable knit sweaters,” and it definitely delivers on its promise. If you’re an unabashed PSL lover who’s not afraid to self-describe as basic, you might’ve found a kindred spirit in this candle.
Bath & Body Works’ Caramel Pumpkin Swirl candle smells exactly like Halloween. And by that, I mean it smells like a truly massive piece of candy. Indulgently sugary sweet—but also delightfully salty—this is the kind of candle you light when you want your house to smell like a straight up sugar factory. Not an ideal vibe for everyone, but an excellent choice for those who are into it. (As you can likely tell, I’m pretty into it.)
WoodWick’s Pumpkin Butter candle smells, well, exactly like pumpkin butter. Instead getting too sugary-sweet, WoodWick plays up pumpkin’s subtle flavor—and further brings it out with a little subtle spice.
Undoubtedly one of the more unique pumpkin candles I’ve seen, Fragrant Jewels’ Hello Pumpkin could surely double as Halloween decor. (And did I mention it comes packaged alongside a decidedly autumnal orange ring?) The candle smells like a freshly baked loaf of pumpkin bread. Sweet, spicy, and just pumpkin enough to feel seasonally appropriate.
Because sometimes, you just want your apartment to smell like an evergreen forest.
FAVORITE: Moodcast’s Reveler candle promises notes of freshly cut pine, cedwarwood, and fir balsalm—and it delivers exactly that. Reveler smells like a crisp evergreen forest—and offers just enough sweetness to leave even the coldest fall days feeling romantic. The sugary evergreen scents definitely feel more winter wonderland than fall woods, so I’d normally be tempted to shelve this one until the weather cools down a little more. That said, this candle smells so damn good I might have to break that rule and whip it out ASAP.
FAVORITE: Where Moodcast’s Reveler smells like a sweet evergreen forest, Diptyque’s Cypres smells like a crisp, herbaceous one. No added sugar here—just a candle sure to deliver almost-spicy forest vibes all season long. Interestingly enough, the absence of sweetness leaves this one feeling fit for fall. While Reveler summons visions of gift-wrapping and winter layers, Cypres seems like it’d pair well with apple picking and flannel shirts. An evergreen candle you won’t feel weird lighting in September? That’s definitely a win.
Diptyque went herbaceous. Moodcast went sweet. And P.F. Candle Co. went all tree. Take one whiff, and you won’t know whether you’re smelling your family’s Christmas tree or this adorable little candle—that’s how spot-on the scent is. Also worth noting? This candle smells almost fiercely saturated, and as a fan of a big smell, I mean that in the best way possible. No-nonsense evergreen vibes abound—and they’ll surely make the transition from fall to winter a little more delightful.
With one whiff, LoveSpoon’s Pine Cone candle managed to transport me to two places at once. In one scene, I was wandering around a snow-covered evergreen forest. In the other, I was cozied up in a piping hot bath. I have no idea how one candle managed to nail both of those scenic scents at once, but I’m kind of into it. Sure, the combination is admittedly pretty strange, but every time I sniff the candle, I feel like I’m sitting in a luxe bath surrounded by lush evergreens—and if that’s not an absolutely dreamy mental image, I don’t know what is.
Equal parts spicy and snuggly.
FAVORITE: LoveSpoon’s Cinnamon Stick candle delivers on the promise its name makes: It smells exactly like a cinnamon stick. And an intense one, at that. If you’ve ever taken a shot of fireball or sucked on one of those spicy cinnamon candy balls, you know this smell. About as concentrated as cinnamon candles come, LoveSpoon’s Cinnamon Stick is ready to bring some serious spice to your house.
Hand Poured by Ingrid’s Autumn Chai candle offers a spicy—almost musky—take on cinnamon. Subtler than LoveSpoon’s Cinnamon Stick but still veritably spicy-sweet, Autumn Chai may be the perfect pick for someone who loves cinnamon—but not enough to infuse their whole house with it.
A particularly understated take on cinnamon, Diptyque’s Cannelle candle is a great option for someone who wants to bring autumnal aromas into their home without overdoing it. I’m a big fan of hyper-saturated cinnamon smell, but I understand that’s basically the candle equivalent of throwing full cloves of garlic into a dish; it’s an intense choice, sure to polarize. Cannelle does cinnamon in a surprising, crisp, and subtle way. Neither too sweet nor too saturated, Cannelle is a mellow scent worth lighting all season long.
Apple isn’t the only fall fruit on the menu.
FAVORITE: High Country Candles’ take on Orange Spice is out-of-this-world good. It offers the bold, saturated flavor you crave in a cinnamon candle, but rounds out the blend with notes of other spices. And I’d be remiss not to note the fresh and baked orange scents that pervade the blend. If you’re looking for a transitional candle that’ll take you from the end of September through the beginning of January, you’ve found it in this truly delightful candle.
FAVORITE: While a wine candle sounds absolutely incredible in theory, it seems like one of those things that should go really awry in practice. Not the case. Bath & Body Works’ White Barn Wine Cellar candle is all kinds of delightful. Bath & Body Works emphasized wine’s loveliest fruity notes and paired them with fragrances like mulled apples, fresh fig, and cedarwood—all of which sweetened the smell blend. The result is a candle that smells like mulled wine served alongside fresh fall pastries. In other words, an absolute joy.
If this candle convinced me of anything, it’s that plum is a seriously underrated fragrance. For any season, really—but especially for fall and winter. Hillhouse Naturals’ Field + Fleur Winter Plum candle is sweet but not too sugary, fruity but never artificial, and musky—but in a decidedly mellow way. It’s the kind of thing I mightn’t ordinarily think to buy, but now that I’ve smelled it, I’ll be advocating for it hard all season long.
I’d be lying if I said I was immediately on board with the idea of a fresh citrus candle for fall. But one whiff of Soohyang’s Risky Citrus left me sure such a bold choice could work. Where some citrus candles veer into beachy, summery territory, Soohyang kept things focused on the fruit—primarily, notes of juicy mandarins. Equal parts sweet, sour, and almost invitingly mellow, Risky Citrus could easily serve as a scent staple during any season. Light it alongside some of your favorite spicy candles, and let fragrance magic unfold.
LoveSpoon’s Cranberry Marmalade candle might be small, but it packs a powerful punch. And it smells exactly like cranberry jam. Vibrantly fruity, subtly sour, and rounded out with some of those autumnal spices you love oh-so much, LoveSpoon’s Cranberry Marmalade is an excellent candle for the person who craves a fall fragrance—but wants to avoid the more sugary-sweet baked good smells that tend to accompany the season.
Sicily Hill’s take on Thanksgiving’s favorite berry is sweeter, fruitier, and muskier than LoveSpoon’s—and not nearly as sour or spicy. For those who prefer their fall cranberry smelling almost floral in nature, Sicily Hill’s Cranberry Spice will likely delight.
Fruity and just a little bit musky, The White Company’s Wild Rhubarb isn’t your average fall candle. And that’s kind of a great thing. Consider Wild Rhubarb the smell equivalent of a palate cleanser. Fall scents tend to get heavy, rich, and incredibly spicy. They fill your nose, your room, your house. They overwhelm. This fruity option will provide a fresh change of pace as you prepare to shift from one hyper indulgent flavor to the next.
Out-of-the-Box Fall Candles
Because some scent blends defy clear categorization—and there’s no shame in that.
Scandinavisk’s Hygge smells like a warm bath full of bubbles, and oils, and bath bombs, and all the other stuff you whip out when you really want to treat yourself. It is sheer coziness, encapsulated in a single candle. The best part? Hygge doesn’t smell distinctly seasonal, so you could light it during any time of year to get a quick dose of hygge. (So if you’re in that sweater weather mindset and slightly peeved that it’s still 80 degrees outside, Hygge has your back.)
Maple butter isn’t necessarily an out-of-the-box fall fragrance—it just didn’t fit within the confines of any other category on this list. High Country Candles’ Maple Butter candle is the most decadent thing you imagine when you call to mind fall candles. Rich in sugar and in salt, Maple Butter is basically a fragrance fairytale. Definitely too sugary-sweet for the haters, but as someone who happens to rank sweet-salty combinations among her favorite things, I love, love, love this candle.
If you want your candles to do a little more than just smell nice and look pretty, DedCool’s Taunt might be right up your alley. A massage candle, this beauty can fill your home with lovely aromas of amber and vanilla—and then bring those delightful scents straight into your bedroom (where they can drip all over your partner). Don’t let the double functionality intimidate you—this candle is great on its own, and will surely bring some classically sweet fall smells to the table. (It’s just that if you decide you also want those classically sweet fall smells absolutely covering your partner, you can easily make it happen.)
The White Company’s eponymous Autumn candle offers a new, and perhaps much-needed take on the season. Fresh and subtly sweet, Autumn feels more fruity than spicy. (And that’s no surprise—the scent blend boasts notes of pear, quince and apricot blended with amber and musk.) Though it offers a different smell than one might typically expect with a fall candle, The White Company’s Autumn captures fall exactly as it is: soft, sweet, and overwhelmingly fresh. The leaves are turning, but it’s still somewhat warm out. Relics of summer remain. For the person who’s not quite ready to accept that fall is here, or whose understanding of fall is thoroughly nuanced, Autumn might just be the move.
Let’s not lie to ourselves here: Sifting through all these incredible candle scents is hard work.
If you simply cannot select one fall fragrance to commit to and cherish for the rest of the season, rest assured knowing WoodWick has offered you a way out. The brand offers a three-part fall candle—one that transitions from fresh apples to spiced blackberries to rich, indulgent pumpkin butter. So you get to sink into fall, little by little, as this candle does whatever the smell equivalent of narrating your journey is.
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