Candles have existed for thousands of years, and though no one quite remembers the actual name of who came up with them or where they were first made – or even pinpoint the actual year they were invented –candles continue to remain relevant to this day. For a long time, they were chief among the world’s few sources of indoor illumination, however their wild popularity waned at the end of the19th century, when electricity was first invented.
In recent times, however candles have regained a huge percentage of their original popularity due to the increasing demand for scented candles.
WHAT ARE SCENTED CANDLES?
Scented candles are the kind of candles that give off distinct scents and aromas when burned. During candle burning, the fragrances contained in scented candles are given off in the form of gases which permeate a room. The fragrances in scented candles are usually added intentional in the form of perfumes and fragrant essential oils which are usually obtained from natural plant sources. Therefore, scented candles usually come in a wide variety of scents which include flowery aromas such as rose and lavender, fruity scents such as citrus.
Scented candles usually come in various forms and sizes, however, some of their most important attributes include the following:
- The type of fragrance used
The type of perfume or fragrance added to the candle during the candle making process goes a long way in determining the kind of scent that would be given off by the candle when it is burning.For instance, a citrus fragrance will produce a citrus scented candle, a mango fragrance or perfume will produce a mango scented candle and so on. It is not possible for a citrus fragrance or perfume to produce a mango scented candle and vice versa, under normal circumstances, all things being equal.
- The quality of fragrance used
The quality of the fragrance or perfume used in the candle-making process also goes a long way in determining the type and quality of the scented candle produced. Perfumes and fragrances of high quality will produce scented candles with strong and long-lasting scents. Also, this kind of scented candle is not likely to burn down faster than usual because high-quality perfumes are not likely to make the candle burn hotter (if the candle burns hotter as a result of the added perfume, it is likely to burn down at a much faster rate than normal).
OTHER FACTORS THAT AFFECT THE ATTRIBUTES OF SCENTED CANDLES
Other factors that affect the attributes of scented candles include the following:
- The type of candle wax used.
The type of candle wax used to make scented candles can affect the strength of the resultant scent in the candle formed. This is because some waxes have their own natural scents which may affect the strength of the added fragrance. This natural fragrance in the candle wax may also mix with the added perfume to form distinct scent notes which may be peculiar only to that particular wax and fragrance combination. Beeswax is an example of this kind of candle wax, which already has a natural fragrance of its own.
- The quantity of perfume or fragrance used.
The quantity of perfume and fragrance used in making scented candles can affect the strength of the scent. If small quantity of perfume is added to the melted wax during the candle-making process, then the fragrance released from the scented candle is likely not to be very strong and vice versa.
- The candle-making process.
Steps carried out during the candle-making process also go a long way in determining the scent profile of the type of candle that would be formed. The order in which scents are added into the melted wax go a long way in determining the properties of the produced candle’s scent notes. In addition to this, the temperature of the candle wax when the fragrance or perfume is added is very important. The wax must not be too hot or too cold when the fragrance or perfume is to be added; this way, it would be easy for the candle-maker (or chandler) to mix the fragrance evenly into the melted wax.
THE IMPACT SCENTS HAVE ON TASTE
The nose is the sense organ used for perceiving scents while the tongue is used for tasting. However, these two sense organs are closely linked. This is because the detection of scents and smells falls under the olfactory system which consists of the nose and the nasal cavity. Tiny particles and droplets in the air, such as the fragrant gases given off from scented candles, are breathed in through the nose. Then, they are passed inside the nasal cavity, where the mucus membrane of that system helps to dissolve them. Following this, signals which help to identify the scents are passed to the brain.
When a person perceives a scent, they can almost taste it too. If it is a food or an aroma closely associated with a particular type of food, that food immediately comes to mind. Why this happens is that the scent of food can create a kind of mouthwatering effect as soon as droplets of it in the air (which are perceived through the nose) are inhaled through the nose and the brain translates it and links the information of the scent to a particular food (usually the same food giving off the aroma or one very similar to it). For instance, when scents like vanilla are perceived, the brain immediately links it to familiar food that have vanilla flavor, for instance, vanilla ice-cream, and vanilla-flavored confectioneries and pastries. The brain’s ability to form this almost instant connection to food happens because of the air particles that have dissolved in nasal cavity which is also linked to the mouth. Through this link, people are able to taste some – a very minute quantity – of the aromas they smell, in their mouth. Citrusy and lemony scents can also be immediately linked to foods that give such flavors or tart tastes. This is how scents have a great impact on taste.