Candle are one of man’s greatest inventions, and even now, millennia later, candles are still very much in existence. However, a lot of knowledge, know-how and overall craftsmanship involved in candle-making have been lost over time, especially due to the discovery of electricity and the invention of the electric bulb in the 1800s. Nowadays, there are not as many candle-makers – or chandlers – as there used to be and candles are no longer as popular as before. This is why many people today may have trouble describing certain attributes of candles such as the smell.
THE SMELL OF A CANDLE
The smell of a candle means the aroma that a candle gives off, with or without being lit. It is often referred to as a “throw”. Throws can vary in intensity based on the kind of candle being lit and whether the candle is lit or not. For instance a scented candle will tend to give off stronger scents compared to candles that do not have any kind of added fragrance or perfume. This is because scented candles already contain added fragrance which tends to intensify the smell of the candles, even before it is lit. The scent or smell given off by a candle which is not lit is called a “cold throw”, and it is usually less intense than a “warm throw” or “hot throw”; which is the kind of scent which a candle emits when it is being burned. Hot throws are more intense and easily perceived compared to cold throws because during burning, the candle wax melts and scents from the candle – which are usually embedded in the wax – are unleashed. In scented candles, hot throws are usually a lot more powerful because the aroma or fragrance which has been added to the candle wax becomes a lot stronger as the candle burns and melts. However, even before burning, it is possible to detect strong whiffs of the embedded fragrance and determine what type of aroma the scented candle has (e.g. vanilla, lavender, citrus, coconut etc), by smelling it.
The smell of a candle is very important in determining the kind of candle a person has just purchased (for instance, scented or non-scented), but beyond this, the smell of a candle – along with the intensity of that smell – can be used to determine the quality of the candle.
THE PURPOSE OF A CANDLE’S SMELL
Candles are one of the sources of indoor illumination, but they are also important because of their scents or throws. Candles have come a long way since the times of their first invention in various parts of the world. For a long time, they were predominantly made from boiled-down tallow or fat gotten from the carcass of cattle, the bodies of insects, beeswax and even fat gotten from whales. All of these candles tended to give off some kind of aroma as they burned, although it may not have been very intense (for instance, candles made from boiled-down fat or tallow from cattle tended to give off the scent of burning fat as they burned and their wax melted). However, due to the fact that the candle-making industry has witnessed technological innovation right alongside mankind, recent centuries have seen the rise and eventual market domination of candles made of paraffin wax. The unscented versions of candles made of paraffin wax tend to burn without giving off much of a scent, and as a matter of fact, they are basically odorless. Scented candles on the other hand burn to emit a particular fragrance or scent which has been previously added to the candle wax during the process of candle making. This imbuing of fragrance in scented candles is an intentional act which gives scented candles their scents and allows them to be used in aromatherapy.
However, through the type and intensity of a candles’ perceived smell, one can easily determine if there is a defect with the candle. For instance if a candle which is marked and labeled as unscented burns with a distinct aroma, it is a sign that there is a problem somewhere. This also applies if scented candles do not give off strong smells during burning.
METHODS TO INTENSIFY THE SMELL OF A CANDLE
Scented candles are usually purchased because of the aroma or fragrance that they emit during candle-burning. This is because inhaling these scents plays a crucial role in aromatherapy, for relieving stress and aiding relaxation. However, sometimes, a scented candle may not emit aromas which are intense enough for their intended purpose. In instances like this, it is usually because the olfactory sense of the person who uses the scented candle has gotten use to that particular aroma, at that level of intensity that they find it difficult to perceive the smell; or, the candle itself is defective. If the person can no longer perceive the scent of a candle due to the former (i.e. due to over-exposure to that particular brand or fragrance), then the cure might simply be changing that brand or fragrance of scented candles. However, if the latter is true and the candle itself is defective, there might not be anything much to do asides from burning another one. This other candle can also be burned in addition to the defective one in other to intensify the emitted scent. However, if you make your own candles, you might be interested in learning how to make scented candles that are free of such aromatic defects.
Methods to intensify the scent of a candle during the candle-making process include the following:
- Using the required amount of fragrance
It is very important to add the required amount of fragrance to the wax. This kind of fragrance oil must be suitable for the type of wax being used to make the candle.
- Adding the fragrance oil at the right temperature
During the candle-making process the temperature at which fragrance oil is added to the liquid candle-wax matters. Ideally, the normal temperature for adding the fragrance oil to liquid candle wax should be 185Cº and the mixture should be well mixed in order to distribute the scent evenly within the candle, so that the scent can be emitted well during burning.