In the Northern hemisphere, summertime is in full swing. The air is sweet and warm, blankets are optional, and iced tea is flowing. Summer in 2020 may be a little unique for many, perhaps with fewer picnics and summer evening parties. This is all the more reason to get your gifting juices flowing and delight your loved ones for birthdays, anniversaries, or “just because”.
Candles are the perfect gift idea as they not only add a little dose of aesthetic flair to the home, but they provide a delectable “smellscape”, too. Choosing the size, shape, and color of a candle is reasonably simple, especially if you know the recipient well. The scent, on the other hand, is a little trickier, often sparking many “umm and ahh” moments.
We know that winter goes hand-in-hand with rich, musky scents such as clove and fir tree, but what about summer? That’s where we come in! Welcome to our guide to the best candle fragrances for summer gifting.
Who for? Beach-going people who have a penchant for richer, deeper fragrances.
We begin with one of the most iconic, well-loved summertime fragrances of all time: coconut. For many, it conjures memories (or dreams) of beachside holidays and sipping pina coladas. It may bring back strong memories of slapping on coconut-scented sunscreen as a child before plunging into the local pool.
Pro tip: Curate an island scene candle pairing. Pick one coconut candle and a fruitier scent such as mango, pineapple, or lime. The fusion of the two conjures an island bar cocktail hour atmosphere (even in an intercity flat). Or, craft a bundle containing a coconut candle and a lime diffuser.
Who for? Friends and family with classic tastes who aren’t fans of overly sweet or musky scents.
Lemon, lime, grapefruit, and orange scents are seasonally universal, you could argue. However, a crisp, slightly edgy citrus scent has something quintessentially “summer” about it. It can help to cut through muggy, humid days, and even revitalize the mind against a heat-fueled fug. Lemon is known to help with feelings of calm as well as sharpening mental focus (great for someone working at home this summer!).
Pro tip: Add a second candle with a compatible scent such as rosemary for a fresh, “Italian garden” scent scape. Peppermint also goes well with lemon and revitalizes the senses during hot, sluggish days.
Who for? Garden-loving friends who love a heady, intoxicating scent with a generous dose of sweet floral.
Have you ever sat in a garden full of gardenia blooms on a summer evening? Unforgettable. Gardenia is an ideal candle scent for anyone who is drawn to more impactful scents with a definite floral profile. Want to let someone know how much you love them? Go with a white gardenia scent as it is generally known to symbolize pure love, trust, and clarity.
Pro tip: Gardenia is a great choice for people who are allergic to fresh flowers but love the scent.
Who for? No-nonsense recipients who love all things fresh and clean. Perhaps a friend who loves a gin and tonic with a slice of cucumber?
The scent of freshly cut cucumber belongs firmly in the summer and spring months. We associate it with fresh mint and cucumber water, cucumber sandwiches, and light, zesty salads. Cucumber is a clean scent that won’t fill a room with a sweet or heady fug. If your recipient has a minimal aesthetic and loves a clean, fresh room, cucumber is the scent for them.
Pro tip: Create a gift basket featuring a cucumber candle, mint-scented diffuser, and a colored glass water jug.
Who for? People with classic tastes who have a sweet tooth or special love for deeper scents.
Vanilla sometimes gets a bad rap for being a bit boring. Oh, how wrong! On a therapeutic level, vanilla can help to induce calm restful feelings, especially during stressful times. On a purely “yum factor” level, vanilla is inviting, comforting, and evocative of fresh baking or warm sugar. Imagine a glass of wine on the porch on a warm summer evening. A vanilla candle flickers in the breeze and wafts a calming scent over the guests. Heavenly.
Pro tip: If you’re a little unsure about what your lucky giftee likes, vanilla is a safe bet.
Tropical fruit blends
Who for? Friends and family who love fruity, juicy scents with multiple layers.
Not everyone has a firm favorite solo scent, some love a bouquet of aromas. A tropical fruit blend offers sweetness, fruitiness, and often a hint of tartness. You can pick out certain fruits such as passionfruit or mango one moment, and be hit with pineapple the next. The overall fusion adds depth to the room and evokes fresh fruit salads on warm sand.
Pro tip: Fruit blends, like vanilla, are excellent choices if you’re unsure of the recipient’s go-to scent.
Who for? The bohemians in your life, and those who are intrepid travelers to hot, exotic places.
There’s something calming about the scent of patchouli on a balmy summer evening, especially next to the ocean or in a wooded area. The spicy, sweet aroma is known to be calming and grounding, ideal for anyone going through a tough time, or someone who simply deserves to sit back and relax.
Pro tip: Pair a patchouli candle with a compatible floral scent (in candle or diffuser form) such as rose or jasmine. Double the relaxation.
Who for? Lovers of clean, crisp scents who like to keep a clean and spacious home.
When summer gets a little too warm, we often crave sensory things that are fresh, light, and subtle. While vanilla and florals are wonderful for heady evenings, hot days call for breezier scents such as fresh linen. This is a unique scent and a talking point in any room. It conjures sensations such as slipping into crisp sheets, a pile of washing fresh off the line, and breezy, open-plan summer homes.
Pro tip: Fresh linen and citrus go together like two peas in a pod.
Who for: Citrus lovers and mosquito haters with a sweet tooth.
The citronella plant is a close relative to lemongrass, hence the sweet, citrusy, slightly woody scent. Citronella is best known as a mosquito repellent, a handy tool during those humid summer evenings. Many citronella candles fuse citronella plant oils with compatible scents like clementine and vanilla, creating a layered aroma. This is a wonderful option for anyone who enjoys outdoor dining during summer, as it helps to repel bugs while adding aesthetic and aromatic charm.
Pro tip: peppermint is also said to keep those nasty bugs away. Bundle a citronella candle and a peppermint diffuser in a basket with fresh lavender (also a bug repellent scent!). The ultimate summer evening gift basket.
Who for? An expectant mother in need of some nausea relief.
Peppermint scent is always a reliable pick-me-up, clearing the airways and invigorating the mind. What’s more, a peppermint aroma can be a great help to those suffering from nausea or that woozy, seasick feeling associated with morning sickness. The fresh scent of peppermint can also help with concentration and focus, making it great for anyone working or creating from home during the summer months.
Pro tip: Peppermint is a wonderful daytime scent, promoting wakefulness and energy. Pair it with a soothing evening scent such as lavender.
Who for? Lovers of fresh, clean scents with a penchant for nostalgia.
For many, the smell of fresh-cut grass and the far-off sound of lawnmowers are sure signs that summer is nigh. If your loved one lives in an apartment block where a lawn is a mere dream, a fresh-cut grass candle can bring back that joyful experience.
Pro tip: Cut grass and honeysuckle are a beautiful pairing and universally evocative of carefree summer days outside.