These Are the Best Fall Candles We Smelled This Year

updated Sep 22, 2021
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Cute autumn home decor arrangement. Tiny wooden cabin balcony with heather flowers in pot, lavender in bottle vase, candlelight flame, soft beige plaid waiting on comfortable garden furniture chair
Credit: Getty Images/ Helin Loik-Tomson

It’s officially autumn, and as the weather starts to cool down, there’s something so cozy about lighting a candle. For those of us without a working fireplace, it’s an easy stand-in for that homey hearth, with the added bonus of making your place smell amazing. When it comes to fall scented candles, there are a lot of options out there, but it’s my personal mission to bring you the best of them.

I reached out to a variety of candle brands across the price spectrum, from big retailers to small-batch producers. Then, because everyone is different, I asked some friends to help me smell them — over 50 candles total! Below, you’ll see the top picks from the bunch, plus a few wild cards worth noting.

1 / 36

Scent notes: Sandalwood, toasted walnut, sweet hay
Comments: “Beautiful woodsy notes. Makes me think of a chilly night in front of a fireplace."

2 / 36

Scent notes: Pumpkin, nutmeg, ginger, clove, cinnamon, vanilla, tonka bean
Comments: “Autumnal,” "Subtle pumpkin scent."

3 / 36
Bath & Body Works

Scent notes: Citrus zest, sage, Red Delicious apples
Comments: “Fresh laundry,” “Like expensive hand soap.”

4 / 36
Anecdote Candles

Scent notes: Tobacco, cardamom, mandarin, Guaiac wood, amber
Comments: “Wood/spice,” "A subtle warming scent."

5 / 36

Scent notes: Black tea, moro orange, pink pepper
Comments: "Nice but faint," “Smells like the lobby of the St. Germain Hotel."

6 / 36

Scent notes: Burnt maple, smoky oud, vetiver
Comments: “No idea what I smelled but I liked it," "Kanye West in a candle."

7 / 36
Bath & Body Works

Scent notes: Pumpkin pie spice, espresso, whipped cream, cinnamon
Comments: “It's PSL szn!" "I'll take mine extra hot, no whip."

8 / 36
Bath & Body Works

Scent notes: Cedarwood, citrus, mint
Comments: “Sexy, expensive cologne,” “Soapy in a good way,” "Old Spice but make it bougie."

9 / 36
Anecdote Candles

Scent notes: Pumpkin, cardamom, valencia orange, cinnamon, ginger root
Comments: "Vanilla and tree bark," “This candle smells exactly the way you want a pumpkin spice candle to smell — not too sweet, and quite layered for something called basic.”

10 / 36

Scent notes: Frothy milk, cardamom, praline woods
Comments: “Yes, yes, yes — smells like Turkish coffee," "Non-intrusive," "Smells like milk."

11 / 36
Bath & Body Works

Scent notes: Lavender, eucalyptus, juniper berries
Comments: “Classic, clean," "Fresh after a shower," "Like walking on the beach holding hands with the one you love."

12 / 36
Anecdote Candles

Scent notes: Ginger, meadow grass, clementine, sandalwood, nutmeg, vanilla orchid
Comments: “Freshness,” "Moscow Mule."

13 / 36

Scent notes: Apple, nutmeg
Comments: “Very warm, very fall. The wood wick adds a nice crackly touch.”

14 / 36
P.F. Candle Co.

Scent notes: Vanilla, violet, tonka bean, cedar, cinnamon
Comments: “Light with a little spice at the end."

15 / 36

Scent notes: Cedarwood, sandalwood, smokey amber, oud
Comments: “Smells like it should be burnt on an altar next to some sticks and moss harvested from your walks in the woods. Also you’re a witch.”

16 / 36
Outdoor Fellow

Scent notes: Cedarwood, patchouli, pine needle, sandalwood, teakwood
Comments: “I like that this one is woodsy without being pine-y — while that’s a scent I love, it does feel more wintery than autumnal. This one has more of the scent of fallen leaves and fresh soil, which is perfect for crisp fall evenings. It’s like taking a morning walk on a quiet trail. I also like that it smells natural and not at all perfume-y. While I love scented candles, some can be overpowering. Not this one! I’ve taken to lighting it during the day while I work, since it’s a relaxing scent that doesn’t ever feel like it’s taking over.”

17 / 36
P.F. Candle Co.

Scent notes: Snow powder, blue spruce, cedarwood, citrus
Comments: “Zesty!” “Fresh,” “Smells almost soapy but I’m into it”

18 / 36
Jonathan Adler

Scent notes: Black currant, green apple, wormwood, patchouli, moss
Comments: “More adult than other apple candles,” “I wanna be this guy someday.”

19 / 36
Bath & Body Works

Scent notes: Pomegranate, orange blossom, vanilla bean, warm amber
Comments: “Soothing,” “Put me in a bathtub.”

20 / 36
Just Bee

Scent notes: Hinoki cypress, cedar, gin botanicals
Comments: “Smells like you're sitting near a brook," "Very Christmas-y."

21 / 36
Outdoor Fellow

Scent notes: Cedarwood, clove, patchouli, woodsmoke
Comments: “I’m such a sucker for anything that reminds me of curling up next to a fireplace or a fire pit on a chilly fall night! This one nails the smoky scent but also has a little hint of sweetness from the clove, which is a nice addition that also has kind of a festive feel (so this candle is a great pick for winter, too). It has as rich scent and honestly? I wish this was a drink because it would probably taste incredible. (Note: It is not. Do not drink the candle wax.)”

22 / 36
Jonathan Adler

Scent notes: Davana, cognac, plum, leather accord, birch tree, cedar wood
Comments: “Surprisingly spicy,” “Very leathery,” “It smells like mezcal.”

23 / 36

Scent notes: Red apple, mandarin leaf, cinnamon sticks, pear, pomegranate, sugar cane
Comments: “Definitely that feeling of driving a few hours upstate to pick a half-bushel. Plus, you can add personalization right on the jar for an added fee.”

24 / 36
Yankee Candle

Scent notes: Toasted pecans, marshmallow, agave, brown sugar, tonka, vanilla bean, musk
Comments: “Like nut brittle," "Good vanilla, but don't smell the nuts."

25 / 36
Sicilian Fig

Scent notes: Fig
Comments: "Gentle and clean," “Androgynous," "If '80s throwback has a smell, this is it."

26 / 36

Scent notes: Fresh hay, warm amber, clove, maple bark, nutmeg, birch, tonka, oakmoss
Comments: “A faint maple syrup smell," "Like that Mary Jane candy."

27 / 36
Bath & Body Works

Scent notes: Palo Santo, warm amber, soft musk
Comments: “Woodsy and fabulous,” “Like a sexy Santa."

28 / 36

Scent notes: Pumpkin, allspice, clove, nutmeg, gingered cinnamon
Comments: “So much cinnamon but in a good way,” "I think this could scent my whole house."

29 / 36
Yankee Candle

Scent notes: Mandarin, jasmine, white rose, Douglass Fir, white vetiver, sage, vanilla bean
Comments: “Lovely," "Granny's sweater."

30 / 36

Scent notes: Pumpkin, vanilla, pie
Comments: “Nice twist on regular pumpkin," "Vanilla cupcakes."

31 / 36
Just Bee

Scent notes: Eucalyptus, mint, pine, smoke
Comments: “Very green, love it," "So many pines," "Very woodsy."

32 / 36
Tobacco + Cedar

Scent notes: Tobacco, cedar
Comments: “Like a cowboy in the Old West just took his monthly Sunday bath and is headed out on the ol' town to visit the nicest saloon."

33 / 36
Glasshouse Fragrances

Scent notes: Coconut, pumpkin, cinnamon, clove, cumin, maple, musk, vanilla
Comments: “Subtle pumpkin," "Vanilla more than pumpkin."

34 / 36

Scent notes: Juniper, gin, red currant, balsam, oak, cypress, cedar
Comments: “A juicier wood scent — definitely some forest berries in there, like you're strolling through Sweden in the winter."

35 / 36

Scent notes: Black amber, lavender, musk
Comments: “Peppery," "Cake frosting."

36 / 36

Scent notes: Gardenia, ylang ylang, orange blossom, vetiver, cedarwood, musk
Comments: “Smells like fresh denim,” "Lovely floral and very granny in a good way."