I have a tradition at Christmas. It is a very personal tradition, and an individual one. Just for me. There's one special item I have to get every year or it just ISN'T the yule season for me. And that's a Christmas candle.
I received two scented candles in tins from St Eval. The candles were from their new range of Christmas tins (you'll find stockists on their website). Specifically, the candles were their Inspirtus, and Orange and Cinnamon (£10.15 each). Even just writing the candles' names I can smell their scent. Gorgeous. There's a third scent in the range, Figgy Pudding.
First impressions do count, and I was pleased to find that both tins arrived well wrapped in bubble wrap and cushioned in a sort of festive green polystyrene. In fact, I've kept the polystyrene and will try to think of some Christmas craft to use them for.
I have had lots of Christmas candles over the last two decades, which means that I have a lot to compare these two candles to. In the past I've bought the Christmas scented one from Ikea, vanilla candles from Alders, and even spicey (and pricey) candles from Liberty.
This is the first time I've seen candles in such lovely tins though. To be honest, this is the first time I've had candles in tins full stop.
The vintage designs on the tins are lovely, and the muted reds, greens and Old English white are perfect. There is music notation and a boy pushing a girl on a sled on the Inspiritus tin, while the Orange and Cinnamon one has bells and holly, and a very jolly vintage-style Father Christmas. Both are favourite Christmas themes of mine.
I was intrigued, never having had a candle in a tin before, to see how they worked. Overall, I think that the tins are a great idea. The lids aren't too tight - they come off easily. But they are excellent at keeping the scent in. It might be my imagination - without a 'control' candle it is hard to tell - but they certainly seemed to burn a lot slower.
Then, when the candles are finished, the tins will make great festive ornaments/Christmas decorations in their own right.
The scent of Christmas
Next up, the scents. Inspiritus has a more 'Christmasy' smell to it, with a strong hint of cloves. It easily creates a yuletide atmosphere and even though it is summer as I review these candles, I'm inclined to start thinking about present buying and wrapping, tinsel, and steaming mugs of mulled wine.
Orange and cinnamon aren't two scents I would really have thought of putting together. They do work well though, and the scent is unusually refreshing as well as hinting at Christmas.
Both candles have a good, strong, wick and glossy, slightly buttery wax. They burn well, and importantly, cleanly, and you don't need to light one for very long for the smell to permeate a room nicely. I can easily see myself lighting these for an hour of an evening, with the Christmas lights flickering, and the curtains drawn cosy and tight against the mid-winter dark.
I tried the candles out in two rooms, on their own. And I also lit them together in one room. I found that they blended into a really nice scent.
My preference though is definitely for the Inspiritus candle. There's nothing I can say against it. Apart, perhaps, from the price, which at £10.15 is quite a bit more than I'd pay for a candle from Ikea.
That said, the candles from Ikea don't last anywhere near as long, and plus the scent dissipates quickly. The scent from these candles still lingers as a pleasant background aroma for hours (and into the next day) after they have gone out.
I would say that the Inspiritus has taken over my number one spot for a Christmas candle. It has a more subtle, but much longer lasting scent, than the Ikea candle. In addition, it burns just as well, and will clearly last as long, as the candles I've bought from Liberty for about a fiver more.
For a special, one off treat, I don't mind paying the higher price. I think I can probably get at least three Christmas's out of it as well!