Yankee Candle

An American Icon, An International Success

I've written before about my love of scented candles. Particularly when it comes to this time of year. With the nights drawing in it makes sense to snuggle up and light a gorgeous scented candle. To me, although I do occasionally use other brands, this means lighting a Yankee Candle. For variety and quality of fragrance you simply cannot beat Yankee. It was founded in Massachusetts in 1969 when a young man, who had melted crayons to make a candle for his mum, joined with high school friends to found what would become perhaps the world's largest manufacturer of high-quality scented candles.

And, although Yankee have a core range of fragrance (French Vanilla, Clean Cotton and Baby Powder are among their most popular), it is their ever-changing, sometimes limited-edition, seasonal selections that really cause a stir and some people, yes I'm afraid I'm one of them, like to collect the new fragrances.

As far as I'm concerned, the Yankee Candle Holiday range is instant Christmas. Not feeling full of the joys of the season? Light a Happy Christmas candle. Wish Christmas was like it was years ago? Try Christmas Cookie. Want to bring a wintery touch to your home? Use North Pole. Whatever your mood, or the season, Yankee have a candle to match, to complement or to contrast. 

Of course, as a long-time Yankee devotee, I have my favourites.  Some of them, like the wonderful New England in the Fall reminder Vineyard, or the magical Christmas Wish are no more. Retired to make way for new fragrances. Okay, so I mourn the loss of Peppermint Cranberry, but love this year's new offering Mistletoe & Fig.  And that's the thing, whatever Yankee take away they replace with something just as tempting. And sometimes, in a bow to public demand, fragrances return. So my stockpiling of Vineyard might yet prove pointless.

If you've ever visited one of those churches or stately homes around Christmas time, or if you've ever stuck cloves into oranges to make pomanders, you'll be familiar with that fabulous citrussy-spicy scent - that Yankee have encapsulated in Spiced Orange.

There are, of course, certain rules you should follow when using candles. Always make sure they are in a safe place. Keeping them out of draughty spots (Yankee make decorative candle shades for this purpose) and on a heat resistant surface.  We all know we should keep them out of the reach of pets and children, and that we shouldn't leave them unattended. But, with a candle as high a quality as Yankee, there are other rules. Firstly we should always burn the candle long enough for the wax pool to extend across the whole surface of the candle from side to side of the jar. If not, the candle will almost certainly 'tunnel', an annoying process where the candle will only burn in the centre of the jar, meaning that less fragrance is released and that the candle will never last as long as it should. Wicks should be kept trimmed to around a quarter of an inch to prevent mushrooming of the wick and sooting of the shade, or even worse, of our walls and ceilings. 

But it's at Christmas time that Yankee really come into their own. Call me a traditionalist but I can't even think of getting through Christmas Eve without burning, yes you guessed it, Christmas Eve! And, although this seems awfully OCD, I have a strict system of rotation for my candles. No Sweet Strawberry in November, thank you very much! After all, if the 'noses' at Yankee are going to go to the trouble of developing a candle for a winter's day, who am I to argue (or go lighting a Kiwi Berries in the middle of December). And they really do go to town on developing those true-to-life scents. This year they have replaced one of my all-time favourites, Winterland, with a new fragrance - Winter Wonderland. Every bit as lovely, it's what they call a 'fantasy' fragrance. That's as opposed to a true-life one, like Mandarin Cranberry which smells precisely like mandarins and cranberries. The fantasy fragrances conjure up a feeling, a place, a time, if you like. And Winter Wonderland does just that. You can smell the snow, the fresh air, the spruce trees, the candy canes, the minced pies and so on. Okay, so you can't actually smell those things, (and yes, I do know that I'm probably the only person on planet earth who thinks snow has a smell) but you get the idea! And there are other, less ethereal, more specific fragrances.


But this is little imposition for such huge payback. And any scented candle, particularly a Yankee one, makes a really imaginative hostess gift.  But most of all, Yankee Candles are a wonderful treat for us all. They look lovely, they smell gorgeous and they make our homes smell fabulous. What more could you want?