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Chocolates, red roses, jewellery and greeting cards. These often come to mind when thinking of Valentine’s Day gifts. While we tend to stock up on candles for the winter holidays, why not for Valentine’s Day as well?

The luxury candle market has boomed over the years, presenting everything from botanicals to designer fragrances in all shapes and sizes. It was hard to pin down just a few brands for this feature, so I set out to find a variety of scents, sizes and price points to accommodate (hopefully) all of your tastes and budgets.

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NEST Fragrances

NEST Fragrances, a beautifully-curated line of luxury scented candles, began in 2005 as a manufacturer and distributor of both private label and licensed home fragrances for over 80 luxury brands including Ralph Lauren, Tory Burch, Jonathan Adler and Christian Dior.

Owner Laura Slatkin debuted the NEST Fragrances brand three years later with a core collection of 12 fragrances that were sold at New York City’s Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus.

In 2009, the NEST Fragrances Collection won The Fragrance Foundation Award for Interior Scent Collection of the Year. Since that time, the line’s grown to include reed diffusers, liquid soaps, an online store and collaborations with Elton John and fashion designer Jason Wu amongst others.

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Moroccan Amber is part of that 2008 core collection. This exotic scent is created with heliotrope, sweet patchouli and bergamot, accented with a hint of eucalyptus. It’s packaged in a beautiful striped frosted glass container bearing the NEST logo at the bottom. As if this candle isn’t a statement in itself, you can also purchase a silver candle lid for the 230 gram (8.1 oz.) scent.

The tarnish-free lid is meant to hold the scent, not to extinguish the candle. It buffs nicely with a soft cloth. I love the lid’s modern pinstripe design, perfect for gifting to a man or woman.

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Another item from the silver collection is the matchstick holder (US $30). This makes a beautiful gift for any candle lover. The standard-sized container comes with a box of black matchsticks. While one side is cut open to reveal the matchstick igniter strip, the other side is clean and classic sporting two horizontal lines within a box. The bottom is pin-striped to match the lid.

NEST Fragrances matchstick holder

This one’s also tarnish-free and can be cleaned in the same manner as the lid.

If you can’t decide on one fragrance, why not get a boxed set of votives? NEST sells a six-votive set that contains Bamboo, Grapefruit, Moroccan Amber, Lemongrass & Ginger, Sicilian Tangerine and Vanilla Orchid & Almond. Opening this box reveals a myriad of fabulous scents!

I was equally amazed to lift each and every candle out of its box space to discover the scent maintained despite being boxed in with the rest. Every one of these candles is a treat to smell both out of the box and when lit, but if I had to pick a couple of favourites, I’d go with Grapefruit and Sicilian Tangerine.

The Moroccan Amber candle sells for US $40/CDN $42. Find NEST Fragrances products online and in Canada via Murale by Shoppers.

Agraria Mediterranean Jasmine

Agraria San Francisco

If I were to choose an Agraria candle that evokes romance, it would be Mediterranean Jasmine. This lightly-scented, woven crystal candle has a design that mimics Agraria’s trademark woven palm leaf cases of the 1980s. It’s packaged in a lovely gift box with a magnetic hinge and contains a silver-plate lid bearing the Agraria logo.

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As I smell this candle burning, it also reminds me of the fragrant tiny blossoms on the Sarcococca bushes opening up around Vancouver. The 198 gram (7 oz.) candle retails for US $58.

Agraria is available worldwide and while there aren’t any stores in Canada, they will ship up north.

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Jo Malone London

Jo Malone London’s Lavender & Lovage is an herbal-forward scent that is at once clean, vibrant and calming. Garden Lovage is an old English sweet herb. This unique scent combines nicely with the lavender, rosemary and thyme. I know it sounds like a recipe, but this candle’s scent is so hard to define, it simply needs to be smelled to appreciate.

Jo Malone London Lavender & Lovage candle

I’m also anxious to try another particularly decadent scent, Jo Malone’s Wood Sage & Sea Salt. There’s currently over 20 Jo Malone candles in the Home Candle collection.

Each 200-gram (7.05 oz) candle retails for CDN $75 and comes boxed in a gorgeous off-white and black box complete with a ribbon ready for gifting.

Jo Malone London candles are sold at jomalone.ca as well as at Nordstrom and Holt Renfrew stores across North America.

L'Occitane Jasmin & Bergamote candle

L’Occitane en Provence

Taking L’Occitane’s Jasmin & Bergamote candle out of the box is another scent-heavenly experience! This candle falls under the CDN $40 mark so it’s affordable as well as lovely! The simple frosted glass is filled with the fragrant mix of both jasmine and bergamot.

This 190 gram (6.6 oz) candle is meant to burn for 30 hours and brings jasmine into the home – a real treat in the middle of winter. This candle has a romantic quality to it so I included it in this feature.

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Find L’Occitane’s Jasmin & Bergamote candle at L’Occitane stores and online for CDN $36.

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