Seven Rose Candles for Romantic Week & Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas

Rose petals
When Marina recently asked if there were a candle that smells like a dark gothic rose, I enthusiastically set out to find one. After all, dark, mysterious roses like Agent Provocateur, Guerlain Nahéma and Fredéric Malle Portrait of a Lady are among my favorite fragrances. However, as I looked through my candle collection as well as browsed the available selection at various department stores, I quickly discovered that most rose scented candles fall into the pink and romantic category. Yet, as I tried various candles, uncovered old favorites and made a few new discoveries, I found myself enjoying this rose candle quest very much. Below are my favorite candles for a whole week of romantic roses. While many of these candles would make wonderful Valentine’s Day gifts, they should not be reserved only for February 14th. The same can also be said about romance!

Monday : Annick Goutal La Rose

While La Rose from the Annick Goutal collection is an uncomplicated rose scent, it is bright, lush and cheerful. If one’s fantasy is a shower of rose petals, I cannot think of another candle that would better convey this sensation. La Rose has a wonderful throw, and its scent is strong, yet not at all heady or cloying. 6.2oz $57 (Annick Goutal also makes metal lids to fit their candles, a terrific idea to keep wax clean and fragrance strong)

Tuesday : L’Occitane Rose 4 Reines

The velvety, warm roses of L’Occitane Rose 4 Reines candle are a delight, and I have bought this candle on several occasions both as gifts and to burn at home. It never fails to please with its rich, elegant rose fragrance, which captures the bright, citrusy aroma of tea roses as well as the dark, honeyed sweetness of Bulgarian rose. Nice, good quality candle with excellent throw. 3.5oz $23.00

Wednesday : Red Flower Moroccan Rose

Endless meetings, grey weather, migraine… By the time, I get home in the evening, I am not in a romantic mood at all. I light Moroccan Rose, my newest candle acquisition, without even thinking and then leave to prepare for dinner. By the time I return, the fragrance in the room is amazing: rich, honeyed, strongly reminiscent of rosewater. A hint of clove gives Moroccan Rose a spicy touch, which is very alluring. Aromatherapy at its best! 6oz $34 (the only thing I do not like about Red Flower candles are the dried flower petals added on top of the wax; not only do they add nothing to the looks, they tend to contaminate the wax.)

Thursday : Ladurée Caprice Rose

Ladurée rose macarons, airy almond cookies sandwiched with scented cream, are among the most luscious pastries from this famous French patisserie. While they are not readily available in the States, the Ladurée line of candles is. Caprice Rose is a classical rose fragrance, but its freshness with a hint of verdancy makes this rose candle particularly interesting. The scent is airy and uplifting. It is the perfect choice to dispel the dark winter gloom or whenever one craves a little luxury. 6.2oz $68 (the presentation of pistachio-green Limoges porcelain jar with pink tinted wax is charming)

Friday: Mizensir Rose Blanche

The end of the week is the time to pamper oneself. Rose Blanche from Mizensir is a candle I save for such occasions. Created by renowned perfumer Alberto Morillas (the creator of fragrances like Kenzo Flower, Rochas Byzance and Bulgari Omnia,) Mizensir candles have very rich, original scents. Rose Blanche is one of my favorite romantic candles for its interesting interplay of elegant rose notes and the fiery sparkle of pepper. What could have been a coquettish and girly rose is instead rendered as beguilling and sensual. The candle has a great throw, and within a short time the fragrance fills a room, evoking the perfumes of a rose garden on a warm August day. At $72 for 8oz, Mizensir candles are among the more expensive options, but I find that the candles have a long life and the scents remain strong and vivid.

Saturday: Tocca Florence

Not all romantic roses need to be pink and girly. Florence, a blend of rose and iris, is a great example of a floral candle that suggests not the rainfall of silky petals, but the warm embrace of soft cashmere. The earthy, violet tinged iris root lends a seductive smoothness to the warm rose scent, and the combination is quite uplifting and relaxing. Tocca candles are among my favorites, because they burn cleanly, emit hardly any smoke or soot, and the scents are very long lasting, natural and elegant. Florence is a perfect candle to set the mood for a relaxing, cozy evening with a dinner in front of the fireplace. 10.6 oz $36 (I love its elegantly understated white glass packaging)

Sunday : Mariage Frères Rose d’Himalaya

Overcast skies, grey shadows creeping into my room long before sunset, the promise of more snow… My romantic fantasy today is all about the escape from these realities. I dream of sun, spices and Indian flower markets. Such a mood is the perfect excuse to light Rose d’Himalaya, a candle that combines the languorous sweetness of damask rose with the ambery richness of Indian Darjeeling tea. The interplay between the smoky woods, warm tea leaves and red petals makes for an elegant, yet seductive scent. The relative complexity of Rose d’Himalaya makes it stand out among other more straightforward rose candles. While Mariage Frères is mainly known for its teas, it makes some of the best high-end candles I have tried. The scents are strong, rich and long lasting, while the presentation is sumptuous. 6.2g $72

Candle burning tips: center the wick after extinguishing the candle and trim it (1/4 inch, less than 1cm) to prevent smoldering and to prolong candle’s life. Allow your candle at least 30 minutes to start releasing its scent fully (as the wax melts, the fragrance oils are released,) so if you are planning a romantic evening, light the candle a little bit in advance.

Extra: L’Artisan Parfumeur Rose des Indes (6.2oz, $60), Diptyque Roses (6.5oz, $60) Amouage First Rose ($105, 6.2oz) and Fredéric Malle Rose Rugosa ($80, 7.8oz.). Rose des Indes is a rather sweet rose with a strong peach-vanilla accent: nice, but too cloying for me. Roses is a classical, pretty tea rose, similar to L’Occitane’s Rose 4 Reines, but the throw leaves a lot to be desired, especially when compared to the other candles I smelled. First Rose is an incense and geranium accented red rose, while Rosa Rugosa captures the smell of wild roses remarkably well. I very much liked First Rose, which is the closest to the idea of an incense embellished rose, but $105 is a price barrier I personally cannot cross for a candle.

Availability: most of these candles are available at Barneys NY and Aedes; Annick Goutal is also sold at Bergdorf Goodman and Saks5thAvenue; Tocca at Sephora; L’Occitane at L’Occitane stores.

Do you have your own favorite rose candles, or other candles you like to burn to create a romantic ambiance?

Photography © Bois de Jasmin



  • Olfactoria: I am so curious about the Malle candle, but as you say, the price is prohibitive indeed. But there are many great alternatives out there, thank you for narrowing it down for us. The Ladurée sounds particularly enticing. January 27, 2011 at 3:25am Reply

  • juliannelondon: I’m partial to the Roja Dove Rose candle – dont know how widely available it is as mine was from his perfume hall at Harrods. It is a crackling, smouldering rose with a bright fruit heart and good throw. For nights one feels powerful and perhaps like taking charge? January 27, 2011 at 8:36am Reply

  • Skilletlicker: I agree completely about the dried petals on top of the Red Flower candles! An unnecessary gimmick. Having said that, RF is in my opinion a great line and also very affordable. I was a big fan of two discontinued scents – the Lilac and Himalayan Larch. Still, the Indian Jasmine is still out there and the Moroccan Rose – both wonderful. My favorite candle for the last TWO YEARS is Signature Extraordinaire by Martyn Lawrence-Bullard, a Los Angeles designer. His description says it all: “A unique fragrance combining the essence of rare Balinese mahogany, Asian teak and warm Amber with exotic undertones revealing spicy Ceylonese clove, Indian Cardamom and quince. A deep smoky fragrance of extraordinary beauty.” And perfect for the contemplative dreamy moods winter weather inspires. Sadly, this candle is currently being wasted here on my desk in balmy L.A. I wish I could “beam” it to you. January 27, 2011 at 12:21pm Reply

  • Victoria: The price for Malle is high, but considering that it is a fairly large candle, it is not that bad. Amouage, on the other hand, is at the kind of price bracket that I do not even want to consider for a candle.

    Since you are quite a candle connoisseur, I am curious what candles you like to burn for romantic, relaxing ambiance? January 27, 2011 at 8:39am Reply

  • Victoria: Sounds great! I have not smelled any of Roja Dove candles, but I heard that they are very good quality. Something new to add to my list, thank you. January 27, 2011 at 8:42am Reply

  • Skilletlicker: My naive nose can’t necessarily discern the fruit in Signature Extraordinaire – one whiff kickstarts a delirious swoon into exotica. His Byzantine candle is the the more fruity one – red currant and cucumber notes. I prefer the patchouli-based Ottomania and the gorgeous Vetiver Moresque to the fruit. Check out his website under products. His candles are my favorite gift to give b/c he utilizes his colorful tribal-inspired fabric designs in the packaging. The boxes are so fun and gorgeous that I am constiutionally incapable of throwing them away. January 27, 2011 at 2:15pm Reply

  • Marina: *warning- public display of affection coming up* You are the best! Although my credit card would disagree. I certainly need the Red Flower one and the Mariage Frères one…for starters. You know I completely forgot about the LAP rose candle, probably exactly because we’ve never burned it due to its headachy sweetness.
    Now if you could find me a nice coffee candle too….:) January 27, 2011 at 9:41am Reply

  • Olfactoria: I have two small children, so I do not quite understand what you mean by relaxing and romantic???
    Seriously though I use warm, spicy scents for such occasions, like amber or cinnamon, my romantic target appreciates that more than floral fragrances. Alternatively I put something on the grill, works like a charm 😉 January 27, 2011 at 9:48am Reply

  • sweetlife: What a wonderful round-up, V., thank you so much! I think I value good candle reviews even more than perfume reviews since it is (so far) impossible to “sample” a candle. I do wish more companies would consider votive or other small sizes, but I suppose there are financial reasons for doing otherwise.

    I want to hear more about the Mariage Freres line from you–have heard such interesting things from other people–but am equally glad to hear the L’Occitane is an option. I am often pleased by the quality of their stuff. January 27, 2011 at 9:50am Reply

  • martine: Im printing out this list as I type. Thank you for a comprehensive and fun overview. I love rose scents and so far my favorite rose candle is L’Artisan’s. It’s very very strong, so I never burn it for more than 1h. January 27, 2011 at 2:51pm Reply

  • martine: So, the lamps were sitting in the coffee beans? Sounds interesting! January 27, 2011 at 2:55pm Reply

  • Victoria: LOL! Ah, sorry, I forgot! 🙂
    I like your earlier suggestion of Annick Goutal Noel, which I will try soon. Amber is another favorite candle scent of mine, and Annick Goutal has an excellent one. January 27, 2011 at 9:55am Reply

  • Victoria: *blushing* 🙂 You are most welcome! I am glad that I could contribute to your quest a bit. Mariage Frères Rose is excellent, a very intimate, relaxing fragrance. If L’Artisan Rose des Indes makes me feel as if I am in some stuffy, pink decorated boudoir, Rose d’Himalaya takes me outdoors. A very elegant, evocative scent. The Rouge is another favorite.

    I feel that it would be easier just to make a coffee candle for you than to look for it. I have not found a single candle that approximates the scent of freshly brewed coffee, or at least, the scent of crushed beans. January 27, 2011 at 10:01am Reply

  • Victoria: A, I am glad that you liked it! I had a bit of fun with this, because not only have I always enjoyed making candles (although mine are not as nearly as good as the ones available commercially, still learning,) I love the process of using them. Something about lighting the candle and coming back to find the room nicely scented is so pleasant.

    I agree, candle reviews are very valuable for me too. Small votives are still too expensive for the quantity in the high-end lines. I tend to come across a lot of candles, but some definitely stand out for me. L’Artisan makes some of the best candles and so does Tocca. Mariage Frères is fantastic, and I will write more on this line. January 27, 2011 at 10:05am Reply

  • sweetlife: Excuse my interrupting, but Marina, I was at a favorite coffee house the other day and saw that they had positioned little glass lamps filled with fluid (kerosene?) in bowls of fresh roasted beans. As they burned, they heated up the beans and voila… Might be something to try, even with a plain votive. January 27, 2011 at 10:10am Reply

  • Victoria: A, it is free for all, no excuses needed! 🙂 What a terrific idea !  I myself want to try it the moment I get home. January 27, 2011 at 10:29am Reply

  • Marina: crafty! 🙂 so beans wiuld be around votives in a bowl? January 27, 2011 at 10:55am Reply

  • Marina: OK! Won’t say no ) January 27, 2011 at 10:55am Reply

  • Victoria: It would indeed be appropriate today. We had a record amount of snow last night (and also rain, sleet and lightning simultaneously!) If I did not have deadlines looming large, I would have stayed at home and enjoyed some tea while watching The Classical Movie Channel.

    I do not think one could dream up of a better description to lure me, since I love woods, cardamom and amber. Plus, quince! Does it actually smell fruity a bit? it seems like that could work so well with those woods and amber. Thank you, my candle list is getting longer! 🙂

    At any rate, our tastes in candles are similar. Indian Jasmine is one of my favorite candles and I also still mourn Lilac. Diptyque’s lilac just does not compare. January 27, 2011 at 12:36pm Reply

  • ScentScelf: I cannot comment on candles, because while I often enjoy reading about them, I do not generally use candles for scent in my house. (Diffusion, yes…and of course things cut from the garden and simmering on the stove.) I am always happy to put my face in the bell jars at the Malle and Cire Trudon displays, though. 😉

    However, I do have a habit of bringing or purchasing a scented candle when I travel. I utilize all the proper cautions, of course…but it is just so nice to have the change in atmosphere both the gentle flame and the waft offer to a room, no matter how spartan the conditions.

    Also, an “oh!” at the MF candle, for Rose Himalaya is one of the teas I ended up choosing to bring home with me last summer. And while I’ll probably still opt for the waft from my tea cup, it is a genuine distraction, given my already established emotional connection with the scent. January 27, 2011 at 1:49pm Reply

  • Victoria: I also love bringing a little votive with me to make a hotel room feel cozier. Tocca minis as well as L’Artisan votives are great for travel, as the glass is quite sturdy. Just remember not to pack matches in your carry-on, or else a thorough pat-down is guaranteed! 🙂

    Rose d’Himalaya tea is great, as is Marco Polo (wild strawberry scented.) Even though I do not drink scented tea that often, time to time I indulge. January 27, 2011 at 2:03pm Reply

  • Musette: I keep candles in the bathroom because…well….El O….well…anyway (blushes)… and there’s a green-y Diptyque (Dyptique? you know what I mean) that I keep in the den/dog bedroom – that’s a Very Ripe Room, indeed! I spend little time in there except to clean….daily. Ew. Candle helps. A lot.

    None in my own spaces, though – most candles inflame my sinuses so I have to sniff carefully. Malle’s 1er Mai is probably my choice, were I to be locked in a small room with a burning candle. It is absolutely gorgeous.

    xo A January 27, 2011 at 2:44pm Reply

  • sweetlife: Yes, that’s the idea. You might even try it with one of those cheapy votives that are in metal containers–they always get very hot. January 27, 2011 at 7:50pm Reply

  • Victoria: I just checked, and the whole collection looks very interesting. I am not surprised that you cannot bear to toss the packaging away, it is lovely. January 27, 2011 at 4:17pm Reply

  • Victoria: Frederic Malle’s 1er Mai is a very good lily of the valley candle. I still cannot get away from the Paris subway association though when I smell it. Lily of the valley air freshener seems to be one of the popular choices. That being said, I will take it over the typical NYC subway aromas any day. 🙂 January 27, 2011 at 4:28pm Reply

  • Victoria: I am glad that you liked it! I really enjoyed trying these candles (or in many cases, just revisiting old favorites) and writing this post.
    L’Artisan candles are excellent. Yesterday I found a candle in one of my boxes that must be four years old. I burned it and was surprised to discover that it still smells very good and very strong. January 27, 2011 at 4:31pm Reply

  • Daniela: Thank for this review! A rose can be quite the diva – it can be boring, it can be stunning. I just followed your advice and got me one of those L’Occitane rose candles you mentioned (also had a big discount as a good excuse for the purchase…) BTW, have you tried their “L’eau du Badian”? I’d love to have your take on that one.

    I feel that sometimes scented candles are a neglected part of perfume reviews. I’d just love to have someone tackle the whole of the Patricia de Nicolaï’s candle line. Now, that would be a treat. January 28, 2011 at 9:53am Reply

  • Victoria: Daniela, I hope that you will enjoy it, L'Occitane's candles are quite good overall. I have several of Nicolai candles, including Mimosa, Maharadjah and Route du Cedre. They are also among the best candles I have tried. I would certainly be glad to post a review, if there is an interest.
    I have L'eau du Badian in a shower gel, which is great, herbal and bright. I tried the EDT briefly, but I did not wear it on the skin yet, only smelled it on a blotter. Very pleasant, if somewhat light. January 28, 2011 at 10:12am Reply

  • daniela: Maharadjah would certainly be on my shortlist of the ones to check out on my next trip to Paris. I have de ‘Vetyver de Java’ one, which is definitely great stuff. Plus, it works
    great both as a summer or as a winter scent. January 29, 2011 at 5:59pm Reply

  • Victoria: I also have Vetyver de Java and like it very much.
    Her floral candles are excellent, especially Mimosa. Maharadjah is spicy and warm, with a hint of lavender. Definitely a winter candle for me. January 30, 2011 at 9:00am Reply

  • Lavanya: I love my roses either spicy or dirty or at the very least rich and honeyed (and not too pink)..The Red Flower sounds soo lovely except for the dried flowers. I have been using natural candles recently (gabriel’s aunt)- while they are lovely and I love burning them in my tiny office room- I find I can’t really smell them much in my house. Once in a while, the thought of being enveloped in a roomful of subtle scent does seem incredibly romantic (for which I will have to burn a candle with more throw, I guess..:))

    btw, I have also been lemming Tocca’s Rodolpho (tuberose) ever since I read your review on NST- but I am still wary because I don’t end up loving loving tuberose in perfume (except for Serge Luten’s TC which I adore) even though it is my favorite flower ever February 6, 2011 at 2:32pm Reply

  • Victoria: Try it in a mini candle. Candelina as Tocca calls this small size. It is a lovely scent, but not as natural smelling as Diptyque Tubereuse. I think that they might have reformulated it as well. I wish L'Artisan made their Tubereuse in a candle form. February 6, 2011 at 4:10pm Reply

  • Lavanya: I’ve always meant to ask you- Do the candelinas have a good throw? February 6, 2011 at 4:54pm Reply

  • Lavanya: Thanks V- I think I might just have to order a candelina. I’ve been craving spicy red rose fragrances too- so might have to try the moroccan rose. February 6, 2011 at 4:56pm Reply

  • Victoria: Yes, they are pretty good too. The fragrance oils in Tocca are good quality. Candelinas simply have a shorter burning life. February 6, 2011 at 4:57pm Reply

  • Victoria: I wish there were an earthy rose in a candle form a la Lutens Rose de Nuit! February 6, 2011 at 4:58pm Reply

  • Lavanya: V- Has tocca pushkar been discontinued?? February 7, 2011 at 1:08am Reply

  • Victoria: You know, I have no idea, but now that you mention it, I recall that I have not seen it for the past few months. February 7, 2011 at 8:17am Reply

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