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luxurious room scents

The Top Home Luxury Scents of 2023, Ranked by Popularity

Written by: Harlem Candle Co.



Time to read: 14 min

Luxury home scents are unique fragrances that we infuse into a room to subconsciously evoke pleasant feelings and emotions.

Whether you’re at home relaxing, entertaining guests, celebrating with friends, or focusing on work, filling your room with a luxurious home scent is a wonderful way to enhance the mood and atmosphere. 

With several hundred types of home fragrances on the market in the form of luxury candles, room sprays, reed diffusers, and more, we know how hard it is to find the perfect scents to fall in love with. But here’s a good place to start — a list of this year’s most popular home luxury scents by demand. 

We analyzed over 100 of our most popular fragrance notes and ranked them based on sales and reviews of our favorite luxury candles as well as how much people talked about each specific scent online.

Top 24 Most Popular Home Luxury Scents of 2023

1. Vanilla

Known as the world’s favorite flavor, vanilla was first cultivated and harvested around 900 years ago by the ancient Totonac tribe in Mexico. After the Totonacs were conquered by the Aztecs, vanilla became a unique offering of tribute to Aztec kings.  

Since then, the humble vanilla bean has become a staple scent in many perfumes and luxury home fragrances. The smell of vanilla is described as sweet, creamy, comforting, with a touch of exotic. Historically, vanilla is classified as a representative note of the “amber” fragrance family, imparting a heavy, diffusive richness that underlies seductive and voluptuous scents. 

The rich, luxurious scent of vanilla is featured as a base for several of our candle fragrances, including Josephine, Langston, Speakeasy, and Lenox.

2. Rose

Symbolizing romance, passion, and ethereal beauty for more than a thousand years, roses are the perfect scent to show how much we love someone. Its usage dates back to the story of Cleopatra, who filled her boudoir with a foot and a half of fresh-plucked rose petals to help her charm Mark Antony. Nowadays, rose is almost synonymous with modern female fragrances. 

The unique smell of rose comes from rose oxides, which produce a floral green top note, plus a bit of sweetness, fruitiness, and mintiness. The fragrance of rose is lovely, mysterious, and evocative, perfect for perfuming a room in anticipation of a romantic evening. Rose can also work wonders for a relaxing solo night in, treating you to a calming and restorative aroma that promotes breathing and has also been shown to improve memory

The versatility of rose is featured in a variety of our favorite luxury candles, including Josephine, Ellington, and Love.

3. Lavender

Native to mountainous regions in the Mediterranean, the lavender flower has been helping people relax and de-stress since ancient times. Lavender oil was first used as a perfume by the Egyptians approximately 2,500 years ago, and it also became popular among the Greeks and Romans for both its fragrance and its healing properties. 

Breathing in the floral scent of lavender has been scientifically proven to combat stress and lower your anxiety. This calming effect stems from one of the chemical components in lavender oil, linanool, which triggers certain brain receptors that make us feel relaxed. People also claim that the lavender scent can also help fight depression, reduce insomnia, and even act as a mild pain reliever. 

At the Harlem Candle Company, we use lavender in several of our original candle fragrances, including Dream, Langston, Ellington, and Sugar Hill

4. Coffee

Coffee is part of a daily ritual for many -- if not most -- people around the world. More than just a stimulating drink, coffee has a warm, comforting aroma that even non-coffee drinkers appreciate. In fact, research has shown that just the smell of coffee can give you a cognitive boost, improving memory and alertness.  

The complex aroma of roasted coffee is a product of the Maillard reaction, which describes the interaction between sugars and various proteins and amino acids to form aroma and flavor compounds when catalyzed by heat. These compounds include 2-furfurylthiol, which is the main source of “roasted coffee” smell, supported by fruity aldehydes, caramel-like furans, earthy pyrazines, and smoky phenolics.

5. Coconut

Often referred to as the scent of every summer, the tropical coconut plant (that's right, it's actually a plant — not a tree) has been praised as one of the most fresh and floral scents of all. Believed to have originated from Southeast Asia and more specifically Indo-Malaya, coconuts bring about a spa-like and decadent atmosphere. It is simultaneously a fruit, nut, and a seed.

Though studies are still in progress on the exact benefits of coconut, there's no dispute that it's rich in nutrients and minerals. Nowadays, it is utilized for cooking, cleaning, and body-cleansing. The fragrance of coconuts can carry you to a land of island breeze and palm trees, creating a calming and carefree atmosphere that makes it so popular.

The Harlem Candle Company features coconut in both our alluring Lady Day and Lenox luxury candles.

6. Lemon

Ranging from aromatherapy to sore throat-relief, there are so many uses for lemon. Combining a citrusy smell with a clean and refreshing aroma, lemon has been known to relax brain waves and create an uplifting environment.

Not only do lemons add a flavorful touch to beverages, but they are also the key ingredient in many household cleaning products. Lemon is also used as an essential oil — one that can last for about a year if kept in a cool place.

Experience the freshness of lemon with our Joy and Frederick candles. This uplifting scent ties together enthralling and energizing aromas to mimic the exuberance of Harlem’s people.  

7. Amber

True amber is more specifically known as tree sap, one that creates beautiful shapes as it forms. Within each resin of amber lies a rich tree life and history, as they can develop and grow for centuries. Ancient myths told tales of the magical elements to be discovered within amber. To this day, many people purchase amber jewelry, as it is still known for its healing properties (and it serves as a bug repellent and baby teething solution too)!

Warm and slightly sweet, amber is truly a perfected blend of many scents. It shares a spicy and comforting aroma, one that deepens as it is released. It is often used as the base note to many fragrances, adding an earthy foundation to fragrances like vanilla and tonka bean.

The scent of amber is featured in several of our luxury candles like Josephine, Home, and Ellington

Learn more: What Does Amber Smell Like?

8. Sage

Sage has been utilized throughout many cultures for centuries. It's name originates from the Latin word “salvia,” which means “to feel healthy.”

The Egyptians and Romans found sage to be beneficial in treating issues such as memory loss, digestion, and even sore throats. Native American culture calls for the burning of sage as part of many spiritual and cleansing ceremonies. Digesting sage in hot beverages or soups was also a common practice, due to the cognitive boost it provides. 

It can even be used as natural deodorant and is often used to treat skin issues and infections. This vigorous scent is distinct and truly penetrating, bringing forth an atmosphere of cleanliness and clarity. 

You can find wonderous notes of sage as part of our Joy and Ellington luxury candles. 

9. Cinnamon

Cinnamon is native to Sri Lanka, the West Indies, and South America. It was once valued even more than gold, and known around the world for its rich flavoring and its religious essence. 

The fragrance of cinnamon alone is known to bring forth comforting memories, as cinnamon is often that last perfect ingredient to many family recipes. Piquant and peppery, cinnamon is a unisex scent. It entices whoever encounters it, blending well with other fragrances like ginger and vanilla.

This sharp spice has even been linked with helping lower blood sugar levels and cholesterol for those with diabetes. It is believed that cinnamon’s main ingredient, cinnamaldehyde, is the main source of its potential benefits.

Lovely notes of cinnamon can be found in our St. Nicholas and Ellington luxury candles.

10. Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus is considered a holy tree by Australia’s Aboriginals, symbolizing the division of heaven, earth, and the underworld. Its distinctive leaves are well-loved by both koalas and people. To koalas, it’s the main source of their diet; to people, it’s a distinctive, minty fragrance often described as a refreshing forest scent with a touch of honey.

The smell of eucalyptus is commonly used in meditative practices and home spa remedies as an ingredient that promotes relaxation and facilitates breathing. It’s crisp, camphoraceous scent soothes and revitalizes, gracing your indoor space with a sensation of purity and freshness.

Experience eucalyptus scents in our seasonal Holiday luxury candle.

Learn more: What Does Eucalyptus Smell Like?

11. Palo Santo

Palo Santo is a wild tree native to the dry tropical forests of South America, traditionally used by natives there as a remedy for pain, inflammation, and stress. It’s name means “holy wood” in Spanish, reflecting the energizing and healing properties that indigenous Latin American cultures believed Palo Santo to have.  

The smell of Palo Santo is subtle, sweet, and woodsy, with hints of mint and citrus. Traditionally used as incense to clear out negative energy, Palo Santo can be a wonderful home fragrance that brings fresh, positive vibes. It’s also said that its uplifting aroma can relieve stress and enhance creativity. 

We feature the essence of Palo Santo in our Speakeasy candle, which immerses you in the forbidden thrill of the Harlem Renaissance's nightlife.

12. Sandalwood

Sandalwood is one of the most expensive types of wood in the world, with a 4,000 years of historical and spiritual significance in Buddhist and Indian culture. Because of its soft yet sophisticated qualities, its fragrance is sometimes called a “gateway note” to luxury home scents. 

The distinctively deep, woody, and milky soft fragrance of sandalwood comes from essential oils extracted from the wood and roots of these evergreen trees. It’s alluring, sophisticated, and exotic. A pinch of sandalwood works wonders when blended together with other woody or earthy scents such as cedar, patchouli, vetiver, and vanilla to create warm, uplifting fragrances with genuine depth and complexity. 

At the Harlem Candle Company, we fully utilize the sensual notes of sandalwood to craft some of our most intoxicating blends, including Savoy, Lenox, Love, Langston, and Josephine.

Learn more: What Does Sandalwood Smell Like?

13. Fir

Fir is an evergreen coniferous tree with sturdy branches and soft needles. They normally prefer to grow in spacious, mountainous areas, but during the winter you’ll often find them in people’s homes under decorative lights and Christmas ornaments. 

The piney, earthy, and slightly citrusy scent of fir balsam is practically synonymous with the holiday season, evoking feelings of warmth, comfort, and nostalgia. People love its pleasant, forest-like aroma that invigorates the senses and stimulates energy.  

You can enjoy the full-bodied fragrance of fir balsam, together with eucalyptus, in our seasonal Holiday luxury candle, which pays tribute to Billie Holiday and her favorite scents.

14. Cedar

Cedarwood oil has been used in perfumes for years, adding an air of elegance and emotion to every scent. It has a spirituous aroma that draws anyone in, noted as one of the more versatile fragrances.

Native to the mountains of the Himalayas of Asia and parts of Europe, cedars can grow up to 10,500 feet. No wonder, then, that the Egyptians believed cedar the best material to build the ships within their pyramids. In the Native American community, cedar was also revered and known to keep away evil spirits. Now, it is one of the oldest perfume ingredients and one of the most popular base notes. 

Cedarwood is featured within many of our fragrances, including Medieval Garden, After Dark, and Holiday

15. Leather

Originally hailing from England (around 400,000 years ago), leather has been utilized for centuries whether for protection, survival, or essential instruments. Adding leather to footwear was a revelation, making the everyday habit of walking that much easier. It also served as the main material to create sheltering and clothing that kept us safe from harsh weather or cold climates. 

This practical material is a gift that keeps on giving, as it is made even more dynamic by its scent. Due to its rich and clear-cut odor, leather has that fragrant ability to bring about memories. The sensory experience associated with leather is one of warmth and influence. It can remind us of someone in their absence or of a favorite purse worn by a family member.  

You can find nostalgic notes of leather in our Langston luxury candle, reminiscent of the worn leather from Langston Hughes' favorite armchair. 

16. Musk

Much like leather, musk is another animal-derived scent that has had a recent emergence into fragrance fame. Praised for centuries as one of the more earthy and manly scents, some perfumeries explain that the sensual and seducing scent of musk is a direct result of its animalistic origins. 

Famously difficult to describe, musk is often detailed as the smell of body odor – a fresh, clean, and pleasant kind. It can have a grounding, almost woodsy scent that makes it all the more appealing when blended with sweeter, more softer notes.

The sensual smell of musk can be found in our luxury candle fragrances Savoy and After Dark.

17. Chocolate

The cacao tree brought us the decadent and delicious sweet treat so many love. Tracing back to ancient Maya and Southern Mexico, chocolate is known to have nearly 600 compounds. Still, science and studies are unable to identify just which components bring about its enticing aroma. The Aztecs even believed that the gods had given them chocolate as a gift and used chocolate as a means for trading foods and supplies.

Compared to fine wine, chocolate (specifically dark chocolate) is known to be one of the most layered and luxurious treats of all. After tasting chocolate, its scent becomes that much more captivating. Its aroma is rich and lush, making it the perfect addition to many perfumes.  

The appetizing appeal of chocolate can be found in our alluring Speakeasy luxury candle.

18. Incense

Imported from the Arabian and Somali coasts, incense was and still is an essential part of many religious ceremonies. From celebrations of life to worshiping the sun gods, the fragrant grains of incense are known to fill the atmosphere with a spiritual spell. 

The scent of incense is so unique, in fact, that it can also be utilized to keep away insects, to heighten aromatherapy, and to create a calm environment for meditation. Its ambrosial aroma allows for a smoky yet flowery blend that overtakes the air. It purifies any area and creates a relaxing atmosphere. 

Several of our luxury candle fragrances feature notes of incense as a component, such as Seneca, Langston, and Speakeasy

19. Patchouli

Once considered the most sophisticated scent of all, patchouli is derived from an old Indian language, known as “Tamil.” Its direct translation means green leaf. The plant has been used for thousands of years. However, during the rise of hippie culture during the 1960s to 70s, patchouli also saw a resurgence in popularity due to the embracing of more bohemian lifestyles and its authentic muskier, earthier scent. 

Like many other oils, patchouli oil can be used to treat headaches, scars, and even stomach issues. It is a strong smell with hints of sweetness and spiciness. It blends seamlessly with other earthy, woodsy scents and oils, known to give off the aroma of wet soil.

Our warm and serene fragrances Ellington and Dream feature patchouli in their base notes. 

Learn more: What Does Patchouli Smell Like?

20. Tobacco

To many, the tobacco plant has a sacred and special meaning. Tobacco has been championed traditionally by both American Indian and Alaskan communities, whether for healing purposes or for personal spirituality. Today, the sacred use and practices with tobacco are being embraced and encouraged by newer generations. 

The true tobacco scent differs greatly from the smell of smoked tobacco. It is a masculine, moving aroma that often reminds many of grandparents or older professors. Its recognizable odor makes it one of the most sought after ingredients in perfumery.

Our beloved Langston luxury candle exemplifies the evocative scent of tobacco.

21. Oud

Oud is known as one of the most prestigious materials in the world and one of the longest lasting scents. Originating from Southeast Asia, oud (also called agarwood) is a product of the aquilaria tree, formed when a certain tree fungus induces the tree to produce resin that becomes embedded in the heartwood. The time it requires to harvest oud takes much longer than other fragrances.  

Once deemed “black gold” and the “wood of the gods” in parts of the Middle East, it has a mighty foundation to it, one that can anchor any scent it is paired with. In fact, oud has such a strong hold that it is known to enhance one’s own body and skin chemistry. 

Our sensual fragrance After Dark blends oud with softer woodsy scents like oak, atlas cedar, and musk.

22. Peppermint

Peppermint is an aromatic herb that grows perennially throughout Europe and North America. Like lavender, its history dates back to the ancient Egyptians, who used peppermint leaves as a medicine for indigestion. 

Nowadays, peppermint is used for flavor and medical purposes. Much like the clean, citrusy smell of lemon, it has an acute scent that feels polished and pristine. It calms the atmosphere, creating an uplifting and unique fragrance to any blend.

Compared to other members of the mint family, peppermint has the highest concentration of menthol, the organic compound responsible for its cool, refreshing flavor and aroma. Despite its sharpness, peppermint is actually a very calming scent that helps relax our muscles and reduces anxiety. At the same time, studies have shown that the smell of peppermint increases alertness, memory, and cognitive processing.

We feature the refreshing scent of mint in our Joy luxury candle.

23. Pumpkin Spice

Most people assume that the modern pumpkin spice craze started with the latte flavor introduced by Starbucks in 2003, but in fact it was first popularized eight years earlier by a candle company in New Mexico.  

Pumpkin spice is a blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves (it doesn’t actually contain pumpkin) that seems to be everywhere in the fall. The aroma of pumpkin spice is commonly described as warm, spicy, and inviting, making it a holiday favorite for gatherings and get-togethers.

24. Teakwood

Teakwood gives off an earthy air that creates an undeniably pleasant, warm scent. It is often utilized in more masculine colognes and fragrances, but it has recently become a more popular scent due to its bold aroma.

Native to Southeast Asia, teak is the common name for the tropical tree species Tectona grandis. Teakwood is truly a multipurpose material, used for a variety of different things. It is also naturally resistant to many pests, making it the perfect construction material for buildings, homes, and furniture.