Candles have become an obsession, says Linda G. Levy, president ofthe Fragrance Foundation. While the medium is hardly new, it’s evolved way beyond being a stuffy status hostess gift. Picking up on trends that are happening in the worlds of food, perfume, hospitality, celebrity, and even TikTok, the best candles don’t just give good scent, they give us something to chat about—a sense of fun and novelty. “At dinner, I choose a candle and my husband, Steve, chooses the wine,” says Levy, who is obsessed with founder-led companies like Boy Smells and Harlem Candle Co., which have not only unexpected scent combinations but also a story behind them.
The Harlem Candle Co.’s Speakeasy is an invitation to take a trip back in time. Chocolate, incense, and tobacco notes evoke the sort of energy that jumps off the candleholder’s 1930s illustration, “A Night-Club Map of Harlem” by E. Simms Campbell.