Describe the Smell of a Candle

Scenting petals

It is not always easy to describe the smell of a candle. A candle can smell like fruit, like flowers, like a rainstorm or a summer day. How a person describes a candle scent or smell has a lot to do with their own experience.

Learn How to Describe the Smell of a Candle

If you are advertising candles or starting your own home candle business, you need to learn how to describe the smell of a candle. Most products come with a description, but being able to describe a smell or a scent will be an important part of your marketing and selling technique.

Describing a smell can be difficult because the words people use to describe what people see, hear or feel are far more extensive than what people smell. When it comes to describing the complex scents associated with tropical flora, chocolate and even ripe fruit, it is important to communicate the different layers of scent.

Scent Observation

In order to best describe how a candle smells, you should begin by observing the candle. Observation includes:

  • Eliminate other scents or fragrances, including perfumes you might be wearing
  • Observe the scent with intermittent breaks to avoid becoming accustomed
  • The sense of smell is quick to acclimate, breaks will help you experience the scent sharply
  • Sniff fresh ground coffee in between to clear the palate

During your observation, take notes and answer the following questions about the scent:

  • What images do you see when you inhale the scent?
  • What feelings does the scent evoke?
  • What memories does the scent remind you of?
  • Did the scent evoke a gut reaction?
  • Does it remind you of any jingles, poems or commercials you have heard in the past?

Descriptive Words

Adjectives are the key to your descriptions. This table contains just a few of the descriptive words you might employ when describing how a candle smells.

Pleasant Exotic Aromatic
Leathery Floral Sweet
Smokey Rich Buttery
Woody Spicey Nutty
Grassy Herbal Citrus
Fruity Medicinal Damp

Apply Metaphors

Metaphors are important to scent description. Describing a scent as jasmine is only effective if someone knows what jasmine smells like. The same can be said of roses, grapes, citrus and other readily used adjectives. Be creative when you are describing a scent. If a candle smells like a spring morning, describe what spring smells like.For example, a spring morning may smell like the first blooms on the flowers, green grass and cool breezes. Spring has a fresh scent, the kind that invites you to open the windows to the cool breezes and blow out the musty odors of winter.

Action Scents

Another way to describe the smell of a candle is to give it an action. Remember, smells can creep up on you, wrap around you, follow you, bombard you, waft towards you, permeate the air and even suggest feelings, ideas and images. Some scents are more commanding, while other scents are subtle and provocative.

If a candle smells like fresh oatmeal cookies, you may use words like baking or cooling to add to the description. You can also borrow adjectives from the other senses to illustrate the scent you are describing. A scent can be hazy, smooth, bright and dark. Some scents are icy, while others are hot. Cinnamon would be a hot or warm scent, while peppermint and spearmint would be cool or icy.

Scents Have Meaning

When describing a candle scent or any scent, try to share what the scent means to you as well as what it reminds you of, tastes like or what mood it evokes. All scents have a meaning to every person who experiences them.

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Describe the Smell of a Candle