Quality v. Price: The Quality Conundrum
Have you ever read an article whose headline promised: "This Aldi Candle Smells EXACTLY Like Jo Malone's But Only Costs £3.99"? Or perhaps a piece assuring you: "Everyone's Saying This £5 Perfume Smells Like Chanel No.5!" How do you decide whether there's actually a difference worth paying for?
Some people imagine the only difference between two apparently similar fragranced products is packaging: perhaps one looks more "posh" than the other, the container is heavier or box a bit sturdier. Others believe the difference is how much the brand spends on advertising. Of course, both will have an effect on the price, but here's our guide to what's behind the difference in price for the actual product and how it performs. After all: you bought that lovely scented candle to light and enjoy, right?
In fact, the real difference goes straight to the heart of the matter, quite literally...
Many candles cut costs by using an unscented 'core'
Ever sniffed a candle in-store but been disappointed by the scent when you lit it at home, or couldn't smell it at all? That's often why. It can also mean the candle will burn unevenly and 'tunnel', so a percentage of each candle will be wasted (and it's then difficult to re-use or recycle the vessel).
Unfortunately, there's no real way of telling if a candle uses an unscented core until you've got it home and are burning it; but a good indicator is the price point. If it's super low, it's very likely an unscented core, though there are some "big name" brands also using them.
For at-a-glance assurance, look for the Coreless CleanBurn® logo.
Fragrance quality is the hardest thing to quantify in terms of whether it's worth the price. If you've never experienced a fine-fragrance, how can you know whether it's worth £100 or £1,000? Our sense of smell is incredibly powerful at evoking memories. Often, just the trigger of something that smells similar to lavender can be enough to give you a comforting, familiar feeling and good night's sleep - and that may well be enough.
Having said that, to discover the difference between a cheap fragrance that'll give you the trigger and a great quality fragrance delivering that blissed-out, hazy, lazy, warm summer day in endless fields of lavender costs nothing. Just ask for a sample - most fragrance houses have some kind of "discovery set" or sampling service (better still, take that trip to the countryside and savour the real deal : -).
The fragrances capturing every rich detail of scents from the "real world" often use incredibly expensive and pure ingredients. That's what increases the price (some ingredients can cost thousands of pounds per kilo). Of course, we've been passionate about fragrance and beautifully fragranced homes for some time. So we're biased towards using as much detail from the best ingredients. But that doesn't mean it's right for you - the approach we take is to make sure that at any price we've used the best possible ingredients instead of the cheapest.
What about the wax?
Paraffin (sometimes called "Mineral Wax") is cheaper than natural wax (if the cost to the environment, sustainable sourcing and potentially harmful emissions aren't a consideration). Compared to a well-made, well-crafted and fine-fragranced natural wax candle, paraffin wax disperses scent just as well. Until 1990, natural wax scented candles were unheard of because paraffin's easier to scent, can be dyed pretty colours and costs less than natural wax.
Natural wax had a bad rep in the past. It's more expensive, difficult to fragrance and has to be reformulated due to the annual variations in organic crops; but it has come leaps and bounds since the 90's, along with more people wanting to be eco conscious. We're proud to have been a pioneering part of that movement from the beginning. If the environment does come into your quality v. price equation (and full disclosure - we believe it should), it's good to be careful when choosing a 'natural wax' candle, sometimes there's a bit of scented semantics going on. Just because it says "natural wax" on the front, it may actually be up to 80% paraffin. Always read the small print to be sure.
Ultimately, what do you hope for when you're buying this product?
We totally get that everyone has a certain budget. There are times a less expensive candle is right for your needs. After all, if you only want to light a room, any candle can do that. Fancy a coloured candle (rather than the vessel it's in) to match your décor? Just be aware it's very likely going to be paraffin.
Dreaming of a perfectly scented home and the ambiance only a beautiful fragrance can bring? Look out for that Coreless Cleanburn® logo for optimum perfumed performance. It's not for us to speak on behalf of other companies. We can only say we've dedicated ourselves to making sure our candles work hard for the money you've spent on them and deliver the best value possible - at any price point.
In the end, it all comes down to the sniff test. If you fall in love with a scent and it doesn't disappoint, that's the right one! We hope you'd never find a scented candle you love more than ours at a lower price. But that's for your nose to tell you - not us : -).