Fragrance Notes & Flash Points!

Why are they important in candle-making?

Candle fragrance isn’t just an after thought – it’s the driving force among consumers in deciding which candles they will purchase. 

Scientists have proven that pleasing aromas alleviate stress, heighten mood, enhance sex drive, and even affect alertness in the office, simply by stimulating the olfactory pathways to the brain.

When consumers buy a scented candle, they often base their decision on the cold scent throw of the candle. In candle making terms cold scent throw refers the strength or intensity of the fragrance prior to the candle being lit (when the wax is solid).  Adversely, when the wick of the candle is lit, the fragrant smell released from the candle is called the hot scent throw.

So, both hot and cold scent throw is very important when you are making or selling candles!

The science behind the two terms is essentially the same, but the conditions of both are quite different – mainly in scent strength, but sometimes also in the character of the scent. 

Candle fragrances oils are generally a mixture of essential oils, synthetic aroma chemicals, and aromatic resins. Each contributes to the overall scent, and we refer to these as scents as fragrance notes. We divide a fragrance into top notes, middle (heart) notes and base notes.

Top Notes are perceived immediately. They consist of small, light molecules that evaporate quickly. They form a person's initial impression of a scent – the scents are fresh, assertive or sharp. The compounds that contribute to top notes are strong, volatile, and evaporate quickly. 

The middle notes form the "heart" or main body of a fragrance and emerge just prior to when the top notes dissipate. They take a little longer to evaporate and serve to mask the sometimes unpleasant, initial impression of the base notes.

The base notes are large, heavy molecules that evaporate slowly, and they appear close to the departure of the middle notes. The base and middle notes together are the main theme of a fragrance. Base notes bring depth and solidity to a fragrance. Compounds of this class are often the fixatives used to hold and boost the strength of the lighter top and middle notes.

If you make candles, this is where it can all fall to SHTI?

Before you start adding fragrance to your molten wax, you should understand how a fragrance’s flash point could make or break a candle, for scent throw!

Fragrance flash point refers to the temperature at which the scent will evaporate. For example, if your fragrance oil has a flash point of 65 degrees Celsius and you add it to wax which is heated to 85 degrees Celsius, the top notes will burn off, evaporate, and you’ll be left with a weaker, often less desirable fragrance.

Some candle makers complain that although they have added the maximum fragrance load, their candles have little or no scent, and flash point is usually the reason why!

You can find out exactly what temperature to add your fragrance oils to your wax by checking the fragrance flash point of the fragrance being used. When you are blending several fragrance oils, you can work from the highest fragrance flash point, as the blend will operate from the highest flash point, not the lowest.

You’ll have to find the balance when it comes to wax temperature when you are adding fragrance. You need to ensure that the wax is fully melted so that when you add and mix the fragrance, it disperses evenly throughout the wax. The closer the wax is to its congealing point, the more difficult it is for the fragrances to spread evenly.

Please note: difficulty can be experienced if you try to add fragrances with a fragrance flash point of below 55 degrees Celsius. This is because melted wax needs to be at least at 55 degrees Celsius for it to fully bind with the fragrance oil.

Candle making is a science, and honestly, it can take years to “get it right”! 

If you pour candles at the fragrances flash point, you are more likely to enjoy a great cold and hot scent throw – now to make a great candle, you also need to think about wax and wicks, as all three need to be in harmony with each other.

Why not come along to our ADVANCED container candle making class – BASIC is a pre requisite class and we still have places available in September. You’ll learn how to multi wick and multi layer candles, and we explain the importance of fragrance notes, fragrance flash point, and how you can build a good client base by offering them truly unique scents.

Want to know more?