Drugstore Candles With Sophisticated Scents (They Exist!)

I'll still buy this $10 candle when I'm a rich old lady knee-deep in Diptyque.
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Kelly
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I'll still buy this $10 candle when I'm a rich old lady knee-deep in Diptyque.

Scented candles are my favorite cold weather luxury. They help get me through the long east coast winters. (Well, along with red wine and those mini Ben & Jerry's ice cream tubs.) Unfortunately, I simply don’t have the budget to burn money (literally) on fancy candles.

So I was thrilled to try out CVS' Essential Elements candles. They come in a variety of scents but I made a beeline for the Lavender & Cedarwood. A mixture of two of my favorite smells, I was sure this candle would be heavenly. Spoiler alert: it is.

candle burning

I’ve been big on lavender recently--it's so soothing and relaxing. As for cedarwood, my mother has several cedar hope chests that she keeps blankets and winter clothes in. I have strong memories of opening those chests and being enveloped in the rich, cozy scent of cedar. I would pull out an ugly, oversize sweater to wear simply because the lingering scent was so comforting. One day I’m supposed to inherit one of those cedar chests, but until then I have this candle.

candle burning

The combination of the scents--the soothing, light lavender and the rich, inviting cedar--makes for the perfect winter fragrance to fill your home. It’s not overpowering or perfume-y and fake like some other budget candles, but it definitely has a heady presence that's both sexy and cozy. I like to leave it in front of a cracked window when it’s not in use. The breeze carries a gentle fragrance from the candle throughout my room.

Essential Elements candles come in four other scents, that I know of: Jasmine & Patchouli, Vanilla & Sandalwood, Eucalyptus & Cucumber, and Mahogany & Vetiver, a new one that I noticed the last time I was at CVS.

essential elements candles

The Jasmine & Patchouli is the least fragrant, while the Lavender & Cedarwood is the most potent. The Eucalyptus & Cucumber is mostly cucumber and a little too sweet for me. The Vanilla & Sandalwood is heavy on the vanilla, but good vanilla, not gross vanilla. As for the Mahogany & Vetiver, I detect hints of cinnamon and patchouli. It's the most fall-smelling candle of the bunch.  

Still, I’m loyal to the Lavender & Cedarwood, although I might eventually get around to buying the Vanilla & Sandalwood, and maybe the Mahogany & Vetiver. I guess I’m in love with wood fragrances (or at least the country girl in me is). 

The best thing about these candles is that they’re under $10. Even the larger three-wick sizes barely go above the $10 mark. You can also find them in the form of reed diffusers and wax cubes, for those of you who can’t burn candles.

burning candle

I’m coming to terms with the fact that I can’t have everything I want in life right now. I’ll have to wait several years before I can afford Diptyque candles, and who knows how long until I can get my mom to relinquish one of those cedar hope chests to me. 

For a lot of things, I begrudgingly fill in the gaps with cheap, inferior placeholders until I can have what I really want. With this candle, however, I can wait patiently. I'll still buy this candle when I'm a rich old lady knee-deep in Dyptique. How's that for a glowing review?

Let's talk under $10 candles. Tell me your favorites! Extra credit for woodsy scent recos.