With the long-awaited and eagerly anticipated return of Starbucks' Pumpkin Spice Latte, pumpkin season is upon us. Yes, everyone's favorite squash is back, flavoring and scenting everything from your daily cup of Joe to your shampoo. Indeed, no edible or scented product seems off-limits these days. We've all come to expect pumpkin-flavored coffee and baked goods, but it doesn't stop there. Now there's pumpkin beer, whiskey, and wine. Pumpkin soaps, lotions, and body scrubs. Pumpkin candies, chocolates, and snacks. Pumpkin for your house, your car, your kid, and even your dog. And, of course, pumpkin candles.
On a recent trip to the mall I wandered into a popular store known for its candles, soaps, and lotions - gotta keep an eye on the competition, right? Immediately, I was overwhelmed by the number of pumpkin-scented candles. 11 to be exact. That's right, 11 different pumpkin scents. They all smelled alike, and by that I mean pretty awful. Many were too strong and most were too sweet. All of them smelled really artificial.
It shouldn't be that hard to create a good pumpkin scent, right? After all, the pumpkin spice we all know and love is a simple combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, all spice, and sometimes clove. These 3 or 4 spices, combined with the sweet, rich smell of pumpkin, is what gives our favorite holiday dessert its heavenly aroma. As it turns out, the spices are easy enough to recreate in a candle (in fact, I'm working on a new spice candle for fall) but the pumpkin scent is where most pumpkin-scented candles go horribly awry.
Whenever I bring up our seasonal scents for Fall, most customers ask about a pumpkin-scented candle. I don't blame them. Nothing says Fall quite like a fresh-baked pumpkin pie and the over-abundance of pumpkin scents out there is a natural result of brands striving to meet customer demand. That said, I have yet to find a pumpkin scent that doesn't smell too sweet or artificial. Some scents, including pumpkin, just don't work in candles. That is why Chandler Candle Co. doesn't have a pumpkin-scented candle.
I haven't given up on the search, but until I find the perfect pumpkin oil(s) needed to recreate that scent that we all really love, we'll have to make do with the crap at the mall. Or, better yet, bake a pie to go with that PSL.