If you’ve ever painted your nails, bought shampoo, or even smelled a candle — you know one thing to be true: a great name can make a product infinitely better.
Yeah, maybe you’d agree that OPI’s “Lincoln Park After Dark” was just a great color, with its almost black purple glare shellacked onto your nails. But I have a feeling that it wouldn’t have been your go-to moody fall/winter color if it had been named something like “Purple Jazz” or simply “Dark Purple.”
These nonsensical names actually makes perfect sense — especially if you’re a middle school girl trying to apply rebellion from a small dark bottle of polish. These names give us something to identify with – and if you’re like me, who rushes to the checkout counter at the sight of a bad-ass name tattooed across the front of a bottle or wrapper - you know the feeling.
This brings me to possibly my favorite bout of excessive nonsense product naming. It begins just before the first bright leaf falls to the ground. And before you’ve even dipped your toes into a pair of boots… that’s right: Bath and Body Works Seasonal Candles.
The shelves clear, the displays go up, sparkly coupons are mailed out and you arrive at the door of your nearest location. You are ready, big blue bag in hand.
Candles are wrapped in colorful labels with desirable, cozy names that hypnotize you into buying a stock of scents that would last a normal person years. But will probably last you into the peak of winter, where you will return for latest batch of delectable colors and seasonal smells — and repeat the cycle until the last stretch of cold fades away.
Then begins the countdown to next fall.
This frenzy began with those great names. And how important does that make the scents? Can these names actually make a candle smell better? I talked to a few B&BW addicts (who aren’t hard to find - especially when you’re related to them) and came up with THE definitive list of Bath and Body Works Seasonal Candles.
Here are the Top 5 Candles (With Factors of Scent & Naming)
#5 Sparkling Amber
Representing one of B&BW’s favorite adjectives is “Sparkling Amber.” Beating out competitors “Sparkling Woods,” “Fresh Sparkling Snow,” and “Sparkling Icicles” - which don’t live up to their glittering moniker. Sparkling Amber, however, has a nice rich smell, similar to the perennial favorite "Sensual Amber." And the name does seems apt when I think of the shiny amber fossil from Jurassic Park.
Sparkling Amber has 4.5 stars on the website where one reviewer called it “liquid gold incense with a hint of patchouli.”
#4 Marshmallow Fireside
This candle is currently situated beside my stove, making me feel like I’m about to eat some s’mores, even when I’m not - which is actually sad.
This is the only scent that made it onto the list that includes some type of food. Food scented candles are strange, even with names like “Pumpkin Pecan Waffles.” Don’t they just make you hungry?
Marshmallow Fireside has 4.8 stars on the site with plenty of “sparkling reviews.”
This candle could also double as cologne. The most common word in the reviews is “musky.” But you can’t deny the strange magic that occurs when you bring this candle to your nose and perfectly understand that this scent is equivalent to the warm, winter-favorite fabric of cozy button ups and blankets.
"Flannel" had a best scent vote from my younger sister. But a 4.3 star review on the website. Some people just don’t understand.
#2 Sweater Weather
You know the smell. Sweater Weather is overwhelmingly one of Bath and Body Works most popular scents, selling out each year. Sweater Weather rules in scent and (more importantly) in name. Who can describe what is so tantalizing about the combination of those two words. Maybe it comes from the love we feel when we finally get to slip into our chunky knit cocoons. And then there's the scent itself, a mix of Fresh Sage, Juniper Berry, Aromatic Eucalyptus, Fresh Wood… does anything really sound like it could smell better?
So, you might be asking, then why isn’t this at the top of the list? Because, my friends, it’s too predictable, too popular… and sometimes the best scents are overlooked, especially when they lack a charming title.
So that brings me to #1…
#1 Fresh Balsam
The name is simple. Not as simple as it could be. It’s not “Pine Needles” or “Christmas Tree.” It’s an accurate and enchanting description of the ingredients: Woodland Balsam, Crisp Eucalyptus, Fir Branches, and Cedarwood. It’s is a subtle scent. Yet, it can still fill an entire house with the idea that an evergreen tree is sitting downstairs, still expanding from it's wrappings.
So yes, magical names can give these candles significance, and maybe even make them smell better. But the best candles, and the best products in general, are ones that can speak for themselves.