15 Sep Candle Science | Scent Throw
For most candle lovers, the scent of a candle is the most important factor. Scents can remind us of happy memories, help us bring seasons into our homes or just fill a room with our favourite fragrances…
But how do candles hold their scent? And what is a ‘Scent Throw’?
A ‘Scent Throw’ can actually be split into two types – ‘Cold Throw’ and ‘Hot Throw’.
The ‘Cold Throw’
Have you ever thought how strong your candle smells before you’ve even struck a match?! Well, this is the ‘Cold Throw’. It is the fragrance that is released as your candle sits unlit at room temperature and it will always be the first impression we get of a new candle…
The ‘Hot Throw’
Once the flame of the candle has been lit and the wax and oils have had a chance to melt around the wick, this releases further scent known as the ‘Hot Throw’. This should always be stronger than the cold throw and will increase as the pool of melted wax slowly grows.
There are many things that a maker has to consider when it comes to the strength of a candle’s scent throw…
Percentage of Oil to Wax Ratio
Having the right amount of oil mixed into the candle wax is very important, as this will influence how strong the actual scent of the candle is. A candlemaker will often go through months of testing with an individual fragrance to find the right ratio of wax to oil to get both a strong scent and an optimum burn.
But there is a fine balance… blending too much oil can cause the wick to clog or cause oil separation. This all weakens the scent throw and the burn quality of your candle, so it is a painstaking process to get it just right.
Size and Type of the Wick
Selecting the right type of wick is another critical step in getting a good scent throw.
The size and type of wick dictate how well a candle creates the perfect ‘melt pool’ as it burns. The melt pool is vital for the scent but also to maximise burn quality. For the maximum scent throw, it is really important that the wick is just the right size to melt the wax all the way to the edge of the jar… as the more wax that is melted, the more oil is released. Again the balance is fine, as if the wick is too large the candle will burn too quickly and if it is too small, you could get a narrow melt pool, which will result in a poor scent throw!
As you know, we only feature makers that use 100% plant-based waxes like soy. However, there are different types such as coconut or rapeseed and even other waxes used in candle manufacturing such as beeswax or paraffin. Each wax will have different properties that affect the scent throw and some perform better than others… another very important aspect for makers to consider when crafting their collection.
The layers of a scent
All candles have top, middle and base notes and as your candle burns different notes will be released…
Top notes – these are the lightest molecules and therefore evaporate quickest. They are typically the first scents you will smell from your candles cold throw.
Middle notes – these are a little more complex and full-bodied than top notes. They are the heart of the candle and provide balance and harmony between the top and base notes.
Base notes – these are made from the largest molecules and are therefore the heaviest notes. For that reason, they take the longest to be released but can also linger the longest too.
The strength of scent throw at different stages
As a candle burns, the heat helps to evaporate the fragrance blended in the wax. This releases into the air and gives us those dreamy scent notes! As the candle burns, the temperature increases and more fragrance molecules are released into the air, which is when the scent will get stronger and stronger…
Everyone’s nose is different!
It is no secret that everyone’s noses are different and some of us have a stronger sense of smell than others, so whether your candle is lit or not, we can all smell them slightly differently.
It is also very common for our noses to adjust to the smell as our candle burns… even though a candle’s scent throw gets stronger over time!
If this happens, try leaving the room for a few minutes to allow your nose to reset and then when you walk back in you should get an amazing fragrance burst!
So there you have it… a little 101 on all things scent throw. Why not use your next candle to see if you can notice the differences between the cold and hot scent throws?
Happy burning Iggy Boxers!