Don't cheap out. This is one area where price matters, says Feygin. If you buy a smaller candle of a higher-end product for a bit more money, you'll be much happier with the scent than if you buy a huge scented candle from the dollar store. Cloying, cheap fragrance is worse than none.
Know the scents that polarize. Vanilla and musk are examples. Those scents can make people feel sick, while others can't get enough, she said.
Be wary of warm. Heat changes scent. In the industry, they call the scent of an unlit candle the “cold throw.” A lit candle's scent is the “hot throw.” They can be very different. When in doubt, buy a small test amount first.
What's in a name? Don't go by the label's name, which can be vague. What does moonlit path smell like?
Imitate nature. Strive to make your home smell like the outdoors. The best smells are ones you can't quite put your finger on, but they smell like nature. They're not overtly one scent, but a blend, that makes you say, that smells nice. “Strident lemon or pine can smell like a cleaning product,” she says. “When you're having company, that's not what you want.”
Change smell with place. Try citrusy green scents in the kitchen, a light floral in the powder room, and something a little sexier — in the woodsy or gourmand category — in the bedroom.
What's in? Green, lighter florals like lily of the valley, and citrusy combinations, like mandarin bergamot and citrus verbena are popular. Exotic fruit scents like acai, kiwi and pomegranate are pushing aside common fruit scents like apple and pear. Trending down are heavier florals with one-note scents, like rose or gardenia, and the heavy-scented gourmand aromas, which often have buttery undertones, including vanilla, spiced cider and apple pie. Today's upscale consumers are picking up scents that convey their favorite beverage, she said. “Merlot and Champagne are on the rise.”
Watch what your scent projects. Feygin's husband recently put a car freshener in his car. “He couldn't smell it any more,” she said, “but every time I got in, I thought he'd been with another woman — the kind you pay for.”
Syndicated columnist and speaker Marni Jameson is the author of “House of Havoc” and “The House Always Wins” (Da Capo Press). Contact her through www.marnijameson.com.