In case any of you didn’t know, I am from Scotland. I was born in Glasgow, but have spent my life up and down between Scotland and England. I currently live in England and think this is where I’ll stay from now on, but I adore Scotland. Especially the West coast which is my second home.
One of the things that I love about Scotland are the things that you can discover there. If you wander through Glasgow you will literally hear bagpipe music, you will sometimes see musicians dressed as Vikings, and you will note lots of Scottish-themed shops full of wares made here, including – of course – tartans, brooches, socks, scarfs and jewellery.
There are also lots of stores which specialise in aromatics and skincare if you wander down Buchanan street, such as Molten Brown, but find yourself in Buchanan Galleries and you will see the large new Arran Aromatics store that’s recently moved from Princes Square.
If you’re unfamiliar with Arran Aromatics, then you should get yourself acquainted. The company was started in 1989 by a husband and wife in the kitchen of their cottage at home on the island of Arran.
[On this map you can also see Largs, where we lived until last September]
They were inspired by the sights and scents on the beautiful island, and tried to capture them in the soaps and body creams they started creating. Their business grew quickly and they began to expand their range, creating candles in 1997, miniatures for the Malmaison Hotel in 2001, and a baby collection in 2003.
Their first flagship store was at Princes Square in Glasgow, alongside other upmarket and unique luxury stores, and they now have 10 stores over Scotland, and numerous other stockists.
I came to discover Arran Aromatics in about 2008, when I had moved back to Scotland for university and received a miniature gift set from my Aunty. To receive this was such a treat, being a broke student who didn’t have much money to invest in themselves, and I fell in love with the therapeutic and aromatic fragrances. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to invest in much for myself then, but I used to love going into Princes Square at Christmas time to buy Arran Aromatics gifts for family.
I’ve been familiar with Arran Aromatics for years now, so it surprised me to learn that they have no stores across England yet, as their fragrances and skin care are so beautiful. One of my favourite items recently has been the Bergamot and Ginger shower gel, which I haven’t managed to snap a photo of myself as I went through it so quickly.
[This is also currently on offer at the Arran Aromatics store at £6.30 for 300ml!]
All of their products are beautifully packaged, and as I have said and will go onto say several more times, smell beautiful. They are most definitely spa quality products at a fraction of the price.
I was recently up in Scotland visiting family, and my Nan gave me a package. It was actually a Christmas present that she had given to me when we were up for Christmas, but I had forgotten to take back home with me. I had completely forgotten what was inside it, and was so overjoyed when I opened it to discover two Arran Aromatics scented candles.
Now, I love scented candles. I’ve had an obsession with them since I was a teenager and my bedroom got redecorated into a “grown up” bedroom, and I would burn scented candles constantly to fit my room’s aesthetic, to smell nice, and to just help me chill out.
My obsession with candles hasn’t always been a good thing: in 2006 I knocked one over and got some severe burns on my hand. Don’t play with candles, kids!
That aside, I loved them. I wasn’t able to burn any when I moved into student accommodation at University (they weren’t allowed), so when my now-husband and I moved in together in 2010 I went a bit scented candle crazy.
The scented candles I bought the most of, and still love, were Yankee Candles. I’m sure we’re all very acquainted with them, so I won’t go in to that too much. Yankee Candles are rather expensive, though, so we moved onto buying cheap fragrances from places like Tesco. These candles smelled alright, but were not as potent as more expensive ones and burned out very quickly (we were having to buy them every few days, which ended up seeming just as expensive). Because of this, it’s been a while since we’ve used scented candles, and to be honest I didn’t even think about the fact that Arran Aromatics did them.
What a fool.
The first candle I pulled out was this Parfumeur collection candle in Soft Cinnamon. I am absolutely gutted that I can’t link you guys to this one as it is part of their Christmas collection, however as you can see, the packaging is stunning. Arran Aromatics still offer a rebranded Perfumer collection, now with gorgeous grey and tartan packaging, and I would particularly like to try the Cedarwood and Citrus one (which is currently on my birthday wish list!).
These candles smell amazing before you even pull them out of the box. I had them sat in our living room for a couple of days without even lighting them and they had already made the room smell amazing. Once you light them, it’s even more magical.
Sometimes with scented candles I can find the scent to be overpowering. I can light them and within an hour be sick of smelling them, but the smell has already saturated everything. I don’t feel that way with these at all. The scent is potent. You’re not left wondering “is this a scented candle? What scent is it? Does it have a scent?” as you can with cheaper ones, but it is so refined that you can leave it burning for hours without getting sick of it at all, and even when it’s not burning be left with a less saturated but still beautiful scent, just from it being in the same room.
This one, as already stated, is from their Christmas collection in the fragrance “soft cinnamon”, and I have never heard of a more aptly named fragrance. I am a big cinnamon lover, and all things Christmas scents, but I’d venture to guess that even those who don’t like cinnamon would like this candle.
The scent is as described – “soft”, and that’s exactly how I’d describe it. You don’t get that overpowering whack of different fragrances that other Christmas candles often give you, where it’s super cinnamon-y and sugary sweet and musky and vanilla-y all at once. There is something gentler and more refined here: a cinnamon with a white musk scent.
As it’s already the middle of August (what?!), we’re now heading toward the Autumn months and the nights are already starting to get darker quicker. As such, I’ve been burning this one after my daughter goes to bed in the evenings over the past couple of nights, while my husband and I chill out in front of the telly, and it is so relaxing.
The other fragrance I got is one that has a bit of a backstory: After the Rain.
As stated on the Arran Aromatics website:
“Janet had long held a desire to capture her favourite natural aroma. That fresh, succulent scent of a garden in the magically calm moments following a summer rainstorm.
After much consideration with our in-house perfumers, and slow nurturing of different, sensual blends to uncover the aromatic secret, it eventually revealed itself. After the Rain was brought to life in a heady bouquet of rose, musk and citrus, with an effervescent palette of exhilarating base notes and subtly provocative accents. It has been our most popular fragrance ever since.”
Both of the candles I have are extremely relaxing, but this one is a sharper musk fragrance because of the citrus, so I keep this one on my desk to burn while I’m working (like right now!) as it makes me feel somehow relaxed, yet awake at the same time.
This is the shorter version of their After the Rain candle, but they also have a tall pillar version as well. This short one is only £12.50 but has an approximate burn time of 100 hours, which could last you ages depending on how often you use it.
After the Rain also has an extensive collection, which includes shea butter lotions and bath salts, as it is their most popular fragrance.
All in all, I am absolutely delighted that I managed to rediscover Arran Aromatics and these candles. I think we all forgot how much fragrance can play a part in our disposition throughout the day, and how much it can truly affect our moods, even when just chilling out in the evening.
As I’ve grown older, I have started seeking scents in my toiletries, skincare and just the environment around me that are more refined and aromatic than those I would’ve chosen in the past. I particularly veer toward essential oils and aromatherapy to give me what I seek in this area, and Arran Aromatics are perfect for that.