What Is The Smell Of Fall Candles?

Fall candles are a wildly popular staple when autumn rolls around. Characterized by warm, cozy scents like cinnamon, pumpkin, and apple, fall candles evoke nostalgic feelings and create a welcoming atmosphere. The demand for fall-scented candles skyrockets once the weather turns cool, trees start changing color, and pumpkin patches pop up.

Fall candle fans eagerly await the launch of seasonal collections from top candle brands. Scents reminiscent of crisp fall days, cozy sweaters, and hayrides create an immersive experience right in your own home. There’s just something about lighting a pumpkin or apple pie candle that makes you feel like you’re living in an idyllic Hallmark movie scene.

Common Fall Candle Scents

Some of the most popular candle scents associated with fall include:

  • Pumpkin – With its sweet, spicy aroma, pumpkin is one of the most quintessential fall scents. Reminiscent of fresh pumpkin pie and autumn spices, it evokes cozy feelings of the season. Popular brands like Yankee Candle offer pumpkin-scented candles.
  • Apple – The crisp, fresh scent of apples reminds us of apple picking season and autumn fruits. Brands like Bath & Body Works sell best-selling apple fragrances like Spiced Apple Toddy. The tart sweetness makes it a fall favorite.
  • Cinnamon – Warm, spicy cinnamon instantly brings to mind fall baking, including cinnamon rolls, apple pies, and other cozy treats. Cinnamon scented candles often blend with notes of vanilla, clove, and nutmeg for a true seasonal scent.
  • Clove – Clove’s spicy, woody aroma blends beautifully with other fall scents like cinnamon and orange. It adds a touch of warmth and sophistication. Clove complements bakery-inspired scents.
  • Pine – Pine candles evoke the great outdoors with aromatic woodsy notes. They remind us of crisp fall days, evergreen forests, and mountain cabins. Pine works nicely on its own or mixed with earthier fall scents.

These popular fragrances capture the sights, smells, and feelings of autumn. When we light a pumpkin, apple, or cinnamon scented candle, it’s like creating an instant seasonal ambiance. The aromas spark nostalgia and really get us in the fall spirit.

Why We Love Fall Candles

Fall candles capture the nostalgia and coziness of the autumn season. The scents remind us of holidays, family traditions, and the changing leaves (Pour and Penchant). Candle fragrances like pumpkin, cinnamon, and clove evoke memories of baking pies or snuggling by a fire on a crisp evening. They provide comfort and warmth as the weather turns cooler (Bungalow Candle Studio). The aromas transport us back to hayrides, autumn festivals, and crunching leaves under our feet during childhood. Lighting a fall scented candle helps us hold onto those nostalgic feelings of the season a little longer.

Science of Smell

Smells have a powerful ability to trigger memories and emotions in our brains. When we breathe in scents, the odor molecules travel through the nose and into the olfactory bulb which is directly connected to the parts of the brain that process emotion and memory like the amygdala and hippocampus. Smells get routed through the limbic system, which is the emotional center of the brain, before connecting to the cortex which handles conscious thought. This means we have an immediate emotional and often unconscious reaction to smells long before our brains have time to process and identify the scent cognitively. The direct pathway from the nose to the ancient limbic system explains why smells can instantly evoke vivid emotions and memories.

According to biological anthropologist Kara Hoover, our sense of smell is effective at triggering memories because scents are stored differently in the mind than visual memories. While smells elicit broad emotional impressions like nostalgia, visual memories capture more specific details and contexts (1). Smell memories tend to get locked in at particular periods of life when scent and emotion are closely linked, which is why childhood smells can transport us back to those early experiences so quickly.


The scent of pumpkin candles evokes cozy fall feelings. These candles often contain a sweet, spicy, pumpkin pie-like aroma. Scents like cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and vanilla are commonly blended with pumpkin to produce a warm, baking spice scent (Source 1). The pumpkin itself has a rich, earthy aroma, while the spices add a layer of sweetness and heat. Candles with a strong pumpkin note can smell like freshly carved pumpkins, pumpkin pies baking, or pumpkin lattes. There are lighter pumpkin scents too, with just a hint of pumpkin blended with apple or maple leaves. Overall, pumpkin fall candles are often nostalgic, reminiscent of the flavors of fall.


The scent of apple immediately evokes thoughts of autumn. As the air turns crisp and the leaves begin to change color, homes and stores fill with the inviting fragrance of apples. When an apple candle is lit, it’s like you’ve just taken a fresh apple pie out of the oven. The sweet, bright aroma of fresh picked apples dominates the scent, with warm background notes of cinnamon and vanilla. It’s a fruity yet comforting scent that feels like a cozy sweater on a fall day. The tartness of the apples is well-balanced by subtle hints of spice. Apple candles manage to capture that perfect balance between a fresh fruit and warm baked goodness. There’s a nostalgia to the apple scent that reminds us of trips to the orchard, hay rides, and pumpkin patches. It brings to mind the changing leaves fluttering in the trees nearby rows of fruit stands overflowing with bushels of apples. Apple candles let us bottle that quintessential fall feeling and bring it to life with just the strike of a match. The crisp, juicy apple aroma never fails to delight.


Cinnamon candles evoke feelings of warmth, comfort, and nostalgia. The distinct spicy-sweet aroma comes from the essential oil made from the inner bark of the cinnamon plant 1. When burned in a candle, cinnamon essential oil releases a rich, woody scent reminiscent of freshly baked goods like apple pie or snickerdoodle cookies 2. The complexity of cinnamon allows it to pair well with other fall scents like clove, pine, and baked goods 3. Cinnamon candles have a warm yet spicy aroma, evoking cozy sweaters, crisp fall days, and nostalgic memories of the season.


The aroma of clove is warm, sweet, and distinctly spicy. It carries hints of Christmas, reminiscent of holiday baking and mulled cider1. Clove has a rich scent, evoking freshly ground spice. It’s sweet, yet there’s an underlying spice kick that gives it some bite2. The smell brings to mind cinnamon, though it is more pungent and intense. Clove has faint notes of citrus and floral undertones, rounding out the predominantly spicy-sweet impression3. The potent, warm aroma encapsulates the essence of the holiday season.


Pine scented candles evoke the fresh, outdoorsy scent of pine trees and pine needles. The main scent compounds that create the pine fragrance are alpha-pinene, beta-pinene, and limonene (Coastal Pine Essential Oil Candle). These terpenes give pine candles their characteristic clean, woodsy, evergreen aroma.

When burning a pine candle, you can expect notes of freshly crushed pine needles, forest pine trees, pine sap, and other coniferous scents. There is a crisp, green quality to the fragrance that calls to mind walking through a pine forest or Christmas tree farm. The sharp, resinous scent creates an invigorating and refreshing ambiance. A true pine fragrance candle will smell rich, realistic, and botanically accurate.

Good pine candles manage to capture the essence of real pine trees and avoid smelling artificial or perfume-y. Look for pine candles made with pure essential oils for the most authentic, natural scent. Some popular pine scent notes to look for include balsam, cedar, fir, spruce, and hemlock (Looking for a pine scented candle… but like REAL TRUE pine). Overall, pine candles transport you straight into a lush evergreen forest with their brisk, woodsy fragrance.


Fall candles capture the essence of autumn through their warm, nostalgic scents. The smells of cinnamon, clove, pine, pumpkin, and apple instantly evoke cozy memories of the season. When you light a fall scented candle, it’s like you’ve brought the magic of autumn right into your home.

The aromatic spices like cinnamon and clove remind us of baking pies and other treats as the weather turns crisp. Woodsy notes like pine take us for a walk through a forest full of falling leaves. Fruity scents like pumpkin and apple recall crisp days spent apple picking or carving jack-o-lanterns. No matter which signature scent you prefer, fall candles offer a transportive sensory experience.

Lighting a fall scented candle can instantly make any space feel more inviting. The familiar fragrances spark nostalgia for the sights, flavors and feelings of the season. A flickering fall scented candle fills your home with cozy warmth and the essence of autumn.

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