The role of fragrance in remembrance

8 November 18
candles in remembrance


By their nature, handmade scented candles are deeply personal things. Here at Melt we invest a lot of time and love into making them, producing handmade creations that have personality and meaning, each expressed through their own individual scent. There are good reasons we associate certain fragrances with our own emotions and memories – and it’s for the same reasons that fragrance often plays a comforting role in remembrance.

Fragrance creates powerful emotional connections

You probably don’t need us to tell you that vision and sound can both trigger intense memories and emotions. The sight of your favourite childhood haunt, for example, or the first few notes of a long-forgotten song, can both send you on sudden unexpected reveries back through time. But most people underestimate the incredible power of scents to trigger potent memories and emotions. In many cases, it’s even more effective at this than your senses of sight or hearing.

smelling flowers

This is because when you breathe in, the scents you absorb are processed through your olfactory bulb, which starts inside your nose and runs along the bottom of your brain. As it does so, it comes into contact with the parts of your brain which process memory and emotions. Sight, hearing and touch don’t go through this area, which is why scents are so exceptionally effective at helping you to experience particularly intense memories and feelings.

Does your loved one have a ‘signature scent?’

This emotional ability of fragrance is part of what helps to form ‘signature scents’ in your brain – that is, fragrances you associate with an individual person or memory. The scent of Lavender was (and continues to be) particularly popular with women in the form of perfume, leading to many children associating the smell of lavender with their mothers well into adulthood. It’s a great example of how these signature scents can represent powerful links to your loved ones, making their personal fragrances a beautiful way to remember them – especially when they’re no longer with us.


Sometimes it’s more than just the fragrance, but also about how the candle makes you feel. Amongst our most popular handmade candles for remembrance is Angel, because of its association with peace and happiness. We know certain customers who won’t buy it at any other kind of year, preferring to save it for remembrance purposes. It goes to show that you can connect someone’s signature scent with them even long after they’re gone. You to choose the fragrance that forms their legacy, and choose how you want to remember them.

Candlelight is entrancing and wonderfully symbolic

As well as fragrance, the light from candles is another of their aspects that makes them wonderful for remembrance. They’re slow, silent and beautiful to look at, casting a soft and unobtrusive light that encourages a solemn and respectful atmosphere. For many major world religions, the light itself is viewed as symbolising the everlasting spirit, bringing light into darkness.

light in dark

Lots of people like to go into churches to remember their loved ones, even if they’re not usually religious, and light a candle for them there. But for others, a public place – even one as quiet and solemn as a church – can make them feel open and vulnerable. Lighting a candle at home can make them feel a lot safer, allowing them to take the time they need without feeling disturbed or intruded upon. Handmade candles can give them everything they need to create an atmosphere they feel is appropriate to the occasion.

Of course, we’re not saying you need a scented candle to remember your loved ones. Above all, we think the most important thing is that you’re able to remember them in a way that feels comfortable for you and respectful to them. If you decide a scented candle is ideal to help you do that, though, then here at Melt we’d be honoured to help in any way we can. You can give us a ring on 01200 443377, or feel free to pay us a visit on our little shop on the farm. We’d always love to see you!