Are you familiar with Sarah J. Maas and her Court of Thorns and Roses series? If not, then this candle battle might not make a lot of sense to you. But if you are, and Rhysand is one of your all-time book boyfriends, then buckle up because this article is gonna be throwing so much ACOMAF candle info at you you'll think it's a roller-coaster ride!
I had the idea to gather Rhysand candles after seeing soooooo many of them on Instagram and not knowing where to start. He is such a popular character and candle shops were making a lot of SJM candles with variations of Rhysand and The Night Court, it was a bit overwhelming. So the only logical thing to do was buy them all! Or at least a wicked handful of them. I narrowed it down to candles labeled "Rhysand", "Starfall", and "Night Court" (one or two might be labeled slightly different but it's clear what the intended influence is). And then I went shopping!
Okay, so this ended up being only a semi-Great candle war. I tried to include as many candles as I could reasonably manage. A couple shops helped me out by sending me some free candles in exchange for an honest review and it should be noted that I did not tell my other reviewers which candles were free or the cost of any of the candles. This was truly a blind "sniffing", I wanted to eliminate as many extra variables as possible and keep it all about the fragrance, candle colors, and composition. Beyond that, I ordered candles from four other shops and looked at a few others. Unfortunately I couldn't score any from the AUS & NZ shops, they were out of my budget this time around. And a couple of the popular shops were sold out or closed for business at the time of ordering.
Then it became a waiting game as the candles made their way to me through the post. Some shops were really quick, obviously the ones on my own coast of the U.S., while International orders took a bit longer. BUT one shop's package never arrived. I ordered on Feb. 14th, I got an email that it shipped on Mar. 3rd, and by Apr. 10th (today, or at least the today that I'm writing this), I've pretty much given up hope of including it in this review. So now I'm down to candles from only 5 shops. Hence, the slight downgrade to semi-great candle war.
Now I have plans for a PART 2 of this candle war later in the year so I can include more candles! This will be more like an epic battle round. It was still lots of fun!
Meet the Reviewers
I enlisted the help of my cousins, Carissa & Gillian, to help me review the candles. I mean, scents are so subjective, you can't really get anything from just one person smelling a candle and telling you all about it. Three noses are better than one, but more than that and it just gets to be too many voices and a lot more than I'm sure you'd be willing to read through. On that note, if you're getting bored, just skip down to the review. This is a lot of set up, I know, but I feel that I owe full disclosure, and that includes the noses that sampled all the candles. It should also be noted that neither of my cousins have read the books but they do love to read!
Carissa: (on right) She's my oldest female cousin, 23 going on 24, a graduate of Cal Poly Pomona (Go Broncos!) with a BA in Psychology, and a freaking amazing athlete! You can check out her awesomeness HERE. She also has some pretty epic tattoos, including a half-sleeve of the four stretch portraits from The Haunted Mansion ride at Disneyland.
Gillian: (on left) This little lady is about to turn 21! She's currently in college, working on a major in Marketing and a minor in Fashion Merchandising. She loves quirky socks and The Breakfast Club (and lots of other stuff too but let's keep this short). Her favorite Disney Princess is Cinderella and she's currently single and looking for a Prince Charming (she's gonna kill me for adding that).
Captain Hook: (middle) ...just kidding! His giant nose was not utilized in this candle review. :)
Oh! And ME!: I don't think you need any info on me but just in case, my name is Dayle (alias: The Literary Llama). And this is my website. Carry on.
Carissa and Gillian's collective book favorites:The Dead Zone by Stephen King, Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, Every Day by David Levithan, Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan, and Through Violet Eyes by Stephen Woodworth.
The Candle Shops
Here's where you can find the links to all the candle shops that are included in this review. It's a lot easier to have all the links in one spot than for me to hyperlink every time I mention a shop or use a picture as I go on. Seriously, I'd probably go a little crazy. Just hop back up here if you want to do some shopping!
Alright, you've made it this far so let's jump into the sniff tests, etc! Note: We each wrote down our thoughts independently so as not to influence each other's thoughts. And then we conversed and made additional notes if necessary.
GILLIAN: I like it, don't love it; but not bad! Smells kind of perfume-y and fruity. Love the color and look of it. But the color doesn't relate to the smell; I like the look more than the scent. 3/5 🔥
CARISSA: It reminds me of Halloween, the smell, that mix of sugary sweets. And it also looks like Halloween! But overall I like the way it looks more than the smell. 3/5 🔥
DAYLE: I like it but don't love it. It reminds me of candy or like perfume mixed with a fruity cereal. That sounds strange but it's not bad. And it's gorgeous to look at, definitely hits the Starfall in looks...you know, it sort of grows on me the more I smell it. I'm kinda torn between 3 and 4 stars now. 3.5/5 🔥
RHYSAND: Citrus, Sea Breeze, Jasmine
C: I love the look and color of this candle but not so much the scent. The smell reminds me of a beach house bathroom. The look doesn't go with the smell. 2/5 🔥
G: I don't really like it. It reminds me of fabric softener, but washed out and added a bad perfume to it. 2/5 🔥
D: It smells very soap-like. Like those little shell soaps in bathrooms that you're not allowed to use. It's very one-note, I'm not picking out any other scents. The purple color is amazing though. 2/5 🔥
D: It reminds me of fresh laundry and the sea breeze scent is really coming through. The smell and the look of the candle really go together, it smells blue. 3.5/5 🔥
C: I love the look of it. It has a fancy perfume vibe, which doesn't really work for me, but it's not bad, it's just too strong for me. I like the way it looks more than the smell. 2/5 🔥
G: I really like the color of the candle and the sparkles in it. Not too potent, which is good for me. Smells like fabric softener or detergent but not super strong; more of an airy smell...which goes with the color. 3/5 🔥
OVERALL: 3/5 🔥
RHYSAND: Jasmine, Basil, Citrus, Night
G: I like the sparkles that this shop has. Smells kinda the same as [A Court of Candles's] Rhysand candle. Beachy soap vibe mixed with fabric softener and a potent perfume. 2/5 🔥
D: I think it's softer, definitely not as strong. It's like a less potent Night Court (same shop, previous candle), but slightly sweeter. It's less perfume-y to my nose. I really like it and the hint of Basil is interesting and surprising in a good way! My favorite so far. 4.5/5 🔥
C: I love the color and the look of it. And I definitely like the full size presentation jar and label. It gives me a detergent vibe that isn't working for me, though, and it's similar to the first candle. 2/5 🔥
THE NIGHT LORD: Sea Breeze, Orange, Jasmine, Sandalwood
C: I love love love the color! ... I don't like the way it smells, at all. I can't even try to tell you what it smells like. It is WAY too strong! I need to put it away now. I'll give it a point for looks. 1/5 🔥
G: Love the label, looks, and color, but there's too much sparkle on top. Way too strong/potent. It's like when you walk into an antique shop that also sells a bunch of different soaps. Too many smells all mixed together. It's not good at all. 1/5 🔥
D: It's really heavy, I don't like it at all. It smells like a one of those funky shops you stumble into on vacation, probably near a beach, a little old and perfume-like but never with a scent you can actually place. It's a lot coming at you all at once. But it's one of the most gorgeous colors, so it's nice to look at. 1/5 🔥
D: Smells like citrus fruits and licorice, even though there's no licorice in it. It also has the scent of rain mixed into it and I can definitely smell that. It's a little strong but I don't really get any florals coming through. It has a pre-burnt (not while lit) smell to it. I think this one could be interpreted the most differently by people. It's a sort of a chameleon scent, very multifaceted. 3/5 🔥
C: I really like the way it looks. It has too much of something and I think it's citrus but it might also be another unnameable scent. It has a really strong scent which is too much for me. 2/5 🔥
G: I dig the label and I love the quote put inside. It has a fruity, citrusy smell. Pretty potent, and mixed with a burnt smell? Like, if you burnt citrus fruits, it's hard to say. 2/5 🔥
G: I like the label and coloring. ... I really like it, it has a warm vanilla-esque smell, like baking sugar cookies! 4/5 🔥
C: A big yes on color and presentation! I get a very relaxing feel from it. Like a bath-time feel. There's something warm about it. All around I love it, I can't find anything wrong with it. 5/5 🔥
D: I think it's sort of girly, it smells sweeter than any of the other candles we've tried. The sweet wine scent really comes through, which is where I think that unexpected warm smell/feeling comes from. I enjoy it. The wax has a pearl sheen to it which is really pretty, very different to the glitter found in other candles. 3.5/5 🔥
OVERALL: 4/5 🔥
RHYSAND: Ocean Breeze, Jasmine, Amber
C: The presentation from this shop is a big yes! It's not a very strong scent but it has a beachy, bathroom soap vibe. Not bad though, just not for me. 2/5 🔥
D: Once again, this candle is a bit girly and sweet. But this one has a slight citrus scent coming through that I really like. I definitely like this one. I kept going back to smell more, so definitely a favorite. And I really like the label. 4.5/5 🔥
G: Good, not great. It's not too potent and it has a warm vibe to it. I like the label but I think I would like it to be a darker purple or lighter (but that's just a personal preference). It reminds me of fire mixed with a slight perfume; not the smell of fire but the feeling. 3/5 🔥
The Final Results
Overall Favorite in SCENT:
C: Starfall from Wick and Fable.
G: Starfall from Wick and Fable.
D: Rhysand from Book and Nook Candles or Rhysand from Wick and Fable.
Overall Favorite in LOOKS:
C: Starfall from A Court of Candles followed by The Night Lord from Muggle Library Candles.
G: Starfall from A Court of Candles ... but the color of Night Lord from Muggle Library Candles was a close second (in looks only). And I also liked the look of Night Court from Book and Nook.
D: Starfall from A Court of Candles. And I love the labels and gold lids from The Melting Library.
Overall LEAST Favorite:
C, G, & D: The Night Lord from Muggle Library Candles.
I hope you found this candle review fun and at least the tiniest bit informative. We tried to be as objective as possible. All notes and opinions are genuine and honest and very in-the-moment. Scent is one of the hardest senses to review and as you can see, we sometimes differed in our opinions by a degree or three. It really is about personal preference. Still, I hope that we were able to add something to the debate. There are a lot of ACOMAF candles out there and these 5 shops are just a small sampling. In fact some of these shops even had a second or third candle option that wasn't included here. It was all about availability and funds.
Like I said, this feels more like a Round 1 Battle than the ultimate victories in a War. I'll be looking at other Rhysand/Night Court/Starfall candles to do a second round later in the year. Once again it all comes down to availability and funds. It may be awhile before I can collect enough candles for Round 2.