Top 4 Woody Scents For Private Label Candles

The woody family is one of the four olfactory families used in fragrance creation. They’re identified by their characteristic woody smells which are derived from trees, resins, roots, pine and more. Because of their versatile nature, the woody facet has become increasingly popular in fine perfumery and luxury home fragrances. They are simply some of the most intriguing, evocative and sophisticated fragrances. 

As a leading private label candle manufacturer, Karl Winters shares insights on this fragrance family and the top 4 woody scents for private label candles.

What is a woody scent?

Woody scents originate from the essential oils of ingredients such as sandalwood, cedarwood, vetiver and patchouli. Due to the high cost of woody essential oils, modern perfumery uses a combination of natural and synthetic ingredients. 

A woody aroma is characterized by the strength and density of the woods that inspired them. They offer a dense range of olfactive experiences from the smokiness of vetiver to the  creamy hints of sandalwood, to the mossy and earthy nuances of patchouli.

As the weather gets colder, many of us turn to warmer woodier scents to reflect the change in season. It’s for this reason that some of the best Fall & Winter candles are rich in woody cedarwood and balsam. Depending on the ingredients being used, woody scents are also associated with the outdoors, masculinity, and luxury. It’s this aspect of woody fragrances that adds sophistication and elegance to the aroma of a private label luxury candle.

Woody fragrance family

In the classification of fragrances, the woody family is considered the backbone of fragrance creation. As discussed in the luxury fragrance oils for candles blog, the olfactive pyramid is a visual representation of the composition of a fragrance. At the bottom of the pyramid are the woody scents, which is referred to as base or dry-down notes. This is because the base notes have a higher evaporation point, which is due to their heavier molecular properties.

Relaxing candle scents

One common feature among the woody family is the calming and soothing effects of their essential oils. Some of the best relaxing candle scents are found within the woody family. The healing qualities of sandalwood and vetiver essential oils are used frequently in aromatherapy for the treatment of anxiety and stress. In addition to its anti-inflammatory properties, cedarwood oil is used often in cosmetics to help in the treatment of skin conditions. 

Woody scents have grown in popularity

Although classified into one family, woody fragrances don’t all smell the same way. In recent years, perfumers have started combining the likes of patchouli and vetiver with other families to create a whole new woody sub-category. The emergence of new woodsy scents has transformed the fragrance industry with iconic scent collections that are loved by both men and women. An example is Tom Ford’s best selling fragrances such as Black Orchid, Fucking Fabulous and Tobacco Woody.

Along with this, luxury candle brands have started designing scented candles with a woody base. With an endless range of possibilities, woody fragrances can be classified into 5 new sub-categories:

Woody fresh

Blending woody notes with fresh citrus notes like bergamot or grapefruit creates a light and energizing aroma. Top bright citrus notes contrast with the more powerful woody notes producing an unexpectedly fresh and alluring aroma.

Woody green

Earthy patchouli notes and vetiver are combined to create woody green fragrances. An olfactive experience designed to transport you to lush rainforests and soft floral beds.

Woody spicy

Adding a vibrant kick of pepper, nutmeg or clove creates a bright sparkle to a woody fragrance. Woody spicy notes of patchouli and cinnamon provides the delicious festive cheer to Christmas holiday candles.

Woody leather

Leather notes add a smoky, velvety and musky facet to woody fragrances. The result is a rich and sophisticated aroma that is applied in many luxury fragrance creations.

Woody floral

Blending masculine woody facets with florals creates a bold new genre of fragrances. Applied on a warm sandalwood base, orchid, rose or lavender evoke exotic, musky and flowery notes.

Choosing a woodsy fragrance for your private label candles

A signature scent reflects your brand identity. There are several factors that should be considered when deciding the fragrance notes of your private label candles. When a brand is familiar with fragrance classification, they can choose to adopt a specific woody sub-category as the central theme.

Sourcing the candle fragrance oils is an important aspect for a private label candle manufacturer. Not only are they responsible for sourcing quality ingredients, they must also ensure they are ethically sourced. The best woodsy candles were composed by perfumers who applied fragrance oils of the highest quality.

Woody candle fragrances that are combined with floral, fresh, and oriental families are truly distinctive. Below are the top 4 woody notes for private label candles.

Patchouli scent

What is patchouli?

Patchouli dates back to ancient times where early European traders valued it a precious material. The strong scent of patchouli oil has been used in perfumery as well as aromatherapy for the treatment of inflammation and skin conditions.

Patchouli is an aromatic green plant that grows in the hot and tropical climates of Southeast Asian countries like Indonesia, India and Philippines. When the plant leaves are mature, they are manually harvested and allowed to dry for days. They are then transported to a distillation plan for the extraction of the patchouli essential oil.

The scent of Patchouli is described as dense, warm, earthy, woody, with a subtle floral sweetness. The versatility of the patchouli scent is the reason why it’s the main facet in many woody scented candles.


Three of our favorite patchouli scented candles are:

A remarkably soft woody patchouli candle that is reminiscent of walking through the forest after a night of rain. 

An elegant and uplifting woody candle, with subtle herbal aromas.

Inspired by the native forest of Maurtius Island, this Patchouli scent is a woody mineral scent with top citrus grapefruit notes.

We recommend the following patchouli pairings for private label candles:

  • Tobacco and Patchouli Candle
  • Patchouli and Oud Candle
  • Vanilla and Patchouli Candle
  • Black Amber and Patchouli Candle
  • Patchouli and Musk Candle
  • Bergamot and Patchouli Candle
  • Berries and Patchouli Candle
  • Lavender and Patchouli Candle
  • Jasmine and Patchouli Candle
  • Rose and Patchouli Candle



Sandalwood has been highly coveted for thousands of years and is traced back to the time of ancient India and Egypt (3100 BC). It’s considered one of the most exclusive perfumery ingredients and is also popular in cosmetics and aromatherapy. The precious sandalwood oil comes from the Santalum tree, which grows in Southeastern Asian countries like India, China and Nepal. The tree can live up to 100 years and is now considered the second most expensive wood in the world.

Sandalwood oil is extracted when the wood shavings and roots are processed using steam distillation. With demand for sandalwood oil higher than ever, the price has increased, in particular the Indian variety which is now priced at $2,200/kg.

Like Patchouli, sandalwood essential oil has healing, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. It’s used in aromatherapy to treat stress and to help with relaxation. 


Sandalwood belongs to the woody family because of its distinctive woody notes that come from the bark and roots. The scent is immediately evocative, and can be described as warm, soft, sensual, milky and creamy. 


Three of our favorite sandalwood scented candles are:

A fragrant sandalwood that is warm, mellow, unisex and slightly spicy.

Slightly sweet vanilla notes are blended with leathery facets, amber and sandalwood. Evokes feelings of nostalgia and well-being.

We recommend the following Sandalwood pairings for private label candles:

  • Vanilla and Sandalwood Candle
  • Myrrh and Sandalwood Candle
  • Amber and Sandalwood Candle
  • Tobacco and Sandalwood Candle
  • Sandalwood and Oud Candle
  • Sage and Sandalwood Candle
  • Black Pepper and Sandalwood Candle
  • Bergamot and Sandalwood Candle
  • Sandalwood and Rose Candle
  • Jasmine and Sandalwood Candle
  • Cedar and Sandalwood Candle



Native to countries like India and Indonesia, vetiver is a perennial grass that’s like lemongrass and citronella. It has the unique ability to grow downward, creating a dangle of roots in the ground.  Even when the oil is extracted, the plant roots (where the oil is located) have an aromatic and pleasant smell. When the plant is 18-24 months old, the roots are harvested and put through steam distillation where the essential oil is collected.

Similar to Sandalwood, vetiver essential oil is a natural antioxidant and anti-bacterial agent. Its also referred to as the oil of tranquility as its aroma brings the a sense of inner calm.


Vetiver scent is described as woody, smoky, earthy, herbaceous and spicy. Because it has a relatively strong woody aroma, its used in countless men’s grooming products such as shaving cream, lotions and soap bars.


Two of our favorite vetiver scented candle:

A beautiful fresh vetiver with a combination of smoky, woody and earthy facets.

A fresh citrus scent of guava with soft woody notes of vetiver, amber and cardamom.

We recommend the following vetiver pairings for private label candles:

  • Vanilla and Vetiver Candle
  • Cardamom and Vetiver Candle
  • Vetiver and Oak Candle
  • Vetiver and Cedarwood Candle



There are several cedar tree varieties where the essential oil is derived from. Unlike other woody ingredients, the oil can be extracted from the entire tree – which includes the coniferous needles, leaves, bark, and berries! Cedar trees are available from Mediterranean counties such as Lebanon and Morocco, but its also present in the Himalayas where cedar is considered of high quality.

Extraction of the cedarwood oil is done using steam distillation. The oils have extensive applications in medicine, aromatherapy, and perfumery.


As its derived from evergreen coniferous tress, the smell of cedarwood is a polished woody sent, almost like the atmosphere of a sawmill. There can be balsamic undertones as well as certain sweetness to it, almost like honey. Some versions of cedarwood enjoy a more powerful animalistic and leathery scent.


As with most woody materials, cedar is dynamic base note because of its low evaporation point and its ability to match well with middle and top notes. It blends with the resinous aspect of patchouli, the milkiness of sandalwood and the smokiness of vetiver.


Two of our favorite cedarwood candles:

A deep blend of cedar, birchwood and Gaiac wood. Woody, intense with soft rose undertones.

Rich Tuscan leather with jasmine florals and cedar base notes. A woody, earthy and comforting aroma similar to a campfire in the woods.

We recommend the following cedarwood pairings for private label candles:

  • Tobacco and Cedarwood Candle
  • Cedarwood and Magnolia Candle
  • Lavender and Cedarwood Candle
  • Cinnamon and Cedarwood Candle
Cinnamon and Cedarwood Candle
  • Balsam and Cedar Candle
  • Sandalwood and Cedarwood Candle
  • Vetiver and Cedarwood Candle