An Anatomy Lesson

How many parts of a candle can you name? I’ve been asking that question of random people for the last few days. Most of them name the wick and then dry up. The delivery man looked at me with a blankness that was tinged with suspicion, but if you’re a candle connoisseur you can probably already describe a melt pool or a scent throw.

Annotated drawing of a candle

the naming of the parts

Clockwise from the top:

  • Scent throw:  The fragrance emitted by a candle. It includes the strength of the fragrance and the effectiveness with which the candle ‘throws’ the scent around a room. Natural fragrances are as strong as synthetic ones when the candle is under your nose, but are less likely to make it down the corridor.  A ‘cold throw’ is how the fragrance is described when the candle isn’t lit and a ‘hot throw’ is what it emits when it’s… hot.
  • Hang-up: Part of the wax that’s sticking up and hasn’t melted. More commonly used when wax is left stuck to the sides of container candles.
  • Wick:  This is the one everyone knows (except possibly the delivery man). Usually cotton, paper or wood.
  • Gutter:  A ridge caused by wax running down the side of a candle.
  • Jump lines:  Small horizontal lines on a candle, also known as “skip lines”. Caused by pouring cooling wax into a cold mould so that the wax starts to set during the pour.
  • Core:  The central section of a candle. Factory-made candles often have a core made from a different kind of wax to the rest of the candle (but dyed to look the same).  Some ‘soy’ candles have a mineral (paraffin) core because mineral wax burns more easily and is easier to wick.
  • Bloom: Uneven surface caused when oils in beeswax migrate to the surface and crystallise there. This also happens with soy wax, though crystals on soy are more commonly referred to as ‘frosting’. Either can be removed by wiping with a soft cloth. Neither are to be confused with a deliberate rustic look caused by a candle maker cold pouring.
  • Melt Pool:  the puddle of liquid wax that is drawn up the wick as the candle burns.

So, how did you do?