Candles & Incense

Candles & Incense industryIn the Candle industry, Chandlers (candle-makers) traditionally used tallow (animal fat) or spermaceti (sperm whale oil) to manufacture candles as a cheaper alternative to Beeswax, although the former produced more smoke and an unpleasant odour. Modern candles are mainly manufactured using Paraffin wax or sometimes Microcrystalline wax, which are both produced through the petroleum refining process. However, Beeswax is still used today in the production of environmentally friendly candles and for ceremonial purposes in churches. Candles can also be constructed using natural plant waxes, such as Carnauba wax and Candelilla wax. Ozokerite paraffin is mostly employed in the manufacture of candles used in hot climates because of its relatively high melting point.

Historically, candles were used for lighting but today are mainly utilised for decoration and ambiance, romantic mood lighting and ceremonial or religious occasions. Demand has also grown for scented candles as an air freshener and mood enhancer following the use of essential oils in aromatherapy. Similarly, incense is burnt in aromatherapy sessions and religious ceremonies, during meditation, or to release a pleasant scent and mask bad odours. It is also used for spiritual purification or mystical  cleansing purposes, and is sometimes employed as a fumigant to repel insects. Direct burning(combustible) incense is commonly sold in the form of cones or joss sticks, while indirect burning (non-combustible) incense is burned on top of a heat source such as coal embers or is granulated to form a powder or paste. 

Two of the best known aromatic resins used as incense are Frankincense (Olibanum) and Myrrh due to their religious associations with the Christian nativity, but others include Benzoin and Opoponax. In addition, Gums such as Tragacanth or Gum Arabic are used to bind the mixture of fuel and oxidiser within the incense, sustaining its ability to burn and release the fragrant materials or essential oils in its smoke.

A.F. Suter is a leading UK supplier, retailer, wholesaler, distributor, importer and exporter of high quality Shellac, Waxes, Natural Gums, Resins, Menthol Crystals and Zein.

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