Despite selling 132 types of candles and candle gift sets, for many people, Anthropologie has become synonymous with a single scent: the Capri Blue Volcano. It’s been sold in stores since 2001, and in shops where you can legally light candles, it is often employees’ go-to fragrance, prompting shoppers to refer to it as “the Anthro scent.”

And since 2004, Google searches for the candle have only climbed (and peaked around April 2020), when we were all looking for comfort during quarantine. So, as Anthropologie celebrates 20 years of carrying the scent, we had to ask: What makes this fragrance so magical, and why, after all these years, has it only grown more popular?

Honestly, it comes down to a variety of factors. “I think it was this zeitgeist of a beautiful vessel, a really great scent and it becoming a signature part of the environment here,” says Catherine Moellering, the brand’s general merchandising manager of Beauty, Gifts and Entertaining.

Indeed, the company offers the Volcano scent in 36 ways to suit a variety of aesthetics and needs—from mercury glass to matte black jars, room sprays to multi-surface cleaner. There’s even a 130-ounce Colossal version boasting five wicks and a 250-hour burn time. “I’ve had moments where I’m like, ‘Should we just make a coffee table [out of it]?’” Moellering jokes.

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Top to bottom: Capri Blue Volcano, in 19 oz. to 130 oz. sizes
Anthropologie

Capri Blue Colossal Mercury Glass Candle, $178

The Scent Surprises People

Clearly, people can’t get enough of it—even if most are surprised to learn what it actually smells like, which is: “Tropical fruits, sugared oranges, lemons and limes, redolent with lightly exotic mountain greens,” according to its official description. “I don’t think people associate it with being a citrus scent, but that truly is what it is,” Moellering says.

That’s the thing—it smells sweeter and softer than the typical bright, tart scent people often associate with lemons, limes and oranges, likely due to the additional tropical notes.

“Can someone please tell me what Capri Blue puts in their Volcano candle? Because it smells like all the love I’ve ever felt in my life,” TikTokker ItsRiverSweetie recently mused. Given how closely scent is tied to memory, it’s not too surprising that people gravitate to it not for its specific notes but for the feeling it evokes.

anthro capri blue volcano candle
Anthropologie

It’s Not Just a Scent; It’s a Whole *Mood*

“When I mention that I work at Anthropologie, so many people tell me, ‘Oh my god, I just want to live in your store,’” Moellering says. “I think people want to bring that whole ambiance home and they’re not totally sure how, because it’s this literal and figural potpourri of different elements—from our window displays to the music to certainly, our scent—so my pet theory is that some of what’s happening now is that [the customer] is like, ‘OK, I’m going to buy this candle so my home smells like Anthropologie.’” It’s a sign the brand has superseded the physical storefront, becoming a lifestyle for fans.

After seeing increased interest in scents during the pandemic, the company is pushing to expand shoppers’ palates. Their latest foray? Fig, a scent set to launch this August (you heard it here first, people!), that Anthropologie is betting will become the fall fragrance of choice for Volcano devotees. Their goal was to strike a balance between the sweetness and greenness of the fruit, as woodsy scents become increasingly popular across the board.

Until its official launch, you can savor the lazy days of summer with Volcano, in just about any way you can imagine.

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