Customers who have recently purchased items from Yankee Candle, on Amazon, now overwhelm the site with negative reviews: They claim the candles have little or no scent.
One review, from December 20th, for the Balsam and Cedar scent, reads, “I’ve bought this candle before, and the fragrance would fill the room. This one barely has a scent. Boo.”
Another review from December 19 reads, “No scent whatsoever unless you face-plant into the glass vessel. Burned it for eight hours, and ta-da, NO fragrance.”
But, the candles may not be the problem—it’s possible the customers lost their sense of smell, a condition called anosmia, which is one of the defining symptoms of COVID.
Nick Beauchamp is an assistant professor of political science at Northeastern University. Beauchamp has charted the complaints, for the top three Yankee Candles on Amazon. He tracked when the negative reviews began, and how much those complaints increased, weekly.
His graph shows a sharp spike around December, just as the Omicron variant led to a new wave of COVID cases in the US.
And a similar analysis, done last winter, showed reviews of the top scented candles on Amazon dropped about one full star between January 2020 and November 2020.
Still, both researchers say that, while this data seems like evidence of a COVID surge, it shouldn’t be treated like a scientific study.