Finding Your Scent: What Does Sage Smell Like?

sage plant isolated on white

Source: Igor Dutina/

Sage has several uses, from creating a savory dish for Thanksgiving meals to banishing bad vibes. But just what does sage smell like? Homesick explores this wonderful, versatile herb and scent. Plus, we offer a few Homesick candles with sage notes and similar aromas.  

What Does Sage Smell Like?

There are many variations of sage. But ultimately, sage as a whole offers an earthy aroma with an herbaceous scent. Sometimes crisp and often with strong green notes and pairings, sage can come across strong to someone who has never smelled it before. However, once you get used to this earthy aroma, sage will soon become one of your favorite scents. Not to mention, it offers numerous benefits. 

What Is Sage?

incense of salvia burning

Source: JurateBuiviene/

Grown throughout the world, sage is a two- to three-foot-tall bushy plant with rough leaves. It’s these coarse leaves that we collect to use as herbs for dishes and oils for beauty products and lotions. Some cultures and rituals even call for burning a bundle of white sage to ward off evil spirits and invite in good luck. However, sage is also used in products like candles. 

Since sage is grown throughout the world, as you might imagine, it comes in all sorts of species and varieties. While they all feature green leaves, they produce beautiful flowers of many different colors by mid-summer, from purple and pink to blue and white. 

While there are over 900 different sage bush variations, we will break down a few of the common types and explore the subtle scents of each. Many other sages are used for cooking and medicinal purposes, such as purple sage and golden sage. However, we’re going to list sages that are mainly used for their aromas. 

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White Sage

White sage is used in many delicious dishes for a savory treat. However, white sage also has its purpose in creating scents, too. Used as a mood booster to help relax and even improve memory loss, white sage is often found in aromatherapy products, including candles, oils and more.  

Burning white sage is another method that’s often used. Dry white sage leaves are ground up and smoked or even turned into incense. Herbaceous like other sage aromas, white sage is also bright and cleansing, pairing well with other herbs like lemongrass, lavender and florals.  

Clary Sage

While sage typically offers an earthy aroma, clary sage provides a sweeter musk-like scent to the herbiness. Sometimes a bit intense on the nose, clary sage has been known to smell like dirty socks and sweat, especially when not paired and balanced out. However, clary sage also offers a tranquil, calming scent that can help you unwind.

There is one significant advantage that clary sage offers that other sage bushes lack. Clary sage offers some medicinal solutions, helping to fight infections, reduce dandruff and hair loss, and minimize anxiety and soothe muscles and pain. Using the clary sage’s gooey sclareol substance that it emits and turning it into an oil form, it’s used for eye health and even offers antibacterial properties.

However, above all, clary sage lasts quite a long time and is used to carry a fragrance farther. This is why it’s often used for candles and aromatic products like soaps, cosmetics and dryer sheets.

Bergamot Sage

Bergamot sage is often used in all-natural items like candles, shampoos and other beauty and body products. With a slightly sweeter fragrance than most sages, bergamot also helps decrease anxiety and stress. But it’s also used in beauty products to help maintain clear skin and relax muscles in physical therapy. 

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Sage-Scented Homesick Candles

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If sage sounds like a scent you would enjoy, explore this collection of Homesick candles with notes of sage and similar sage-inspired fragrances. 

Thank You, Mom Candle

Herbaceous scents come through in the Thank You, Mom candle, lovingly made for mothers everywhere. With top notes of bergamot, lavender and sage combined with subtle undertones of musk and floral mid-notes of jasmine and ylang-ylang, this candle offers a loving gesture to the one who raised you. So what does jasmine smell like? Learn for yourself and explore this delightful fragrance, too.

Champagne Toast Candle

Like lighting a smudge stick of sage, the Champagne Toast candle is a wonderful scent to celebrate with, banishing away bad vibes and inviting new beginnings. Notes of mandarin and grapefruit, paired with apple, bring out this champagne grape-inspired candle. 

The Book Club Candle

If you love to curl up with a good book on a rainy day, be sure to grab our book-scented candle. With warm notes of nutmeg and amber paired with sandalwood and balsam, this candle will transport you to your favorite library stacks.