Back in August I was contacted by Blossom Oils and asked whether I would be interested in testing some of their fragrance oils in return for feedback. I didn’t need to think about it for long – I don’t often get the opportunity to experiment and play with fragrances these days. There are a few reasons for this. Firstly, I have a core range of fragrances which I have to keep in stock for my wholesale customers – it would be way too confusing and time consuming to keep switching out fragrances. Secondly, fragrance oils are expensive, and especially so when buying in small quantities to trial. I bulk-buy my fragrance oils for the core range to keep costs to a minimum. Thirdly, there’s always a risk involved in trying a new fragrance oil – it might accelerate trace (soap on a stick anyone?), it might discolour, and there’s always the chance that you just might not like the smell. Years ago I bought a dupe of Lush’s Karma fragrance and OMG it was vile. Horrible. I can still remember it. I really wish I couldn’t….
Anyway, I digress. I happily accepted their kind offer, and received eight, EIGHT!!! samples of fragrance oils in the post very soon after:
Oooh the joys of new fragrances to sniff. Anyone else an inveterate sniffer? I can’t help myself. Shampoos, perfumes, and of course, fragrance oils. I was in scenty heaven. Here’s what I was sent, in alphabetical order:
- Amaretto Nog
- FBomb (Similar to Flower Bomb perfume)
- Opulence (Similar to Decadence perfume)
- Sea Breeze & Mint (Similar to a men’s shower gel)
- Warm Mulberry
- Wild Berries
I had cheekily asked whether one of the samples could be FBomb as Flower Bomb is one of my favourite perfumes, and I also suggested that they include a Christmas fragrance or two. Unfortunately their Christmas fragrances weren’t yet available, but they did send the Amaretto and Mulberry as options that could be considered ‘wintery’.
So. First thoughts, sniffing from the bottle:
- The Amaretto was LOVELY, but then I do like a little glass of Amaretto over ice at Christmas. Almondy and sweet, I really liked it.
- Dove. I’ll be honest, I thought this was a strange one to have included in the eight. I can’t bear Dove ‘so-called soap’. (It’s not soap, it’s a beauty bar, because they’re not allowed to call it soap. Rant over). So anyway, the last thing I would choose to put into my soap is something that would make it smell like Dove. But in the interests of fairness and honesty, I’ll treat it like any other FO, and it DOES smell like Dove.
- FBomb. This definitely reminded me of the perfume straight out of the bottle. So far so good.
- Lavender. I usually use lavender essential oil for my lavender soap, and I found this fragrance to be slightly more ‘powdery’ and slightly sweeter than the EO.
- Opulence. This smells really good out of the bottle. I’m not familiar with the original perfume, but this was lovely, a nice blend of floral and spice.
- Sea Breeze and Mint. Again, I’m not familiar with the inspiration for this one, but it’s a nice unisex fragrance, and the mint definitely came through without taking over.
- Warm Mulberry Definitely warm, definitely fruity, a real winter scent.
- Wild Berries. Another fruity fragrance, but ‘clearer’ than the previous one, juicy, sweet and berry-like.
Every single one was good out of the bottle. Even the Dove, which I would never choose to use, did in all fairness, smell of Dove.
So I made some soap. I made a single batch of my regular recipe, with full water, because I wanted all the fragrances to be tested under exactly the same conditions, so it made sense to make all the testers out of the same base batch.
I added my chosen colourant to eight different containers, brought my batter just to emulsification, and then split it between the eight containers:
I gave them all a quick stir manually, then added 3% fragrance oil to the first jug. I gave it a thorough stir, made sure it was traced, then poured it into the mould. I did exactly the same with the other seven fragrances.
The testers are the ones with letters above them, just in case I forgot which was which. Ignore the bottom four on the right hand side, they’re leftovers…
The Sea Breeze & Mint (blue one above) caused some acceleration, but not too much, and the Lavender (lavender one above) caused slight acceleration. That surprised me somewhat as, although florals are known to cause acceleration, if anything I find that Lavender essential oil inhibits trace. But it really was only slight acceleration. None of the other FO’s caused noticeable acceleration, which was pretty impressive.
They were unmoulded after 36 hours, and this photo was taken a couple of weeks later:
It was around this time that I realised that I’d made a mistake by using colourants as it’s much harder to tell what discolouration is going on if the soap is already coloured. Regardless, it seems to me that only one of the fragrances caused any discolouration at all, and that was the Amaretto Nog. To be fair, the fragrance description is “A creamy blend of almond and vanilla” and any fragrance containing vanilla is guaranteed to cause discolouration, so it was only to be expected.
So the big question. How do they smell after a few weeks cure time? Here’s my thoughts:
- Amaretto Nog. This smells lovely, but it no longer smells, to me at least, of amaretto. The almond aspect seems to have faded but it’s still a warm fragrance with vanilla notes and I would definitely use it again.
- Dove. This smells exactly how I remember Dove smelling! A strong, fresh soapy smell which will please any Dove lover.
- FBomb. This still reminds me of the designer fragrance on which it’s based. It’s not identical (which would be pretty impossible anyway) but similar enough to be recognisable I think. I’m looking forward to using my tester in the shower! Interestingly this was my husband’s favourite (in blind testing)
- Lavender. Oddly this no longer smells of lavender at all to me. It’s a floraly fragrance, less powdery than it was out of the bottle, but definitely not lavender. I asked a couple of other people what they thought it smelled like, and nobody got lavender.
- Opulence. I’m not familiar with the perfume on which this is based, but I did like this one. It’s quite a complex fruity/floral fragrance with notes of something more spicy too.
- Sea Breeze and Mint. This is a more masculine fragrance, with definite sea-side / ozone-y overtones. I don’t get much mint, but I’m not familiar with the original shower gel so perhaps it’s exactly how it should be. To me it smells a bit synthetic – not one of my favourites.
- Warm Mulberry. I was surprised to discover that this is probably my favourite of the lot. It’s not one I would have necessarily chosen from the description (fruits with vanilla) but it’s delicious. It is fruity, but it has a warmth and a depth to it which is hard to describe. I used a fairly dark colour for this one, so didn’t notice any discolouration, but it might discolour in a white/light coloured bar.
- Wild Berries. Last, but definitely not least, comes Wild Berries. This was my husband’s second favourite after FBomb, and I really like it too. It’s a juicy, fruity uncomplicated fragrance, and would make a really nice smelling bar of soap.
Out of the eight there are at least four that I would definitely consider buying when I need a new fragrance for my range, and another two that I like but probably wouldn’t get round to purchasing. There were only two that I wasn’t particularly keen on, which I think is a pretty good percentage given that everyone’s tastes are different and it was the luck of the draw what I received.
I’d like to say thank you to Blossom Oils for giving me the opportunity to sample some of their fragrances. I would definitely recommend them to anyone looking to try some new and different fragrance oils. Their website is easy to navigate, and provides you with all of the technical data required (MSDS, IFRA certs and allergen declarations) if you sell your products. Oh, and they’re suitable for candles / wax melts too!