Surprises of Scent

You order new scents, open the first bottle and take a big sniff. Oh, what a mistake! You hate it and cannot imagine why anyone would ever purchase it intentionally, much less create lotion, soap, candles or anything else with it. So, you stash the bottle, never intending to use it and choose the ones you like the smell of out of the bottle.

If you have experiences like these, whether with essential oils or fragrance oils, here are a few things you need to know to unlock the surprises of scent.

First of all, stop sticking your nose in the bottle and taking a deep sniff! It is unhygienic, overloads your scent receptors and is the most common reason makers reject scents they might otherwise like. Instead, take the cap off, hold it well away from your nose, and move it back and forth well under your nose, taking small sniffs along the way. Now, isn’t that better? Alternatively, pour a bit of a low-fragrance carrier oil in a small glass cup and add a couple of drops of the fragrance and mix. Smell it as deeply as you like. Either of these methods will give you a good introduction to the scent and avoid overload.

The second thing you need to know is that, the out of bottle (OOB) scent is not always an accurate predictor of how the fragrance will smell in products. If you stop at the initial sniff out of the bottle, you may miss out on a great scent. This is especially true where cold or hot process soap are concerned due to the processing and the base scent of the soap. Give the new fragrance a try in a small batch and then make your decision. Try it also, in tiny amounts in your entire line of products—an ounce of lotion, a small candle, whatever you make to get a true picture of how the scent will perform.

Finally, it is important to recognize that there is no accounting for individual response to scent. What smells like dirty socks to one smells like an earthy paradise to another. Your favorite spring flower fragrance is cloying and heady to someone else. Conversely, just because everyone else likes a fragrance does not mean you will.

If you do not like it after all that, at least you gave it a fair trial. Now, destash that fragrance or mix it with something else to make it delightful.