Handmade Soap · Reviews

Fragrance Oil Review Part 1

Ok so my first review on FOs are a bunch I’ve picked at random but have a lot to say about.  I thought I could structure it by doing all the fruity ones I’ve used first then the floral ones etc.  But that’s not how I like to blog.  Just wouldn’t flow as well from me like that.  Funny, as I always need structure in work and life though, but apparently not when writing.

The first FO is Coconut (Allergen Free) from Soap Kitchen.  This smells nothing like coconut.  I know scent can be interpretive and ‘reminscent of’ but this is nothing like coconut and coconut is a very obvious scent.  I had a sample size from Freshskin once and their coconut FO was much more coconutty.  This was more like a sweet buttercream scent and indeed smells a lot like their Buttercream FO but a slightly more toned down version.  I’ve decided to purchase the Freshskin version in future if I want something that smells much more like coconut than sweets.  The Soap Kitchen version will just have to round out some blends which need sweet notes in their accord – not a bad smell but just not coconut. Edit 27/09/17 – after soaping with this there is a change after saponification and there is a hint of a stronger coconut scent.  It’s still not comparable to the Freshskin one which is proper coconut but not as buttercream as I originally thought sniffing from the bottle.

Blueberry & Fig from Soap Kitchen is one of my current favourites.  It’s strong and a little goes a long way, especially in blends as it has the power to dominate the blend if you’re not careful.  But the scent is lovely, fruity and reminscent of blueberries, plummy figs and just a slight bubblegum.  I really enjoy working with it too and I haven’t had any problems with acceleration.

Tabac Vanille from Gracefruit was a scent I fell in love with from the bottle.  This is my kind of scent – a slightly sweet, smoky, leafy scent.  I had been wanting to use it for ages in a soap titled Tobacco Vanilla coloured in shades of cocoa brown and dark brown (made from a mixture of charcoal and cocoa powder mixed).  But when it came to soaping with it this accelerated my soap very badly.  Probably the worst case I had experienced – it was literally soap on a stick and it ruined my fantastic stick blender which had til that point served me so very well for years.  I was sad about my stick blender but very disappointed with the scent as it had mentioned on the retailers website ‘acceleration: none’.  Not true.  I used this in a very reliable soap recipe that hadn’t accelerated on me before.  I was using a slight water discount but again nothing that had caused any other FOs to accelerate.  And the extreme to which this FO seized indicates that this description of it is highly inaccurate.  I mean I had no chance on even moving my stick blender – it basically damaged by stick blender trying to get it out of the seized up soap, it had solidified so fast.  And compared to other problematic FOs which also accelerate soap batter none have moved to solidification on me so fast.  Such a shame as I really like this fragrance, probably more than I like any other stand alone FO.  For that reason, I would still purchase it but only for use in hot process.

Strawberry FO from Soap Kitchen was another one that disappointed.  It was again a loosely interpretive scent.  It’s actually a nice scent but nothing like strawberries.  More like a generic fruity scent with a hint of strawberry somewhere in the background.  At best it can be called a perfumey type strawberry.  The reason why I was disappointed at the time (because, don’t get me wrong, it is a nice FO) is because I had just used a Strawberry FO from Freshskin which was actually very much like a strawberry – it nailed that juicy red berry sweetness and was quite accurate for a FO – and at this point I hadn’t realisd that not all retailers sourced their FOs from the same place so a Strawberry FO from one retailer might smell vastly different to another retailers Strawberry FO. I think this is why I was so surprised with the Coconut FO from Soap Kitchen too because I was comparing it to Freshskins Coconut FO which smelt much more accurate.  Lesson learnt.  But at the same time you still won’t know how the FO smells until you purchase it so always purchase the sample even if you think no one can go wrong with scents as obvious as Strawberry or Coconut.  One comment on Freshskins Strawberry FO was that it did accelerate the soap which meant I had to move very fast with it but it was workable though and I did manage to get some nice swirls in.

Green Moss & Ferns from Soap Kitchen to me is a pretty awesome green herbal scent.  A green note like galbanum dominates, with a woody background and something soft like lavender rounding it out delicately.  It gives a very outdoorsy, leafy, green (I keep using that word for a reason) feel – like being out on damp moors.  Very fresh and invigorating, I use this in blends to give a herbal green note but would also use it as a stand alone scent for a herbal-woodsy themed soap.

So that’s my first round of FOs done.  I hope these posts will be helpful to some extent to those out there wishing to purchase FOs.  I will continue to go through my collection and put up posts for about 4-5 each time.  I’m trying to give enough info about each without dwelling too long on any one.  Please keep in mind that these posts are my opinions on the scents and not on the retailers themselves.  I have always had great service from all the retailers mentioned and have used them numerous times.


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