Friday, September 7, 2012

Finishing up S.O.A.P. fragrances

Last week I soaped the last two mystery fragrances for BB's S.O.A.P. team, numbers 9 and 10. They both behaved perfectly in cold process soap, but neither were favorites of mine. Number 9 I initially thought of as an old-school type cologne scent, with notes of vetiver and earthy scents, but I think I am picking up some evergreen in there also now that I have soaped it. I just can't get over the overwhelming buttery notes in number 10 though. I can't pick up on anything else at all. I am usually not a fan of those buttery notes that are usually present in dessert fragrances (which I have a feeling this is), so you might see me as being a little biased on that one, which I very well may be. Both turned out very strong at only 0.50 ounces PPO. 

You can see in the picture below that number 10 (on the right) is already pretty dark only one week into cure, so I definitely see it turning out a dark brown in the end. No discoloring from number 9 (on the left), that's just cocoa powder used as a colorant on the bottom. 

You might also remember that I created a poll for readers to vote on the second medium for me to use in testing the mystery fragrances. I ended up with an astounding 84 votes total, I was super pleasantly surprised! In the end, melt and pour soap and candles tied with 26 votes each. I'd planned to test in both because of the tie, but I ended up with some unforeseen family stuff and some out-of-state job-related stuff (which I will tell you all about soon!) and a Kindle addiction that really cut into my testing time the last week, so I decided to just go with candles since fragrances don't tend to change or alter melt and pour soaps that much anyway. 

I'll admit I was also wanting to try out some new candle waxes, so that might have influenced my decision slightly! For the testing, I used some small glass canning jars I picked up at Wal-Mart for seven bucks for a case of twelve.  Each candle came to around three ounces each, and I used a combination of soy and paraffin  waxes at 70% soy 30% paraffin with a bit of coconut oil and fragranced each of them at 10%. Previously I've made only 100% soy, and definitely noticed a pretty short burn time on those. I talked with another soaping friend who also makes candles a while back about a suggested wax blend, and this is similar to what she said she used for her candles. 

I ended up mixing the wax with the fragrances directly in their containers to save on clean-up (honestly I don't think I had 10 mixing cups or bowls anyway!), which kind of made wick placement a huge pain. Nothing a little extra propping with pens and skewers couldn't fix though! With the paraffin wax added, I really noticed a difference in a longer burn time. I was very happy with the combo.

I gave them all at least a 24 hour setup time before starting to burn them, and have been giving each one at least a 2-3 hour burn (if not all the way through) to be sure I was getting the best "throw" (I am still new at all of this candle terminology!), so I haven't had a chance to burn ALL TEN candles just yet. I am halfway through them though! Of course I started with number 4 because it has been my favorite fragrance throughout. And so far--hopefully I am not saying this from bias!--I've been the most pleased with it's scent throw both cold and hot. Of the others I've burned so far, both numbers 1 and 5 also have really good cold and hot throws. In my opinion, fragrance number 10 also seems to "fit" better as a candle fragrance than it did in cold process soap. It seems sweeter and not so in-my-face buttery.  And number 6 is still putting off that coconuty suntan lotion aroma. 

Today was the deadline for submitting my survey back to Bramble Berry, so I did get that sent in yesterday without all of my candle testing results on it. I'll still keep you posted as I burn them though. 

In the end my favorite mystery fragrances (and the impressions I got from them), in order, were:

#4 -- fruity, creamy, sweet, sugary. Strong in CP with a creamy dark tan discoloring. Good cold and        hot throw in my candle testing.

#7 -- apple apple apple! Juicy and sweet, faded slightly in CP, with slight acceleration but no discoloring. So far, not a strong cold throw in candles but haven't burned yet.

#1 -- warm and sugary, vanilla and powdery musk. Lovely in CP, discolored at medium to dark brown. Good cold and hot throw in my candle testing.

#5 -- fresh, masculine, possibly even a little floral? Moderate acceleration, no discoloring, strong scent in CP. Good cold and hot throw in my candle testing.

#8 -- citrus, lemon, lime, some herb background notes.  No acceleration or discoloring, background herby notes seem to have faded in CP.  So far, not a strong cold throw in candles but haven't burned yet.

All in all, being a part of the S.O.A.P. team was a great honor and a lot of fun! I really enjoyed trying to guess at notes in each fragrance and building a color scheme around the impressions I got. (I will admit that I still remain stumped on fragrance number 2 though!) So if you've ever considered applying but held back out of fear or doubt, I definitely recommend giving it a go next season! It took me two seasons-worth of attempts to make the team, and I am so glad that I didn't let my own self-consciousness or any feelings of rejection hold me back from applying again. I am tickled pink that I was able to connect with so many awesome Bramble Berry customers and staff through this experience.

As always-- now more than ever-- thanks so much for reading!!


  1. Thank you so much for volunteering, Laura! It has been so much fun to read your experiences with the S.O.A.P. team and I am so excited to reveal what the fragrances are. :)

  2. Laura! These look great! I've never made candles, but it looks like fun! I can't wait until the fragrances are released so I can experience them, too! I'm so glad they picked you, you really took this opportunity and ran with it!

    Great job!
    ((big hugs))

  3. Loved the update! My own experiences with candlemaking have not gone so well, so I'm glad to see you having success. I'm anxious for the S.O.A.P reveal. Even without smelling them myself, number 10 intrigues me--I love butter!

  4. Thanks Anne-Marie and Nikki!

    Amy, I am still learning about candles and do run into issues like dimples and things like that, but I'm catching on slowly but surely! I never would have started on candles if I didn't love some of the FOs I have so much that I wanted to smell them all the time haha!

    I'll probably do a give-away of some of the little soaps, so stay tuned!

  5. Love reading about your S.O.A.P. adventures! I voted for MP, but I think testing in candles makes more sense too. I'm super curious to see what the fragrances turn out to be! I love dessert and buttery scents, so I have to admit that #10 sounds intriguing to me :)

  6. Thanks for the updates, Laura! Sounds like being on the S.O.A.P. panel was fun. I love candles, but I've never tried to make any. I should probably give candles a try because I'm always buying them and they can get expensive. I'm looking forward to BB's big reveal of the mystery fragrances! I wonder how close we came to correctly identifying them ...