Participating in the S.O.A.P. Panel was a lot of fun for me. It was interesting also to have a glimpse at some fragrances Bramble Berry is considering for their product line. The opportunity to have some influence over those decisions or at least report my experiences with the fragrances was also powerful, and I took it very seriously. I tested using a recipe that I didn’t expect would accelerate trace on its own. I used no colors so I could judge each fragrance’s effect on the soap’s color. I soaped at temperatures close to 100 degrees. I didn’t discount water. I gelled each soap so that I could see whether the fragrance would come through saponification, even if exposed to the higher temperatures of gelling. In short, I tried, as much as possible, to use testing conditions that would ensure the soaps I made were all the same, with the exception of the fragrance.
In the table below, I have listed the fragrances by number and linked them to their individual test blog posts. Then, I have ranked them from 1-8 in order of my own preferences (1 was my favorite, 8 was my least favorite). Finally, I have some thoughts and some recommendations for Bramble Berry, as well as any other soapers who might one day use the fragrances, should Bramble Berry sell them.
|Fragrance Number||My Rank||Recommendations|
|Scent 1||2||I didn’t care for this one out of the bottle as much as I liked it after soaping with it. It is nice and strong after a cure, too. I really like its fresh scent. I can’t figure out what the scent is, but it smells great, and I would totally buy this one. It smells green or blue to me, and I think it would be nice with a green, blue, and white swirl of some kind. I really hope BB decides to carry this one.|
|Scent 2||6||The only reason this fragrance ranks so low is that it completely disappeared in my CP soap. It might be great in other products, such as candles or lotion. I sort of hope that some of the other testers decided to use it in one of those types of products to see how it performs. It smelled great and behaved well, too. It’s just gone. Notice it’s not ranked #8 though! Even with no scent left!|
|Scent 3||1||This was my favorite mainly because I identified it as honeysuckle, which is one of my all-time favorite scents. I love the way honeysuckle smells in bloom, and I have used many honeysuckle fragrances in the past. This fragrance smells true and is strong, even after a cure. It would be beautiful with a white, cream, and yellow swirl to mimic the honeysuckle blooms. For a floral, it behaves well, too. I would most definitely buy this one, and I hope BB decides to carry it.|
|Scent 4||4||This one smells really good, and I would buy it. It is strong after a cure. I think it would go well with greens, yellows, and whites, as I think I detect a tart pear fragrance. It smells really good on its own, and I think it might blend well with other fragrances, too. I hope BB also carries this one. It was close between this one and the ones I ranked #2 and 3. I did like all of them.|
|Scent 5||7||This one smells like dirt or grass. It might be fun for a novelty soap for golfers or gardeners, but otherwise, I wouldn’t want to use it. Of course, I have never romanticized the smell of fresh cut grass the way some other folks do, so that is something to bear in mind. It would be great with a green colorant (I’m thinking a swirl of mostly chromium green oxide with a little bit of brown oxide and titanium dioxide woven through). It might be fun for some people, but I wouldn’t buy it unless a customer especially requested a grass fragrance.|
|Scent 6||8||I liked this one the least. It misbehaved a bit in soaping, and it doesn’t smell good to me, even after mellowing a bit in a cure. I can’t identify the scent, and I have no real recommendations for colorants to use as a result. I would recommend that BB not sell this one. I don’t think it would be terribly successful.|
|Scent 7||5||This one didn’t stand out in any strong way to me. It didn’t smell bad, but it didn’t wow me either. It’s a sort of fruity floral. My husband thinks he smells rose, but it smells more like carnation to me. I am not sure if I would buy it or not. I think it would go well with pinks, creams, or whites. I am on the fence about my recommendation. I hope to peek in and see what the other panelists think of this one. It smells pretty, but I liked many of the other fragrances better. However, I should note I am a sort of “fruity” fragrance person. My husband likes florals (for women) much better, and is more disposed to those scents. I think if you like florals, you’d probably like this one, and BB may find there is a good market for it.|
|Scent 8||3||This one smells great. I would totally recommend that BB carry it. I would definitely buy it. It does discolor, but not badly. I would recommend trying colors like blue, white, and a light brown together to create a sort of manly looking soap, as this fragrance smells masculine to me. I really liked this one almost as much as #1 and 2. It was a close contest.|
I hope this helps Bramble Berry and the soaping community. Please look for an update in a couple of weeks on how these soaps perform after a good cure (the last two were made too recently for me to tell). I will also include photos of each so you can see whether the soap has discolored or ashed. I did forget to spray #5 with alcohol, so it may have a disadvantage there.