Essential oils and fragrance blends
|I can always use more bottles and jar. Although I probably|
need a bigger house soon.
Last year I made many soaps and usually a different recipe each time. I have learned a lot from that and have formed what I would call an intuitive sense of what combination of oils and fats I like in soaps. All that means is that I couldn't write down "the perfect soap recipe", but would have no problem to put together a recipe that I really, really like at a particular moment. My preferences still change a bit from day to day. One thing that I feel I still have to do is a series of single oil experiments. I have read the results of other's experiments (in particular Helen at Strenua Inertia blog), but feel that there is nothing that replaces hands on experience. I have even started to think about doing a series of two oil combinations and three... Somehow I get a feeling that things could get a bit difficult quite quickly.
But one thing I am certain of and that is that this year will be devoted to colour and scent trials. I want to start to blend EO's to get some more sophisticated scents. I have been reading about scents and I have a few ideas of my own, that probably are a bit crazy since I haven't seen them anywhere else, but that only means that I simply have to try them out.
I did find an interesting website about EO blends. It's a company called Rainbow Meadow and they have a section where it is possible to tick individual EO's and get suggestions of blends. They even give ratio's and have a calculator to give amounts according to soap batch size. It's fun and I thank whoever did that. Another blending guide is at About.com where cotton swabs are put in a jar. Another even more economical way is to use toothpicks. This way if the recipe is for 2 drops of one oil you dip two cotton swabs/toothpicks in the oil and put in a jar or plastic bag, three drops = three swabs/toothpicks. Then you close the jar and sniff it a bit later. Very simple and clever.
Fragrances are frequently classified into top, middle and base notes. The top notes being the smallest molecules, the ones that are most volatile, reach the nose first and last for the shortest time. Citrus is typical of these. The base notes are the heavy scents like sandalwood, vetiver and oak moss. And the middle notes are in between the two and serve to marry the scents together. I read somewhere that it makes sense to always start with the base note when blending oils. I am going to follow that advise since I've read in several places that the order that the fragrances are mixed matters to the outcome. The proportion of base, middle and top notes also matters. The base note needs to be about 55% in order for the fragrance to last. The middle notes should be around 20% and the top note 25%. So in numbers of drops, that would be 11 of base, 4 of middle and 5 of top. Obviously each note can be made of different fragrances and most commercial perfumes are very complex blends of a lot of ingredients. Very few are made of natural flower essences or absolutes, but two that I know of are Joy and Chanel no. 5. I love the former and am starting to like the latter. But of course this is about perfumes and those rules may not necessarily apply to soap fragrances, but it's good to have a starting point. Now all I need to do is to classify my EO's into base, middle and top and start blending.