How to Choose Fragrances

How to Choose Fragrances

At the farmer's market, the first thing any customer does is scoop up a bar of soap and take a sniff. Fragrance is a huge part of the soap experience, even in un-fragranced soap (people who love Unscented and Honey Oatmeal, our two un-fragranced soaps, report they have a lovely "clean" scent). But how on earth do you choose a soap scent when you're shopping online? We share your frustration - you're trying to figure out the fragrance and we're trying to describe fragrances in a way you can interpret without smell-o-vision!

So, how can we get a sense for a scent just from reading a description? Fragrance notes. You don't have to be professional perfumer to understand the language of fragrance. "Notes" can be fruity, floral, spicy, musky, woody, or fresh. We describe our soap scents using the following basic structure:

Top notes: these are the notes you smell first, and they'll be the first to fade.

Middle notes or heart notes: the notes you smell next are the middle or heart notes - they make up about 70% of what you smell, and are the "main" part of the fragrance. 

Base notes: you'll detect these notes last, and they boost the lighter notes while also anchoring the fragrance. These notes last the longest and lend body to the overall impression.

In each soap description, the fragrance notes are broken down in this way. It may help to notice the fragrance structure of some soap or perfume you're already familiar with and enjoy. Do you love floral notes? Woody notes? Fresh? Spicy?

My favorite perfume, since I was a teenager, is Sunflowers by Elizabeth Arden. If you're familiar with this perfume, the breakdown looks like this:

Top: bergamot, lemon, mandarin, melon, peach, osmanthus, orange blossom, rosewood

Middle: jasmine, cyclamen, lily of the valley, rose, orris

Base: sandalwood, cedar, musk, amber, moss

Our "Summer Sunflower" goat milk soap offers a very similar set of fragrance notes. 

Google your favorite fragrances and see what fragrance notes you love best. Once you begin exploring how fragrances work, you'll open up a whole world of olfactory bliss.


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