Lilac: A Year Long Journey
A year ago we made the commitment to release a new permanent fragrance, and that fragrance was going to be Lilac. Bursting with confidence and creativity (or in hindsight, complete and utter hubris), we moved forward with ordering the oils and the packaging.
At this time we also committed to start making limited edition small batch seasonal fragrances every quarter. This was the perfect opportunity to start dipping our toes into releasing new products. The lilac oils we just purchased would debut as the single note scent for our Spring 2021 limited edition incense.
The feedback was mixed.
It was definitely lilac, but many (including us) felt it was a bit soapy. Some said it smelled a little old, as in a perfume preferred by our grandmothers. Perhaps the most interesting piece of feedback we received was that it made for excellent squirrel repellent when placed in the garden.
Was it an insult? Was it a compliment? Was it a potential new business venture? Either way, we appreciated that the reviewer was able to repurpose the product, even if not used as originally intended.
Spring 2021 soon became summer, and we released a new seasonal, this time a blend of vetiver, cypress and sweetgrass that we tinkered with for some time before we were satisfied. The feedback was much more positive. We also had a lot of fun creating a blend, and so we made unique blends for Autumn and Winter 2021, and Spring 2022.
Since last spring we have not only learned a great deal about fragrance blend development, but we have also watched the costs of all our materials increase substantially. We still had those untouched lilac packages and the fragrance oil. Either we just let it all go to waste (never), or like the individual who used the Lilac incense to repel squirrels, maybe we needed to repurpose it, use it in a way we had not originally intended.
We decided to blend it.
Lilac needed to be the dominant note, but could we make it smell more like on the branch fresh lilacs? We pondered the scent qualities - there was a distinct sweetness, and a fresh, green earthiness. Our previous experiments taught us that Vetiver, a distinct earthy fragrant grass, played really well with others. Vanilla, the universal fragrance and flavouring, was added to soften and sweeten the blend.
Developing new fragrances has taught us a lot and we still have much to learn. What seems so dominant in the oil state can be surprisingly subtle in the burning state. Combinations that we think will smell amazing have turned out to be terrible, and the same goes for combinations we assume will not work but ultimately do.
As costs continue to increase, it is becoming difficult for us to purchase small amounts of fragrance oils that we can experiment with. We are going to have to take some chances and make some larger purchases, and just keep trying until we find the sweet spot. We know we will end up using oils in ways we did not originally intend and we are looking forward to the journey.
Kayte & Kristi