FO Winners & Losers

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Skylantern

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I'm testing FOs from a batch of tarts I made over the holiday and have come across some absolute gems. Our extended families prefer wax melts to wicked candles so these are what have come out as good performers for me, but as always YMMV. I'll update as I continue to test.

I hope this helps others explore some new fragrances or take a chance on a scent they've passed up. Please feel free to add your own, I'd love to get a conversation going about your own experiences.

Some details:
My current blend is 70 : 30 parasoy using IGI 4625 : GW 464 with no additives other than what is already in each blended wax. I typically add vybar and stearic acid for straight waxes but they've already done that for me. I think this batch of wax came from Flaming Candle and is about a year old. I add FO at 180 degrees and stir for 2 minutes.​
I used 1 oz FO to 10 oz of wax because that seems to be the sweet spot from the testers. I've done 6% but reviews came back from test batches saying that they could tell the difference between the 6% and the 10% but could not tell between 10% and 12%. I also felt better about 10% because there is less of a risk of seepage.​
I'm going to check at what temperatures my electric melter runs at. I read that melter temps, as well nearby intake vents, overhead fans, and room size all affect your scent throw. I'm currently melting in two average sized bedrooms, fans off, away from vents. I do not expect these to fill a large room in the same way a 3 wick candle would but you should get noticable throw in a bedroom.​
Winners:
MMS Coconut Lemongrass. This surprised me, I didn't expect to love it as much as I do. It's a tangy gourmand and was universally loved.

NG Dragon's Blood. This one spoke to my witchy little heart but it's not a universal love. You have to really like the incense note but it's a fabulous performer in wax and would be a great Halloween scent.

NG Wild Currant Sandalwood. This is such a beautiful scent. It's sweet but not cloyingly so, it has a nice depth to it that makes it stand out from the other berry fragrances.

NG China Rain. This smells EXACTLY like the 90s incense that I loved so much. Exactly. Like. It. The Sweetcakes version was not even close. This is an exact dupe according to my childhood memories.

NG Pink Sugar. I'm what you could call a late blooming girly girl. I can barely be bothered to shave my legs or put on makeup but my god I would bathe in this super sweet and utterly delicious girly scent. I don't know, it's making me want to throw on some gloss and pretend I still leave the house like before covid. I want to wear colors. COLORS. This stuff is dangerous.

I'm just not that into you (I don't hate it, but I also don't love it):

BB Night Violet. This is a lovely scent but also a very soapy smelling scent. It honestly smells like a freshly washed infant. Would be a wonderful bubble bath and one tester said it would be a great alternative to lavender for a night time scent.
 
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Quanta

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I'm testing FOs from a batch of tarts I made over the holiday and have come across some absolute gems. Our extended families prefer wax melts to wicked candles so these are what have come out as good performers for me, but as always YMMV. I'll update as I continue to test.

I hope this helps others explore some new fragrances or take a chance on a scent they've passed up. Please feel free to add your own, I'd love to get a conversation going about your own experiences.

Some details:
My current blend is 70 : 30 parasoy using IGI 4625 : GW 464 with no additives other than what is already in each blended wax. I typically add vybar and stearic acid for straight waxes but they've already done that for me. I think this batch of wax came from Flaming Candle and is about a year old. I add FO at 180 degrees and stir for 2 minutes.​
I used 1 oz FO to 10 oz of wax because that seems to be the sweet spot from the testers. I've done 6% but reviews came back from test batches saying that they could tell the difference between the 6% and the 10% but could not tell between 10% and 12%. I also felt better about 10% because there is less of a risk of seepage.​
I'm going to check at what temperatures my electric melter runs at. I read that melter temps, as well nearby intake vents, overhead fans, and room size all affect your scent throw. I'm currently melting in two average sized bedrooms, fans off, away from vents. I do not expect these to fill a large room in the same way a 3 wick candle would but you should get noticable throw in a bedroom.​
Winners:
MMS Coconut Lemongrass. This surprised me, I didn't expect to love it as much as I do. It's a tangy gourmand and was universally loved.

NG Dragon's Blood. This one spoke to my witchy little heart but it's not a universal love. You have to really like the incense note but it's a fabulous performer in wax and would be a great Halloween scent.

NG Wild Currant Sandalwood. This is such a beautiful scent. It's sweet but not cloyingly so, it has a nice depth to it that makes it stand out from the other berry fragrances.
I am trying to find a Dragon's Blood FO that smells like actual Dragon's Blood instead of patchouli mixed with other random things. Have you ever smelled real Dragon's Blood resin? Would you say the NG version is accurate or is it another patchouli blend?
 

Skylantern

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I am trying to find a Dragon's Blood FO that smells like actual Dragon's Blood instead of patchouli mixed with other random things. Have you ever smelled real Dragon's Blood resin? Would you say the NG version is accurate or is it another patchouli blend?
I'm not experienced enough to say if it's similar to the real resin but I will say that it has a very strong incense note. I'm incredibly bad at describing fragrances. Did it remind me of walking into my first new age shop in the 90's? Yes. More smokey candle and crystal filled new age shop, less weedy headshop. Did that help?
 

Quanta

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I'm not experienced enough to say if it's similar to the real resin but I will say that it has a very strong incense note. I'm incredibly bad at describing fragrances. Did it remind me of walking into my first new age shop in the 90's? Yes. More smokey candle and crystal filled new age shop, less weedy headshop. Did that help?
It does, kind of. I'm not a fan of patchouli, but I am a big fan of Dragon's Blood, and it is a very different scent than patchouli. I burn a lot of incense and most of it is floral or spicy, and none of it is patchouli. I don't like patchouli precisely because of its association with "weedy headshops".

I do have to wonder if the people who get paid to write fragrance descriptions just have never smelled Dragon's Blood and only pick up on the incense notes and think that "all incense is patchouli, so that's what this must be"... DB is a very distinctive scent, and would be hard to describe to someone who wasn't familiar with it.
 

Skylantern

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@Quanta I'm not picking up as much patchouli as almost cinnamon note. Again, i'm terrible at this. It's why I started making perfumes so as to force me to get better ;) But is it worth picking up and trying? OH YES.
 

Quanta

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@Quanta I'm not picking up as much patchouli as almost cinnamon note. Again, i'm terrible at this. It's why I started making perfumes so as to force me to get better ;) But is it worth picking up and trying? OH YES.
I do like cinnamon. Maybe I will try this one.

I have a smidge of Dragon's Blood in a metal tealight cup that I occasionally warm up on my smokeless incense burner just to smell it, and then let it cool again. I have it warming up now, just to get a good whiff. This bit is a few years old now, I should just burn it on some charcoal and buy some fresh.
 

Skylantern

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It does, kind of. I'm not a fan of patchouli, but I am a big fan of Dragon's Blood, and it is a very different scent than patchouli. I burn a lot of incense and most of it is floral or spicy, and none of it is patchouli. I don't like patchouli precisely because of its association with "weedy headshops".

I do have to wonder if the people who get paid to write fragrance descriptions just have never smelled Dragon's Blood and only pick up on the incense notes and think that "all incense is patchouli, so that's what this must be"... DB is a very distinctive scent, and would be hard to describe to someone who wasn't familiar with it.
I always giggle when I read the passionate reviews on fragrantica and basenotes. These people get very creative. I'm also thoroughly impressed because I do not have that skill. I will say that I recently tried a Dragon's Blood from another supplier, I think maybe Flaming Candle and it went back in the box because it was not great. I'll dig it out again and compare.

I'd love to pick your brain about incense. I recently bought a pack of 1000 punks and have been making my own with 50:50 FO : DPG. They took about two weeks to dry in our humidity and ended up being too smokey so I'm going to try a 1 : 2 with the FO : DPG to see if that helps. What do you suggest?
 

Skylantern

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I do like cinnamon. Maybe I will try this one.

I have a smidge of Dragon's Blood in a metal tealight cup that I occasionally warm up on my smokeless incense burner just to smell it, and then let it cool again. I have it warming up now, just to get a good whiff. This bit is a few years old now, I should just burn it on some charcoal and buy some fresh.
@Quanta I'm going to end up buying dragon's blood resin because of you, supplier you recommend?

You need to burn your resin and then come back and teach me how to describe it ;)
 
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Quanta

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I'd love to pick your brain about incense. I recently bought a pack of 1000 punks and have been making my own with 50:50 FO : DPG. They took about two weeks to dry in our humidity and ended up being too smokey so I'm going to try a 1 : 2 with the FO : DPG to see if that helps. What do you suggest?
I have only a few weeks ago purchased a bottle of DPG. I had been making my incense the "real" way with resins, EOs, makko, and charcoal. Usually just a powdered blend of resins and pulverized horticultural charcoal (NOT activated, it won't burn). Then put a trail of that into a little trench in a blend of diatomaceous earth, clays, and activated charcoal. Then light one end of the trail. It burns like a cone or a stick but you decide each time how much you want to burn. I like a blend of Frankincense, Benzoin, and a little cinnamon. I got my charcoal from Home Depot of all places but the location I shop at doesn't normally carry it so I had to order it. I crushed it in a manual coffee grinder I got on Amazon. The activated charcoal I also got on Amazon.

I bought the DPG because I have a lot of FOs I want to try as incense. I have done very minimal experimenting with this method thus far so I can't help you there.

@Quanta I'm going to end up buying dragon's blood resin because of you, supplier you recommend?

You need to burn your resin and then come back and teach me how to describe it ;)
I bought mine on Amazon. It came in a kit with a censer, a roll of charcoal, and several varieties of incense. The seller no longer has that exact item listed on Amazon, but this is the same thing without the censer and charcoal: https://www.amazon.com/Resin-Incens...ecords239/dp/B06Y179X9F/ref=sr_1_11?dchild=1&
I have found that you can still find real resins on Amazon if you carefully read the reviews. EOs not so much because there is such a demand for those, that there are more sellers selling fakes. (ETA: I just noticed that the seller I originally bought mine from is no longer selling it, and the seller who is, only has 39% positive seller ratings. Still, just read reviews and you can tell which reviewers know their stuff. - [end ETA])

The best way I can describe DB is, it's kind of a sweet wood smell, but spicier with a little bit of powderiness to it. Imagine if cinnamon was not pungent. it would be in the same family of scents, but still not the same, just similar. It also does not have the solids in it that frankincense resin has, so you don't get the burning, ashy smell that you get when burning larger pieces of frankincense on a piece of charcoal. When the oils have burned out of a piece of frankincense and only the solids are left, it smells like something charring (because that's what it is). DB just melts completely and is all burned cleanly, so you have to make sure you put tiny amounts on the charcoal because it melts and soaks into it, and can smother the ember if you put too much.
 
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Skylantern

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The best way I can describe DB is, it's kind of a sweet wood smell, but spicier with a little bit of powderiness to it. Imagine if cinnamon was not pungent.
@Quanta Yeah, you're gonna want to get that NG Dragon's Blood like right now because that's a spot on description
 

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@Quanta Yeah, you're gonna want to get that NG Dragon's Blood like right now because that's a spot on description
I just read the reviews on the NG website. Several reviewers said that they knew what the real deal smells like, and that this one is really close. I need some now.
Plus, I'm very nearly out of lye so I have an excuse to place an order. :D
 

Skylantern

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@Quanta I'm still digesting all the great info in your post.

I was just reading about makko and the ritual of drawing symbols. It's really a beautiful artform and I love the idea of setting your intentions and using your creativity to create your burn. There is an intimacy, a ritual, a reflection that I'm not quite getting from lighting the end of my incense stick on fire.
 

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@Quanta I'm still digesting all the great info in your post.

I was just reading about makko and the ritual of drawing symbols. It's really a beautiful artform and I love the idea of setting your intentions and using your creativity to create your burn. There is an intimacy, a ritual, a reflection that I'm not quite getting from lighting the end of my incense stick on fire.
I literally just make either a straight line across the middle, or a kind of horseshoe. I don't have a stamp or anything. I don't do the fancy shapes, just the fancy smells.
 
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