This is Scented?

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BrewerGeorge

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The wife and I took an anniversary trip last weekend to the Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg (Tennessee) area. During the trip we went through lots of little stores selling all kinds of stuff, including handmade soap.

I've never really been exposed to much artisan soap beyond my own, but I was seriously underwhelmed - especially by the (lack of) scent. I usually scent my soaps at the medium to medium-high levels according the the calculators but most of the bars I was seeing for sale at $10/each had barely any discernible scent at all. This observation carried across 12 or 15 different "brands" of soaps, 50 or 60 bars total. Sometimes I couldn't tell the different "flavors" apart except by their color, and even those with noticeable scent were much lower than mine. Most were beautiful and professional looking (if they weren't obviously HP or rebatch) but didn't smell.

Is this typical of soaps generally for sale? I know that scent is generally the most expensive part of a batch of soap; do most sellers skimp on it?

Interestingly, I saw one brand - the most expensive one I saw - bragging about being "Only soy and canola oil. No coconut or palm!" So far apart from what I've learned from here makes good soap. These were little 2-1/2 or 3 oz cubes for sale at the Paula Deen store, gorgeous swirls and laser-like cuts, but I have to wonder if they're going to sprout orange spots after they get wet. Not much scent, either.
 

shunt2011

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I personally scent on the heavier side. My experience with my customers want soap that smells good. If they can't smell a particular scent they have a tendency to put it back down and pick up something else.

I would be very concerned with the soy/canola soap lasing any length of time. Doesn't even sound like a good soap.
 

HowieRoll

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I'd be curious to know if the lack of smell included both soaps with only essential oils and soaps with fragrance oils? I've not used FOs, but for some reason was under the impression their smell "stuck" better in soap than EOs, in general terms, of course.
 

toxikon

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I like a good scent as well. Something I can smell when I lather up in the shower without having to stick my nose on soap.

Since I start soapmaking, I've definitely become more interested in inspecting other cold/hot-process soaps I see on store shelves. I always take a peek on the back to see the ingredients, I'm always curious what their recipes are.
 

makemineirish

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The wife and I took an anniversary trip last weekend to the Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg (Tennessee) area.
I know it is a bit off-topic, but am curious as to what you saw and did there.

I went camping in the Smoky Mountains last summer in an attempt to catch the synchronus firefly mating season. One of the peccadillos of that national park is the complete lack of showers. I stumbled onto Pigeon Forge when hunting down pay showers and was both fascinated and appalled. Everything that I had read about Gatlinburg referenced the artist community and I spent ample time there ferreting out a third-generation broom-maker and century-old custom furniture business. There are a couple of restaurants that I enjoyed immensely as we opted to skip fixing food at the campsite and lived on nutrition bars and snacks until eating dinner out. It was lovely.

I was completely unprepared for Pigeon Forge.

For those of you who haven't been, it's surreal. We only drove a few miles down the main drag. Nonetheless, there was so much going on. Aside from Dollywood, there are free-standing roller-coasters (my favorite being "Goats on the Roof") that incorporates real goats. I counted at least five astronomically over-the-top, movie-set-like (thing technicolor turquoise water spewing from a giant waterfall), miniature golf courses. There were at least two go-cart race tracks, a ship-shaped museum where you can "live" the Titanic experience, and a seemingly upside-down building that hosts magic shows. After driving past close to a dozen dinner theaters, we figured that we simply HAD to try one and opted for "Lumberjack Feud". My most succinct synopsis is hillbilly Cirque du Soleil.

I left feeling that Dolly Parton had decided taken every fantastical entertainment fantasy that she had at eight years old...and built it as an adult.
 

lenarenee

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I live between LA and San Diego and believe it or not there are no local farmers markets with cp sellers except one. Her focus is mostly unpreserved lotion with a few soaps on the side. They're so lightly scented I don't buy them and she doesn't seem to sell many either.

I enjoy trying recipes that other people make so I treat myself to some Etsy purchases and found that a big majority are strongly scented.
 

Arimara

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I haven't had that experience. I've always found hand made soaps that were scented nicely at the least. Is COPA soap familiar to any of y'all. They were the first brand of handmade soap I've ever tried and this was years go in my late teens or early twenties.
 

Obsidian

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All the soap I've seen at markets or in smaller stores are strongly scented, sometimes to the point of being too much. They must sell ok but in my personal experience, I have a hard time even giving away strongly scented soaps. Most everyone wants a delicate scent or none at all.
 

toxikon

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Aside from Dollywood, there are free-standing roller-coasters (my favorite being "Goats on the Roof") that incorporates real goats. I counted at least five astronomically over-the-top, movie-set-like (thing technicolor turquoise water spewing from a giant waterfall), miniature golf courses. There were at least two go-cart race tracks, a ship-shaped museum where you can "live" the Titanic experience, and a seemingly upside-down building that hosts magic shows. After driving past close to a dozen dinner theaters, we figured that we simply HAD to try one and opted for "Lumberjack Feud". My most succinct synopsis is hillbilly Cirque du Soleil.

I left feeling that Dolly Parton had decided taken every fantastical entertainment fantasy that she had at eight years old...and built it as an adult.
That all sounds amazing to me. I love theme parks and kitschy stuff like that. BRB planning my next vacation...
 

penelopejane

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When we travelled around the US from Alaska to The Grand Canyon and every soap I saw (lots and lots) were heavily scented. I came home and doubled my scent amount.
 

Millie

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BG that has been my experience too. There is a shop I visit every couple months just to sniff the soaps. I think the shop must do some consignment because there are many brands but it is not a well curated collection. The soaps come in smelling strong and a few months later they have very little scent. Seems to be the case for both EOs and FOs. It looks like most (all but two brands) of the soaps are from novice soapers though. The other two are very nice! They are also lightly scented but in an intentional way I think. Either they are using lasting scents or they get restocked frequently.
 

BrewerGeorge

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I know it is a bit off-topic, but am curious as to what you saw and did there.
...
You're right that it's kind of surreal. It definitely has a Vegas feel, but much more kid-friendly. I hadn't been to the area for nearly 30 years, and that was to hike part of the Appalachian Trail. Back then Pigeon Forge was nothing much and Gatlinburg was heavily focused on the backpacking scene. (Ironically I remember the rent-a-showers being everywhere then. ;) )

We didn't know really what we were going to do, just wanted a long weekend away from the kid within moderate driving distance. We spent part of a day in the National Forest and the rest exploring Gatlinburg's shops. Spent a day cruising the outlet malls in Pigeon Forge, and another day doing the touristy stuff like the wax museum, huge Ferris wheel, moonshine tasting, etc. Anniversary dinner at an absolutely amazing fine dining place in Knoxville called J.C. Holdway. The chef is James Beard winner, and it was one of the top five meals of my life. Generally just enjoyed being together with no schedule other than dinner reservations. I can't imagine how it would be during the main tourist season with Dollywood open, though, as it was crowded and crazy enough.
 

BrewerGeorge

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I'd be curious to know if the lack of smell included both soaps with only essential oils and soaps with fragrance oils? I've not used FOs, but for some reason was under the impression their smell "stuck" better in soap than EOs, in general terms, of course.
I didn't notice a correlation between EO/FO and the lack of scent. To be really honest, I wasn't paying a huge amount of attention to ingredients since I knew I wasn't going to buy any. I was just looking and smelling. The only reason I noticed the soy/canola thing was because the signage made such a big deal out of it.
BG that has been my experience too. There is a shop I visit every couple months just to sniff the soaps. I think the shop must do some consignment because there are many brands but it is not a well curated collection. The soaps come in smelling strong and a few months later they have very little scent. Seems to be the case for both EOs and FOs. It looks like most (all but two brands) of the soaps are from novice soapers though. The other two are very nice! They are also lightly scented but in an intentional way I think. Either they are using lasting scents or they get restocked frequently.
I suppose it could have something to do with the age of the soaps. It wouldn't exactly surprise me if they don't sell very well in that touristy venue.
 

dixiedragon

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I think you're probably right - the scent is the most expensive part. Was it somebody here who is a candle seller who keeps a half-burned candle in her display to prove that the scent is all the way through? Apparently some candle sellers scent the top half of the wax and not the bottom half.
 

seven8soap

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I have found most touristy places out east have soap that's not very scented. I went out to Williamsburg and the outer banks of North Carolina and found the soaps very lacking. Out in New Mexico and Arizona it's a bit different. There's a "southwestern" ambience they are playing to, so I guess it depends on where you are going and what the brand is catering to, if there is any branding going on. That's the correlation; see how serious people are about branding. Paula Deen brands food related stuff, she's not a professional soaper. Someone makes very plain soaps for the Williamsburg historical district with no interest in making it a household brand. The artist at the top of Sandia Peak wants to continue to make soap for a living. There's some great Brands out of TX; a wild soap bar, royalty soaps, etc. so,,, check the branding.
 

Dahila

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I scent heavy, cause half of scent is gone while curing.In the last 15 months of market I sold maybe 4 unscented soaps. People look for a scent, :)
 

cmzaha

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My experience of trying others soaps is the lack of scent. I really think many try to cut back on cost. Also it is possible when soaping smaller area they think the fragrance is to strong. As most probably know I scent heavy and if I do not they do not sell.
 

Kizzy

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I scent my soaps lighter, that is what I and my customers prefer.
 

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