Several years ago, I attended a wedding as a plus one. Dessert was a delicious slice of cheesecake with strawberry sauce and sugared rose petals. The flavor of the rose petals was absolutely terrible, like perfume and sugar. But the visual effect was beautiful, and the scent divine, perfect for a spring wedding. The fragrance that wafted over us as the waiters brought out the trays of cheesecake was exactly like Rose Petal Preserves fragrance oil. With the added sweetness, it avoids the ‘old-fashioned’ fragrance that comes with a pure floral.  It also behaves very, very badly, as you will see. It can be tamed, however, and it is worth doing.

Taffy And Disaster

Because I knew it had some troubles, I decided to mix it with another fragrance that would accent it, and allow me to use some pinks and purples reminiscent of roses growing in the sun. Deception fragrance oil is a rich, sweet, lightly woody and smoky fragrance that can shade soap a little purplish, which worked out perfectly. I used the same soap recipe I used here; it’s a 100% goat milk soap, heavy on the olive oil. If that recipe doesn’t work for you, there are several alternatives here. When choosing alternative recipes for this soap, don’t choose any that will set quickly. That path leads only to heartbreak.

I divided the soap in half, and added Activated Charcoal to one half. I like activated charcoal for misbehaving fragrances because it hadn’t (see below) ever allowed a fragrance to turn my soap an unpleasant shade of green. The other half I divided in two and added Watermelon Pink Mica (discontinued) to half, and Purple Vibrance Mica to the other half. Rose Petal Preserves can be soaped at 4%, so I measured out 2% of each fragrance. I divided the Deception fragrance oil between the pink and purple, stirring in by hand, and then added the Rose Petal Preserves to the charcoal soap. I stirred it in by hand and immediately layered the soap into a fourth bowl for a pot swirl and poured it into my bar molds. The rose scent set very quickly, making the last bars difficult to pour.

It was beautiful. “That was easy,” I thought, and left it overnight to dry. I went to bed, content with my place in the soaping world, dreaming of richly scented lather. I should have known better.

I awakened to this. The slight shift in the pink and purple is actually quite lovely, but the flaws here are pretty clear. In addition, the fragrances, beautiful alone, didn’t play together as well as I wanted. More specifically, they didn’t play together in the particular way that I wanted. The combination is very sweet; it would work perfectly in a scent for a younger crowd. Not quite what I was after for this project. I studied this soap, and the evening found me at my desk with a bar cut in half, puzzling over it. I expected the charcoal soap to discolor, but it had only turned the strange green shade where it was thinned out in a swirl. The pure charcoal soap was still grey, which was perfectly acceptable. It wasn’t a poorly behaved fragrance, it just didn’t play well with others. So I isolated it.

Put Your Soap In Time Out

I mixed another small batch of soap, added the charcoal, and stirred in the Rose Petal Preserves oil. Then I poured it by itself into bar molds. It accelerates. I mean it. How fast?

This fast. But it’s fine. I intended to cut it. I spread the soap as smoothly into the molds as possible and left it overnight. It set up within just a few insomniac hours, and I cut it into cubes, then gave it a few more hours before using it. I cut the smoothest bars into decorations for the top. I mixed another batch of soap, coloring it with the last of my Watermelon Pink Mica. It was at this point I discovered that Watermelon Pink Mica had been discontinued. I added my personal favorite fragrance, Oudh Wood. I love Nightfall, but Oudh Wood behaves beautifully in soap, and I would probably put it in everything if I were left to my own devices.  I layered my soap cubes into the bottom of the mold, poured a little of the pink soap on top, another layer of soap cubes, then a little more pink soap. To balance the intense pinkness, I added a charcoal line, then the rest of the pink soap. After it had set, I put the smooth cubes in the top at an angle, as illustrated here:

I hoped the pink would deepen into a more appealing shade.

It didn’t.

I sliced it anyway.

It was a lot of unappetizing pink, and the imperfections of the cubes within the bottom layer stood out and managed to look haphazard instead of intentional. I think this idea might have worked with a better shade of pink (see below) and spherical molded soap balls or sharp, stacked cubes to get a more structured, intentional effect. However, the fragrance was perfect, and the pink shade had not shifted at all (unfortunate), so I knew the Oudh Wood wouldn’t change my colors when I achieved something I loved.

Wild Roses, Hidden Among The Stones

It was clear I needed to try some other pinks. I received Amarath Pink Mica and Neon Red Fluorescent Pigment. Neon Red is particularly stunning. I cut the remaining blocks of Rose Petal Preserves scented soap into very small pieces, then blended another batch of soap. I divided it into four bowls. Charcoal went into one bowl, without fragrance. I poured it into the mold, filling it about one quarter, then pressed the bits of cured, scented soap into the fresh liquid soap. I added more pieces until the mold was almost half full, then spread just a little more of the charcoal soap on top to cover. A thin sprinkle of charcoal went on top, and the whole thing went into the soap fridge to wait. Purple Vibrance Mica went into one of the remaining bowls. In another, Titanium Dioxide. Finally, I added the Neon Red to the last bowl, with a little Amaranth Pink to soften it. Last, I divided the Oudh Wood fragrance among the three bowls and layered them into a fourth bowl for pouring. Taking care not to disturb the underlying soap, I poured the swirled soap on top, and traced a pattern into the surface of the loaf.

I waited.

And peeked.

And waited.

I brought it out of the mold and sliced it.

And I was pleased.

The fragrance is perfect, like wild roses blooming among sun-dappled stones at the damp feet of ancient trees. The subtly uneven pattern in the Rose Petal Preserves half of the soap reminds me of river rocks, and the pinks and purples are the bright shades of summer blossoms, (and not reminiscent of medication for gastrointestinal distress) and remain distinct.

Let me know what you think. If you try it, or something like it, let me know how it turns out.

Happy Soaping!

Erin

Soap making

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