To my continued delight, I recently received a most generous press pack of blendable fragrances from Demeter Fragrance Library to test, muck about with and report back on. Like the Mr. Bubble campaign I took part in last September, this arrangement was brokered by Canadian Beauty Bloggers, a helpful online resource for Canadian bloggers, vloggers, Tweeters and ‘Grammers alike. Pleased with the response to the one-bottle Mr. Bubble campaign, Demeter are now upping the ante a bit, providing bloggers with a range of complimentary, singular scents to mix and match and blend and otherwise play amateur parfumier with. I’ve long been a fan of Demeter’s spunky approach to fragrance (one of the blending scents is a cologne I already own) so this felt like a fun and natural fit. There’s lots of delicious-smelling, DIY enjoyment to be had from these all-in-one blending kits, so let’s get into it!
Participants were asked to choose one of three different scent duos (jasmine/lavender, clean skin/sunshine or grass/dirt) to blend with a chosen base note trio (Hawaiian vanilla, angel food and gingerbread.) I suspected that my choice, jasmine/lavender, was going to be a popular one, and indeed, I see there’s already a preponderance of posts favouring the floral duo.
All the same, the point of this exercise is to build a unique custom scent, and with five lovely fragrances in the mix, as well as all the necessary blending accoutrements, Demeter has made it easy to do just that, enabling you to create a fragrance that, similarities in scent notes notwithstanding, is your unique creation and yours alone. So we might all be dabbling in the night blooming lavender pound cake pool here, but everyone’s creative interpretation is going to be just a little bit different from their neighbour’s, and delightfully so.
Before I get into the actual fragrance creation, let’s take a look at the blending kits themselves. For this campaign, Demeter chose the all-vanilla trio as its base note kit, although it’s also offered in scents ranging from smoky and woodsy to clean and floral. True to their name, these heavier scents form the foundation for your fragrance on top of which you layer one or both of the lighter scents from your chosen duo (which is also offered in a wealth of sweetly scented pairings.) Having said all that, there’s no rule that stipulates that you must combine them in such a fashion. In fact, the whole point is that there are no rules! You can mix these fragrances (the duo and trio, both) exactly as you see fit, although I might warn against the all-in approach to fragrance creation – “jasmine gingerbread sunshine dirt cake” is a heck of a mouthful, and I can’t imagine it would smell that wonderful either.
Between the two kits, there are five one ounce fragrances, a funnel, four plastic droppers, a small stack of scent strips and an empty one ounce bottle in which to capture your perfect – and perfected – scent. Of course, you could always go completely low tech and just fire two scents into the air – sideways! – and then glide through the mist like you’re Antonio Banderas in a beauty-obsessed version of Desperado, but where’s the fun in that (actually, that sounds like A LOT of fun!) The set-up is simple and nicely intuitive – use the droppers to dab various scent combinations onto the disposable strips until you create THE perfect blend, at which point you use the empty bottle and funnel to create a lot of that perfect blend. Easy!
But a beautifully blended fragrance truly is the sum of its individual parts, and so before we get to my creation, let’s first take a look at those singular fragrances. Getting the negative out of the way first, I am no fan of jasmine, nor have I ever been. I concede that it’s therefore an odd choice of blending fragrance on my part, although I was really after the lavender side of the duo, with jasmine simply coming along for the ride. Scent preference is a deeply personal thing, so I won’t fault you if you just adore jasmine, but to me, it smells simultaneously like hippie grandmas and an ex-boyfriend’s nauseatingly bracing cologne, neither of which I need to be reminded of on a day to day basis. It does make for some rather beautiful nail art, though, no? Actually, as you’ll see, they kind of all did.
The other half of the scent duo is a gorgeous herbal lavender. Lavenders can be quite tricky, as they often drift into “grannie’s unmentionables drawer” territory (again with the grandmas!) but this one is fresh and green and sweet, and not the least bit powdery or cloying. Really lovely.
Moving over to the base trio, angel food is the Demeter scent I already own (having a duplicate is stupendous, as the bottle I bought 15 YEARS AGO is just now starting to show its age.) Unlike its diabetic-friendly namesake dessert, this fragrance is rich and sugary and buttery. Immensely edible (but please don’t eat it.)
If you’re looking for something a little less bakery-oriented, Hawaiian vanilla is a fresh and floral vanilla that’s evocative of the orchid plant that gives it life. Mild and sweet, this vanilla will play nicely with other fresh florals and watery, clean scents.
Finally, we have the fragrance I was the most excited to play with, gingerbread. Spice-phobic folks need not fear this gingerbread, which is mild, sweet and dry, lacking that irksome and irritating fresh spice note that overwhelms most ginger-based scents. Very nice.
So lovely individual scents, all (save and except the jasmine) but what sort of fabulous creations did I wrest from combining them? Well, I suppose it all rests on your definition of “fabulous,” but I don’t think there’s a dud in the bunch. The “softness” of the scents aids in successful blending – there’s no sharp, unduly alcoholic tones to the fragrances, and they blend beautifully in nearly any proportion. Just about as close to Demeter’s promised “foolproof” as possible!
Before settling on one favoured fragrance (the big reveal of which I’m saving for the end of this massive missive) I tried my hand at:
1. Lavender Vanilla Cake. This blend of sweet lavender and angel food is the very definition of a gourmand scent, with a light herbal freshness to cut the all the sugary and buttery. Yuh-um.
2. The Ex-Grannies. That sounds like a punk band. Or the bank robbers in a low budget remake of Point Break (so pretty much the recent remake of Point Break.) This combination of jasmine and Hawaiian vanilla represents my one and only attempt to blend with jasmine, and it failed miserably. Best to leave this one to the grandmas and my ex-boyfriend’s gag-worthy cologne. You can’t say I didn’t try.
3. Hawaiian Lavender. I’m pretty sure there is no such thing, but work with me here! It’s all about being creative, and that includes horticulture. This blend of lavender and the most floral of the three vanillas combines beautifully, creating a soft, gentle fragrance the most in keeping with traditional floral perfumes.
4. Butter Your (Ginger)Bread. Sweet and lightly spiced gingerbread gets a tender, almost buttery kick from delectable angel food. Another beautiful bakery.
The last scent I blended was also my favourite, and the one I chose to bottle, a uniquely sweet and spicy combination of gingerbread and lavender I call “Gingy’s Hot Date.” Studies have shown that when it comes to stirrings of lustful feelings in people bearing the Y chromosome, lavender and spicy scents like ginger get the job done. So why not combine them into one monster aphrodisiac of a scent that will work its magic on men and gingerbread men alike? Heck, gingerladies, too – let’s not leave them out of the sweetly scented fun. This is a delectable, unexpectedly yummy-smelling fragrance that bridges the gap between earthy spices and rich gourmands, and I love it.
All told, this was a fun do-it-yourself beauty project – like a science experiment, but less explode-y – and a well-run blogging campaign by Demeter. A great experience all around, at the end of which you’re left with a beautifully scented reminder (or reminders) of your creativity. Sweet! And kind of spicy… 😉