Sunday, December 22, 2013

Saponification Sunday...Patchouli Flashback





And Peppermints.
Pink Floyd and his Brick Wall
Inagaddadavida Honey...Don't you know that I lu--uve you?

All that and more flashes through my brain each and every time I sniff one of my Patchouli bars. It is definitely one of those love/hate scents. Customers will take a big sniff and either announce "ewww" and throw it back in the rack or they will swoon as they hold the bar close remembering that two week run-away trip with those 16 year old Molter Twins in their Blue Chevy Montrose Playing van with the shag carpeting that actually covered the floor, walls and ceiling of that vehicle.

The stripe is made with comfrey powder
Chamomile flowers on top

Or is that just me?

Yup, I get all that from one sniff.  I am very smell focused. For those who have no clue: Patchouli is a species of plant from the genus Pogostemon.  (must be a Pokémon relative!) It is a bushy herb of the mint family, with erect stems, reaching two or three feet in height and bearing small, pale pink-white flowers. The scent is heady, musty, earthy and so rich it never seems to fade from my soap bars.

But I tend to be a little heavy handed with my essential oils. Yes, they are expensive, especially when you use the premium EO (about $10 an oz) and not the average Patchouli (about $6.50/oz) but I hate when I pick up a hand crafted soap somewhere that brags of their EO scent but when you pick up the scent, or a very weak one.

For my two pound recipe I use 2 oz of Patchouli oil. Or if using it to "ground" another sweeter EO, I will use 3/4 oz and then 1.25 oz of the other EO be it Lavender, Grapefruit, Geranium Rose or

Granted small amounts of EO's can be added for their non-scent qualities and one needs only small amounts (depending on the EO) to benefit from their anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, mood elevating etc...qualities but for a "scented" might need to do more than wave the bottle over your soap.

Of course too much of any EO, ones like pure cinnamon, can be very irritating to the skin so READ UP before you use in your soaps. So back to my Patchouli Soap, 2 oz of the EO will run me about $20. I get 7 bars of soap, each weighing about 5 oz each from my 2 pound recipe. Thusly each bar in EO alone costs me $2.85.

This does not even include the cost of all my other ingredients like coconut, avocado and castor oils, lye, plant materials for coloring etc. But other EO's like Sweet Orange are much less expensive running just $3.50 for 2 oz or about 50 cents a bar. I could charge for each bar based on the cost of the ingredients but instead I just let the law of averages settle it.

Besides, we original hippies are a dying breed, if we want to shower with a soap that makes us smell like we spent 5 days in the rain and mud at Woodstock WITHOUT showering then so be it.

Soap being packaged in my dining room
for Christmas gifts.
Shhh, its a secret .


  1. My little phial of Patchouli essential oil is right in front of me as I write. I have now just dabbed a couple of spots on the back of my hand, and your piece has come to light!

    1. I thought I was the only one who kept secret phials of brown liquids all over my house...Hmmmmm

  2. Official Patchouli "hater" here. Guess I'll blame it on the fact that I was born too late to understand the whole Woodstock thing:) Hope you have a very Merry Christmas, Mrs. Farmwife!

    1. Well at least you admit it. :) Merry Christmas to you and yours!

  3. One acquaintance in high school loved patchouli, so i always associate it with her. She asked one time if she could borrow my burgundy turtleneck to wear with a great pair of jeans. I leant it to her, and she returned the sweater to me, freshly washed and reeking of patchouli. I loved it.

    Maybe i need to order a bar from you and see if i still love it? It's been a long time since the scent has crossed my olfactory system.

  4. Truly our scents sense does change over time. Since I started using pure EO to make soap I can no longer stand any kind of synthetic perfume. Anyone need a 5 year old bottle of White Shoulders?

  5. Replies
    1. Yeah, I think they may be liked. If not I'll take them back and re-gift them next year. My sisters have terrible memories

  6. I am sad to say that the wonderful bar of patchouli soap is nothing but a sliver now. I TOLD DH that those were MY soaps, but he used them. Bastard. But, he did get a co-worker comment about how he smelled the day he used it; "Now don't you smell like an old hippy today". I would take it as a compliment, but I think Paul was embarrassed by the fact that the coworker though he wore perfume or something :) Serves him right for using MY soap.