How to Evaluate Fragrance Oils

Evaluating fragrance oils is a crucial step for anyone involved in the creation of scented products. Fragrance oils are like the main ingredients of many products e.g, scented candles, luxurious soaps.

A Guide to Find your Signature Scent
However, with a variety of options available, it can be challenging to find the perfect fragrance that truly captures your desired scent profile. Here’s a simple guide on how to evaluate fragrance oils effectively.

Understanding Fragrance Oils
Fragrance oils, also known as aromatic oils, are complex compounds used to give scent to a variety of products, including candles, soaps, and perfumes. They can be synthetic, natural, or a blend of both. The quality of these oils can vary greatly, which is why it’s important to know how to evaluate them.
The 3 Layers of Fragrance Oils
Fragrance oils typically consist of three distinct layers: the top notes, middle notes, and base notes. The top notes are the first impressions that you experience, often light and fresh. The middle notes, also known as the heart notes, emerge as the top notes fade, providing the core of the fragrance. Finally, the base notes stay the longest, creating a warm foundation for the overall scent.

Sensory Evaluation
The most immediate way to evaluate fragrance oils is through sensory analysis, which involves using your senses, particularly your sense of smell.

1. Out of Bottle (OOB) Impression
Start by smelling the fragrance oil directly from the bottle. This gives you the first impression of the oil’s top notes – the scents that are detected first and evaporate quickly.
2. Using Blotter Strips
Dip a blotter strip into the fragrance oil and let it sit for a few moments. This will allow you to smell the top, middle, and base notes sequentially as the oil evaporates at different rates on the strip.
3. Cold Throw
Evaluate the strength of the fragrance when it’s in a solid state, such as in a candle or soap before it’s used. This is known as the cold throw and gives an indication of how strong the scent will be without any heat.
4. Hot Throw
For products like candles, the hot throw is crucial. This is the scent released when the product is in use, like when a candle is burning. It can be different from the cold throw and is a true test of the fragrance oil’s performance.

Technical Evaluation
Beyond sensory analysis, there are technical aspects to consider:

1. Viscosity
The thickness of the oil can indicate its concentration and purity. Pure fragrance oils tend to have a consistent viscosity.
2. Color and Clarity
While some oils are naturally colored, others should be clear. Cloudiness can indicate contamination or poor quality.
3. Compatibility
Test the oil in your product to make sure it integrates well and doesn’t cause any adverse reactions, such as curdling in soaps or uneven burning in candles.

Safety and Standards
Always check that the fragrance oils comply with safety standards and regulations. They should be free from harmful chemicals and suitable for their intended use.

Shelf Life and Storage
Quality fragrance oils should have a specified shelf life and come with storage instructions to maintain their integrity over time.

Supplier Reputation
The supplier’s reputation can also be a good indicator of quality. Look for suppliers with positive reviews and a history of providing high-quality fragrance oils.

Sample Testing
Before committing to a large purchase, it’s wise to buy samples of the fragrance oils to conduct your own tests and ensure they meet your standards.

About Candle Deli
It’s worth taking a closer look at Candle Deli, a leading fragrance oil supplier in South Africa. We offer high-quality products and supplies for candle makers, soap makers, and DIY cosmetic makers. Our commitment to creativity, quality, and a solutions-focused approach to business has made them a valued partner for crafters and artists across the country.
Evaluating fragrance oils doesn’t have to be complicated. By using your senses along with some simple tests, you can determine the quality and suitability of fragrance oils for your projects. Remember to always prioritize safety and quality to ensure the best results for your scented products. With practice, you’ll become proficient at picking the best fragrance oils for your needs.


1. Can fragrance oils change their scent over time?
Yes, fragrance oils can evolve over time due to factors like exposure to light, air, and temperature. This can alter the scent profile, making it essential to evaluate the fragrance at different stages.

2. How do I know if a fragrance oil will perform well in my specific product?
Testing the fragrance oil in your intended product is the best way to determine its performance. Conducting small-scale tests in candles, soaps, or other products will give you insights into how the scent behaves in your specific application.

3. Are there any tips for enhancing the longevity of fragrance oils in products?
Storing fragrance oils in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight can help preserve their integrity. Additionally, using proper dilution ratios and incorporating fixatives can enhance the longevity of the scent in your products.

4. Are there any natural alternatives to synthetic fragrance oils?
Yes, natural essential oils extracted from plants offer a botanical alternative to synthetic fragrance oils. While they may have different scent profiles and longevity, they provide a natural and eco-friendly option for fragrance enthusiasts.

How to Evaluate Fragrance Oils