Shifts in fashions in fragrance do not come at regular intervals. A family of fragrance may be “in” for a long time before anything significant happens. There will always be the same general categories of flowers, herbs, fruits, and food, but sometimes one will take the forefront. Food aromas — particularly sweet ones like chocolate and vanilla — have bombarded the fragrance world in recent years.
Cotton candy from the county fair, banana bread with whipped cream, all manner of sweet and creamy coffee drinks, and various shades of sugar from pink to brown have people smelling like sweet foods these days. Sweet, milky spicy aromas reflective of chai blends have emerged as the drinks they are based on gain popularity.
The soap community is a way to ease the potential financial sting of trying new fragrances. Get together with some soap buds and make a group order of the smallest sizes. Send the box of samples around, sharing notes and preferences. And don't forget the small suppliers who still provide a special price for small sizes of a lot of fragrances.
Fragrance companies create slightly altered versions of classics in an attempt to boost sales without having to come up with something completely new. These “flankers” bring out one or more notes that played in the background of the original scent. This presents another learning opportunity for you; smell the original then smell the flanker and compare the two. What is different? Make notes, then read the literature on the companies' Web sites, at the counter, or ask the fragrance salesperson.
Of all the wonderful things about making your own soap, choosing your own fragrance — or choosing to go without — is one of the best parts. Don't be afraid to be original.