What is a “natural” scent?

Think of nearly any scent and chances are you can have a bar of soap to enjoy in exactly that fragrance!! And, guess what? Mother Nature provides most of those scents, so there’s no real need to use synthetic fragrance oils.

Essential Oils
Essential oils are fragrant, natural, concentrated extracts made from plants. They are pressed, steam distilled or extracted from the plant’s leaves, stems, seeds or roots. They are not manufactured in a lab. Their use dates back to ancient times, and their wide variety of healing and medicinal uses (like aromatherapy) has kept them popular. About 700 different kinds of plants contain useful essential oils!!

At Blue Mountain Soapworks, 99% of the oils we use to scent our products are essential oils. Each of them is of the highest quality & is produced in an ecologically responsible manner. If not certified organic, they are wild-harvested, cultivated without chemicals, and free of additives. Many of the oils come from Jamaica’s plant leaves, stems, seeds or roots, while others are from botanicals grown in other parts of the world.

Essential oils can be extracted from many organic things, but not all of them!! The Mango is one of the fruits that essential oil can not be extracted from, and what would a Jamaican soap store be without a fragrant MANGO SOAP??!!! Other natural scents are limited because the raw materials are limited, they’re expensive to extract, or their scent doesn’t “stick” in soap. All of our soaps have beautiful & luscious natural aromas, but occasionally we have to use a fragrance oil. When we do, we’ll tell you clearly on the label.

Important: While uncommon, some people do react to essential oils. If you are allergic to a particular plant or nut, do not use a product that contains an essential oil of that plant or nut or of a close relative. Because of their concentrated nature, essential oils generally should not be applied directly to the skin in their undiluted form.

Fragrance Oils
Fragrance oils are a far less expensive alternative because they are synthetically produced in a lab. But these oils are petroleum-based. Some have blamed exposure to these chemicals for afflictions like asthma, migraine headaches, and allergies to name a few. These fragrances can enter our body either through our skin or by inhalation, and our skin easily absorbs toxins. Synthetics can also set off allergic reactions. If you see the term “fragrance”, “nature identical oil,” or “perfume oil” on anyone’s label, it is a synthetic oil, not an essential oil. Some of the fragrance oils we have used in our products are banana, cucumber, mango and strawberry, because essential oils cannot be extracted from those plants.

The Great Debate

There are pros and cons on both sides of the essential oil versus fragrance oil debate, and we definitely won’t settle it here! Hundreds of pounds of plant matter can be used to make a single ounce of essential oil, so certain plants like cedarwood and rosewood have been over-harvested. Synthetic fragrances help balance out this problem. Some scents cannot be imitated with all natural essential oils and some plants have little to no scent, so fragrance oils are the only solution. We are not essential oil “snobs”; we simply strive for natural and organic products whenever possible! When we must use a synthetic oil, we use phthalate-free oils.

Here are most of the essential oils we use and a description of the scent:

  • Allspice (Jamaica’s “Pimento”, “Clove Pepper”) (Pimenta oficinalis) – spicy and slightly sweet scent with a hint of clove
  • Amyris (Jamaica’s “Sandalwood”) (Amyris balsamifera)- vanilla-like, slightly woody (often called West Indian Sandalwood)
  • Anise, Star (Illicium verum) – sharp aroma similar to that of licorice. It does a very good job at masking scents and is therefore often used by hunters and fisherman.
  • Basil, Sweet (Jamaica’s “Sweet Basil”, “Barsley”, “Duppy Bush”) (Ocimum basilicum) – sweet, vaguely anise-like, smoky
  • Bay, West Indies (Jamaica’s “Bay Leaves”, “Bay Rum”, “Bay Berry”) (Pimenta racemosa) – sweet and spicy scent; very popular with men
  • Bergamot (Citrus bergamia) – citrus, yet fruity and sweet with a warm spicy floral quality
  • Black Pepper (Jamaica’s “Black Pepper”) (Piper nigrum) – strong, woody, warm and peppery
  • Cardamom (Elletaria cardamomum) – sweet, spicy and woody
  • Carrot Seed (Daucus carota) – woody-earthy, slightly spicy, musky and some fruit notes
  • Catnip (Nepeta cataria) – herbal and floral with slight hint of mint; reminiscent of citronella; keeps mosquitos away!
  • Chamomile (Roman) (Arthemis nobilis) – herbal, sweet and fruity, like ‘apples and straw’; exotic and rich scent
  • Cinnamon Bark (Jamaica’s “Cinnamon Stick”) (Cinnamomum zeylanicum) – warm, spicy scent that is somewhere between clove and cinnamon
  • Cinnamon Leaf (Jamaica’s “Cinnamon”, “Cinnamon Leaf”) (Cinnamomum zeylanicum) – spicy, warm, clove-like
  • Citronella (Java) (Cymbopogon winterianus) – lemon citrus, woody scent
  • Clary Sage (Salvia sclarea) – earthy aroma, fruity, floral, nutty with a hint of musk
  • Clementine (Jamaica’s “Ortanique”) (Citrus nobilis) – fresh, sweet, crisp, orangy aroma
  • Coffee (Jamaica’s “Coffee”, “Caffa”, “Café”) (Coffea arabica) – just like a fresh brewed pot of coffee!
  • Eucalyptus (Jamaica’s “Eucalyptus Gum”, “Fever Tree”, “Gum Tree”, “Blue Gum”) (Eucalyptus globulus) – very herbal scent with soft woody undertones
  • Eucalyptus, Lemon (Jamaica’s “Lemon Scented Gum”) (Eucalyptus citriodora) – camphor-like with a sweet, citrus undertone
  • Fennel, Sweet (Jamaica’s “Hui Xiang”, “Wild Fennel”, “Sweet Fennel”) (Foeniculum vulgare dulce) – spicy, sweet scent, similar to black licorice.
  • Frankincense (Boswellia carterii) – woody, spicy, haunting aroma
  • Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens) – both sweet and herbal, rose-like notes
  • Ginger Root (Jamaica’s “Ginger”) (Zingiber officinale) – warm, spicy, woody
  • Grapefruit (Jamaica’s “Grapefruit”) (Citrus paradisi) – fresh, light, slightly bitter citrus scent
  • Grapefruit, Pink (Jamaica’s “Red Blush Grapefruit”, “Ruby Red Grapefruit”) (Citrus racemosa) – fresh, sweet citrus
  • Lavandin (Lavandula hybrida) – strong, camphor-like smell with light, floral undertones characteristic of Lavender
  • Lavender (Lavendula augustifolia) – fresh, sweet, floral-herbal
  • Lavender 40/42 (Lavandula augustifolia spp) – floral, herbal, fresh scent with balsamic woody undertone
  • Lemon (Jamaica’s “Lemon”) (Citrus x limon) – freshly squeezed lemons
  • Lemongrass (Jamaica’s “Fever Grass”, “Lemon Grass”) (Cymbopogon citratuss) – fresh earthy, citrusy scent
  • Lime (Jamaica’s “Key Lime”, “West Indian Lime”) (Citrus aurantifolia) – strong citrusy scent, slightly spicy
  • Lime, Sweet (Jamaica’s “Lime”, “Sweet Lime”) (Citrus limettioides) – fruity, lemony scent
  • Litsea Cubeba (Litsea cubeba) – crisp, citrus; sweeter and softer than lemongrass.
  • Nutmeg (Myristica fragrans) – rich, spicy, sweet and woody notes
  • Orange, Sweet (Jamaica’s “Sweet Orange”) (Citrus sinensis) – lively sweet citrus
  • Palmarosa (Cymbopogon martinii) – sweet, floral fragrance with a hint of rose
  • Patchouli (Pogostemon cablin) – warm, earthy aroma with fresh fruit-like tones
  • Peppermint (Jamaica’s “Pepper Mint”, “Menta”, “Brandy Mint”) (Mentha x piperita) – strong, minty, herbal warm undertones
  • Pineapple (Jamaica’s “Pine”) (Ananas comosus) – sweet, warm pineapple scent
  • Rosemary (Jamaica’s “Rosemary”, “Rock Rosemary”) (Rosmarinus officinalis) – sweet, herbal aroma
  • Rosewood (Renewable Source) (Aniba roseodora) – sweet, warm and woody with some spice, floral and fruit notes
  • Sage (Dalmatian) (Salvia officinalis) – spicy, sharp, and very herbal scent
  • Sandalwood (Santalum album) – rich, sweet and floral with deep wood notes; exotic & seductive scent
  • Spearmint (Jamaica’s “Black Mint”, “Jamaican Peppermint”, “Mint”) (Mentha spicata) – fresh and minty, but sweeter then peppermint
  • Tangerine (Jamaica’s “Mandarin”, “Tangerine”) (Citrus reticulata) – sweet, fresh, citrusy scent
  • Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) – fresh, camphor-like with mint & spice notes
  • Thyme (Jamaica’s “English Thyme”, “Common Garden Thyme”, “Mother of Thyme”) (Thymus vulgaris) – fresh, herbal, medicinal scent; sharp and warming
  • Vetiver (Jamaica’s “Khus Khus”) (Vetiveria zizanioides) – earthy, woody scent,
  • Ylang Ylang III (Cananga odorata) – sweet, sensual, floral scent; exotic; one of the most sought-after scents

Fragrance Oils we use:

  • Banana
  • Cool Crisp Cucumber
  • Fresh Mango
  • Guava Fig
  • Hibiscus and Acaiberry
  • Honeysuckle & White Patchouli
  • Mango Papaya
  • Papaya Basil Lime
  • Papaya Passion
  • Passion Fruit & Guava
  • Red Currant & Thyme
  • Starfruit and Mango