On Feb 1st I was delighted to launch my first Limited Edition bar of soap.
The theme was Valentines day, and this presented me with a few problems to figure out from the get go.
You see, while of course I have lots of female customers, who are most appreciated of course, The Black Stuff is primarily positioned as a masculine brand. The scents I create, generally aren't hugely appealing to my wife...
So with that in mind, I didn't want to create a feminine soap featuring typical Valentines imagery. I didn't necessarily want to create a product that would be bought as a gift for others.
This lead me to settle on relaxation as the theme for my limited edition launch. I wanted something that could be purchased around Valentines day, but for ones self.
I started to brainstorm names, and research essential oils and ingredients that have calming properties. While I realise that soap is a wash off product, and a lot of the essential oil properties is likely consumed during the saponification process, I thought this might be a great way to come up with the scent.
Out of the list of essential oils that I created, there was one that jumped off the page at me. Once I got a sample of it, I knew I needed to try and use it. That oil was Neroli, or Orange Blossom Oil.
It takes 1000kg of Orange Blossom flowers to create 1kg of Neroli Oil. It's very concentrated, and incredibly expensive. But the scent is out of this world. It's used in a lot of perfumes and colognes. It is however, quite feminine.
Combine the feminine scent with a very expensive oil and I quickly realised I only wanted a teeny tiny bit of it in each soap. Just enough to fill your nostrils on first sniff, but not over power and dominate the scent (and break the bank).
The rest of the essential oils I settled on were as follows:
A base note of ylang ylang. I use this in my Eucalyptus on Ice to great effect so this was an easy choice for me. It is also quite floral, and very relaxing.
A second base note of Cedarwood. This was used to level out the ylang ylang, and keep the scent from becoming too floral. It also supposedly reduces stress.
My middle notes of White Camphor and Coriander are two new oils that I haven't worked with before. The white camphor which is purported to reduce anxiety and relieve tension, has a great woody smell. Not to far removed from birch oil which I love. Coriander, has a really interesting scent. Spicy, herbal and exotic. But one I had to adjust a few times as it's quite overpowering.
The top notes of the scent are from the neroli oil, and I added fir essential oil to it, to balance it out and keep it masculine. It also matched the white camphor really well and is supposedly very calming and relaxing.
I then decided to add crushed rosemary to the soap. I wanted to include something unique to this soap, and my research through up rosemary as a good candidate due to it's interesting benefits around relaxation and alertness.
Finally I wanted this to be a bubbly, smooth bar. So I decided to add brown sugar and honey to help it create better lather and feel softer. The sweetness of the honey is also detectable in the scent, and it creates the color swirl in the soap.
As for the name, many were brainstormed, but the second one of my friends said "Relax the Cacks" jokingly, I knew that was the one!
Overall, I was delighted to launch this soap, and even happier (and relieved) to read the superb feedback from my customers, old and new.
At the time of writing I have about 100 of these soaps left to sell in the USA and about 60 in Ireland. When they are gone they're...
Have a look at some of the great feedback I have received on Facebook (I've asked permission to share these but blurred out their personal details):