Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Day 64 ~ One Year, One Nose

Cocoa Absolute

I remember 'back in the day' when having a bottle of cocoa absolute to formulate soap scents was like having a bottle of sandalwood, or a really great bottle of patchouli, or -- well, you get where this is goin', right? So, yeah, cocoa absolute was a must-have in the artisanal soapmaker's arsenal. When I had the shop, Delicia, here in the Tower District, one of our best sellers, especially around the holidays, was the cocoa-mint soap and body butter combo. People were just nuts for them and I couldn't keep the stuff on the shelves. That was back when I had a river of creative ideas that I was at my leisure to play out. I even made a soap loaf that was made from all natural scenting materials to create a Neopolitan ice cream 'flavored' soap -- the vanilla layer was heavy with vanilla infusion oil and fat, juicy Madagascar vanilla beans macerated to a pulp, with a pinch of vanilla absolute; davana and vanilla and red mandarin made up the strawberry portion of the scent (and it worked), and lastly, cocoa absolute with a bit of vanilla infusion oil made the chocolate portion. Adults were intrigued by the scent and appearance, but it was the little ones who really went bonkers for it. These days, however, my lonely bottle of cocoa absolute is rarely chosen for formulation, but it is often picked up and sniffed just for the decadence factor. Cocoa absolute smells of the richest dark chocolates, sweet, earthy, nutty, floral; there is an elegance about it on dilution, like it is a thousand scents rolled into one and chocolate is the least important. On the dilution, cocoa absolute lends a smoothness to a perfume formulation, much in the same way as vanilla, but less linear. It is possible to include cocoa absolute in a formulation and stump people as to just what that particular nuance is -- is it a sweet earthy element? a rare flower? the butter of a fatty nut?

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