How I Perform an Organoleptic Testing to Try Out a New Oil

9:24 AM Posted by jo

I perform an Organoleptic testing when I try out new essential oils. Organoleptic testing means that you use your senses to test and evaluate essential oils. I try paint a picture in my head of the aroma and to see  what color, shape, gender, and temperature it has. I also pay attention to what emotional responses I get from each individual aroma.

Test with a perfume blotter
 One way to test the aroma is to take a perfume blotter, which is a thin strip of paper, and dip it in the bottle. This is a great way to see if the essential oils are diluted with other substances since it most likely will show on the blotter. For example, Chamomile has no color, and it leaves no residue on the blotter. If the essential oil is diluted with other substances I could tell by looking at the blotter, since a diluted oil may leave some residue which I know shouldn't be there for chamomile.
It is in the base note which usually appears on the blotter after one to two hours, that you can detect diluents or other additives. Diluents are substances that are odorless and added to oils to extend the product for commercial use.

Mind and Body
 I also smell the aroma straight from the bottle to see what effect the scent have on my mind and body. After a while you learn to tell quality by smelling the essential oils straight from the bottle, and you can tell an inferior aroma from a superior.

Three different notes
Essential oils have three different notes so I smell the blotter at different times to observe the different notes. The first note is the top note which only lasts for about 30 minutes. The top note is the first impression you have of the aroma and it is very difficult to reproduce it synthetically. Since it disappears within 30 minutes I smell the blotter frequently during this time. Chamomile's top note is sweet, sour-bitter, warm, floral and herbaceous.

The middle note appears after the top note has faded and it lasts much longer on the blotter than the top note. It is often less characteristic of the oil and it is easier to reproduce artificially. The middle note normally lasts between 30 minutes to 4 hours. Chamomile's middle note is softer than the top note and more full-bodied. It is sweet, herbal, floral, intense, and intense and fruity at the same time.

The base note can last anywhere from 5 to 36 hours and provides the fixative quality of the essential oil. The fixative quality of an essential oil is very important to a perfume maker because it decides how long the fragrance will last. Chamomile's base note is dirty, earthy, musky and somewhat deeper scent with a sweet perfumery dry out note.

Feel the oil 
 Another way to check the essential oil is to rub it between your fingers since different oils feel different depending on viscosity etc. Chamomile dries quickly when rubbed between the fingers, but if it was diluted it might have left an oily residue. Oils like cinnamon and pathouli will leave some discoloration.

Tasting the oils is another way that can help in assessing quality. Ingesting oils is a controversial topic. If you try this, only try a tiny drop on the tip of the tongue after reviewing the contraindications of the oil. Essential oils can be cut with a harmful substance like dipropylene glycol that will make the oil taste unusually sweet. If the oil has been cut with diethylthalate it will make the tongue numb. Just to confuse you more, essential oils that contain eugenol can cause numbness too. Eugenol acts as a local anesthetic.

 I use essential oils from a company that produces therapeutic grade essential oils. I trust their oils to be safe for me, and they also provide information on what oils I can safely ingest. I still like to perform an organoleptic test to become familiar with a new aroma. I just don't need to perform the test to test for quality anymore.

Before you leave:

I recommend that you always perform a skin patch test when you try a new oil on your skin.

Check out my safety page to make sure you are aware of any contrindications before you use essential oils. Some oils are not suitable when suffering from certain conditions. Also, Read this Before You Start Using Essential oils. Some oils should not be applied prior to sun exposure so make sure you check this list before spending time in the sun.

Not sure how to apply the oils? Visit these pages to learn how to apply the oils:
If you're new to essential oils you might want to check out my Getting Started Guide. 


Johanna is an aromatherapist and she is passionate about educating people about health, essential oils, real food, natural remedies, and nutrition so they make healthier choices in their lives. 
Follow Johanna on twitter and facebook for more health tips and information.

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