Wondering why your favourite essential oil smells or looks different than your last bottle? It’s very common that the next batch of any essential oil may be different than the previous. Here’s why:
Variations in growing conditions
Our essential oils are sourced from the best possible crops globally each year. Many variables can change from batch to batch. Soil conditions, climate, harvest time of day, and geographical region – these are all factors that can cause variations in plant growth and are difficult to control. We choose to source our oils from third parties, which means they don’t always come from the same place. This way, we’re not stuck with a lesser product if the growing conditions aren’t ideal one year (compare this to the essential oil brands who grow their own plants). So, while it may sound like a great idea to control the supply chain from seed to sale, we believe that flexible sourcing is best. Our essential oils will vary, but it is because we are trying to supply the best product possible.
Variations in chemical components
Variations in growing conditions create variations in the plant’s growth, which in turn affects the naturally occurring chemical components in that plant. For example, you may end up with a citrus oil that is high in limonene due to more sun than normal when it was grown. Even factors during the distillation process can create variations in chemical components from batch to batch. Temperates, pressure, duration, and more can affect the final result. While one essential oils should always have the same components present, the ratios of these components may differ, causing the scent to change.
Variations in storage conditions
How old an essential oil blend is will also greatly change the scent. This is mostly due to exposure to oxygen and heat. Generally, they should be stored in a cool (but not cold), dark place with the lid on tight. Some oils age better than others. For instance, fresh 4 Thieves smells very different than 4 Thieves that is 3 months old. Citrus oils tend to do less well over time, mostly due to exposure to oxygen (you can improve their life by reducing the air or “head space” in the bottle). Patchouli changes for the better, the older it is. We have some 7-year aged patchouli that is far superior to the fresher stuff.
Is there a way to change the smell if I don’t like it?
If you’re comparing a new bottle to an old bottle, the scents really can’t be compared. Along with the factors above, most essential oils degrade in quality over time. So while you may like the “old” smell, it may not have the full therapeutic value of a fresher batch.
If the bottle you just received is a brand new batch, it may just need to sit for a while for the scents to develop. Try leaving the lid off – but for no more than a day. This may help mellow out the scents. Try this first as it can help without changing the chemical constituents.
If you are looking for a specific scent, you might want to experiment with blending yourself. . For example, if you like an earthier scent, try adding a small amount of patchouli. If you like a sweeter scent, trying adding some ylang ylang. Add a drop at a time to your bottle until you achieve the scent you like. If adjusting a blend, it’s best to use oils that are already present in that blend. When working with single notes, refer to our essential oils pages – each oil has a list of suggested oils that blend well together.
Alternatively, you can look for an aromatherapist to help you. It’s best to find someone local so you can work together to achieve your desired scent.