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Short Version: What are your experiences working with Spikenard essential oil?

 

I recently got my hands on Spikenard essential oil for the first time. It's one of those oils that I have been saving pennies on the side for over time, along with Vetiver and Oak Moss. With those last two, they have been a what-you-smell-is-what-you-get experience from the start, which gave me some confidence when trying them out in solid perfumes/colognes for the first time, despite their high prices.

 

With the Spikenard, though, it seems to be a more mysterious and transformative oil, from what I gather reading pages about it around the web. I'm not sure what to expect for its potency, as far as how much per ounce of blended aromatic oil is needed to make a noticeable difference, how much difference it will make, and how it will transform as the overall aroma of the blend completes its lifespan on my skin. I've never seen so many people differing or even struggling describe what it smells like, in the bottle, out of the bottle, in products, during its dry down, etc. How much it does or does not overpower other types of notes, how long it generally lasts.

 

Also since this is my first encounter with it, I don't know how to tell how nice or not it is, if the quality is where it should be or not. I can say that it is a blue-green hue, which I read is a good sign.

 

At over $30 for just 15ml, I'm a little hesitant to just play with it. I'm not struggling by any means, but I do have to be frugal and methodical with my hobby stuff, especially while trying to build a little  work-in-progress. business.

 

The way it smells to me in the bottle reminds me very much so of pet stores that specialize in reptiles. I'm a major herpetology fan, myself, so I have spent a lot of time in those types of stores, and the combined aromas of the habitats between turtles, frogs, toads, snakes, lizards, etc - this Spikenard EO reminds me so much of that, from the reptile/amphibian habitat bedding and the sort of dank humidity, as well. I imagine many people would think it "stinks" but I have a more nostalgic perception of it, so. 

 

Many pages I have read about this EO indicate that it should smell quite differently during a dry down outside of the bottle. I took some of the advice I found, and tried putting just a tiny drop of it on a cotton q-tip. Its aroma however did not change over time in this experiment, but just became gradually more faint, no transformation, though. In its very faint state, it turned maybe sort of.. musty cabin.. like an old and little cabin in the woods, with some slight wood seepage issues, in cooler weather. Something I personally like, but again as far as blending..

 

It was also very STRONG, even at just one drop, but that is a good thing to me for how much it costs lol, don't want to have a need a lot of it in a blend.

 

So! I'm wondering if my experience so far is normal. Dank reptile habitats = normal? I can imagine using this EO in very tiny amounts for some more unorthodox fantasy musk blends. I personally like it, but again I have an unusual subjective perception of it. When someone wants something "earthy" they usually (consciously or unconsciously) are thinking earthy as in patchouli. This Spikenard EO like a very humid, musty kind of earthy.

 

I'm very excited to start experimenting with it, but again with the cost.. also kind of nervous, too. 

 

If anyone has experience working with this one and has thoughts to share, I would be very happy to read your input and about you experiences, especially in skin products.

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Interesting.  I see it's a rare plant.

I read that some say it smells "mossy."  I wonder what it smells like mixed with Petitgrain.

 

"Spikenard is at least as endangered as Rosewood, which is a slow-growing rainforest tree and is not easy to cultivate. Although spikenard is a small plant, it is also difficult to cultivate, though there have been some attempts. It typically grows wild on rocky soil at very high elevations: 10-15,000 feet (3,000-4,500 meters)."   Article

 

 

 

 

Edited by birdcharm

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3 hours ago, birdcharm said:

Interesting.  I see it's a rare plant.

I read that some say it smells "mossy."  I wonder what it smells like mixed with Petitgrain.

 

"Spikenard is at least as endangered as Rosewood, which is a slow-growing rainforest tree and is not easy to cultivate. Although spikenard is a small plant, it is also difficult to cultivate, though there have been some attempts. It typically grows wild on rocky soil at very high elevations: 10-15,000 feet (3,000-4,500 meters)."   Article

 

 

 

 

 

I haven't experienced the scent of Petitgrain yet, myself, or at least not that I was aware of. I might try some the next time I place an order from mountain rose herbs, I see they have it, and it's a more affordable one, though they have two different types to choose from. 

 

I wonder if there are different types of Spikenard being cultivated? I would be very unpleasantly surprised if MRH was selling an endangered herb,  they are usually an exceptionally eco-conscious company, I always feel confident buying from them on matters of that nature, but they do call it "American Spikenard" which reminds me of the "Australian Sandalwood" specification. 

 

I wonder if that furthermore explains some of the differences in the way people describe its scent. I read from several sources around the web that Spikenard's dry down was really something lovely and special and was all prepared for this magical transformation, but the bottle I have of it, at least, smelled like turtle butt to the very end lol. Again I can definitely see a tiny amount of it being interesting in an earthy blend, and I do have a sort of nostalgic attachment to that musty aquatic-earthy smell, but I was definitely.. surprised.

Edited by NaughtyNancy
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From the description it sounds like it would be a good fit for a 'forest floor' note in a perfume blend; mossy, damp, earthy, maybe a bit of decay too. I am just guessing of course, I have no experience with this EO, but I have a knack for blending and my thoughts are this might lend the right balance to woodsy, foresty, and earthy type notes in a blend.

 

I just found a description from Camden-Grey:

The aroma of Spikenard is leathery, earthy and fungal, but sweet, and is a reddish brown or amber-colored oil Spikenard is widely mentioned in the bible. It is a very calming oil, both emotionally and physically, and is of special value in serious skin conditions. It’s said to be a powerful antifungal and is indicated for psoriasis, athlete's foot, fungal infections, dandruff and, emotionally, for deep sadness.

 

It is a powerful oil for grounding, for emotional needs. Spikenard is known in aromatherapy circles as "a woman's oil" and is recommended for use in spiritual blends or blends for meditation. Blends well with Cypress, Frankincense, Lavender, Lemon, Rose, Geranium, Clary Sage and Petitgrain. Flash point: 160F

Edited by Candybee
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I have used it, but not in products.  It smells a bit like mushrooms to me, very earthy.  It's an awesome mixer, I usually brighten it with Lemon or Satsuma.

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20 hours ago, kandlekrazy said:

I have used it, but not in products.  It smells a bit like mushrooms to me, very earthy.  It's an awesome mixer, I usually brighten it with Lemon or Satsuma.

 

May I ask what you use it in?

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2 hours ago, Candybee said:

 

May I ask what you use it in?

 

I just add it to carrier oil and use it on my skin or in a diffuser.

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On 11/29/2017 at 11:13 AM, Candybee said:

From the description it sounds like it would be a good fit for a 'forest floor' note in a perfume blend; mossy, damp, earthy, maybe a bit of decay too. I am just guessing of course, I have no experience with this EO, but I have a knack for blending and my thoughts are this might lend the right balance to woodsy, foresty, and earthy type notes in a blend.

 

I just found a description from Camden-Grey:

The aroma of Spikenard is leathery, earthy and fungal, but sweet, and is a reddish brown or amber-colored oil Spikenard is widely mentioned in the bible. It is a very calming oil, both emotionally and physically, and is of special value in serious skin conditions. It’s said to be a powerful antifungal and is indicated for psoriasis, athlete's foot, fungal infections, dandruff and, emotionally, for deep sadness.

 

It is a powerful oil for grounding, for emotional needs. Spikenard is known in aromatherapy circles as "a woman's oil" and is recommended for use in spiritual blends or blends for meditation. Blends well with Cypress, Frankincense, Lavender, Lemon, Rose, Geranium, Clary Sage and Petitgrain. Flash point: 160F

 

I like how you think in your blending. I went ahead and tried just one drop of it in a couple blends this morning. One of them turned out really nice (to my own tastes). I added a drop of it a combination of lilac FO, lily of the valley FO, cypress EO and patchouli EO, heavy on the florals, lighter on the cypress/patchouli and just a drop of the spikenard. It came out very dark, earthy and "forest floor" ish as you worded it, but the florals really smoothed it out, it is quite ethereal and lovely but also very grounded and authentic smelling. There is hope for this turtle butt EO! Haha.

Edited by NaughtyNancy
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Now that combo sounds really intriguing! I had an idea it would also tie together earthy notes with florals. There are some EOs that have that ability to add another dimension to a scent blend you didn't know it needed until you try it.

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12 hours ago, NaughtyNancy said:

 

I like how you think in your blending. I went ahead and tried just one drop of it in a couple blends this morning. One of them turned out really nice (to my own tastes). I added a drop of it a combination of lilac FO, lily of the valley FO, cypress EO and patchouli EO, heavy on the florals, lighter on the cypress/patchouli and just a drop of the spikenard. It came out very dark, earthy and "forest floor" ish as you worded it, but the florals really smoothed it out, it is quite ethereal and lovely but also very grounded and authentic smelling. There is hope for this turtle butt EO! Haha.

LOL Turtle butt, now that describes it better than mushrooms!  I use it for medicinal reasons so I try to blend with what I need that day, but florals probably lighten it a bunch.  I honestly don't see using this in products unless it's like you did 1 drop added to a bunch of other drops.

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9 hours ago, kandlekrazy said:

LOL Turtle butt, now that describes it better than mushrooms!  I use it for medicinal reasons so I try to blend with what I need that day, but florals probably lighten it a bunch.  I honestly don't see using this in products unless it's like you did 1 drop added to a bunch of other drops.

 

Yeah it reminds me a bit of tea tree oil, in regards to the challenge of working it smoothly into a blend. I love the smell of tea tree in small amounts, but as for getting it smoothly into a blend for a perfume/cologne.. it's iffy. Sometimes the local soap ladies will do a combination like tea tree and lavender, and that I really love for the shower, but it's just such a powerful/dominating aroma, it's hard to get it to play nice with other notes in more complex blends. The vetiver I tried worked out really well in a lot of blends, same with the oak moss, but they are both pretty tame when added in just small amounts, they just add a little something extra for just a few drops. Vetiver smells to me a lot like garden dirt, it reminds me of pulling carrots from the garden bed, so it adds a sort of garden earth touch to florals and such. I've had a couple people take a whiff of the spikenard/florals, and they don't think it is bad, but they definitely prefer the vetiver. I am thinking maybe I ought to just check out the medicinal qualities of spikenard like yourself and not waste it in perfume blends trying to make it work. I use tea tree with virgin coconut as a sort of catch-all for home remedy stuff, probably couldn't hurt to branch out a bit.

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I love tea tree and lavender! But I also love mixing tea tree with lavender and eucalyptus (globulus) and that smells even better!

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7 hours ago, Candybee said:

I love tea tree and lavender! But I also love mixing tea tree with lavender and eucalyptus (globulus) and that smells even better!

 

Yes! That's the magic sinus infection spray in my family haha.

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