Behind The Scent: No. 36: Wild Herb Tonic

Chocolate-filled, heart-shaped boxes and bright candy bags line the shelves of my local pharmacy — the rude reminder of being propelled forward in time, looking ahead for what’s next, for time to pass by quickly. It seems to be the norm nowadays, the idea of looking ahead to the next thing like holidays, weekends, or the next task to cross off a to-do list.

As we’ve welcomed the new year, we’ve prioritized creating space for intentionality and everyday self-care rituals that provide moments of respite, of reflection, and of focus. To experience the present moment fully and connect with the senses while appreciating our surroundings as they are. Our latest scent, No 36: Wild Herb Tonic, is the ideal fragrance for creating an atmosphere dedicated to moments of calm and focus. It’s inspired by soothing walks through overgrown herb gardens, wild forest groves, and age-old remedies. This elixir-like scent will tune your senses into the invigorating and grounding effects of nature, transforming your atmosphere into a restorative sanctuary.
Behind the Scent | Common Scents: The P.F. Candle Co. Blog

We sat down with part of our development crew to talk about our latest scent and the inspiration behind it.

Behind the Scent | Common Scents: The P.F. Candle Co. Blog
Jade, Development Manager
1. What is the process behind creating a scent like Wild Herb Tonic?
Scent development can start in many different ways. Sometimes it’s about showcasing a particular material or combination of materials which piques our interest. Other times we build off of a personal memory, a specific location or even an era in time, like the 70s. In any case, our guiding light in scent development has always been to tap into how a scent makes us feel and what mood we want to set for our customers.

Wild Herb Tonic came about as we found ourselves gravitating to more aromatic and herbaceous scents. Developing Ojai Lavender last year sort of cracked open the door to considering what a distinctly herbal scent in the P.F. style could smell like. We wanted it to feel natural yet luxurious, down to earth yet elevated, healing and indulgent. Herbs in their many forms and uses have such transformative power, and that is what we hoped to convey through this scent.

Once we’ve landed on an idea, our development process includes working closely with fragrance experts to execute and perfect the scent profile, extensive testing and feedback from our team and customers, and visual storytelling through collected imagery. We love to create a fully realized little world for each scent we release which helps to bring us back time and again to the feeling we want to capture.

2. How did you choose the specific ingredients (eg. top, middle, base) based on the inspo for Wild Herb Tonic?
A concept like Wild Herb Tonic has a very clear olfactive direction so when considering specific materials we wanted to feature ingredients which may be a bit unexpected. For instance, the idea of an herbal scent might bring to mind rosemary or sage, ubiquitous materials commonly found in many different scent profiles. In this case, using thyme as the star herb felt like a sweet spot where it is a familiar plant to most, but many of us consider thyme as a strictly culinary ingredient. The association to its culinary uses also reinforces the notion of self-care and nourishment. Again, it always comes back to feeling!

Generally when selecting ingredients for a new scent concept we will start at a place like this and build on it. We have a small library of materials on hand which help us with our initial ideating. By playing around with different combinations we get a sense of how different ingredients enhance or detract from the composition and eventually the concept starts to take shape. This helps us establish a baseline concept which we then take to one of the several fragrance houses that we work with. Our library of materials can only take us so far, so we rely on our partnerships with fragrance experts to really bring our concepts to life. Their palette of materials is vast and they have the critical technical expertise to help us ensure that our fragrance formulas are optimized for the best performance in each application of the scent. From here, we move onto a rigorous testing process where we often revise and tweak formulas several times and test, test, test until we finally get the result we’re happy with!

3. What do you love about this new scent?
From its initial aromatic jolt which brings about a sense of clarity and vigor, to the lingering notes which settle into a more grounded tone, I love that Wild Herb Tonic feels both true to P.F. 's fragrance style and also totally fresh and exciting. It’s surprisingly versatile, which you may not expect from an herbal scent, and I love the complexity of layers that come through a little differently each time I experience it. It’s like taking a mini forest bath in my own home. Definitely a new favorite!
Behind the Scent | Common Scents: The P.F. Candle Co. Blog
Kim, Development Lead

1. From the development aspect, what are the top things you focus on when developing a new scent?
There are several things we focus on when developing a new scent: (1) A unique scent profile that can be enjoyed by a wide range of people, (2) product scent throw and performance, and (3) product stability. We go through several rounds of testing before settling on the right formula. We’ve created an extensive scent throw testing method that allows us to quantify the throw strength, getting live feedback from our staff, and then conducting in-home testing to verify our results. We also perform stability testing to ensure our products are stable in different environments without a change in the profile or performance. Most importantly, it has to be a scent that we all love and know fans of P.F. would love it as well. We read everyone's reviews and comments and take them into consideration when developing and testing a new scent.

2. What are some challenges you face when developing a new scent and how do you address them?
A challenge that we faced during development with multiple product applications is ensuring the scent remains the same for each product. Because each application may require different materials and oils, the scent profile may be slightly different and some notes become more pronounced than others. For instance, in incense form, you may pick up more woody and earthy notes, and in the reed diffuser, you may pick up more citrus and camphor notes. We do extensive testing to achieve a similar profile across all products and get feedback from our staff during development. From there, we make revisions as needed if one product isn't performing as expected.

3. What do you love about this new scent?
Wild Herb Tonic is beautifully complex and has become one of my favorite scents from our Classic Line. It's comforting and grounding yet bright and invigorating as well! I'm transported to an outdoor spa every time I burn this scent, which is a fun break from the hustle and bustle of city life. I really love the herbaceous and woody notes — it's a grounding olfactory tonic for my soul.


Jan. 24, 4-7 PM

Echo Park Flagship

We’re celebrating the release of our newest scent joining our Classic Line, No. 36: Wild Herb Tonic, at our Echo Park shop! Enjoy drinks by Wild Tonic + ice cold beer while you shop, and get a free P.F. matchbook with every purchase, while supplies last.

To be the first to shop this new scent, launching in-store and online on Jan. 24th, sign up for our newsletters!
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1 comment

Buying herbal products online has been a game-changer for me. It offers convenience and a wide range of options right at my fingertips. Plus, I appreciate the chance to read reviews and make informed choices. Thanks for sharing this valuable information – it’s made my herbal shopping experience a breeze!"
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stella September 15, 2023

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