Aroma Profile: Cis-3-Hexenol

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Musings on making scents with … cis-3-hexenol. While I was doing this evaluation I was really mad — pissed off to be quite honest — with LV and seeing as how I was unwilling to let that ruin my plans for the day, I went ahead with my evaluations anyway but what I did notice was how difficult it was to focus on the olfactive sense when upset! Who knew?! When I did allow myself to let go and abandon to my sense of smell, Cis-3-hexenol swept in all flouncy and green to lift my spirits (well, that and Pat Metheny playing softly in the background) along with the absolutely stunning autumn day that came to greet me! Yes, I’m blessed I finally ended up realizing, inspite of and because of the sometimes crumminess that life can be. Hurray!

Common name(s): Cis-3-Hexenol a.k.a. leaf alcohol or (Z)-3-hexen-1-ol

Chemical name: cis-3-Hexen-1-ol

CAS #: 928-96-1

Supplier: Hermitage Oils (I originally purchased mine from Pell Wall) in the US via Perfume Supply House

Note: Top

Family: Green

Diffusion: 7

Dilution: 10

Blends well with: bay leaf oil, cedarwood oil virginia, clary sage, fir balsam abs., galbanum oil, ho leaf, leerall, lavender abs., linalool, lime oil, litsea cubeba, mimosa abs., oakmoss abs., black pepper., phenethyl acetate., etc. (TGSC

Interesting bits: Cis-3-hexenol is an alcohol and its esters are also important flavour and fragrance raw materials. It is a colorless oily liquid with an intense grassy-green odor of freshly cut green grass and leaves. It is produced in small amounts by most plants and it acts as an attractant to many predatory insects. Cis-3-Hexen-1-ol is a very important aroma compound that is used in fruit and vegetable flavors and in perfumes. (Wikipedia)

Also called Leaf Alcohol this chemical is immediately reminiscent to most people of the smell of a freshly mown lawn: distinctive, evocative and very green. It is widely released by plants when they are damaged and forms part of the scent of many freshly crushed leaves and is present in traces in many essential oils. Use this in tiny amounts to add a bright, green top-note to florals of many kinds: it is especially effective in carnation and lily of the valley scents. In larger amounts it is effective to give a modern freshness to Fougère or Chypre types among others.Can be used to good effect in combination with the acetate. (Hermitage Oils)

Their nose: fresh green cut grass foliage vegetable herbal oily; green, grassy, melon rind-like with a pungent freshness; fresh, green, raw fruity with a pungent depth (TGSC)

A versatile green, characteristic grass note, excellent addition to strawberry and raspberry and other fruity fragrances. (Perfume Supply House)

My nose: Cis-3-hexenol opens green, somewhat sharp with a hint of floral freshness, springtime, also I get the smell just after a rainy moment, pungent. There is a softness I have never noticed before as this is not my first time smelling it. 15min and now I get the cut grass effect, hay a bit, but already making a retreat (seriously???!). Yep, wet, cut grass. Wet hay. 30min later I couldn’t believe my nose picked up a spicy, curry scent! Fading with every minute but I still pick up the green grass thing. Should have been obvious but it still shocked me to note that I was also picking up on a sense of groundedness to cis-3-hexenol! 45min and I find the scent just about gone and all I get is spices and fresh cut, wet hay not grass — the music in the background has stopped so there’s no way that I am confused about this, that’s definitely what I get. After 1hr the green, spicy, grass trio is almost gone. What’s left smells like old, wet grass, mouldy almost if I keep sniffing long enough. 2hrs into the evolution and I get dry, dry, dry. If I could only harness that dryness into a deodorant I would be happy camper, the answer to my natural DIY skin care prayers! But I digress…still getting the curry scent and there’s nothing at all refined about cis-3-hexenol now, it’s totally bland to my nose at this point. Lacklustre. It continues to be dry after 3hrs only now I pick up a colour that seems to accompany it and it’s not green but brown. Brown like the crisp, dry, autumn leaves that crunch under your feet on a cool October morning. Curry still but mostly dry is the predominant sensation. 7hrs into the drydown and cis-3-hexenol seems to emit a touch of cut onions, forget grass! It’s pale and dry and old. But hey, it still leaves an impression on the strip. That, I was not expecting. Hint of green grass, too. 12hrs and that wonderful powdery, softness that was there right at the opening is back! It’s evolved into a floral, feminine, girly, gentle and kind scent now. How interesting is that? Perhaps it’s because during the evolution of the drydown I have evolved and feel a need to be kinder to myself. Now there’s a totally unexpected revelation!

I hope you enjoyed this evaluation and I wish you a week of warm surprises!

MC


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