Aldehyde C14

Common name(s): Aldehyde C14, Gamma-undecalactone

Chemical name: 5-heptyloxolan-2-one

CAS #: 104-67-6/57084-17-0

Supplier: 

Note: Heart

Family: Fruity

Diffusion: 3-5 (medium)

Dilution: 10%

Blends well with: Nonalactone, Oranage Blossom, Gardenia, Tuberose, beeswax absolute, benzyl salicylate, cassia bark eo, coriander seed eo, ethyl vanillin, lavender absolute Bulgaria, oakmoss absolute, sandalwood, vetiver eo, violet leaf absolute, ylang ylang, tonka bean absolute.

Interesting bits:  In spite of the name this material is not an aldehyde but a lactone as the chemical name confirms.

Not actually an aldehyde, it was given this name by the original creators to hide it’s true origins. (Olfactik)

Arctander has quite a bit to say about gamma-Undecalactone, including: “This material is widely used, although in minute amounts, in perfume compositions. In order of frequency in use, it ranks very high among the materials on the perfumer’s shelf. But it is not the kind of material ordinarily sold in drum-lots. However, after the success of a new perfume (type) in the 1950s, the title material had a further increase in popularity, when numerous perfumers used it at unusually high levels along with new non-Nitro musk chemicals, in order to duplicate part of the new note in the successful perfume. The author has yet to see a duplication which sells better than the original (in perfumes), but it must be admitted that Undecalactone drew benefit from this popularity. lt blends excellently with Nonalactone in Gardenia and Tuberose, and in many versions of Lilac bases. It extends the depth of an Orange blossom often too harsh with conventional materials, and it is a frequent component of Honeysuckle, etc. Concentrations far below 1% are effective, and it is at times possible to ruin a fragrance with 0.1 or 0.2% of the title material, just as well as it is possible to double the floral sweetness and depth of another fragrance with that amount of Undecalactone. The material was originally used in Violet perfumes, so popular at the time of discovery of this Lactone (about 1900). But its most important use today is in flavors, primarily in imitation Peach, but also in many fruity types, often as a fixative for the very volatile fruit esters.” (Pell Wall)

Their nose: Fruity, peach, creamy, fatty, lactonic, apricot, ketonic, coconut, nutty, vanilla (TGSC)

My nose: Aldehyde C14 has a sharp, somewhat soft opening, I know those two terms seem juxtaposed, but that’s how my brain interprets it. It twinkles a bit, smells somewhat oily and quickly moves into dry territory. After 15min it smells quite dry, polished, smooth with a hint of a paint-like effect. 30min after the opening this note is sheer, light, considerably dusty, thin and I can pick up the smell of the paper through the scent. 45min now and I’m still struck with how dry this note is, not so unpleasant to me as when I first met it a couple of years ago, I couldn’t stand it! It’s a pale note, stiff and scorched. 1hr later there is a tartiness, that remains piercing and dry although now a green quality seems to have shown up and a vacant sort of emptiness dots the olfactive landscape. It remains shrill as a note, thin and even unsettling, sharp and biting. The dryness is what satisfies me about this material after 2hrs. In the 3hrs of its evolution what remains is the green, dry, stripped bare expression, keeping it thin and sleek. I can see it adding this specific quality to a formula. 7hrs on and Aldehyde C14 remains thing, long and lanky. It’s polished, assertive and yes, still green somehow this keeps up in the background. 10hrs into the dry down and what I smell is twinkling light and airy. I can smell the paper, brisk and bright even after 10 hours. 24hrs later this is pretty much the same as before only bone dry, arid and unswept, piercing and brittle.

Some of the things I mused on while profiling this material: not to overthink what I was experiencing. Some relationships and connections my brain and nose would make seemed really odd to me at the time but I accepted them for what they were. I trusted what my brain told me, that what I smell is what I smell, and keep the profile simple.

Aldehyde C14 seemed to score the paper, making it a part of itself and the impression I picked up. And finally after hanging out with this note for 5 days the scent has polluted the other two scent strips I am testing. Insane! This is a heads up for me that olfactive pollution does happen and scent molecules from one material can affect those around it. That’s why some of my aroma chemicals are in double zip-lock bags.

If you have any particular questions that you’d like answered please let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear them!

See you on Friday!

MC

Sweet Basil, essential oil

Musings on making scents with … Sweet Basil essential oil. I just could not pick up a trail on this one, again probably due to the cold in the room. Now it’s probably my lack of many years of trained smelling but to me this is a natural essential oil with the most linear dry down I’ve ever experienced! I mean this smells very much the same from opening to final dry out.

Common name … Basil, sweet, essential oil

Botanical name ... Ocimum basilicum

Supplier … White Lotus Aromatics

Note … Top/Heart

Family … Mint/Green

Diffusion … 5

Dilution … 10%

Blends well with … Bergamot, black pepper, cardamom, citronella, clary sage, coriander, geranium, hyssop, lavender, lime, marjoram, melissa, neroli, oak moss, orange, peppermint, rosemary ct. verbenone, sandalwood, spearmint, verbena, ylang ylang. Basil essential oil had a valuable modifying effect on green notes. (Eden Botanicals)

My nose … Sweet Basil starts off pungent and crisp, cool, clean, medicinal, light and a hint of oak moss (I know, weird, huh?). Then, in a total twist, after 15min I can pick up commonalities with lavender, dry and twig-like, with something floral now poking out. It’s still very sweet after 30min with a hint of mint. At 45min it’s now crisp and clean with a bit more body, not as flimsy and weak in the opening. 1hr after the opening there is a vague sense of the floral but it sort of fades into sobriety becoming serious and discreet, definitely less screechy, less shrill. It’s dry, woody with still a hint of the floral lingering and a bit of the coolness of lavender dangling from the shirt tails after 2hrs. Heading into the 3hr mark it begins to warm up, just a bit, yet remains sweet and candy-like with a daub of peppermint. There’s a soapy quality at 7hrs that’s quite surprising, and though the candy note is still noticeable it appears quite flat. 24hrs on and this note is very much like lavender, twiggy, dry, parched with a touch of sweetness and the medicinal, but still very much alive on the strip. I followed sweet Basil essential oil to 36hrs and it held onto that peppermint quality but the most surprising thing was how much warmer it had grown with time compared to the opening.

Well that’s it for this week. I’m not sure which three synthetics I’ll be evaluating next week because I want to surprise myself too.  I wish you a wonderful weekend.

Take good care,

MC

Beeswax Absolute

Musings on making scents with … Beeswax absolute. The room is mighty cold, less than 12 degrees in here (don’t ask!) so I’m pretty sure the note didn’t evaporate as it typically would; I’m a bit out of practice and the dilutions are a bit aged, not a bad thing because if this means they’ve gone “off” or “bad” it’s just one more exercise for my nose to learn about this scent. Remember, only your nose can tell you if something does or doesn’t smell right. If to your nose it smells like its gone bad then it has, the ultimate authority where it comes to smell is you.

Source: Alambica

Common name: Beeswax absolute

Botanical name: Cera Alba

Note: Heart/Base

Family: Gourmand/Balsamic. Sometimes I really struggle with putting notes into a specific family because there are those that could fit into more than one, or those that fit almost but not perfectly, such is the case with beeswax absolute. Let your nose be the judge.

Diffusion: 3

Dilution: 10%

Blends well with: Ambrette seed, Cassie, chamomile, champaca, clary sage, clove bud, coconut, fir balsam, galbanum, ginger, hay, helichrysum, jasmine, mandarine, mimosa, orange blossom, orris root, osmanthus, rose, tobacco, tonka bean, tuberose, vanilla, vetiver, ylang ylang. Beeswax absolute is useful in perfumes where similar notes occur (as a modifier). (Eden Botanicals)

My nose: Right off the bat this smells a bit “off”, could be this batch of dilution has expired, or it’s too cold in the room or quite simply I’m out of practice, but I persevere: this smells sweet, thick and round if I could give it a shape. After just 15min there’s a hint of tobacco, warm, dry and intimate with very little projection. 30min on and beeswax absolute is soft, warm, comforting and close. 45min now and the scent strip smells strong, pungent, more like honeycomb, sweet and uncomplicated. It’s 2hrs into the evolution of beeswax absolute and it’s drier, and much more reminiscent of tobacco than beeswax! 3hrs later what my mind keeps noticing about this note is how it dries down to a deep tobacco absolute smell, dry – like stepping onto a bed of autumn leaves. Does my nose pick up smoke? I can’t be sure as I did just throw another log on the fire. At the 7hr mark the scent strip is very dry with barely a hint of beeswax yet still very tobacco-like. 12hrs now and oddly enough what I’m picking up is a dry, somewhat alcoholic note similar to cognac. Still powerfully reminiscent of tobacco, parched and brittle. Good tenacity, it’s holding up really well in the dry down. Subtle and intimate. 24hrs and it’s still heavily recalling tobacco. I can smell aged honeycomb hidden in the recesses. It’s dry and calming to me, like a balm – yes, it’s like smelling honeycomb wax candles! I followed this note up to 36hrs and it remains warm, soft, tobacco-like and still is very alive on the strip.

I’m still working on my iPad so no “bells and whistles” till next week, just the facts. Feel free to share in the comments your experience working with beeswax absolute and what your brain picks up when you smell it.

Cheers!

MC

Frankincense essential oil

Musings on making scents with … with Frankincense essential oil it hit me I am always as surprised as any of you at how closely my impression sometimes parallels those of some of the other noses online, surprised to note that although we may describe what we smell differently often it is the same words that confirms our collective awareness of an odour impression.

Common name: Frankincense, Olibanum, Luban

Botanical name: Boswellia sacra

Supplier: Eden Botanicals

Note: Base

Family: Amber, Woody

Diffusion: 5

Dilution: 10%

Blends well with: Bergamot, black pepper, camphor, cinnamon, cypress, geranium, grapefruit, lavender, lemon, mandarin, neroli, orange, palmarosa, patchouli, pine, rose, sandalwood, vetiver, ylang ylang (Mountain Rose Herbs)

Chemical components: The essential oil of frankincense is produced by steam distillation of the tree resin. The oil’s chemical components are 75% monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes, monoterpenoles, sesquiterpenols and ketones. It has a good balsamic sweet fragrance, while the Indian frankincense oil has a very fresh smell. Steam or hydro distilled frankincense oil does contain a number of boswellic acids (triterpenoids), which represents a method of validating the authenticity of the essential oil. The chemistry of the essential oil is mainly monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes, with small amounts of diterpenoid components being the upper limit in terms of molecular weight. (Wikipedia)

Interesting bits: is an aromatic, congealed, resinous sap from a specific variety of trees in the genus Boswellia of the family Burseraceae. Most of the trees in the Boswellia genus are aromatic, and many of them produce a scented resinous sap. Some of the known species are B. Sacra (grows in Oman and Yemen), B. Carterii (Somalia), B.Thurifera (Africa, Yemen and countries around the Red Sea), B. frereana(northern Somalia), B. Papyrifera (Ethiopia, Eritrea and Sudan) and B.Serrata(India). According to the latest scientific opinion both  B.Sacra and B.Carterii are the same and should be correctly called B.SacraBoswelia sacra, produces the highest grade of frankincense. The trees require an arid climate where moisture is provided by morning mist. The few ideal environments in the world for this small prized tree are found in Southern Arabia (Oman and Yemen), India, and Northern Africa (Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Kenya). Further, frankincense trees require a limestone-rich soil and are mostly found growing on rocky hillsides and cliffs, or in the dried riverbeds below. The rarest and the purest of the all frankincense is Boswellia sacra. It is considered the highest grade of frankincense. It grows  in the Dhofar region of Oman and this very special frankincense was reserved just for the kings and queens. This species has a higher content of the constituent alpha pinene. (Fragrantica)

 The English word is derived from Old French”franc encens” (i.e., high quality incense)….There are four main species of Boswellia that produce true frankincense. Resin from each of the four is available in various grades. The grades depend on the time of harvesting; the resin is hand-sorted for quality.(Wikipedia)

In Oman there is a place called “Wadi Dawkah Frankincense Reserve, a forest of five thousand trees that’s twenty-five miles north of Salalah and a UNESCO World Heritage Site near the ruins of a five-millennia- old caravan depot.” (Conde Naste Traveler)

Their nose: As a perfumery note, frankincense is remarkably versatile, being as naturally suited for the dark heft of an oriental fragrance as for the effervescent sparkle of citrus cologne. The smell of frankincense oil in its pure state is fascinating. At first, it is reminiscent of freshly ground black pepper, with a twist of lemon peel in the background. As the oil dries down, it reveals its dry woody character, which lies halfway between balsamic richness and flinty mineral crispness. Although incense tends to be associated with heavy, dark fragrances, it is actually a common note in fresh citrus and green fragrances. Paired with sparkling, effervescent notes, frankincense can lend a nice lift, like the fizz of champagne bubbles. It contains both cold and warm elements: a citrusy, peppery top note and a dark, balsamic finish. (Bois de Jasmine)

Olibanum is characterised by a balsamic-spicy, slightly lemon, fragrance of incense, with a conifer-like undertone. (Wikipedia)

My nose: This Frankincense opens with a woody note, twigs, lightly camphoraceous, burnished, soothing, slightly lemony, sharp, to me it smells like a celebration. A deeply hidden lemon note reveals itself after 15min as if it couldn’t wait to burst through! It’s warm and meanders about slowly, deliberately, somewhat herbaceous. After 30min it feels a bit more used up, scorched, the lemon aspect is really foremost to my nose, yep, there’s also a pepperiness too like pink pepper — could be a good match, non? Still in top notes territory at 45min and the strip smells parched, pristine, clean, lemony, evocative, ageless, timeless and ancient all at the same time. This note fills me with serenity, peace and calm. It’s also sharp and thin in texture. 1hr on and Frankincense is vibrant, alive and energetic like beams of sunlight piercing the clouds, zesty — zaftig, there’s a lot of action in this note and it seems to now be picking up speed! 2hrs later and now it’s much warmer, more discreet, but there’s an edginess about it; it feels golden and fizzy too, yet still herbaceous. After 3hrs it’s only now beginning to fade, open, cooler, the scent is more muffled, still lemony just below the surface, but definitely receding. This material becomes a lot more translucent after 7hrs, straining a bit more as it trails off all in one piece. It remains light and glistening now. 12hrs later this note is much more bare bones yet still feels like a top note and acts like a top note even in the dry-down. It’s stripped, drier and just as lovely!

I only made it to a 12 hour evaluation in this session but I plan on updating it with a 12hrs, 48hrs and beyond look at Frankincense, Oman.  My computer is getting a tune up leaving me to fend for myself with the iPad, it’s not the perfect answer but it gets the job done. Updates and tweeks to follow. You’ll also note changes I’ve made to the images. I’m not sure if this is the look I’m after but I’m trying things out like a new wardrobe and it’s never really clear what fits I see it in context. Thanks for being patient.

Sweet Basil eo and Beeswax absolute are up next this week.

In joy,

MC

Vetiver essential oil

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Musings on making scents with …vetiver essential oil is the kind of note that makes you want to lean in to get a better smell of someone. Vetiver encapsulates in its being all of what I aspire my perfume creations to be.

Common name(s): Vetiver essential oil, vetivert, khus, ruh-khus

Botanical name: vetiveria zizanioides

Supplier/Source: White Lotus Aromatics ?

Note: Base

Family: Wood/Green

Diffusion: 8/9

Dilution: 10%

Blends well with: cassie, cedarwood, cinnamon, clary sage, clove, cocao absolute, cofee bean, frankincense, galbanum, geranium, grapefruit, jasmine, lavender, oakmoss, patchouli, rose, sandalwood, tobacco absolute violet leaf, ylang ylang. (Eden Botanicals)

Both vetiverols and acetates have softer odours and fixative qualities, and are used as blender with high-class perfumery products. They blend well with ionone, linalool, cinnamic alcohol, oakmoss, vanila, sandalwood, patchouli and rose bases, and are frequently used in western type of fragrances having chypre, fougere, rose, violet and amber aldehyde base, and oriental fragrances and floral compounds. (Fragantica)

Chemical components: the chemical composition of vetiver oil is extremely complex, mainly comprising of sesquiterpenes and sesquiterpene derivatives, of which vetiverols, their carbonyl compounds and esters, are the main constituents, and their relative abundance normally establishes the oil quality. Three carbonyl compounds, _-vetivone, _-vetivone and khusimone, are considered the primary odor-influencing components; _-vetivone has the better odor, and is considered the most important, while its major isomer nordihydro _-vetivone has a strong, rich, woody-peppery note. (vetiver.com)

Interesting bits: Vetiver is deep and slightly sweet, with light smoky undertones. Its pronounced earth and root notes are well-balanced with its somewhat resinous character. It is an excellent base note with very good fixative qualities. Vetiver essential oil varies dramatically in aroma depending on where it is grown (soil type, country of origin, etc.). Also known as vetivert, khus, or khus khus, Vetiver has a long history of use and is very well known as the Oil of Tranquility.1 It is obtained from the roots of a tropical grass originally from India and Sri Lanka, but the plant is now grown in many tropical countries. From time immemorial, one of the oldest aromatic uses of vetiver roots is to weave them into mats which, when dampened with water and hung in windows like curtains, cool and scent the air with a pleasant aroma.2

Vetiver oil is thick and, like Patchouli and Sandalwood, improves with age; it is a premium base note and makes an excellent fixative in essential oil formulas. (Eden Botanicals)

Essence from the Eastern Asian weed grass Vetiveria zizanoid that falls under the woods category thanks to its musty, dry, woody scent with bitter chocolate and smoke facets. Very popular in niche perfumery and masculine fragrances. The reference vetivers are Carven’s, Givenchy’s and Guerlain’s classic renditions.

Vetiver is native to South India, Indonesia and Sri Lanka. It is also cultivated in Reunion, the Philippines, the Comoro Islands, Japan, West Africa and South America. The oil is mainly produced in Java, Haiti and Reunion. In World market the demand for vetiver oil is increasing day by day due to its unique odour, for which it is used in both flavour and fragrance industries. Moreover, this oil cannot be substituted with reconstituted oil and cannot be made through synthetically. Vetiver perfumes give pleasing aroma and has slow evaporation rate. Pure vetiver (Khus) root oil known in trade as “Ruh – Khus” and its use in scents since ancient time. Vetiver oil is the basis of the Indian perfume ‘Majmua’ and is the major ingredient in some 36% of all western perfumes (e.g. Caleche, Chanel No. 5, Dioressence, Parure, Opium ) and 20% of all men’s fragrances. In addition to its direct perfumery applications, vetiver oil in its diluted form is extensively used in after-shave lotions, air freshners and bathing purposes, as well as flavoring syrups, ice cream, cosmetic and food preservation. Khus essence is used in cool drinks, and for reducing pungency of chewing tobacco preparations, providing sweet note to other masticatories and incense sticks.(Fragrantica)

Their nose: Deep, slightly sweet and resinous, with pronounced earth and root notes and light smoky undertones; an excellent fixative and base note (Eden Botanicals)

My nose: the best way for me to describe the opening note of vetiver essential oil is sublime! Gorgeous, full, thick, voluptuous, enveloping, warm. To me this is the real cashmere! 15min and it’s deeply earhy, very diffusive, satisfying, dusty, weathered, and loaded with energy and life – it’s like a forest explosion! After 30min it moves into nutty, thick, plump smell that reminds me of suede and cashmere. 45min leads to a fuller expression of vetiver, it fills the nostrills eve with two full sniffs. This note is easily underestimated so easy does it. It’s thought-provoking, deep, deep, deep. Solid, foundational, contemplative. The 1hr later and vetiver essential oil is thick with character, creamy, damp, mossy, wooden forest, mysterious and alive with nature and lays heavily on the smelling strip. This note isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. 2hrs now and it’s beginning to seriously fan out! Very diffusive with a layer of extravagance and luxury that just remains clinging to the atmosphere, pungent, lush and very intriguing. As vetiver essential oil progresses through to the 3hr mark I am knocked over. Wow! This is a power note! Punchy, rousing, more raw and rugged now, it possesses a more textual quality than ever before. Entering the deeper parts of the drydown 7hrs later I wonder how is it that this note just keeps getting stronger and stronger? Sodden, thick, yet serene, stable and sensible, it is the essence of the Earth. I end the evaluation at 12hrs and vetiver is now like a warm, snuggly blanket, still very well-grounded, lulling to the point of being hypnotic. It’s a gentler, softer, much more refined reincarnation of its earlier self. This is the point where I would love it to come out and reveal itself everything previous seems over the top, too much almost. In comparison I judge this to be the finest hour of vetiver essential oil.

Today’s my 50th birthday (yeah!) so I’m going to celebrate by takeìing it easy and doing everything that I can to make myself happy! There’s already so much in my life that I’m grateful for that the impulse is not to do but to just to be. To sit quietly, take it all in and allow myself to be moved by the goodness of this life.

 Wishing you a wonder-filled weekend!

 MC


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


Aroma Profile: PADMA

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Musings on making scents with … PADMA was a tough one to research. There’s not a ton of information on it and finding this image of the chemical structure was like searching for a needle in a haystack! If I’ve got the image wrong let me know. Maybe it’s because it’s the fall and I’m in serious is a hibernation mode, retreating, slowing down, or whatever, but I have stopped doing my evaluations at the desk and decided to do them on the sofa in my studio. I downloaded a clock for my computer, put it on the desktop and for the first hour only focus on smelling and listening to music softly in the background and just being with the scent. I used to do it at the desk and in between evaluations surf the Net but that was waaaay too much sensory input and damn-near drove me over the edge, made me all jittery. Gotta say I am loving this new approach, lot less pressure. I should probably mention it’s about 22°C in here with the fire going so the strips are probably evaporating faster than usual.

Common name(s): PADMA

Chemical name: phenyl actaldehyde dimethyl acetal

CAS #: 101-48-4

Supplier: Pell Wall Perfumes (at the time I couldn’t find it anywhere else, now Plush Folly in the UK sells it.)

Note: Top-Heart

Family: Green/Floral

Diffusion: 6.5

Dilution:10

Blends well with: violet, leaf, champa, rose, plum, hyacinth, green, gardenia, lavandin, benzyl acetate, propionate and salicylate, citronellOL and citronellAL, clove bud oil, coriander, alpha and gamma damascone, galbanum resin, geraniol, linalool, nerolidol, peony alcohol, tonka bean abs., etc. (TGSC)

Interesting bits: used in apricot, cherry and honey flavouring so stands to reason, (imho) that if I’m trying to achieve this through scent then I could use it trying to round off an apricot, cherry or honey aspect of my formula. Non?

Their nose: “Strong-smelling, sweet, earthy, mushroomy, phenylethyl alcohol-like, rosy, foliage, honey, waxy, powdery, floral, hyacinth-like odour. Interesting and more natural-smelling in proper dilution than one could expect. Nice green, floral, cologne, with hedione and hexyl cinnamal.” (Perfumechemicals.com)

“green, medium, green foliage, floral, rosy, earthy, mushroom, dry, green, floral, fruity, citrus peel, rose.” (TGSC)

“pleasantly floral-rosy, green and somewhat mushroomy” (Symrise)

My nose: the opening of PADMA is pungent, Indian, oriental, spicy, green and fresh too. Dry, and somewhat brittle. After 15min there’s something old clothes closet about this to me…rose, floral, not the fullness of rose, just an aspect — yes floral and sweet. 30min now and it’s a much more voluptuous, open, floral, it’s like I can sense her petals, but I also get something plummy and fruity in there too. At 45min still it’s wonderfully floral, still reminiscent of India, sharp, green, pungent but becoming more tamed, spreading out more and thereby losing some intensity, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. At the 1hr mark the scent is still prevalent on the strip, albeit much softer now, floral, flouncy, somewhat thinner and airy. 2hrs later yet, it’s still floral, hugging onto the breeze, lightly now, it’s like a warm summer sip of cool lemonade, dimming now, drier, of course, and more brittle. 3hrs into the heart note and PADMA is sweet, sweet pea sort of, still quite vibrant, just a bit more vague, now I get feminine. 7hrs now I get baby powder! Like a fresh clean diaper. Soft, talc-y, slightly floral but still quite present even now. 12hrs later, wow, this is still green, sharp, linear, dry but more of the fresh cut grass, type of dry. It’s early morning now and I did the initial evaluation in the afternoon something I’ve never done before, so I have to factor in my change in consciousness, too. I realize everything is important when learning to smell.

Hope you enjoyed PADMA and are having a wonderful day!

MC


 

Aroma Profile: Sweet Orange 10 Fold

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Musings on making scents withsee the post on Sweet Orange 5 Fold essential oil

Common name: Sweet Orange 

Botanical name: Citrus sinensis

Supplier: Alambica

Note: Top/Heart

Family: Citrus

Diffusion: 5

Dilution: 10

Blends well with: see the post on Sweet Orange 5 Fold essential oil

Chemical components: see the post on Sweet Orange 5 Fold essential oil

Interesting bits: see the post on Sweet Orange 5 Fold essential oil

Their nose: see the post on Sweet Orange 5 Fold essential oil

My nose: At the first sniff my Sweet Orange 10 fold essential oil is more blunt than the 5 fold, not sharp at all, with the obvious citrus outlines, but barely though. This one is thick and deliberate, ponderous and even heavy. What a difference between the two folded oils! After 15min it’s now a lot warmer, thicker, where the 5 fold was thinner, still very identifiable as orange even if it seems to be only now waking up. 30min and it appears to be fading quickly — too quickly! I mean, it’s there but I am finding that I have to work hard to reach it. 45min now it’s a very, very sleepy orange. Still present but seems to have retreated somewhere inaccessible. At 1hr this is much, much softer than the 5 fold. It’s plush, lush, citrus and the orange-ness seems to be lagging behind, yet is quite comforting and warm which I find odd for a citrus. 2hrs later and it’s growing harder and harder to discern this scent! It appears more nebulous, almost gone, very understated and smells more like mandarin to my nose than orange at this point. At 3hrs it’s just about gone, there’s not much left but a delicate roundness too that remains like an aura. 7hrs now, just a very thin whispery layer left, I almost can’t sense it. The 12hr mark and strangely enough this is still around, but just a hint, a mere flutter or just my imagination? After 24hrs on a very deep inhale what I get is a sense of that round, sweet, softness before it disappears.

12/24 comparison: The 24hr strip is warm, soft and sweet still, even if all you get is a very short moment with it and then it’s gone. The 12hr strip is very much the same impression only it lasts for longer. But, it really is strange that a citrus is able to hang around for 12hrs and beyond.

I’m a bit late posting today, life happening is all :). One long To-Do list and I was only able to get about 3 things done, oh well. Have a great Wednesday and Happy Canada Day to my fellow Canadians!

MC


Aroma Profile: Sweet Orange 5 Fold

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Musings on making scents with Sweet Orange essential oil 5 fold … I’m doing this profile while on holidays at my daughter’s place and it’s a first for me so I’m wondering how differently, if at all, the nose will react to a change in setting. In my studio I’m more sure of things, of myself, (well, at least I pretend to be :)) but here as I look around at unfamiliar objects and do feel a bit uncertain. This is interesting to note and be aware of…

Common name: Sweet Orange

Botanical name: Citrus sinensis

Supplier: Alambica

Note: Top/Heart

Family: Citrus

Diffusion: 7

Dilution: 10%

Blends well with: cinnamon, coriander, clove, frankincense, jasmine, lavender, bergamot, myrrh, sandalwood, nutmeg, mandarin, tangerine, nerolidol, petitgrain.

Chemical components: Limonene gives citrus fruit their familiar aroma (Wikipedia); limonene (up to 97%!), a-pinene, sabinene, b-pinene, myrcene, octanol, linalool, delta-3-carene, decanal.

Interesting bits: First of all what is a folded oil? What I found out is that the folded essential oils are more concentrated and have a richer, more intense aroma than the oils produced through simple expression. Think croissant pastry dough how it gets gently folded many, many times into itself to produce that fluffy quality. 

Folded essential oils are those that have been further distilled and concentrated to create a more concentrated, and usually stronger smelling, essential oil. The oils should have a longer shelf life because some of the terpenes that contribute to oxidation of the oil have been removed, and they should be safer to use in leave in products thanks to the removal of those same terpenes. (Point Of Interest)

“A “folded” essential oil is an essential oil that has been further distilled and concentrated from its already highly concentrated form. Citrus oils (like orange, lemon, grapefruit, lime, tangerine, blood-orange, mandarin, and bergamot) are the most commonly found in “folded” versions, and the most common “folds” are 5-fold and 10-fold.” (About Home)

Orange is a citrus fruit and a hybrid between pomelo and mandarin….Even though oranges remind us of distant tropical islands and exotic rainy forests, the sweet orange doesn’t occur in the wild. This hybrid species had been first cultivated in southern China and Europeans became acquainted with it in the 11th century, and used it widely for medical purposes. Italian traders have spread the seed to the Mediterranean area in mid 15th century, and since then the sweet orange has rapidly spread all around the globe, being quickly adopted as a delicious juicy fruit. The sailors from the Old Continent planted Oranges along their trade routes to prevent scurvy – same as the pirates of the Caribbean used lemon and rum, to make their favorite alcoholic beverage (and a natural remedy) called Grog. People of the freshly discovered Americas have introduced rum to the old Europe, while Europeans (Christopher Columbus himself!) brought the seeds of oranges, lemons and citrons to the Caribbean….one of the most commonly used aromatic ingredients in perfume industry, especially in floral and Cologne type fragrances….There are many different variants of orange and each of them possesses different olfactory properties. Bitter Orange, Blood Orange, Orange Blossoms and Mandarin Orange are most commonly found in fragrant compositions. Orange blossom and neroli are extracted from the flowers of the bitter orange tree (also known as Sevile orange or Citrus aurantium). The only difference between them is that orange blossom is extracted using the volatile solvents, while neroli is steam-distilled. Neroli has a wonderful and heady refreshing but spicy floral aroma, which makes it a great addition to all kinds of floral compositions, eau de colognes and skin-care products. Another derivate from bitter orange is the bitter orange oil that has a distinctive citrusy aroma placed somewhere in the middle of sweet orange and bitter grape. The leaves of bitter orange, as well as the flower buds, are steam-distilled to produce petitgrain, an essential oil that has a greenish woody orange scent. (Fragrantica)

Their nose: a delicious sweet, fruity, fresh and tangy smell (Fragrantica)

 … full bodied and has a deliciously sugary sweet, orange heart note. (Hermitage Oils UK)

My nose: from the opening sweet orange 5 fold fans out immediately with a sweet smell, almost like mandarins! Sharp, orangey, rind, yet plush. 15min and it’s still very sharp, tangy, pungent, rind odour, although I have to lean in a lot closer to get at it. 30min later the smell is nice and bright and alive on the strip. It seems to be leaping out at you. Now fresh and citrusy, succulent even. At 45min it’s still alive and awake on the strip, smelling more like the peel now, thin, but still orange. 1hr later and sweet orange 5 fold essential oil remains a very citrusy orange, the projection is less but still very noticeable although a bit more bare bones. After 2hrs on the strip it is very orange-y, now more luxurious, smooth, less bracing and splashy than in the beginning. 3hrs and wow, this is still hanging around! Very much an orange odour, it has a nice hold and this layer is drier, but still appears whole and intact, definitely not disintegrating as I assumed it would. 7hrs later and it is a lot greener, thinner, delicate and yes, still orange. 12hrs on and sweet orange 5 fold essential oil is now much more worn out but one can still make it out. I’m quite amazed it’s still present. Smells dry and satisfying, comforting too. The final evaluation at 24hrs and on the strip this still has a life of its own, but much softer and sweeter somehow, drier and more brittle.

12/24 comparison: The 12hr strip is more noticeable and in a direct comparison the 24hr one seems nonexistent, which begs the question: did I imagine it?!

Wishing you all a wonderful beginning to your summer and remember your sunscreen!

MC

Aroma Profile: Nerolidol

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Musings on making scents with Nerolidol…I think this is quite a versatile ingredient and its performance impressed me both alone on the strip and together in pairs with Sandalwood absolute.

Common name(s): Nerolidol

Chemical name: 3,7,11-Trimethyl-1,6,10-dodecatrien-3-ol

CAS #: 7212-44-4

Supplier: Hermitage Oils UK

Note: Heart

Family: Floral

Diffusion: 2

Dilution: 10%

Blends well with: ambroxan, iso amyl salicilate, amyris, benzyl benzoate, benzyl salicylate, carraway seed oil, carrot seed, clove bud, black currant bud, fir balsam abs., guaiacwood, hay abs., geraniol, geranium bourbon, indole, nerol, patchouli, tonka bean, veramoss, etc. (TGSC)

Interesting bits: Nerolidol, also known as peruviol, is a naturally occurring sesquiterpene found in the essential oils of many types of plants and flowers.[1] There are two isomers of nerolidol, cis and trans, which differ in the geometry about the central double bond. Nerolidol is present in neroli, ginger, jasmine, lavender, tea tree, Cannabis sativa, and lemon grass. The aroma of nerolidol is woody and reminiscent of fresh bark. It is used as a flavoring agent and in perfumery. It is also currently under testing as a skin penetration enhancer for the transdermal delivery of therapeutic drugs. (Wikipedia)

A highly unusual material, rarely offered in small quantities, Nerolidol was used in the 1950s in only the most expensive floral and fine woody fragrances. Today it is in more widespread use but still less used than it could be in fragrance and only really popular in constructing certain fruity flavours. Nerolidol is a beautiful, but subtle material in it’s own right, but it also has excellent fixative properties that make it doubly useful. Occurs naturally in a vast range of fruit, herb and spice essential oils usually in very low quantities but occasionally forming a significant proportion of the oil. (Hermitage Oils UK)

Used in fragrances for woody, tea-like notes (Bedoukian)

“Mild and delicately woody-floral, slightly green odor with remote resemblance to Apple and Lily…an extremely useful chemical, not only because of its delicate and very versatile notes, but also, because of its fixative value and blending properties. The title alcohol is an excellent “fond” in Sweet Pea, Muguet, Honeysuckle, Peony, etc,, and a fine companion to Sandalwood, Oakmoss, Perubalsam, Tolubalsam, Clary Sage products, Ylang-Ylang, etc.” (Steffen Arctander)

Nerolidol, a natural isolate from France, is extracted from cabreuva essential oil. This base note has its greatest use as a fixative, prolonging a natural perfume without contributing much to the overall aroma. Nerolidol, with its weak apple and rose aroma, is a great blender orchestrating and rounding out other essences in a blend. (Aftelier)

Their nose: Floral, green and citrus like, with woody waxy nuances. (Hermitage Oils UK)

A woody, floral, green odor (Bedoukian)

nerolidol-and-sandalwood-absolute

My nose: Nerolidol opens with a floral twinkle, this is even harder to discern than HydroxycitronellOL! It’s just a whisper. After 15min it finally begins to wake up a bit more! Floral, bright, light and nimble. 30min and it’s a fresh sort of floralness although a bit on the sharp side. 45min here the floral, sweet, delicate natural feels almost child-like, my impression is infant, baby, fragility. At 1hr this is now sweet, delightful, tawny and dewy fresh. For the 2hr mark I get a sense that Nerolidol could act like the underpinning, like the veins of a leaf, support for a soft, delicate effect that has bones. After 3hrs this is sweet, soft, floral and the impression remains that of being well-grounded. 7hrs on Nerolidol is floral with a hint of coolness, this note meanders and is quite clear even now. At 12hrs WOW, this seems to have exploded even strenghthened! In a soft way though, it retains it’s femininity by remaining floral and fresh. The final evaluation after 24hrs and it is still alive on the strip. Alive and fresh and still floral with a wonderful grip!

Nerolidol & Sandalwood Absolute: the opening of this pairing makes the sandalwood pristine! I get an image of a road that previously was overgrown with weeds that has been recently cleared. The Sandalwood appears more beautiful and pure, more precious. The floral of the Nerolidol seems to enhance the Sandalwood giving it a very interesting nuance. Around 1hr something warm and round comes out from this pairing, it’s multi-faceted, soaked in context and texture! After 2hrs the Sandalwood is much more direct, like being pierced by it intravenously. It is much more luminous than on its own, more gutsy and bold. 5hrs now and Sandalwood is creamy, fleshy, warm. I think Nerolidol isolates the main profiles of Sandalwood helping to show it’s “best side”. The effect is a Sandalwood that is more measured, timed and tempered. 10hrs, the final evaluation, and it’s like Sandalwood has been one long musical note that can just go on indefinitely! Soft, constant, pure, woody. This is simply captivating right now. Love it!

Above, my colour interpretation of this pair using Rose Madder and Gamboge watercolours.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the first pairings as much as I’ve loved doing them.  See you Monday and enjoy your weekend!

MC


Aroma Profile: HydroxycitronellOL

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Musings on making scents with HydroxycitronellOL… this is one of those synthetics that you just have to do a lot of your own research to discover what it’s all about. I could barely find anything at all on the net about HydroxycitronellOL. The product description on the Hermitage Oils UK site made me curious enough to purchase a small amount because I would really like to create a rose accord that thrills me so I was on the hunt. But that’s not enough with the synthetics, it’s important to throw the net a lot wider when experimenting with these tools.

Common name(s): HydroxycitronellOL

Chemical name: 3,7-dimethyloctane-1,7-diol

CAS #: 107-74-4

Supplier: Hermitage Oils UK

Note: Heart

Family: Floral

Diffusion: 3

Dilution:10%

Blends well with: bergamot mint, bois de rose, ethyl linalool, farnesol, ho wood, leerall, mughet ethanol, petitgrain, ylang ylang, linalool, etc.

Interesting bits: Very mild (weak) clean-sweet, floral odour of considerable tenacity. The floral type is Rose-Peony, typically less green, less Lily or Muguet than the aldehyde. This alcohol, now often manufactured as an intermediate in the production of Hydroxycitronellal, is used in perfume compositions originally with the intention of stabilizing Hydroxycitronellal and prolonging the odour life of that aldehyde in composition. However, there are other uses for this alcohol, not always obvious from a brief glimpse at the odour, which is, truly, not immediately impressive. It has an excellent fixative effect upon many types of delicate floral fragrance, and as a blender/modifier for other types. (Steffen Arctander)

Their nose: Odour type is floral with a low odour strength has a mild, clean, floral note and is very long lasting and closer to rose than muguet, with aspects of lily and peony. (Hermitage Oils)

mild clean floral lily green peony (TGSC)

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My nose: HydroxycitronellOL opens barely noticeable, quiet, slightly floral with a faint berry quality to it. At 15min it’s still floral, there seems to be hardly any movement, soft. 30min on this is plummy, jammy and juicy and oh, there’s the rosiness! Sort of sweet, too. 45min brings on a definite soft, floral note like linen sheets, becoming more present now and a bit metallic in quality tucked away somewhere. 1hr now and it’s clean, floral and fresh. 2hrs later there’s a much softer, more yielding, feminine, and pliable side to HydroxycitronellOL that reminds me of a mother. 3hrs now and it seems to be fading ever so quickly, I can barely get a good sniff. But there’s definitely still some of the floral soft quality hanging around. 7hrs, it’s base notes time, and our subject is a clean, clear and wispy floral note; wonderfully comforting now, inviting and intimate. The 12hr mark sees this one finally fading, getting quite thin , but I still have a good grasp, a good sense of the quality. Finally at 24hrs HydroxycitronellOL is gone. I can’t discern a thing other than a faint metallic smell that is thin.

HydroxycitronellOL & Rose Absolute, from Marocco: in the beginning the rose note is clean, the rough edges are all smoothed out, whimsical, titillating, I find it makes the rose much more “readable”, you’re clear about what you’re smelling – like it’s giving the rose a sense and structure. After 1hr the rose is much more subtle and compelling, it feels more grounded, more refined. At 2hrs the combination seems to have made the rose a lot more transparent, simplified it a bit and therefore making it much more approachable. It’s still quite present on the strip. After 5hrs there’s a wonderful crumpled, worn effect that reminds me of our roses when they are dying on the branches, there is still life held in their soft folds, they still want to give you something. It’s now soft and warm and yes, HydroxycitronellOL I think helps rose be more generous toward the end, very satisfying and earthy. After 10hrs the rose is there still on the strip, integral and totally identifiable.

Above, my colour interpretation of HydroxycitronellOL and Rose absolute. I used Prussian Blue together with Carmine.

Have a great Wednesday!

MC


Smelling Pairs

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The idea for smelling pairs came while evaluating HydroxycitronellOL.  I was struggling with how hard it can be sometimes to evaluate a synthetic or an isolate individually especially when they are as weak as HydroxycitronellOL. I felt like I was pulling at olfactive straws with this one. I began seriously thinking of another approach that could help with these evaluations that could give greater depth and meaning to the profiles of synthetics and then it came to me: smelling pairs! That is, evaluate them paired with a natural and note what influence they have on each other. The idea has merit but it had to be a simple process — simple is king for me these days!

Just as smelling pairs can help with cooking, a flavour can rise to surprising heights just by pairing it with something that on its own would be totally forgettable and unimpressive, the same holds true for synthetics, I think. For me it happens with chicken broth and bay leaf, the broth is somehow lent a whole new depth that it can’t achieve on its own and so I never make soups without adding at least one bay leaf. And seeing as how we have been gifted with a ginormous bay laurel tree on our yard I feel it my duty to practice putting it to as many uses as my imagination can possibly concoct.

So beginning with the next post on HydroxycitronellOL you’ll see me pairing it with one natural to see what happens and I’ll be doing the aroma profile along side it just the same. The profile will be much more indepth and the pairing will have to be, well, “pared” down; I won’t follow it for the full 24hrs either, only 10hrs with this profile.

And as a bonus I’ll be presenting them with some watercolour pairings this way I get a double work out of learning about colour combinations and aroma combinations. Totally a win-win! It’s also a wonderful opportunity to compose perfumes using the other senses, in this case, sight, as I ask myself the intriguing question: what does the smell of sandalwood absolute look like to you and what would it look like to you combined together with Nerolidol? This is a total olfactive workout, guys!

This week watch as I profile HyrdoxycitronellOL and pair it with Rose absolute from Marocco on Wednesday and then on Friday a profile on Nerolidol along with a pairing with Sandalwood absolute.

I love it when inspiration strikes! But the saying is true however that inspiration is more likely to appear when it finds you working 🙂

In-joy,

MC