Aroma Profile: Nootka Tree

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Musings on making scents with Nootka Tree essential oil… gotta admit, I bought this one out of pure curiosity but am not at all disappointed. What I learned is that Nootka tree essential oil isn’t really a true cypress, read on to see what I mean.  This note threw me a few aromatic curve balls which I still haven’t quite grasped. While writing this and sniffing anew I tried to pick up what those errant aspects were, but I suspect only time and experience will reveal them to me. No longer frustrated, I’m quite okay with leaving it a mystery till then.

Common name(s): Nootka Tree essential oil, Alaska cypress, Yellow cedarwood

Botanical name: Chamaecyparis nootkatensis

Supplier: Hermitage Oils UK

Note: Heart-Base

Family: Woody

Diffusion: 5

Dilution: 10%

Blends well with: patchouli, vetiver, fir, grapefruit, bergamot, cardamom, juniper, labdanum, lavender, mandarin, orange, pine, etc.

Chemical components: Nootka essential oil is rich in sesquiterpenes. The main components are valencene 15%, nootkatone 2%, nootkatene 57%, carvacrol 6%  

Interesting bits: Nootka is a majestic conifer that grows in British Columbia and Alaska. The tree is of great importance to the First Nations of the Pacific Northwest who use it for many of their carvings. In fact, it’s from the Nootka Tribe that the Nootka Tree gets its name. And curiously enough, it’s from the Nootka Tree that Nootkatone (the grapefruit ingredient) gets its name. (North West Aromatics)

There are many other species of cypress used to produce an essential oil; however, C. sempervirens is considered superior (Lawless 1992). Other Cypresses. Those trees referred to as cypress that are not true cypresses include the Port Orford white cedar (Chamaecyparis lawsoniana); the Nootka sound cypress or Alaska cedar (Chamaecyparis nootkatesis); and the bald cypress (Taxodium distichum), famous for its southeastern U.S. swamp growths. Frequently used in landscape plantings, the Leyland cypress is a hybrid of the Nootka and Monterey (Coombes 1992). (Agora)

Their nose: Warm woody with a sandalwood top note. Leathery and smoky with patchouli and vetiver notes. Aromatic. (North West Aromatics)

Fresh, dry, precious woods bouquet with a powdery resinous undertone (White Lotus Aromatics)

Woody, spicy, cedarwood, leathery, minty, cumin, thyme (Hermitage Oils UK)

Spicy, smoky, juniper and pine-like aroma (Agora)

It smells like a quieter cedar wood oil (commenter on Basenotes)

My nose: Nootka tree essential oil opens with a definite pencil shavings effect. Pungent — no, blunt edged, it doesn’t reach out to you but remains held in check somehow, reserved and on the aloof side (must be its majestic origins). Then 15min later I get thin, scrawny, hint of gasoline/fuel. How weird is that?! At any rate, 30min later there is a sharp, thin, rough smell that reminds me of work. A gust of wind growls and I am sent memories of school days in childhood, and old pencil sharpeners, the ones you had to get up to to use because they were nailed to the wall! 45min now it’s austere, thin yet radiant, candid, it is what is, it hints at unpretentious, simple roots. 1hr into the journey and on a thin wispy layer of terpene, I am in the middle of dusk, though the note still has zip and exuberance. It gives you the feeling of being spirited away at any moment. Nookta tree is still sharp and pungent after 2hrs, but it’s stripped bare now, very singular in expression. 3hrs finds the note to be strident, shrill and me astounded that it’s still so insistent! Dry, bracing, peppery quality, too. 8hrs takes me into base note territory and holy mackerel this note has gone all dark, moody and enigmatic! Brooding…what?! Yes, there is something else hiding behind the obvious…but what is it?! I have to let it go, frustrated though it makes me and move on. 12hrs later there is only a slight pencil shavings facet but something else is affecting the overall impression…dry, pungent, thin, crisp, yet warm. At the 24hr mark there is a weird off note happening and the pencil shavings thing is still there! 

12/24 comparison: Very pungent, very much like pencil shavings at 12hrs. Dry, cracked, brittle — this is mainly what comes through for me. Somewhere between this and 24hrs there’s an off note that presents itself, something akin to gasoline.

That’s all for now, my nose is pooped, needs a rest, so the weekend is a welcome pause. See you Monday!

In-joy,

MC


Aroma Profile: Cypress essential oil

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Musings on making scents with cypress essential oil… yikes! I have two and I can identify the supplier of one but not the other. I think it’s one of the first I started to purchase about 3 years ago from a herbal shop here in town. After doing a full profile on this oil my curiosity has been roused and I’m going to order some Cypress absolute asap. My process is to do a full profile and a few days later write up the post; then as I’m writing I like to revisit it from a fresh point of “view” with the aroma of the note touching me every once in a while just to see what else my nose picks up without trying. This time around my main impression of Cypress essential oil is fresh, and I can pick out a citrus facet that I didn’t the first time!

Common name: Cypress

Botanical name: lat. Cupressus sempervirens (cupressaceae family)

Supplier: Essential Oil University

Note: Heart

Family: Woody/Mossy (and I would add Green)

Diffusion: 6

Dilution: 10%

Blends well with: benzoin, black pepper, cedarwood, chamomile, most citrus oils, clary sage, ginger, lavender, ylang ylang, agarwood, ambrette seed, cypriol, cinnamon, choya nah, choya loban, choya ral, frankincense, sandalwood, poplar bud, rose, tonka, *vetiver, labdanum, juniper, bergamot, petitgrain — this, just to name a few!

Chemical components: a-pinene, camphene, sabinene, b-pinene, d-3-carene, myrcene, a-terpinene, terpinolene, linalool, bornyl acetate, cedrol and cadinene. (Esoteric Oils)

Monoterpenes: approximately 40-50 % of alpha-pinene, 15-20 % of delta-3-carene and up to 2 % of the sesquiterpenol cedrol, contributing to its aromatic profile. The Spanish oils from Catalonia have a similar odour profile to the French cypress oils as their higher cedrol content gives a woodier character to their fragrance. Oils from Murcia are lower in cedrol and therefore more terpenic or pine-like. (Scentcillo)

Interesting bits: Cypress is a name that relates to the plants of the cypress family Cupressaceae, growing in the temperate regions of the world. This is a very ancient family of trees that grew more than 200 million years ago on the supercontinent Pangaea. Today, Cypresses are found on all continents except Antarctica. (Fragrantica)

Regions of cultivation include the South of France, Catalonia and the Murcia region of Spain, Morocco and Corsica; the crop period lasting from December to February. Harvesting of the sprouts and young branches from the tree tops occurs initially approximately 5 years after planting, allowing regeneration of the plant and continuing annually during its long lifespan. Roughly 70-80 kg of foliage and branches will yield 1kg of cypress essential oil. In perfumery cypress is utilised in chypres, fougeres, amber accords and colognes. Like cedarwood Atlas, its virile character makes cypress a popular choice in men’s fragrances. (Scentcillo)

Their nose: From my reading, it seems that cypress wood has a pungent, woody, spicy aroma that can also be sometimes resinous, coniferous, or cedar-like. (Kafkaeque Blog)

The aroma of cypress can be described as fresh, lingering, pine-like, resinous, slightly smoky with a sweet, balsamic undertone. The scent is very evocative of a forest setting, bestowing a soothing and refreshing ambience. It acts as a top to middle note and equaliser in a composition, adding harmony and smoothing out rough edges in a blend. (Scentcillo)

My nose: cypress essential oil opens clean, clear, cool, crisp and light. Outdoors, piney, pungent, bracing, like plunging your hot, aching feet into a cool stream after a long mountain hike. At 15min now it’s much thinner, piercing, very green and all I get is this overwhelming impression of the great outdoors, wild and untamed. Clean. 30min and what I get is a bit more naked, bare, more razor sharp, also it’s less urgent, more settled, anchored so to speak. 45min leads me to a thin, sparse, clear, solitary note that is also awake, bright, alive and bracing! Imagine a 4 year old jumping on your bed at 06:30 shouting “mamma get up! mamma can you make me breakfast?!” as they twirl and bounce this way and that (and, no, you are not allowed to strangle them). After 1hr cypress is softer, more tangy, which is odd! It seems to be peeking through the openings like the sun would through a mighty cypress bough caught by a stray gust of wind. It’s drier now, too and somewhat “piccante” (I guess that’s why it could be a good partner with black pepper). 2hrs later and this is getting much more one dimensional, which is a bit disappointing, basic, coniferous, piney, woody, smell that is sharp, clear and up-lifting. Into the heart note now at 3hrs and it’s beginning to disperse, growing much more intangible and ephemeral by the minute. The impression is woody and slightly resinous. 8hrs on it’s much softer, bare and barely there, thin, woody, yes, but also I am stunned by how absolutely beautiful it is now! It takes that long to come into its own. After 12hrs cypress essential oil is dry, crisp, cool and beginning to smell a tad medicinal now. I get aromatherapy — nothing wrong with that only it’s a bit lack-lustre. A full 24hrs later reveals a pale dry, brittle, thin note that is still discernible as cypress. It leaves a nice trail which isn’t at all unpleasant.

12/24 comparison: the 12hr cypress is still strong, of course, you definitely know it’s cypress, and there is a distinct edge to it. Whereas the 24hr strip barely has a hint, but it’s there, clinging to the rocky cliffs of my olfactive landscape.

Wishing you a wonder-filled Wednesday!

MC


Aroma Profile: Nerol

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Common name(s): Nerol

Chemical name: (2Z)-3,7-dimethylocta-2,6-dien-1-ol

CAS #: 106-25-2

Supplier: Hermitage Oils UK

Note: Heart

Family: Floral

Diffusion: 4

Dilution: 10

Blends well with: beeswax abs., benzyl alcohol, bergamot, blood orange oil, bois de rose, cassis bud, citral, citronellol, clary sage, ethyl phenyl acetate, flouve, gardenia concrete, geraniol, guaiacwood oil, immortelle, jonquil abs., leerall, linalool, mace oil, mimosa, neroli C02, nerolidol, sweet and bitter orange oil, peony alcohol, ylang ylang, violet leaf abs., etc. (TGSC)

Interesting bits: Nerol is the cis isomer: notice the similarity with Geraniol, which is the trans isomer of the same molecule. Occurs naturally in a vast range of flower scents as well as being present in fruit, herb and spice essential oils from artemisia to ylang ylang, via lavender and, of course, neroli. (Hermitage Oils UK)

…a monoterpene found in many essential oils such as lemongrass and hops. It was originally isolated from neroli oil, hence its name. This colourless liquid is used in perfumery. Like geraniol, nerol has a sweet rose odor but it is considered to be fresher. (Wikipedia)

Their nose: Floral, sweet, natural, neroli, citrus, magnolia. It is used in all types of fragrances especially rose accords and with other florals. (Hermitage Oils UK)

“rosy, refreshing and “wet” seashore odor of moderate tenacity. Dry notes vary with purity of material. A very pure Nerol will normally have more emphasis on the “fresh seashore” odor and less of the rosy notes, while products with high Geraniol content conceal their “maritime” notes in favor of the deep-rosy tones…This alcohol is widely and frequently used in perfumery, but not nearly in the volumes of Geraniol and Citronellol. It lends a fresh- ness to a rose base which cannot be obtained with the two other alcohols. But it also finds use in a variety of sweet-floral fragrance types Mimosa, Magnolia, Lilac, Neroli, Alpine, Violet, Jasmin, etc. or in Citrus colognes, Muguet, Orchid, etc. its effect is perceptible often at one or two percent in the composition. ” (Steffen Arctander)

Fresh, citrus, floral, green, sweet, lemon/lime and waxy with a spicy depth. (TGSC)

Despite the fact it was found in neroli essential oil nerol doesn’t have the characteristic neroli smell. Instead its scent reminds of fresh sweet roses. (Chemist In The Bottle)

My nose: Nerol opens barely noticeable at all, like rubbing alcohol, very subtle, floral, dry and ponderous. In 15min not much movement because it’s still barely there, soft, thick and almost juicy. Serene, and the smell is truly a simple pleasure and still somewhat fruity. 30min brings us to a peculiar quality of stillness that is captivating – that is when and if you are able to capture a whole impression like this because it is fugitive. It’s fluid and graceful, flushed too, like a young person blushing. After 45min Nerol now becomes warm, intriguing and intimate, drawing you in instead of fanning out to reach you. 1hr and there it is, that fruity, juicy vibe. Sure there’s the obvious floral tone but there is deninitely a layer of juiciness, of fruit that lingers on the branch because it’s just not ripe enough yet to let go. What you get at 2hrs is the impression that while it is still present it’s very much a background, supportive note, so it doesn’t scream, it murmurs. Now it’s all plump and plumes, airy, soft and round. Oddly though, at 3hrs this note is becoming more evident. There is a persuasive quality that lingers on the surface, leaving a definite impression. 7hrs and its fruity still but now a wonderful, harmonious mix of florals. This dies down to a smell not unlike my watercolour paper made of 100% cotton. Nice. 12hrs into the dry down and Nerol is beautiful still, warmer, more floral, rounder, more body, less skin and bones than in the beginning. It’s all grown up now. The final 24hr evaluation reveals a complete turnaround: what once started out as something to barely consider has turned out to be the belle of the ball! Long lasting, floral goodness and quite reliable, linear throughout. A total surprise.

Have fun mixing!

MC

Aroma Profile: Cis Jasmone

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Common name(s): Cis Jasmone

Chemical name: 3-methyl-2-[(Z)-pent-2-enyl]cyclopent-2-en-1-one

CAS #: 488-10-8

Supplier: Hermitage Oils UK

Note: Heart

Family: Floral

Diffusion: 5

Dilution: 10%

Blends well with: amyris, benzyl benzoate, bergamot, benzyl salicylate, cardamom abs., carrot seed, celery, cistus, clove bud, black currant bud abs., alpha and beta damascone, geraniol, geranyl acetate, jasmine abs., lavender abs., mimosa, nerol, nerolidol, neryl acetate, orris, petitgrain, raspberry ketone, tuberose, veramoss, ylang ylang, etc. (TGSC)

Interesting bits: Although it’s quite an expensive material compared to some of the other jasmine-like florals it has a large effect at low doses and is particularly helpful for improving diffusion and radiance in floral compositions that can be over-heavy, such as Tuberose. Occurs naturally in a range of flower scents as well as being present in bergamot, mint and other essential oils. (Hermitage Oils UK)

Very often hedione or cis-jasmone (which has an almost anise or liquorice smell by itself) is used to render the illusion of smelling a live jasmine vine. (Perfume Shrine)

Their nose: woody, herbal, floral, spicy, jasmine, celery, with a citrus nuance (TGSC)

Floral, green, jasmine, warm with distinct woody aspects as well a subtle minty quality…(Hermitage Oils UK)

Diffusive, warm-spicy, somewhat fruity, but in dilution more floral odor of good tenacity. Its beauty is truly demonstrated in dilutions below one percent, or in modest amounts in a perfume composition. The pure material has notes reminiscent of Celery seed, some find it “’bread-like”, others find it ““fruity”,“waxy” etc. Evaluation of a powerful odorant should be undertaken by proper dilution of the material so that nuances can be studied with- out the inconveniences of odor fatigue…Traces, often mere fractions of one percent, in a perfume oil may introduce just that wanted warmth and deep floral note almost unobtainable with other chemicals. (Steffen Arctander)

My nose: Cis Jasmone opens floral, with plumes of flower essences rising to greet me, petals, somewhat thin and refined. After 15min this note totally opens up like a blossom, fully floral now. Very sophisticated, delicate but with a hint of something “bad” yet beautiful at the same time (does that even make sense?). 30min on this is now fresh, airy, still floral and pristine. It is totally summery and carefree, also radiant and I can see how it could add lift to an overall composition. At 45min it’s morphed into something cool, crisp and floral, no longer warm. It’s still radiant and deeply satisfying. Cis jasmone is feminine but not in an overt way. Now after 1hr, the tail end of the top note, it remains crisp and exhilarating, candid with a touch of floral minimalism. 2hrs it’s sweeter, with a bit of a mint effect! Cleansing, luminous, and yes, the olfactive temperature remains cool. 3hrs into the dry down and it remains clean, crisp, clear and still floral beneath the surface. This is a tenacious note with a really nice hold. After 7hrs it begins to thin out and seems to have filled out or plumped up and gotten a bit fruitier. At the 12hr mark now there is a hint of cumin??? More than exiting it seems to be decaying. Then finally at 24hrs it finishes up in spice-land, that cumin thing is still there, though the whole effect is drying and less discernible.  

This was a really nice synthetic to take for a test drive but I’m really looking forward to using it in a composition — that’s where I think I’ll have some serious fun!

Have a wonderful Monday!

MC


Aroma Profile: Sweet Gale

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Musings on making scents with Sweet Gale…did you know that the word myrica comes from the Greek which means “fragrance”? Sweet Gale is one of those notes that I am keenly motivated to do justice by, I hope one day to execute an accord that at the very least hints at her hidden splendour. I am in love with this note.

Common name: Sweet Gale, Bog Myrtle

Botanical name: Myrica gale

Supplier: Hermitage Oils UK

Note: Heart

Family: Herbaceous

Diffusion: 5

Dilution: 10%

Blends well with: hop, cannabis, lemongrass, mastic, schinus molle, juniper, nutmeg, most citruses, lavender, coriander, thyme, ho, neroli bigarade, lavandin, bergamot, osmanthus, geranium bourbon, petitgrain, genet abs., clove, black pepper, ylang ylang…and that’s a pretty good start!

Chemical components: Alpha Terpineol 11%, D-Limonene 53%, Geranyl Acetate 5%, Linalool 4%, Linalyl Acetate 4%. (Hermitage Oils UK)

Aromatic components in the essential oil prepared from the leaves of cultivated Myrica gale var. tomentosa were compared with those from oil derived wild plants by using gas chromatography-mass spectroscopy (GC/MS). We found that essential oils from both the wild and cultivated plants contained similar aromatic components such as β-elemenone, selina 3,7(11)-diene, myrcene, limonene, cymene, 1,8-cineole, and β-pinene, but the content ratio of the oil was significantly different, which might yield differences in the aromatic properties. The aroma impact components of the essential oils were also determined using GC/MS-Olfactometry (GC/MS-O) and aroma extract dilution analysis. Eight aromatic compounds, including linalool, limonene, and 1,8-cineole, were shown to contribute to the aromatic properties of cultivated M. gale var. tomentosa. The strongest aromatic note was defined as linalool, followed by limonene, 1,8-cineole, and β-elemenone. (PubMed.gov)

Interesting bits: “This is very special material supplied to Hermitage by a Scottish artisan distiller.” (okay, so I was hooked after that) “Clear in colour, of a thin viscosity and produced via steam distillation of the flowers and leaves with twigs featuring sparingly in this particular distillation.” (Hermitage Oils UK)

Sweet gale rarely occurs as a single plant, more usually forming dense thickets from numerous suckers…Sweet gale thrives in acid soils along the margins of lakes and ponds and in peatlands and swamps (BC Living)

A natural predator of bog myrtle is the sheep and the deer; the young tender shoots presumably are a welcome change from their normal diet…Bog myrtle likes to be near running water, from where it derives much of its nourishment…you can still find high class restaurants that prepare fish and chicken dishes when it’s young and in season, though its culinary uses are now generally quite rare. There are breweries that use it to make a sweet heather ale, and some home or small brewers do the same according to their own handed down recipe, though unless they have bog myrtle growing nearby they find it difficult to buy. It’s got a very pleasant and very different taste to regular ales, even real ales, and if you’re lucky, you’ll find a heather ale even on your supermarket shelves, as well as on tap in a surprising number of pubs in Scotland. (Bog Myrtle From Scotland)

Their nose: The top notes of this material are candy-sweet and ice water fresh. In the heart a suave floral-sweetness takes charge, the sweet notes reminiscent to me of a Bergamot Mint and Bois de Rose infusion. Slowly but surely I unearth a really gentle sweet-herbaceous note that playfully wonders in and out of detection. For the perfumer the value is chiefly within the top note, imparting distinctive freshness that would be of extra value to anyone creating an oriental themed perfume. Sweet Gale is a marriage made in heaven with most spice materials along with fruits such as Bergamot and Cedrat and with floral and herb materials including Lavender, Lavandin, Rosemary, Hyssop and Clary Sage. (Hermitage Oils UK)

My nose: Sweet Gale opens — sweet, with a strong note of nutmeg, spicy, pungent, full-bodied, happy, alive, and very warm. It’s like a big warm hug! 15min later it’s more like honey, thick and delightful. It’s nutmeg and light and warm and comforting. I look like an addict inhaling so deeply, greedily; I just can’t get enough of this scent. 30min on and it’s soft now, a hint of pencil shavings is coming through but the main impression is nutmeg and “sweet”, sticky and golden if I could give it a colour. At 45min it’s warm, honied, glowing, golden and all I can “see” is honey being poured out slow and deliberate as it spreads out to claim a surface. 1hr now and it’s still sweet and unhurried, woody now, it’s like a nuzzle you get from your pet when they want you to caress them; sweet nectar of life. After 2hrs we’re into the heart notes now and Sweet Gale is like a golden liqueur, balmy, creamy, seductive, like honey on tap, close by always. 3hrs later and now it’s sweet heaven, dwindling but ever so slowly, still thick. After 8hrs I can still describe it as sweet, soft, not as thick but very much what it was 5 hours ago only softer, more whimsical and I find that sort of tough to pull off for something that at its heart is spicy. At 12hrs it’s still so warm and approachable, inviting, feminine, round, curvy, spicy but now only just a bit. The final drydown after 24hrs is still soft warm and sweet on the strip! Great tenacity but also something definitely spicy makes itself felt toward the end.

12/24 comparison: This 12hr strip is lush, vibrant, spicy and even now it’s warm and inviting. At 24hrs on the other hand, although definitely weaker, it maintains the warm glow effect nonetheless, drying out in a very integral way, very uniform in the way it exists.

Ahhh, feels good to be back. Happy sniffing and a wonderful weekend!

MC


Aroma Profile: Ledon essential oil

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Musings on making perfumes with Ledon essential oil: Hmmm, this would be a tricky note to master within an accord but satisfying once achieved. I love the many hidden qualities that seem to jump out at you unexpectedly with Ledon – this note can definitely spark a fire to try something new.

Common name: Ledon essential oil, Ledum, Labrador Tea, Marsh Tea

Botanical name: Ledum Groenlandicum

Supplier: Florihana (organic, wild, country of origin Canada, steam distillation from the flowering plant)

Note: Heart/Top

Family: Herbaceous

Diffusion: 6

Dilution: 10%

Blends well with: Citruses, nutmeg, black pepper, carrot seed, fennel, Elemi, Cistus, Bergamot, Ylang Ylang, Geranium, lavender, clove, ginger, vetiver, helichrysum, myrrh, patchouli…

Chemical components: The monoterpene family is represented by sabinene as a major product. The limonene concentration depends sharply on the vegetative period, being more important during the flowering period. Terpinen-4-ol and myrtenal are the main compounds of a variety of oxygenated monoterpenes (Wingedseed.com)

Some of the most prominent chemical components straight from the Florihana Chromatography sheet are: alpha/beta-pinene 8% each, sabinene 25%, a-terpinene 3.5%, g-terpinene 10%, limonene 1.6%, p-cymene 2.7%, b-selinene 7%, a-selinene 2%.

Interesting bits: Florihana is a great company. Not only are their products organic or of wild origin of superior quality, but they provide all the necessary documentation you could ever need: MSDS, IFRA certificate, and chromatography.

Their nose: Ledum has a very complex odor profile, herbaceous with cuminic notes and a dry, leathery backnote, as well as faint Citrus notes. It is a very pleasant, strong aromatic, somewhat similar to the Rhododendrons. Dryout is cuminic, seedy and soapy with woody aspects. (Wingedseed.com)

My nose: The opening of Ledon is somewhat like cypress, pencil shavings-ish, thin, warm, and sharp. Outdoors, cool, but with something floral to it. After 15min I find that something goes straight inside and touches me deeply with this note, it’s direct. There is still the suggestion of a floral with the pencil shavings, only slightly though, a faint sweetness and it’s calming and soothing. 30min into the top notes and Ledon is pristine, sheer, light, enigmatic, perhaps because it’s unfamiliar, exciting and titillating, which I attribute to it’s cool effect. 45min now and I get warm, sharp, spicy, but which spice? More like a carrot seed spicy. Cumin spicy. There’s something peppery about it, even slightly citrusy and astringent. 1hr on and you get this wonderful peppery-ness that gives a feeling of expansion and opening, it rustles like dry leaves in the fall, it’s a fall retreat in the mountains. 2hrs and we’re heading into the heart notes which start off soft, romantic and luscious. I sense this now opening up and becoming confident, like it’s spreading its wings and it’s delightful. Just around the corner, a few steps beyond the sharp quality there is serious side to this note. At 3hrs I find it absolutely gorgeous! It is still pulsating with life and feels wonderfully content. Entering the base notes after 8hrs there is something more interesting going on here than just the obvious pencil shavings quality, there’s a hint of the citrus, tart and tangy, that add depth and interest. 12hrs later and what the hell? Holy pencil shavings and cumin! Sharp, spicy, pungent, fast, thinner now with a lot of character. But, aren’t these notes supposed to die down after 12 hours?! The final 24hr mark still reveals a spicy, peppery side, like cumin. Quite strong still but the sweetness, the soft floral-ness is gone, leaving just a sharp note. Wow. Totally wasn’t expecting that.

12/24 comparison: The 12hr strip is very cumin-like, pungent, cool, dry and brittle even. The 24hr strip in contrast, is almost imperceptible, the predominant aspect is the pencil shavings effect.

Happy perfuming!

MC


Aroma Profile: Angelica Root CO2

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It always surprises me when I perform a profile, then days or weeks later sit to write about it only to find loads of references to an aspect in the material that I thought was wild, way out there and next to impossible to link it to. So it was with Angelica root CO2 and the lime aspect I picked up while profiling this beauty. I thought I was going crazy! How could that be? Lime in Angelica root, nah! But low and behold I found at least three online sources that referred to a lime note in there descriptions. Whenever this happens I find it strengthens my own personal olfactory confidence and that’s cool.

Common name(s): Angelica root, Root of the Holy Ghost, Angel Root

Botanical name: Angelica archangelica

Supplier: Eden Botanicals

Note: Heart/Base

Family: Green

Diffusion: 5

Dilution: 10%

Blends well with: Angelica blends well with patchouli, clary sage, vetiver and citrus oils, especially lime. (Aura Cacia)

Bergamot, petitgrain, clary sage, vetiver, orange, juniper, cedarwood, galbanum, ambroxan, ambrette seed oil, amyris, mimosa absolute, orris absolute, nerolidol, iso-amyl salicylate etc.

Chemical components: terpenes, pinene, limonene and phellandrene, serveral coumarins including bergaptene, phellandrene, linalool,borneoli, lactones, etc. 

Interesting bits: The whole Angelica plant is aromatic, but only the root and seeds are used to make angelica root essential oil. (Gritman)

Angelica archangelica is a large, aromatic plant related to parsley and carrots. The essential oil is steam distilled from the rhizome. A rhizome is an underground stem-like structure from which above ground stems arise and roots descend. Angelica rhizomes contain up to 1% essential oil with a rich, peppery-sweet, musk-like aroma. Angelica root oil is highly synergistic so it’s valued in perfumery for its ability to impart distinctive nuances to a wide variety of perfume types from spicy florals to deep, woody masculine scents. (Aura Cacia)

Angelica archangelica grows wild in Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Greenland, the Faroe Islands, Iceland, mostly in the northern parts of the countries. It is cultivated in France, mainly in the Marais Poitevin, a marsh region close to Niort in the départment Deux-Sèvres. It also grows in certain regions in Germany like the Harz mountains, and in certain regions of Romania, like the Rodna Mountains, and some South East Asian countries like Thailand. (Wikipedia)

Their nose: Our Angelica Root CO2 select extract has a very fine, delicate aroma, yet it is extremely tenacious – a little goes a long way (Eden Botanicals)

Musky, earthy, peppery, woody, herbaceous, spicy (Floracopeia)

My nose: The first 15min of Angelica root CO2opens soft, green, light, whimsical, pungent, dry and the projection is low. It’s a bit hard for me to describe at first; I really had to dig into my olfactory bank to find a match with those first few words. After 30min it smells akin to very dry paint, old paint when it’s dried like either on a wall or a paint brush. Do I smell lime? Could it be I get that impression or is it really that green lime aspect? 45min and it still smells like dry paint, but now more earthy, clean, clear, sharp, dry wood and somehow tenuous and feeble at the same time. How can naturals do that?! Be one thing and the other all at the same instant? 1hr now and the note remains green – not a wet, mossy, green but a dry, dusty green. It’s oddly rugged and jagged in texture. After 2hrs this Angelica root is still dry with a hint of sweetness, smooth, serene, always this hint of lime that is underscoring the whole. 3hrs later the green aspect is now sharp, dry and brittle even brisk, with a hint of something citrusy. Pleasant and still alive on the strip. The 7hr layer, which for me marks the heart of the base notes, is still dry, but sweetish, soft and pleasant with just a touch of a delicate, powdery quality. 12hrs later what was once a jagged, rugged texture is now grainy and weather-beaten, but the whole thing is a mere whisper now. 24hrs and what remains is a sweet, powdery, dry, lovely presence. It’s a bit warmer now but not by much. Angelica. I understand why it’s called this now.

12/24 comparison: The 12/24 comparison reveals a stronger, sharper, quality with bite in the 12hr strip. It has a lot of rough edges. The dry quality is much more apparent here than in the 24hr strip where the rough edge qualities have all been smoothed out, filed down, leaving only a cool, sweet, hush.

Angelica root is one of those materials that I never would have considered before profiling it but, now that I have, I can’t wait for a chance to use it in a few of my accords. I hope you liked exploring it with me.

Wishing you a wonder-filled rest of the week!

MC


Aroma Profile: Ambrette Seed tincture

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The Ambrette seed tincture I made about 18 months ago, is lighter in nature than the CO2, and presents itself as something I see myself using more in and Eau Fraiche, a cologne or an EdT. Light, summery and not as invasive as the CO2. But somehow I think my sample has gone bad, so I’ll have to re-tincture this one in the late summer when all the family hoopla dies down. In the meanwhile though, here’s an overview of my impression of this tincture:

Common name: Ambrette Seed (tincture)

Botanical name: Abelmoschus moschatus (tincture)

Supplier: got the seeds from Hekserij and tinctured them myself.

Note: Base

Family: Musky

Diffusion: 10%

Dilution: 3

Blends well with: Bergamot, black spruce, carrot seed, cedarwood, champaca, cistus, clary sage, coriander, cypress, frankincense, geranium, labdanum, lavandin, lavender, neroli, oakmoss, orange blossom, patchouli, rose, orris root, rosemary, sandalwood, vanilla, vetiver… (TGSC)

Chemical components: (EE)-farnesyl acetate(oily/waxy), nerolidol (floral/green/waxy/citrus/woody), farnesol, ambrettolide, dodecanol, among others.

Interesting bits: see my previous post on Ambrette Seed CO2

Their nose: see my previous post on Ambrette Seed CO2

My nose: The opening of the Ambrette seed tincture is soft, coolish in temperature and the projection is very low. Do I smell coconut oil? After 15min I’m thinking maybe the tincture has gone “off”, is past it’s best-before-date, because it smells a bit rancid; it’s fading fast and it’s very dry. 30min later and it’s almost gone. What is going on?! It’s a sharp note, also the coconut is once again present, rancidity is gone though. After 45min I can barely smell it, or detect it, it’s dry. 1hr and it’s soft, hushed, yes, still get that rancid effect (so apparently it does random disappearing and appearing acts), still on the strip but now more feeble impression; parched. 2hrs now and hmmm, yes, the effect remains on the strip which I find incredible for a tincture, very weak, yes, but there it’s there in a very natural way. At 3hrs it’s still alive on the strip and I can get a dry, greenish impression from it. 7hrs on and my Ambrette seed tincture is almost gone, just a memory almost, dry, but only a hint remains on paper. 12hrs now I’m able to get one sniff then the whole thing crumbles like a house of cards. I let it go. I don’t even attempt to struggle. After a whole 24hrs passes the strip is strangely still haunted by the tincture. There is an odd sweetness to the note that wasn’t there in the first 15 minutes. The dry impression is now secondary, oddly enough.

12/24 comparison: In a direct comparison the 12hr strip has a distinct rancid, coconut smell thing going. It’s dry and less pleasant smelling. While the 24hr strip’s olfactive impression almost disappears completely.

P.S. School will be out from Thursday for a whole week for Easter holidays and I can’t wait for a week off! Planning on doing some serious studying, more aromatic profiles and there will be some time (three days to be exact) for a very quick escape to see the beautiful town of Siena, Tuscany, yeah! Smooshed in there sandwich style will be some time with my daughter and her fiancé and finally some house cleaning, ’cause that never ends!

For this Wednesday I plan to get out a profile of a lovely Angelica Root CO2 that I purchased in December from Eden Botanicals, so stay tuned.

Wishing you a wonderful start to your week!

MC

Aroma Profile: Ambrette Seed CO2

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When I muse on making scents with Ambrette seed I have to be honest and say it’s not the first material that comes to mind or that I reach for instinctively when constructing a scent. I have to stretch and force myself to include it as an option, it’s like a blind spot for me, but that’s how I am with most musks. Musks are my blind spot simply because I just don’t have an affinity for them, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to allow that to limit my range of olfactive expression. What I do find interesting is that I pick up on similarities between this and Cognac which suggests that they could go well together.

Common name: Ambrette seed

Botanical name: Abelmoschus moschatus

Supplier: Eden Botanicals

Note: Base

Family: Musk

Diffusion: 3/4

Dilution: 10%

Blends well with: Bergamot, black spruce, carrot seed, cedarwood, champaca, cistus, clary sage, coriander, cypress, frankincense, geranium, labdanum, lavandin, lavender, neroli, oakmoss, orange blossom, patchouli, rose, orris root, rosemary, sandalwood, vanilla, vetiver… (TGSC)

Ambers, citrus, florals, and your imagination.

Agarwood, lapsang souchong, osmanthus, birch tar, clove bud, ylang ylang, angelica root, angelica seed…(White Lotus Aromtics)

Chemical components: (EE)-farnesyl acetate(oily/waxy), nerolidol (floral/green/waxy/citrus/woody), farnesol, ambrettolide, dodecanol, among others.

Interesting bits: In perfumery applications, Ambrette Seed is an excellent fixative with an exalting effect – in other words, it has a unique way of lifting or enhancing the quality of a perfume. It also provides the botanical version of the musk aroma so highly prized in natural/botanical perfumery – a much safer choice compared to synthetic musks for use in perfume formulas. Its sensual aroma is considered by many to be a compelling aphrodisiac. A little Ambrette Seed CO2 goes a long way and very little is needed in base accords to achieve the desired effect. Excellent fixative. (Eden Botanicals)

…it is very rich in ambrettolide, which smells like what we learned to identify as “white musk” – clean, sweet, slightly floral or even soapy, and with berry undertones as well. (Smellyblog)

Their nose: with an initial aroma that is bright, intense, nutty and musky-floral, rounded with nuances of cognac, clary sage, and tobacco notes, underscored by the subtle, sensual character of leather and animalic notes all through the drydown. (Eden Botanicals)

My nose: I am greeted by a very soft, warm note in the beginning. The projection begins low. Coconut aspect, less pronounced than I imagined, dry, somewhat sharp impression, animalic, skin and bones is the visceral impression. At 15min it’s dry, unassuming, quiet, tranquil. This lays low in the background, it’s soft and arid. 30min on and it’s dry like paper, brittle, crisp air, natural, smells like a smell of outside in nature, very restrained. 45min now it has a stronger projection, soft, not as cool as before, dry, dusty, like being in a desert. After 1hr I can only describe it as dry, parched, pale, and musky a bit. After 2hrs it’s still very dry, this a very quiet note, bare, stripped of unnecessary things, it’s a practical scent. 3hrs later we’re into the heart of Ambrette seed CO2 and the impression is somewhat lactonic, still dry, still arid, with a slight fading beginning now. Soft and powdery, too. 7hrs and wow, it’s so alive on the strip with a piercing, green smell, and still dry. Now at 12hrs it’s almost gone, but soft, sharper somehow, green and a bit musky. In the final 24hr profile I get sharp, dry, green, musky with a very good grip on the strip. So yes, I can see how this would have merit as a fixative.

12/24 comparison: When I compare the two strips side by side from the 12hr strip I get dry, paper quality, the green impression comes after this. It’s not that much more alive than the 24hr strip which is odd, logic tells me this should be much more perceptible than the other but it’s not.  From the 24hr strip I get one sniff, one last chance to catch and impression and then it’s gone and that is: dry and green.

Up next on Friday is my Ambrette seed tincture. Enjoy your Wednesday!

MC


Aroma Profile: Ethyl Linalool

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Common name(s): Ethyl Linalool

Chemical name: (6E)-3,7-dimethylnona-1,6-dien-3-ol

CAS #: 10339-55-6

Supplier: Perfumer’s Apprentice

Note: Top

Family: Floral

Diffusion: 6+

Dilution: 10%

Blends well with: Amyris, iso amyl salicylate, benzyl alcohol, bergamot, green cognac, decanol, galbanum, geraniol, heliotropin, immortelle, labdanum, leerall, litsea cubeba, nutmeg, santall, tonka bean absolute, raspberry ketone, ylang ylang, violet leaf absolute, patchouli, oakmoss, etc. (TGSC)

Their nose: Floral, oily, slight woody, green, soft odor, has a floral, fresh, bergamot character and is sweeter and less agrestic than Linalool. As with Linalool, it is used in a wide variety of notes for floral bouquets (Perfumer’s Apprentice)

Fresh, bois de rose, herbal, wet, green, lavender, bergamot (TGSC)

Fresh floral, herbal, rosewood, petitgrain: this has many similarities with the more widely used linalool, though this one has not yet been found in nature. (Hermitage Oils)

“Floral, only slightly woody-green, soft odor of moderate tenacity. The odor type compared to Linalool indicates that ‘Ethyl Iinalool’ is softer, more waxy, less volatile, less woody-green and overall more floral. It is more Coriander-like, less Bois-de-Rose-like. This alcohol has been suggested for use in perfume compositions as a modifier for Linalool with certain advantages over that material. Ethyl linalool has a somewhat slower rate of evaporation and is easier to work with, needs only normal fixation, and blends with more materials. It introduces softer, more floral-woody, less citrusy notes, according to the composition in which it is used. Along with Ethyl linalyl acetate, it forms a pleasant Bergamot-type background note even in soap perfumes, a combination which is more stable than Bergamot oil itself. The alcohol is also an interesting item in Muguet, Lilac, Lily, Appleblossom, etc. as well as in fantasy creations.” (Steffen Arctander)

My nose: Ethyl linalool opens sharp, a bit lavender, sweet, round, happy, simple scent, summery and light. 15min and I find myself really liking this note! It rises above the other three I’m profiling at the moment. Yes, lavender, woody, twiggy, pristine and clean. The 30min mark displays a sharper lavender impression, bright and sunny and alive, like a really cold glass of water on a hot day – quenching, that’s what it is. 45min later Ethyl linalool is dry, summery, bright, laundry hanging out on the line, candid and luminous. After 1hr this is simply a very joyful scent for me! Gleeful, happy, bouncy, radiant and transparent. 2hrs and now we’re just into the heart note and it’s beginning to fade, it seems more parched now, the lavender glow is still there and it’s just as herbaceous and pleasant. 3hrs now and it’s definitely dry, lavender – weaker, but it is alive on the strip. After 7hrs it’s just about over but makes an impression nonetheless. It’s now very dry, very faint and the lavender effect is still the one that remains. 24hrs later and it’s just a very thin layer, nothing more, but I just can’t call it over…

And there you have it, my impressions about Ethyl Linalool. I can totally see myself using this in a summer floral that I’m inspired to try just as soon as I can get into the lab full-time after teaching in June. Until then, I will remain inspired and allow the scents to pacify my impatience just by being around their aroma. Yes, I am grateful.

Wising you a most beautiful start to this first week of Spring! Yeah!

In-joy,

MC


Aroma Profile: Fructalate

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Musings on making scents with Fructalate: It was fun one to evaluate this aroma chemical; just like stepping back into my childhood again when company came over. They would give me and my brothers money because they hadn’t seen us in ages, and we hopped the back fence, and ran off as fast as our 10 year old feet would take us to the Short Stop (the equivalent of a 7Eleven in the States) for all the Gob Stoppers, Jolly Ranchers, Big Bubble and Popeye Cigarettes money could buy…ah, good times, good times!

Common names: Fructalate

Chemical name: 1,4-cyclohexanedicarboxylic acid, diethyl ester, raspberry dicarboxylate

CAS #: 72903-27-6 (Firmenich)

Supplier: Perfumer’s Apprentice

Note: Heart

Family: Fruity

Diffusion: 6

Dilution: 10%

Blends well with: Citruses or fruity notes. 

Interesting bits: can give volume to fragrance compostitions with it fruity, raspberry, apple, ethereal notes. (Perfumer & Flavorist)

Fructalate is amazingly versatile – in small doses you can use it to enhance diffusion of almost any fragrance – larger proportions will give you a fruitiness that is dry rather than sweet and can be pushed in the direction of almost any fruit. It is especially good at enhancing room fragrances. (Hermitage Oils)

Fructalate is a remarkable performer when you’re searching for unbelievable boost…a fruity lift, says Master Perfumer Gary Marr. “It stands out among other fruity notes for its longlastingness, which reaches well into the middle of the fragrance to achieve remarkable diffusion.” Perfumer Etienne Bouckaert identifies Fructalate as the ultimate enhancer. “A chameleon among the fruity family. Fructalate magnifies the unique character, effortlessly pushing the bloom of a wide spectrum of fruity notes.” Perfumer Wessel Jan Kos adds, “Personally, I like to use it with citrus notes for liquid media to achieve outstanding freshness and pulpy juiciness.” (Perfumer & Flavorist)

Their nose: “Fruity, raspberry, apple, ethereal. Non−edible fruity note with good tenacity and volume. A long lasting fruity, berry note, which is powerful, affordable, and stable. The product is great in aircare and liquid applications for bloom and is used frequently for its boosting effects on fruity, citrus and herbal notes.” (Firmenich)

My nose: Fructalate opens fruity (no, duh!), sweet, berry, chewing gum, round, makes an instant impression. 15min into it and I am slapped with the memory of Jolly Ranchers! That’s the candy smell I couldn’t remember before. Fruity and juicy now. 30min later and it’s now drier, less juicier, fruity yes, the berriness is till there but it’s becoming much more hollow. After 45min it’s sweeter but much drier now, less generous, and a bit more ‘weathered’. After 1hr Fructalate’s fruitiness is fading quite quickly, it has slowed down quite a bit. 2hrs now and it’s a much softer fruit, more like a berry juice than a candy, less child-like, kiddy stuff, a bit more grown up fruit (if that makes any sense at all). Beginning to beat a steady retreat now. The smell after 3hrs is still fruity, soft and somewhat sweet, holding up okay event though fading. At the 7hr mark it’s still fruity – that impression doesn’t budge – but now its lighter, drier, and much more simpler. I missed the 12hr evaluation, rats! And the 24hr profile is still nice and fruity; it’s not as fresh as in the beginning, but still alive and well as a berry.

Enjoy the wonderful memories experimenting with scent brings your way today!

MC


Aromatic Profile: Rosewood

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Common name: Rosewood essential oil a.k.a. Brazilian Rosewood, Bois de Rose

Genus name: Aniba rosaedona

Supplier: White Lotus Aromatics

Note: Heart

Family: Woody/Floral

Diffusion: 4

Dilution: 10%

Blends well with: Vetiver, ylang, petitgrain, cedrat, mace, leerall, b-ionone, hay absolute, guaiac wood, cubeb, ethyl linalyl acetate, ethyl linalool, etc. (TGSC)

Lemon, tangerine, sandalwood, cedarwood, geranium, orange and lavender.

Chemical components: Linalool can be present at anywhere from 73%-99%! a-pinene, camphene, gernaiol, neral, geranial, myrcene, limonene, 1,8-cineole, benzaldehyde, linalool oxides, a-terpineol.

Interesting bits: Rosewood is an endangered species. Whenever possible, purchase from suppliers that are conscious of how they source their rosewood oil. (Aromaweb)

Rosewood oil is rich in linalool, a chemical which can be transformed into a number of derivatives of value to the flavour and fragrance industries, and up until the 1960s rosewood oil was an important source of natural linalool. With the advent of synthetic linalool this use largely disappeared. For those applications where natural linalool is preferred, rosewood oil has been displaced by cheaper alternatives (Chinese Ho oils from Cinnamomum camphora). There does remain, however, a very small niche market for the preparation of linalool derivatives possessing an “ex rosewood” character… Brazil is now the only supplier to the world market… All parts of the tree are fragrant although only the trunkwood is traditionally harvested and distilled. (FAO.org)

Rosewood contains a lot of linalool – an important component in lilac and lily of the valley compounds. Rosewood is a light and floral top note, especially valued in floral compositions and also an important component in Fougere compositions as a supporting note to lavender. Ho wood and ho leaf are very similar to rosewood and are used in a similar manner. (Ayala Moriel)

rosewood oil has more to offer than pure linalool. Its more spicy and complex piquancy can, for example, transform a lily-of-the-valley type perfume and bring it to life, whereas synthetic linalool cannot, having a flatter and more one-dimensional effect (Bo Jensen)

Their nose: Sweet, floral, linalool, woody, fruity, warm.

My nose: The opening of Rosewood essential oil presents a strange heaviness, something reminiscent of sandalwood, there is a seriousness about the oil that I just wasn’t expecting. It’s firm and although it hints at a floral it isn’t flouncy, but a more grounded, earthy floral. After 15min there’s something lemony here, it’s a beautiful salve to my senses, calming  and reassuring. Easy and enduring are qualities that come to mind during this layer. 30min and now it shares commonalities with a note I just can’t place…damnit! The effect goes deep that massages my rough corners, and as I hold on and follow that wave, there’s a mild pepperiness and it’s more plush. The 45min mark reveals a hint of mint in the Rosewood, now there’s a freshness, like a light evening breeze, yep, this note is like a quiet, private retreat. The 1hr mark unveils a soft richness; and while yes, it is thinner, there is a certain importance to the note now. It’s satisfying because of it’s simplicity and there’s a hint of sweetness, too. After 2hrs it’s still alive on the strip and now I can smell a therapeutic, medicinal quality to it. It’s tranquil and makes me pause as it slowly creeps in to work its magic but it is fading. 3hrs and it’s holding up quite well although much weaker now, the floral quality peeks through for a moment and somehow it’s brighter and less sombre than before. Interesting…huh. As the basenotes unfurl at 7hrs I get it! It’s bergamot that this note reminds me of and petitgrain, too. The projection is almost a 2 now but it’s definitely still alive dry and clean on the strip. 12hrs and there’s a very faint, feathery impression of a floral, antique, but it’s just about expired. At 24hrs it is extinct, but somehow there’s a delicate woody, floral reflex, like a fluid, fading motion that ends a conscious action.

12/24 comparison: The heart of Rosewood is apparent at 12hrs for only a few sniffs, then it fades quickly, but there is definitely evidence that it’s still around although delicate and fragile at this point. When I compare it to the 24hr strip I realise it is more alive than my nose originally picked up because now it’s just a faint outline of what it was. Doing these direct comparisons makes me realise that there is more to be gathered from the scent strips than the initial impression but you can’t get it all at once, you can’t be greedy about it, you have to come at it in layers and find ways to get your nose to pick up on the finer details of the impressions.

I hope this profile has been useful for you and that it’s teased you and made your nose curious to find out for yourself what Rosewood could do for your accords.

Have a great weekend!

MC