How Aroma Ingredients Build a Scent (guest post)

The following is a guest post by Zanos.

Aroma ingredients come in lots of different forms – from natural essential oils to synthetic aroma chemicals, not to mention combinations of the two.

They range from bases that hold fragrances together for longer, to individual odour notes, to more complex accords that blend multiple notes into a unified aroma, and pyramid notes that are perceived differently over a period of time.

While manufacturers might make a big deal of using only natural aroma ingredients, the fact is that synthetic aroma chemicals are by far the larger proportion of the market, and with good reason.

Synthetic aroma chemicals offer benefits including:

  • Lower cost and consistent budgeting for commercially driven projects.
  • Consistent quality and less variation due to climate or location of source.
  • Large volume production means reliable supply even of large quantities.

Natural aroma ingredients have their benefits too – and the higher cost and scarcity of some is even seen as beneficial in markets like top-end fragrances, where it is helpful for products to be thought of as exclusive.

But for some applications, synthetic aroma chemicals are the only option, including developing new molecules that don’t occur in nature at all, and these massively expand the range of options open to the perfumer.

What are the key markets for synthetic aroma chemicals?

Synthetic aroma chemicals can be found in several key markets:

  • Household toiletries and cosmetics with high-volume production.
  • Markets transitioning from natural fragrance ingredients to synthetic aroma chemicals.
  • Rising use of artificial menthol reduces need for natural crops.
  • Vanilla substitutes tackle supply problems due to weather events.
  • Chemical processing can also transform natural raw materials.

This last point is an important one because the line between natural fragrance ingredients and synthetic aroma chemicals is increasingly blurred by the methods used by perfume chemists to process natural ingredients.

Perfume ingredients like Ambroxan are a fine example of this, helping to reduce the use of controversial natural aroma ingredients like ambergris, while still providing the kind of musky, complex scent that great perfumes are built on.

It also highlights how intricately connected perfumery and chemistry are – whether blending aroma ingredients to produce a unique perfume, or applying chemical processes to create something more than the sum of its parts.

Because of this, the expertise of modern aroma chemists and experienced perfumers means that synthetic aroma chemicals are found in every market, both alongside and often instead of their natural counterparts.

This post is in collaboration with Zanos which specialises in sourcing and supplying high-quality natural essential oils and aroma chemicals for the UK and European flavour and fragrance industry. Founded in 2000 and based on over 25 years’ experience in the chemical and allied industries, Zanos has extensive contacts and performs as a distributor, supplier and sourcing agent.

Helional

Common Name(s): Helional (IFF), Ocean Propanal

Chemical Name: 3-(1,3-benzodioxol-5-yl)-2-methylpropanal (IFF)

CAS#: 1205-17-0 (IFF)

Supplier: Perfumer’s Apprentice, Hekserij

Odour Note: Floral

Pyramid Note: Heart

Diffusion: Medium

Dilution: 10%

Blends well with: green algae abs., ambroxan, amyris wood eo., beeswax abs., benzyl benzoate, blood orange eo., bois de rose, boronia, cassie concrete, clary sage, clove bud, the damascones, fir needle eo., galbanum, etc. (TGSC)

Their nose: watery fresh green ozone cyclamen hay (TGSC)

My nose: opens… fresh, floral, soft, light, airy, clean with a touch of green, totally non intrusive and delicate. It’s a delight! 15min… watermelon, fresh, summery, thin, light and narrow in expression. It’s the only way I can describe it, it comes across as very focused and straight-forward. 30min… more grassy, green, leafy, the watermelon effect is moving towards the background now, and it seems to be revealing a more rounded quality. 45min… oceanic, watermelon, light, watery, sea breezy, translucent! That’s what this note is, sheer. 1hr… now I get cucumber (no surprise there), watermelon, fresh, light, summer — no, spring, bright and cool. 2hrs… sweeter now, thin, transparent, fresh and airy with a dreamy quality. 3hrs… a bit softer now, light and breezy, oceanic with a hint of wetness hovering above the surface. 7hrs… very much watermelon now, cucumber, clear, watery, much cooler in temperature now, almost cold. 10hrs… watered down watermelon impression at this point, just about gone but it remains light, airy and up-lifting nonetheless. 24hrs… it is quite present still on the strip, watermelon, watery, oceanic light and breezy remain the hallmark characteristics of this note.

I wish you a wonderful weekend and I’m off to babysit and smother my morsel with kisses and hugs! See you Monday :).

MC

Benzyl Acetate

Common Name(s): Benzyl Acetate

Chemical Name: Benzyl Acetate

CAS#: 140-11-4

Supplier: Hekserij

Odour Note: Floral

Pyramid Note: Heart

Diffusion: Medium

Dilution: 10%

Interesting Bits: Since benzyl acetate makes up 40% of the picked jasmine flower, it is widely used in synthetic perfumery. It imparts fruit flavors like those of banana, strawberry, pear and apple and is thus used in the flavoring industry. (The Role of Chemistry In History)

Very widely used and almost essential in jasmine and gardenia accords: should be in every perfumer’s palette. (Pell Wall)

“Very extensively used in perfumery, from the lowest priced industrial odors to the most highly appreciated cosmetic fragrances, often constituting the main ingredient in a perfume oil. It is almost inevitably the largest component in Jasmin and Gardenia fragrances, and it enters in a multitude of other floral fragrance types in smaller proportions. Its poor tenacity is usually compensated for by proper blending with higher esters of Benzyl alcohol, and with suitable fixatives. In the industrial odors, the volatility of Benzyl-acetate is often only an advantage.” (Arctander via Pell Wall)

Blends well with: since Benzyl acetate occurs naturally in ylang ylang, tuberose, strawberry, plum, osmanthus, neroli, narcissus abs., azelea, jasmine sambac abs., hyacinth, gardenia, champaca abs., cassie abs., and cananga eo., it is also available as a natural isolate. Considering all the aforementioned materials in which it is present, you can also use this as a jumping off point for blending possibilities.

But it also blends well with: woody acetate, vera moss, vanillin, aldehyde C-14, tuberose, tetra hydrojasmone, sandall, pheneleythyl acetate, mimosa, l-linalool, lavender abs., iso jasmine, ho wood, ho leaf, ginger root eo., etc. (TGSC)

Their nose: sweet floral fruity jasmin fresh (TGSC)

Powerful thin sweet fresh fruity floral of jasmin gardenia muguet. (Perfumer’s Apprentice)

My nose: opens… like nail polish, warm, sweet, soft, a hint of paint and floral. Weird, I know. 15min… sweeter, now berry, fruity, very much nail polish, sweet, somewhat heavy, I would probably dilute this down even more than 10% as I find it really intense. But that’s just me. 30min… piercing, almond-y, still sweet, floral, fruity, but bold now, not afraid to step forward is the impression I get. 45min… the diffusion is stronger, wider to me now, still almond-like, sweet and I feel it could dominate a blend, it feels thick and heavy in mass. 1hr… continues to be strong, powerful, but not as much as 30 minutes ago, softer, rounder, sweet, floral, fruity, juicy and the almond facet remains. 2hrs… now it’s much softer, warmer, bringing to mind geranium and lavender…hmmm… 3hrs… vanilla, almond extract, sweet and disappearing into a warm, glowing pillow of softness. 7hrs… slightly nail polish, cinnamic, soft and warm but definitely drying out quickly. 10hrs… a much more subdued version of vanilla now, almond still, almost not there but then I have to be very quiet for it to reveal itself and it comes across as soft, powdery and drier now. 24hrs… just a thin layer remains then a smidge of the nail polish effect appears briefly and it trails off to be slightly floral and fruity.

If you’re getting the impression that I’m banging these out in rapid fire, I am! I’m preparing to head to my daughter’s place to babysit the little munchkin for a week so everything needs to be in order before I leave. Here it’s coming down in buckets, yeah!!! My kinda weather baby!

Be well!

MC

Givescone (Givaudan)

Common Name(s): Givescone, Rose Carboxylate

Chemical Name: ethyl 2-ethyl-6,6-dimethylcyclohex-2-ene-1-carboxylate

CAS# 57934-97-1

Supplier: Perfumer’s Apprentice

Odour Note: Floral

Pyramid Note: Heart

Diffusion: Medium

Dilution: 10%

Blends well with: Rose, carnation, aldehydes, chypre, fougere, aromatic and spicy notes. Tolu balsam, sandalwood, rose abs., rose concrete and rose eo., patchouli, petitgrain lemon, osmanthus, lavender abs., beta-ionone, genet concrete, geranium bourbon eo., the damascenes, etc.

Their nose:  floral, spicy, fruity, woody and even herbaceous nuances. Rose, oxide, warm, spicy, fruity, berry, damascone. (TGSC)

My nose: opens… fruity, floral, purple with a hint of zesty, feminine freshness, it’s a happy scent with a smile, berry nuances and an overall harmonious effect. 15min… very fruity, still berry but more like chewing gum, with a hint of the floral. 30min… mostly fruity, more of a splash, delicately feminine not overpoweringly so, elegant and refined. 45min… Fruity remains the predominant impression for me, berry still, but now with a hint of the mint, there is definite lift and bounce coming out now, it’s more radiant and generous. 1hr… there’s now just a pinch of cinnamon, light and bright, fruity, and the overall impression seems to be hanging back a bit, withdrawn. 2hrs… now there’s something cool, mint about Givescone that is totally surprising to my nose! A eucalyptus impression is coming forward, just a hint of it though, it’s now light but definitely fading. 3hrs… sharp, cinnamon, sweet, feminine, and … kind, which probably just means possessing a certain gentleness. 7hrs… ever so slightly peppery, then it disappears! Sharp but mostly just not there anymore. 10hrs… Gone with a faint peppery note fluttering in the background. 24hrs…again, the ghost of a peppery impression, then nothing.

I’m late in getting today’s post out but it couldn’t be helped. Sometimes, that’s just the way it goes. I’ll see you Wednesday and until then, have a wonderful Monday!

MC

Javanol ® Givaudan

Common name(s): Javanol ® Givaudan, Sandal cyclopropane

Chemical name: (1-Methyl-2-(1,2,2-trimethylbicyclo[3.1.0]-hex-3-ylmethyl)cyclopropyl)methanol

CAS #: 198404-98-7

Supplier: Perfumer’s Apprentice

Note: Base

Family: Woody

Diffusion: High

Dilution: 10%

Blends well with: ambroxan, kohinool, beeswax abs., castoreum abs., citronellol, clove bud eo, costus root, black currant bud abs., alpha and beta damascone, dihydrojasmone, eugenol, fir balsam abs., frankincense eo, hay abs., cistus landiferus resinoid, lavender abs., mimosa abs., nutmeg eo, patchouli eo, rose abs., tobacarol, tuberose abs, vetiver Haiti eo, etc. (TGSC)

Interesting bits: the Javanols are a group of fragrance ingredients which are mostly being used for sandalwood notes. Javanols are described as flowery, rosy, milky, lactonic and sandal-woody. The trade name Javanol® is registered for Givaudan. (Perfume.net)

The growing scarcity—and resulting increased price—of sandalwood oil explains the fragrance industry’s continuous search for synthetic substitutes. Javanol (Givaudan), prepared from naturally occurring α-pinene, represents a new tool in terms of performance and naturalness of scent. (Perfumer&Flavorist)  

This is a powerful material best used in combination with another sandalwood replacer or as a booster for the natural oil, use about one tenth as much as you would the natural oil. Javanol has a rosy, cologne like note in the background that makes it exceptionally good for use in fragrances of these types. (Hermitage Oils)

“Javanol is the only sandalwood chemical that smells of sandalwood alcohols and sandalwood aldehydes. It is therefore extremely natural since both contribute to the great and mythical smell of the south Indian oil”. He goes on to describe it as “perhaps the best of all” the sandalwood chemicals and “impossible to replace” and also mentions that it is used to very good effect in Truth for Men by Calvin Klein and Chic for Men by Carolina Herrera as well as being a vital component of Sandalwood Givco. (Arctander via Pell Wall)

“Javanol is my favorite fragrance. I wish that the whole world could smell Javanol. I can’t get enough of it and if the idea wasn’t already there, then I would think about creating a fragrance from just this one chemical. For me Javanol is the most indescribable and irresistible fragrance.” (Erik Kormann, perfumer via Fragrantica)

Javanol, Ebanol, Sandela, Santaliff (IFF sandal mysore core), and Santalore are extremely powerful and true to sandalwood synthetics. In fact this might explain the curious effect one experiences when handling them: it was enough to smell a 10% dilution to anesthetize my nose for several hours later, a state I was taken out of by squeezing fresh lemon juice. A perfumer must be cautious and restrained when using them in order not to end up making the wearer of the finished fragrance tired and anosmic to them. Extreme dilution (even lower than 0.5%) is recommended, as alongside Iso-E Super (woody cedar) and methyl ionone (violets) those notes cause rapid nose fatigue. (Fragrantica)

I found Elena Vosnaki’s article on the a selection of Sandalwood synthetics including Javanol to be very interesting but what resonated with me most was this truth about the masses not taking well to change found buried at the very end of the article: “More than allergy concerns or repletion of natural resources, consistency is the magical word here. A mass produced product, like fine fragrance inevitably is (unless you’re making your own or have the hip artisan across town compose one for you), cannot afford to smell different from batch to batch. Consumers do not respond well to change. The quest for sandalwood substitutes continues as we speak, with several patents from Japanese companies under way, and is only going to accelerate in the coming years despite the ethically sustained sandalwood farm in Australia (after all, it is but a single farm).” (Fragrantica)

Their nose: tropical woody fatty sandalwood herbal cologne floral (TGSC)

Sandalwood, Creamy, Rosy, Powerful (Givaudan via TGSC)

My nose: From the outset Javanol is a beautiful Sandalwood impression! It’s woody, with innuendos of creaminess, a bit thin, and not a all dominating but giving lift. As it begins to fill the air in the first 15min it’s so much warmer, very Sandalwood but with a dry mark and it is surprisingly delicate. As the note begins to enter the first 30min it brings to my mind a creamy, tawny colour. There are intimations of Cashmeran revealed in the unfolding. It’s a very relaxing scent, in a way highlighting the calming and reassuring expression of Sandalwood. 45min into the evaluation and now this note is a hush as it hovers intimately throughout the space in my studio. I sense it more as a Sandalwood memory with a minimalistic quality that really I only find with the aroma chemicals. At 1hr Javanol is woody, like a grouping of dense woods and very linear. It’s also dusty and hot. My impression is of a sanctuary somewhere far away, like high upon some unspeakable Tibetan mountain, hidden by mist and clouds. Unreachable. Unnameable. Impenetrable. After 2hrs my main reaction is more that of a sheath at the moment, a note that could wrap itself around you. And yet…and yet, there is something piercing about it, almost metallic but not quite. 3hrs and this material is sharp, dry, woody, velvety and warm. It’s becoming quite one dimensional in the dry down, however and I note that this is neither good nor bad, just an aspect of its character. 7hrs sees this evolve into a sleek and tailored smell very much like watching someone walk gracefully, with beauty and rhythm. This note is unfolding into a creamy delight. The textural quality after 10hrs is velvety soft, deeply warm now, draped in rich, creamy layers; it’s a captivating precipitation of Sandalwood. The 24hr evaluation leaves me stumped! I don’t know how but this material seems to have evolved, matured somehow, it’s much more interesting, revealing greater depth and character. Can an aroma chemical even do that?! Well I guess if it’s prepared from naturally sourced components it is quite possible. Javanol has an absolutely stunning drydown!

MC

Delta Damascone

Common name(s): Delta Damascone

Chemical name: 1-2,6,6-trimethyl-3-cyclohexen-1-yl-2-buten-1-one

CAS #: 23726-91-2

Supplier: Pell Wall

Note: Heart

Family: Fruity

Diffusion: High

Dilution: 10%

Blends well with: amiris, angelica root, benzyl acetate, blood orange eo, bois de rose, iso butyl quinoline, cassia bark eo, black currant bud abs., beta damascenone, alpha and bata damascone, fir balsam abs., grapefruit eo, linalool, oakmoss, tobacarol, veramoss, violet leaf abs. (TGSC)

Interesting bits: Damascones are a series of closely related chemical compounds that are components of a variety of essential oils. The damascones belong to a family of chemicals known as rose ketones, which also includes damascenones and ionones. beta-Damascone is a contributor to the aroma of roses, despite its relatively low concentration, and is an important fragrance chemical used in perfumery (Wikipedia)

This is a very cost-effective rose ketone, that is unusual in that it has not been found in nature. Just as high-impact as the others, this is exceptionally useful for fruity fragances and can also be used to impart a metalic quality that isn’t evident in the others. Note that the IFRA restriction applies to all rose ketones combined. (Pell Wall)

Compliment these bits with a beautifully written article by Victoria of Bois de Jasmin on the Damascones:  ….If the light pouring through stained glass windows, dancing in vibrant red and orange and flickering on the skin, had a scent, it would be the fragrance of damascones…” see what I mean? Her writing is simply poetic.

Their nose: Fruity, sweet-rose, natural cassis & tobacco; Similar to alpha-Damascone but more fuity and less rosy. (Pell Wall)

Fruity  sweet  rose  natural  petal  currant bud black currant bud  tobacco

Woody, minty, sweet and fruity, with a brown herbal nuance

A diffusive rosy note. More fruity and less rosy than DAMASCONE ALPHA (Firmenich via TGSC)

Blackcurrant (cassis), fruity note of exceptional diffusion. Very good in trace amounts a rose/tobacco effect. Member of the rose ketone family. A fruity, apple, rose earthy note (IFF via TGSC)

“quite similar to alpha-damascone, but with a more striking metallic fruity nuance and less “cinnamic” impact. I say cinnamic because many shades of cinnamic alcohol are found in the diverse damascones  I like this chemical, although it is less linear and less clean than the other isomers. However it is quite useful because of its striking fruity impact” (Arctander via Pell Wall)

delta damascone and alpha damascone seem less rosy and plumy and more appley to me. (Sonoma Scent Studio)

My nose: the doors of Delta Damascone open wide to reveal a sweet, fruity note with a hint of something sharp and silvery, not a heavy scent at all, it’s very pleasing and smells of plums. 15min fly by and I get light, almost a camphorous quality. Is that even possible? I do find that interesting that even while my brain notes what I smell there is still a dubious part of me questioning some evaluations because to me one impression can’t occupy the same space of a particular note, which is really just my prejudice getting in the way. Must be mindful or rather, observant of it flowing in and out. So, to continue, I smell commonalities with Eucalyptus. It’s a very bright quality, oddly pungent, very direct and refreshing! 30min now and it’s airy, fruity and totally light and whimsical. There is a fresh, cool splash about this material that is completely disarming, it’s really taking me by surprise. After 45min the uplifting, camphor element is now foremost, then it beats out the fruity note rhythmically, not with a constant bashing. I feel this material can add youth and excitement to a formulation. 1hr later it’s a bit parched and seems to be drying out. It remains sweet and fruity, still holding onto its bright, shimmery quality. Interestingly, I can also sense a very harmonious marriage with certain animalic notes like Ambergris, Castoreum or Civet. 2hrs finds Delta Damascone to be much more arid in quality, the glimmer is fading to become thinner. It still smelling of fruit, but less radiant than before. Now, after 3hrs, it’s very fruity, but this could be because I left the room, went outside and my nose came back refreshed. The character is spirited yet cool in temperature, with a hint of sweetness. 7hrs on this is more berry, fruity, more whole as an impression, more linear as it begins to meld now with the paper strip. 10hrs and the berry, fruity attribute is now simply a murmur. It’s much more understated, softened and demure. After being on the strip for 24hrs I have to blow on it with my nose to wake it up in order to cajole any sort of an impression out of it that I can pick up, but after a few sniffs I realize it’s still alive only fast asleep, still sweet, berry and fruity.

I had in mind another article I wanted to post for today but that can wait for Friday. Today I wanted to help you and I get started on a sweet note, as a reminder to never stop planting seeds of sweet-smelling fruit in our lives.

Have a wonderful start to your week and see you Wednesday!

MC

Galbanum Coeur 1%

Common name(s): Galbanum Coeur, Galbanum Replacer

Chemical name: 2-methyl-4-phenyl-2-butyl acetate

CAS #: 8023-91-4

Supplier: Pell Wall

Note: Heart

Family: Green

Diffusion: 4

Dilution: 1%

Blends well with: Now it stands to reason that since this is a synthetic galbanum replacer, it should blend well with those notes that galbanum absolute blends with such as: ambroxan, green algae absolute, benzyl benzoate, bois de rose, cistus, clary sage, costus root, ethyl linalool, fir balsam absolute, flouve absolute, ho wood, linalool, lavender absolute, mimosa absolute and so on… (TGSC)

Their nose: dry, green, balsamic, galbanum, herbal/herbaceous

My nose: right away in the opening the obvious impression is green, but as I scrutinise this smell further there is a youthful, early springtime joyful feeling to it. There are elements of sharpness, it’s high-pitched, vibrant and happy. A scant 15min later and now I smell similarities with castoreum! What the heck?! Still green and dry. 30min into the evaluation and the impression is more a faded green and it’s beginning to seriously morph and retreat right before my consciousness. It leaves me question if it’s off, gone bad, or stale? Now it’s 45min and there is still a hint of the animalic, less luminous than before, and the green is still prevalent. After 1hr it seems I’ve sort of lost the thread of this note. How does that happen I wonder…and then it strikes me that this could be a characteristic to be exploited this weaving in and out, disappearing act that this note could perform in a blend. 2hrs and all I can get is a sweaty armpit odour and nothing else. Just a hint of green remains. One sniff of green is all I am able to capture 3hrs later. I feel so let down, I expected a lot of this material. Had constructed a whole impression in my head only to be “disappointed” by the real thing. 7hrs into the dry down and nothing. I can no longer smell this on the strip. There seems to be something but I’m afraid I could be making it up in my mind and so I hesitate. After 10hrs there is a thin veil of green galbanum and then it’s gone, poof! Invisible to my nose. 24hrs have passed now and I can pick up a hint of the green characteristic of galbanum, reminding me of a cool autumn day. Odd that this came alive again and accompanied with a cooler temperature impression.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my getting to know Galbanum Coeur and I would love to hear what your impressions are of this interesting material if you have it in your scent library.

Until Monday, have a wonder-filled week-end!

MC

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

Aroma Profile: Cis-3-Hexenol

cis-3-hexenol-1000x600


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: 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