Smelling Pairs


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

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

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

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

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

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





Aroma Profile: Nerol


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!


Aroma Profile: Cis Jasmone


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!


Aroma Profile: Ethyl Linalool


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!



Aroma Profile: Fructalate


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!


Aroma Profile: Ethyl Linalyl Acetate


Common names: Ethyl Linalyl Acetate

Chemical name: [(6E)-3,7-dimethylnona-1,6-dien-3-yl] acetate

CAS #: 61931-80-4

Supplier: Perfumer’s Apprentice 

Note: Top/Heart

Family: Floral

Diffusion: 5

Dilution: 10%

Blends well with: Ambroxan, iso-amyl salicilate, cardamom, cistus, coriander seed, Fir balsam absolute, cyrpress, bois de rose, angelica root, Frankincense, geraniol, juniper berry, galbanum, patchouli, black pepper (TGSC)

Their nose: floral, bergamot, fruity, tropical, rose (TGSC)

Floral linalyl acetate fruity, softer, more floral, more bergamot and less lavender than Linalyl Acetate. It has an elegant, refreshing effect in floral bouquets. (Perfumer’s Apprentice)

My nose: Ethyl linalyl acetate opens dry, wood, crisp, sweet, soft and beautiful to my nose. Lightly floral, somewhat sharp, too. After 15min it is still dry but more linear, more sharp, it makes me smile and sounds like a high pitched note and it’s calming to me. 30min later it’s becoming a bit heavier, more dry and woody, I find it to be very one dimensional but this makes it reliable somehow. Clean and clear are the two words that come to mind. 45min into the top notes and wow! It’s softer! More powdery and whimsical, it also has a feline quality around the edges. Still dry and bright and a bit sweet. It’s now 1hr and ethyl linalyl acetate is dry, woody and quick. I forgot to mention that very fast paced smell and thin. Yes, definitely a staccato sort of impression. Now, 2hrs and the smell is thinner, crisper, and a bit more blunt, bracing and cooler, it has become more distilled and simplified. 3hrs now and it’s just about disappeared, a very thin, dry layer now remains. At the 7hrs mark it’s completely and definitely gone. 12hrs, can’t smell a thing. 24hrs gone.

making scents with kephalis


Making scents with  Kephalis opens you up to a wide range of possibilities as a perfumer because, as Givaudan, the maker of the molecule, puts it “Kephalis is a very versatile and rich product, used as a long lasting heart note.” Honestly, I was totally caught off guard to note what a subtle player it was. From the beginning to the end of the evaluation this molecule surprised me.

Common names: Kephalis, Woody cyclohexanone

Chemical name: 4-(1-ethoxyethenyl)-3,3,5,5-tetramethylcyclohexan-1-one

CAS #: 36306-87-3

Supplier: Perfumer’s Apprentice

Note: Heart-Base

Family: Wood/Amber

Diffusion: 5

Dilution: 10%

Blends well with: Ambroxan, amyris, benzyl benzoate, ambrette seed, iso butyl quinoline, cedramber, carrot seed, hay, fir balsam absolute, ho leaf, labdanum, mastic, tonka bean, vetiver, patchouli, nerolidol, etc. (TGSC)

“It blends well with floral notes (jasmine, rose, violet, lavender, etc.) as well as sophisticated amber, woody-aldehydic, tobacco and masculine creations.” (Givaudan)

Their nose: woody-ambery facets, resembling cedar, that blends well with florals and tobacco, very popular with modern fragrances…brings warm, and rich aromas of amber and tobacco. (Fragrantica)

My nose: Interestingly, from the beginning Kephalis, comes off cold for me.  Not freezing cold, but with a sharp, pungent top note that seems to have the ability to elevate. It’s decisive and decidedly masculine, it feels dry and rugged. Totally not what I was expecting and in this regard it’s a surprise. 15min and now it’s warmer! I get an impression of fire, smoky but just a hint of it. Still more jagged and succinct, dark like the dark days of winter. At 30min how can it be warm and cool at the same time?! But it is! It’s like Kephalis keeps changing temperature. Now it’s much more discrete, hiding a bit, more elegant and pristine now. Had to skip the 45min evaluation so on to the 1hr: there is still that high note that hits you initially, sharp and penetrating, metallic; this is a very structured molecule. And yet, there’s a hint of mint in there somewhere, that’s what that sharp note is, mint! (Well, at least to my nose.) After 2hrs this note is sweet, pungent and sharp upon the first intake of breath, very refined and there’s a sparkle to it, a certain purity of expression that, again, I was not expecting.  3hrs and now it’s sweet, sharp, thinner, masculine and assertive. At the base of Kephalis, 7hrs, there is a powerful, golden, warmth that is now less jagged than the top expression, earthy and gutsy, contemporary. At this point it’s much more meditative. Billowy. 12hrs into the dry down and it’s puffy, arid, much more warm now. It’s a sigh as it shifts into the late stages, giving a sense of spaciousness. After a full 24hrs Kephalis is clear, cleaner, like being at high altitude, thinner and greener.

This aroma chemical has taught me the importance of being open to surprises. As perfumers in training we tend to want a sure thing, a hit, our first success. But this can cut us off to the wonder and the curiosity that is a key ingredient to the very thing we strive for.

So, for today, allow yourself  the space to be surprised :).



making scents with cedramber


Thinking of making scents with Cedramber? This aroma chemical is made from Cedrol and according to Hermitage Oils Cedramber is a very nice ambery cedarwood substitute – a low cost alternative to the more costly synthetic ambergris forms – very widely used and particularly effective combined with the related Vertofix. Has both fixative and diffusive effects.

Common names: Cedramber

Chemical name: Methyl cedryl ether

CAS #: 67874-81-1

Supplier: Perfumer’s Apprentice

Note: Base

Family: Wood/Amber

Diffusion: 6+

Dilution: 10%

Blends well with: Cedarwood, sandalwood, labdanum, ionones, clove, cinnamon, civet, castoreum, vanilla, plum, some florals.

iso butyl quinoline, cistus twig/leaf oil, heliotropin, leerall, nutmeg, patchouli, calamus root, benzyl salicilate (TGSC)

Their nose: “Refined-woody, pleasantly green odor of good tenacity. This ether, occasionally offered commercially, may give refreshing and novel tonalities to woody and powdery fragrances, particularly those employing large amounts of Ionones, Labdanum, etc. Its odour type is not exactly a rare one, and it tends to put rather narrow limits to the application of this ether. It will inevitably detract from the amount of sweetness already present in a composition, but it is stable and non-discolouring in soaps and powders, etc. Overall, it is a material of little interest to the perfumer.” (Steven Arctander)

“extraordinary and has a bright quality between amber and patchouli. This is one of my favourite aromatics and it can be used in luxury perfumery as well as to give vitality to the qualities of Vertofix, as in functional perfumery, where it confers an uncommon character and fixes marvellously well the floral-aldehydic notes of undecylenic and cyclamen aldehydes, Lilial, Lyral and others.” (Arcadi Boix Champs)

“dry, very diffusive, true ambergris note that also has rich woody, cedarwood, dry aspects.” (IFF)

A dry, very diffusive, true ambergris note that also has rich woody aspects. (Perfumer’s Apprentice)

This is a lovely woody amber base comprising of Cedarwood frame with a soft warm Ambergris character. It has the complexity of Cedarwood with none of the harsh ‘pencil shaving’ notes. (Olfactik)

My nose: Cedramber opens up soft and plush, woody, pale, like twilight, it wraps you in a golden glow all neatly tucked away in a mother’s arms. Very, very, comforting. After 15min it settles into itself right away and remains soft and somehow even more silky and sumptuous. At 30min this is like silk and cashmere all rolled into one. It’s refined and whimsical, cedramber is like a slow dance with someone you never want to stop touching. I had to skip the 45min evaluation so on to the 1hr:  this layer remains warm, soft, delicate like ambergris, but it’s becoming dim. Still like an embrace. It’s dusty, more well-worn and comfortable. After 2hrs the ambergris element remains the central theme and it’s becoming more blanched, papery, dry warm and naked. 3hrs into the dry down and it’s totally ambergris and so similar to Ambroxan, wow! Warm, like liqueur and the colour vibration is just as golden. 7hrs now and it’s receded quite a bit like lukewarm water, dim, still effective but now it’s more early evening gloom. Earthy, ambergris, delicate and fluid. 12hrs brings to the forefront a light warm dusky, private sensation, it’s like a warm sanctuary that only a serious sense of duty can pry you from. The 24hr strip scent is just about gone, but the effect is still there, it’s close and indirect.

I think I’ve found a wonderful companion to my incenses and ambers. Yippee!

Whatchagonnamake this week?



making perfumes with veramoss


Some considerations when making perfumes with veramoss: “It is deceptively powerful however and can have a significant effect on a blend. It is an excellent fixative and adds great depth and substance to almost any fragrance…Used alongside natural oakmoss it is possible to create a very effective facsimile of a traditional Fougère using this material, but it isn’t a full substitute for oakmoss on its own.” (Hermitage)  “Evernyl offers the power and tenacity of oakmoss absolute. It is extremely versatile and is often used as an oakmoss replacement. Good substantivity. Great fixative” (  If you’re after a mossy effect it can help give it a boost, but from what I’m reading it isn’t a good substitute for Oakmoss.  Chris Bartlett on Basenotes says, “Works very nicely alongside woods and musks.”

Scientific name: Methyl 2,4-dihydroxy-3,6-dimethylbenzoate

a.k.a. Veramoss, Verymoss, Evernyl (Givaudan), Methyl Atratate

CAS#: 4707-47-5, 121-33-5

Supplier: Perfumer’s Apprentice

Note: Base

Family: Musky, Woody

Dilution: 10%

Diffusion: 5

Their nose: “the odour is described as mossy, oakmoss, woody, phenolic and earthy. In truth you have to work to detect most of those notes in this apparently unassuming material.” (Hermitage) Oakmoss, woody, phenolic, powdery, woody, sweet

My nose: from the get go, Veramoss is barely decipherable to my nose, I must slow right down, eyes shut, to really “get” this note. Musky, ambergris, hint of mothballs, a bit dark, austere, foggy day on the marsh sort of note, tawny, dusty, age. 15min and it’s still very hidden, I don’t get much time to sniff this one, yes, still ambergris, decay, ethereal. Haunting and evasive. 30min and my impression is very nuanced, parched, dry, it’s olfactive temperature is warm, pale and tempered. Very much a supportive, background player. 45min and it’s dry almost gone, musty, ambergris, animalic, very reserved, I almost can’t smell it anymore. I do my best not to force the issue and just set it aside. 1hr later and it’s now soft and delicate; I can smell it now again, but you can’t be in a hurry with Veramoss, it pulses feebly with life, obscure and faint. 2hrs on and it has a subtle softness like twilight, fragile, ancient, on it’s own it reminds me of a deconsecrated church, no real purpose but hollow, needing to be used by or with something else, lulling tranquil, waiting. 3hrs and it’s soft and deliberate, it has character, references to the ocean and the seaside, wind, wet, inscrutable, deep. After 7hrs it’s now beginning its decline. Warm, delicate, fragile, earthy, understated, but there is also a sense of isolation. 12hrs into the drydown and I get animalic, very subdued, it really hasn’t moved much just remained quite hidden, a gentle touch.  24hrs later and there is a hint of moss, wet, dark, ambergris, I would definitely use this as a substitute for ambergris or as an adjunct; slightly animalic, lovely and delicate.

Blends well with: woods and musks, but more specifically allspice, ambroxan, damascone beta, geraniol, frankincense, oakmoss, labdanum, etc. (TGSC)

Have a lovely week 🙂  Only 10 more days to go before Christmas!!!



making perfumes with orriniff


Making a perfume and need a floral volumizer? Does your perfume composition need something to give it a hint of Orris root and not sure what your options are? Think about Orriniff when making perfumes with a floral, ambery facet.

Scientific name: methyl norbornenylpyridine (mixture of isomers) 25% in isopropyl myristate

a.k.a.: Orriniff 25%

CAS#: 110-2-0

Supplier: Perfumer’s Apprentice

Note: Heart

Family: Floral

Dilution: 10%

Diffusion: 9

Their nose: “orris, floral, violet, leather, fresh, wood” (TGSC) “Orris, mimosa, violet leaf, amber complex with a leather, woody nuance. Imparts warm orris amber tones to fragrances.” (IFF)

My nose: Orriniff opens sharp and shiny, a bit pungent, twinkling and abstract. Almost immediately it becomes warm, definitely something sweet about it.  15min and it’s sweeter still, opening up boldly in a round way. It’s harmonious, warm yet there is a hint of coolness at the fringes; cloudy, fluffy and evocative. 30min now and there’s a piercing quality about it, icy almost, a musky membrane seems to surround it but it’s a very light impression, pristine, it nuzzles you like a kitten frisky and energetic, yes, this note has energy! 45min now it’s a happy note! Joyful, celebration, it’s radiant, a tinge of floral sweetness, there is a sense of promise with Orriniff, it’s rousing and moves you to take notice, to wake up. After 1hr it’s still powerfully sweet, still plume-like and billowy, tendrils that flow forever; the colour I get is copper, I hear bells, the trill of an old tower bell in a town square.  That’s never happened before that I heard a sound while sniffing!  2hrs on and sweet, always sweet, still stretched out in prideful glory, a blanket of time held suspended, linked with late spring early summer, soothing.  After 3hrs sweet still remains the first impression, blossoms floral, slight creaminess, it is a sweet caress, I smell laundry. Into the base at 7hrs and the extension of Orriniff is incredible! Dominant and powerful it’s pitch hasn’t waned one bit, no impression of this settling down at all; it’s embracing and yes, exciting, something about it makes my heart beat faster. 12hrs later and it’s just now becoming a more gentler, subdued version of itself, balmy and very comforting. I still get fragrant blossoms even a bit of something succulent. Now a full 24hrs this is the first scent I smell when entering the studio! But, now the expression is more thin, and yes, I can smell commonalities with Safraleine. A side of aggressiveness still lurks in the shadows but it is still soft and inviting and pleasurable!

Blends well with: ambroxan, amyris, bergamot, wild carrot seed, rosewood, alpha ionone, labdanum, vetiver, oakmoss, patchouli, raspberry keytone, etc. (TGSC)

Considerations: Orriniff will last up to 48hours on a scent strip and it gives a composition a floral lift and adds volume, sort of like hairspray in the 70s.

All the best for a wonderful Wednesday!



making perfumes with velvione


Perfume making as art can set the imagination free and if you’re looking for a musky amber quality to boost a facet of your composition then let your imagination take in the possibilities of Velvione:

Scientific name: (5E)-cyclohexadec-5-en-1-one

a.k.a.: Velvione

CAS#: 37609-25-9

Supplier: Perfumer’s Apprentice

Note: Base

Family: Amber

Diffusion: 8

Their nose: “dry, powdery, musk, amber, civet” (TGSC).  “A powdery macrocylic musk that is powerful, highly substantive and stable, as well as biodegradable. Velvione has a nitro-musk aspect that is not found either in other commonly used macrocylic musks.” (Perfumer’s Apprentice). “very fine musk of great diffusion, rather like ambrettolide but less fruity and even softer.” (Chris Bartlett on musks)

My nose: at 09:30 Velvione has an opening that is predominantly sweet, soft, velvety, instantly fanning out all neat and tidy, easy, early morning, it skims gracefully and glides like a hand over smooth marble. By 09:45 it’s much more structured, sheer, I get an impression of a gracious host showing you around the premises. There is an impression of superficiality about Velvione, because it comes off elaborate and deliberate, methodical even.  10:00 and I get a connection with cinnamon, to me it’s unavoidable! I tried not to write it but I can’t leave it out, this note is like the guy or girl at the party that you just can’t ignore. Piccante, staccato. 10:15 and to me this still shimmers sensually. Like the night, it is there but you can’t touch it or get away from it, it has you, teasing and uncomplicated. At 10:30 the hold is persistent, candid and hovering over the whole like a luke-warm blanket, much more hushed now. 2hrs into the drydown we’re now into the heart of the note and it’s succinct, contemporary, it’s also an illusionist but playful with a hint of damp and dirt but elegant with clean lines. 3hrs and now it’s ripe, lift, just beginning to fade a bit but still assertive, there’s a touch of something leafy in the background, something reminiscent of dried leaves almost. 7hrs and now Velvione seems to be warming up even more, more earthbound, clearer more still and present as it slips into a lush and elegant nap. 12hrs and this note communicates comfort, luxury and pampering to me. Still suggestive, beginning to make an exit, drier and now I’m getting the musky ambergris animalic quality. Only now! After a full 24hrs Velvione is much softer, more gentle, mellowed, not as expansive as in the beginning, still very much “here”. There is a touch of a dry, green note on the inhale, dry leaves still…hmmm. Well, that was an experience.

Blends well with: costus root, davana, damascone beta, frankincense, guaiac wood, hay absolute, linalool, mimosa absolute, nutmeg, tobacco absolute, osmanthus absolute, etc. (TGSC)

Considerations: Perfumer’s Apprentice notes that Velvione is a large molecule and often can be hard to pick up a scent straight out of the bottle. Then later, while tripping through Basenotes, I found someone else commenting about how it can tend to resonate at the same “frequency” of certain notes producing a cancelling effect of the other note so you don’t smell it (this has inspired a whole new post around this topic!), this was with Vetiver and Velvione, that it sort of drowns out other base notes. Chris Bartlett also adds that, Velvione is a great exalting agent which can have a big effect in a blend and gives a distinct powdery effect. My nose would have to agree.

aromatic profile: citronellyl formate


Scientific name: 3,7-dimethyloct-6-enyl formate

a.k.a.: Citronellyl Formate

CAS#: 105-85-1

Supplier: Perfumer’s Apprentice

Note: Heart

Family: Floral

Diffusion: Medium

Interesting bits: At 100% the odour is bergamot, cucumber, rose, apricot, peach, plum. At 20% it’s more sweet, green waxy, floral, apricot, citrus, mandarin! Citronellyl Formate is also a chemical component of Geranium.

My nose: Citronellyl Formate opens fresh, floral, geranium, rose, pink and clean. After 30min it’s much more geranium now, citronellol and citronella too! Clean and light. 1hr and now it’s very linear, same characteristics as before with little change, but it does seem wider, more ample though. After 2hrs the same, no real change, other than it regresses a bit and is not as powerful as in the beginning. 3hrs later and it’s lemony, sharp, geraniol, citronellol, still a bit floral and still very linear, like the one, constant note that keeps the rhythm in a beautiful piece of music. 7hrs into the dry-down and I’m still mainly getting geranium, still mildly pungent, citronellol, could definitely add consistency to a blend or accord. Now 11hrs later and it’s still very much geranium I get, but more rosey, floral, like it’s grown up and gotten serious all of a sudden, planted its feet on the ground and ditched the excess baggage.

Blends well with: Haven’t tried this one yet, but I can smell this doing well with the floral and the citrus family as well as Galbanum

Considerations: Citronellyl Formate will last for 24 months or longer if stored in a cool, dry place. Recommended usage levels are up to 5% in the total concentrate.

Have a great week-end!