Aldehyde C14

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

Chemical name: 5-heptyloxolan-2-one

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


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!



note evaluations: the floral family


I am not naturally drawn to florals, never have been, unless they are very exotic which usually translates into very expensive.  I don’t know, there’s just something about the florals that screams commonplace; whenever I see Rose as a note ingredient, I roll my eyes and think, “Oh, God, not again!”  And yet I must explore, even though my mind wants to convince me that I already know what Rose smells like, that I already know everything about the olfactive landscape of Rose, I must recognise it as a prejudice that does not work in my favour, push it aside and let curiosity lead.

My favourite floral notes, two of which are not part of the course, are: Osmanthus, Tuberose and Jasmine.  The florals on my future “To Buy” list are: Frangipani, Blue Lotus, Jasmine Sambac and Gardenia.

On with the evaluations:

Ylang Ylang III: sweet, floral, a garden. Out of the right nostril it smells even sweeter, warm tender and creamy.  I even get a soft green note hiding there.  Ylang Ylang III dries down to a soft green, warm sweetness.  I can smell tobacco together with this!  Volatility: mid to low.

Ylang Ylang Extra: this note is much more piercing, almost medicinal and herbaceous in quality. Strong, green impression, more complex than the Ylang Ylang III, sweet. It dries down into a much softer version than the III less green although it retains its floral outlines; it is much more floral in the dry down.  Volatility: mid to low.

Jasmine (grandiflorum): opens with a heavy, rich, sweetness; feminine and flowing even though a bit dark.  Lighter and more penetrating, summer soft and happy memories, kindness, round and voluptuous, comforting.  I love this note!  Creamy and deep.  6 hours later it is still warm, bodaceous, sensuous, thick, creamy and rich.  Jasmine is a woman with curves, it’s the Monica Bellucci of florals. Volatility: low volatility.

Geranium Bourbon: opens sweetly, sharp, thin and light.  That’s interesting, I assumed that all floral notes were thick in quality. Slightly herbaceous, light, Lichee fruity, fruity, floral, creamy, trance-like quality, it pulls you in.  It dries down to a much brighter feeling than the other florals, green, fresh floral, vibrant! Volatility: mid to low.

Phenyl Ethyl Acetate (PEA): a natural isolate of ylang ylang, narcissus and champaca and occurs naturally in narcissus and jasmine sambac.  It opens thin and metallic, light and to my nose a hint of mint. Peppermint, floral petals, vaguely rosy and sweet.  6 hours later and it’s still soft , still metallic in quality, sharp, very present.  Volatility: mid-low.

Rose Absolute: enters like an “O”, round, dry, sweet but only with a faint gesture of rose.  Thin, garden, grass, green, rummy(?), gentle, soft, downy, creamy.  The dry down is definitely rose heavier now, even woody and it has an intoxicating quality.  Volatility: low.

Aldehyde C14: a natural isolate of peach which occurs naturally in fruit and fermented products.  Opens creamy soft but to me, one dimensional. Bright, powdery, floral, I only get a few sniffs of this and then it becomes invisible to my nose.  The dry down is much more floral but still singular, not complex, softer a bit heavy. Volatility: low.

Linalol: a natural isolate derived from citrus but naturally occurring in citrus, rosewood, aniseed and geranium.  Opens light and airy, summery and breezy, lavender.  Fresh pungent, green, transparent and lemony. After 6 hours there is a vague scent of lavender, and vaguely herbaceous.  Volatility: low.