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

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

Lessons In Perfumery 9

lessons in perfumery 9


One of the things that I’m learning from developing other skills like drawing and painting, is how important it is to free myself from the need to be perfect to create something, anything, when what really matters is the truth that even a creation that sucks is better than not having created anything at all.  Those other arts help me do that.

It’s imperative to find a way to freedom from perfection because this need to put perfection before presence kills more dreams than any dictator ever has.

Sad really.

Of course I get it, many good perfumery materials are expensive and the typical amateur perfumer has a limited budget and feels a great need to not waste a single drop of juice and create something perfect the first go.

Laugh.

Even if success does happen right away, not an impossibility, what is more important is if we are able to reproduce that success. If we are not we’re screwed. Not only but perfection is in direct opposition to the terms beginner, or perfumer in training, student, apprentice, or amateur. We have effectively built ourselves a great prison of procrastination leaving it impossible to be what we are, absolute beginners. There will never be another time for us to be free to make mistakes as when we are beginners, and yet we hastily want to cash in those chips for perfection. We must be free. We must leave room for serious and frequent mess ups it’s the only way out and forward.

This is why being present is so important. For each one of us it will look like something different. For me it means, sitting down every day – typically in the winter this means starting a fire in a room that is 14° – of every week to do scent evaluations which gets me closer to the insights, the happy coincidences, the intuiting possible accords which in turn gets me closer to a scent that I like, that works, that’s in line with an original vision or plan.

There’s no way around it, plan to be present every day for your scent encounters and it will be like taking your vitamin C and eating lots of fruit during the winter time, it won’t immunise you from a cold or the flu, but it’s good insurance that you’ll get stuff done and move forward in your learning.

Have a wonderful week,

MC

Aroma Profile: Cis Jasmone

cis-jasmone-1000x600


Common name(s): Cis Jasmone

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

CAS #: 488-10-8

Supplier: Hermitage Oils UK

Note: Heart

Family: Floral

Diffusion: 5

Dilution: 10%

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a wonderful Monday!

MC


Aromatic Profile: Rosewood

rosewood-1000x600


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

Genus name: Aniba rosaedona

Supplier: White Lotus Aromatics

Note: Heart

Family: Woody/Floral

Diffusion: 4

Dilution: 10%

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a great weekend!

MC


Aromatic Profile: Ho Wood

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Common name: Ho Wood essential oil

Genus name: Cinnamomum camphora ct. Linalool

Supplier: Néroliane

Note: Top/Middle

Family: Woody

Diffusion: 5

Dilution: 10%

Blends well with: cedarwood, coriander, frankincense, geranium, blood orange, sweet orange, rose maroc, rose otto, sandalwood, tangerine, ylang ylang extra.

Chemical components: linalool, cis and trans linalool oxide, camphor, gamma terpinene, myrcene. There are six chemical variations/chemotypes of Ho Wood: borneol, camphor, linalool, 1,8-cineole, nerolidol and safrole.

Interesting bits: ….general blender-modifier in a wide variety of compositions due to its soft, sweet bouquet which melds well with almost every type of perfume compositions. (WLA)

The chemical variants (or chemotypes) seem dependent upon the country of origin of the tree. The tree is native to China, Japan, and Taiwan. It has been introduced to the other countries where it has been found, and the chemical variants are identifiable by country. e.g., C. camphora grown in Taiwan and Japan is normally very high in linalool, often between 80 and 85%. In India and Sri Lanka, the high camphor variety/chemotype remains dominant. C. camphora grown in Madagascar, though, is high in 1,8 cineole (averaging between 40 and 50%). The essential oil from the Madagascar trees is commercially known as ravintsara. (Wikipedia)

Though of the same species, Ravintsara and Ho-wood differ in their chemical compositions. Ho-wood’s high linalool content gives the tree bark floral notes, while the high concentration of cineole in the bark of Ravintsara exudes fresh notes…ideal substitute for the significantly pricier rosewood.  Ho-wood adds delicate woody notes to fragrances, along with floral and aqueous facets. (Albert Vieille)

Belongs to the Lauraceae family, the same botanical genus as cinnamon and Ravintsara.

Their nose: sweet, woody-floral bouquet with a delicate balsamic-herbaceous undertone (WLA)

Light, clean, woody, floral-rosy and a little warm, and very diffusive. Ho Wood is a top note much valued in floral and floriental compositions as well as Fougere. (Ayala Moriel)

My nose: The opening of Ho wood is blanched, slightly floral, and there’s something citrusy about it; it has a zing, there is a lift and a radiance, it’s bright, light and happiness. It’s girly! After 15min there is transparency, it’s light, gossamer soft but there is also a textured quality that is a bit rough, as well as a sort of wildness too. I can smell similarities with lavender – that dry, twiggy quality that is so particular to lavender for me. Yes, definitely, arid is the word that comes to mind. The 30min layer is brisk, quick, and brings to mind summer and heat. It’s drier now. This is an innocent scent to me, and is what I imagine a pale wood to smell like, very pleasant. 45min and Ho wood is placid and poetic, resplendent and sunny; gay. It’s a fluttering and a puff and I can smell this in a cologne. After 1hr it seems to be retreating, like’s it’s decided to take a back seat. I can smell commonalities with Santolina (Lavender Cotton), too. Very faded now. 2hrs into the heart note and it seems paper thin! It’s just about disappeared, like a twinkle or the tinkle of a bell. I don’t know how else to describe the smell other than in the form of a sound. After 3hrs the smell is almost gone now but there’s still a hint of something…limonene? It’s clean and dry. Now we’re into the base of Ho wood and at 7hrs the smell is very faint, like it’s almost a dream, like I dreamt the whole experience. Dry and very faint. After 12hrs it’s completely gone, I can’t pick up a thing. 24hrs it’s gone but for the most fleeting citrus impression!

12/24 comparison: Okay, so at 12hrs the smell was pretty much gone, disappeared and what’s interesting is that when I did a direct comparison of the two layers, 12 and 24 hours, I got no real difference between them. I find this really odd because until now I have always experienced a pretty distinct difference but with Ho wood after 12hrs the effect is pretty much the same.

Wishing you a wonderful week!

MC


making perfumes with cinnamon bark CO2 total extract

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Cinnamon bark CO2 total extract is a wonderful accent. Betcha never thought of it that way, huh? If you’re pondering the possibility of making scents with an Oriental base, in an incense or a spice blend, then I invite you to consider cinnamon bark CO2, the super critical fluid extract version of the cinnamon oils the effects of which can be felt, once the blend has aged, at even just 1% dilution. Think about that for a moment!

Common name: Cinnamon bark, CO2, total extract, organic, Sri Lanka

Genus name: Cinamomum zylanicum

Supplier: White Lotus Aromatics

Note: Heart/Base

Family: Spice

Diffusion: 4

Dilution: 10% (but best if diluted even further, recommended smelling at 1%)

Blends well with: Frankincense, lavender, cedarwood, orange, lemon, neroli, and ylang-ylang, mimosa absolute, patchouli absolute, linalyl acetate, germacrene D, etc.

Chemical components: Cinnamaldehyde 71.7% (about 20% higher than the average value of steam distilled essential oil), Coumarin 0.01%, Cinnamyl alcohol 0.80%, o-menthoxy cinnamaldehyde 2.4%, Eugenol 2.2%,Cinnamyl Acetate 4.5% (Hermitage Oils)

Interesting bits: “Very small amounts(less than 1%) can produce fine effects in many compositions” (White Lotus Aromatics)

Their nose: “Deeply woody and earthy, sweet, uplifting, warm, spicy.” (Eden Botanicals)

“intensely sweet,  warm, spicy, dry powdery bouquet with a delicate balsamic-woody undertone. The odor is very diffusive with good tenacity” (White Lotus Aromatics)

“Cinnamon Bark CO2 Oil has a warm, spicy scent that is somewhere between clove and cinnamon. It is slightly herbaceous with pepper notes.” (Sunrise Botanics)

My nose: To my nose cinnamon bark CO2 total extract opens thick and resinous, woody, deeper than the essential oil, soft. And oh! I can smell this with ambergris or certain animalic accents! It’s hushed and mildly hot in temperature not blazing-sun-hot like the essential oil. After 15min it’s quite different. It now has nuances; the woody aspect is wow! There’s a playfulness going on in the background, but it’s all quite profound and private. 30min on and the top note of cinnamon bark CO2 expresses itself as soft, soft, plumes, powdery soft, weightless, sensual, sophisticated, instant style! After 45min I’m amazed at how this has transformed into a total base note, it has the olfactive vibration of a note that is in perfect harmony with other base notes. It’s distinguished, more earthy now, real and grounded but light like a warm embrace. The 1hr impression of this note is wholeness. It’s round and generous, so much more than the essential oil. It seems to have a glow, like embers and I can smell it with Black Spruce absolute. Or is that just my overly enthusiastic impulse to put Black Spruce absolute everywhere?  I also get old Europe at this point, too. 2hrs now and it’s drier, tempered, more muted, placid and yup, poetic. There is a slight sharpness on the inhale, still and sweet. After 3hrs it’s so warm! Woody and resinous, the sense is more lulling and muffled, continuously comforting this note is a dream. It’s now 7hrs, dry down time, and this material only shares things in common with the essential oil and leaf. It’s tepid in temperature, fading quicker than the other examples of cinnamon, which I find quite odd and it’s mysterious. The 12hr evaluation was missed so on to the 24hr and final evaluation of cinnamon bark CO2: warm, much more spicy and sharp! Still alive on the strip; woody and it warms you right to the heart.

Have a wonderful weekend!

MC


making scents with cinnamon bark essential oil

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Musings on making scents with cinnamon bark essential oil take me in the direction of “what you see is what you get”. Cinnamon bark is totally unpretentious and is not out to dazzle you with quick costume changes and olfactive acrobatics, it is what it is. Period. That being said I have the sneaking suspicion that it will take some time, but this very common essential oil has qualities hidden to the untrained, busy, impatient nose.  It’s a very familiar scent that can be easily overlooked but don’t make that mistake. If you’re looking for something to add heat and acceleration to your blend then perhaps cinnamon bark essential oil is that player:

Common name: Cinnamon bark essential oil (Sri Lanka)

Genus name: Cinnamomum zeylanicum

Supplier: White Lotus Aromatics

Note: Heart/Base

Family: Spice

Diffusion: 6

Dilution: 10%

Blends well with: Gourmand and vanilla notes (Cocoa Absolute, Vanilla CO2, Benzoin), other spice oils (Cloves Oil, Cloves CO2, Cardamom CO2, Coriander, Ginger CO2, Ginger Lily CO2), Florals (Rose, Champaca CO2, Roman Chamomile, Jasmine), Sweet citrus notes (Sweet Orange, Blood Orange, Tangerine, Clementine CO2), Herbs (Lavender, Rosemary, Sage), as well as the woodsy-Oriental notes (Agarwood CO2, Frankincense, Labdanum, Patchouli, Sandalwood and Spikenard). (Eden Botanicals)

Chemical components: Eugenol, eugenol acetate, cinnamic aldehyde (about 60%!), benzyl benzoate.

“However, the oil from the leaves of the cinnamon bush has eugenol as the main component, the oil from the root has camphor as the main component, whereas the oil from the flowers has cinnamyl acetate as its main component” (Bo Jensen)

Interesting bits: “Cinnamon is a spice obtained from the inner bark of the cinnamon tree. It’s scientific name stems from Hebraic and Arabic term amomon, which means ‘fragrant spice plant’.” (Fragrantica)

“Around 200 species of cinnamon are found in the area covered by Southeast Asia, East Asia and the Pacific Islands. In the tertiary period their distribution was much larger. Occasionally cinnamon flowers are seen in Baltic amber! Cinnamons are fragrant. Leaves, bark, flowers, fruits, wood and root always contain essential oil of various composition…Coca-Cola’s original flavour came from cinnamon, lime oil, cola nuts, etc.” (Bo Jensen)

“The sweetness of Cinnamon Bark adds warmth and a spicy appeal to blends when used in minute amounts. Cinnamon is often used in Oriental and chypre perfumes to add a spicy, warm and sweet touch. It can add warmth to dry woody and spicy orientals, and also adds a gourmand touch to sweet, ambery Orientals as it has the culinary association of freshly baked goods (cinnamon buns, apple pie, etc.). It can also be used sparingly in florals as well as in fougère and aromatic herbal blends.” (Eden Botanicals)

Their nose: extremely rich, warm, aromatic-spicy with a delightful sweet powdery woody undertone with great diffusive power and tenacity. (WLA)

“In perfumery, the oil blends well with Oriental-woody notes, and the combination with olibanum(frankincense) is known and often utilized. The warmth and dry spiciness, the immediate sweetness and tremendous diffusive power (or “radiation”) … highly appreciated by certain perfumers.” (Steffen Arctander)

“…its odor is sweet and bitter, hot and sensuous, with a prolonged aftertaste.” (Fragrantica)

“peppery, earthy, spicy, bright yet slightly woodsy.” (Aromaweb)

My nose: What I get upon the opening of cinnamon bark essential oil is candy. Strong, pungent, happy, abundance, extravagant, lush, candy hearts at Valentines! It’s everything I expected from cinnamon. After 15min it’s strong, demanding, invasive and opulent, persistent, sweet too and fiery hot! Yes, the temperature is hot and piccante. 30min after opening and it’s still strong and bold, striking, uncompromising, tough, I would say, there is a roughness to it and only now the bark and wood aspect become apparent. Aha! I get it! The cinnamon “bark” shows up in the texture of the scent, the roughness! At the 45min marker the essential oil of cinnamon bark is drier, it’s definitely cinnamon, sweet, compelling, slightly thin in quality, but at this point it’s the dryness that stands out. It’s now 1hr and the odour is more extensive, fundamental even, there is the bark quality, it’s still strong and gutsy, like a spicy storm. 2hrs now it’s beginning to settle down somewhat into something a bit more composed and well behaved, more elegant and refined. After 3hrs the pungent quality has lessened and I can smell this together in a sweet Oriental mix. This is a first for me, being able to pick it out in a type of perfume! 7hrs later and cinnamon bark essential oil is a bit sweeter, and shares a lot more in common with cinnamon leaf essential oil. But, it’s more golden, hovering just above the surface. I totally missed the 12hr evaluation, damn! And after 24hrs this essential oil is sharply cinnamon. The candy hearts impression is still going strong and potent! Yep, this leaves no doubt that you’re sniffing cinnamon.

And that’s all from me for today.  I hope you all have a wonderful Wednesday filled with beautiful smells!

In-joy,

MC


making scents with ylang ylang extra

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Today’s musings on making scents with Ylang Ylang Extra have to do with choices, choices and more choices for building a floral accord — but also with luxury and s*x. When you want to think beyond the classical Rose or Jasmine consider Ylang Ylang in all the various fractions as an open field of possibilities for expanding your olfactive palette.

Common name: Ylang Ylang (pronounced “eelang-eelang”)

Genus name: Cananga odorata

Supplier: Perfumery Art School (part of our kit)

Note: Heart

Family: Floral

Diffusion: 7

Dilution: 10%

Blends well with:  Peru balsam, bergamot, carnation, cassie, citronella, grapefuit, jasmine, labdanum, lavender, lemon, melissa, neroli, orange, oakmoss, patchouli, rose, sandalwood, tuberose, verbena, vetiver.  Or why not try blending the various types together to create your own ylang ylang accord, suggests Eden Botanicals.

Chemical components: Linalol, farnesol, geraniol, geranial, benzyl acetate,benzyl benzoate, geranyl acetate, eugenol, methyl chavicol, b-caryophyllene, farnesene, p-cresyl methyl ether and other sesquiterpenes. 

Interesting bits:  Tropical tree native to the Philippines was later adopted in countries like Comoros, Madagascar, Reunion and Indonesia.  Although derived from the same tree, ylang from Comoros and Madagascar have distinctly different compositions and odors. (Biolandes)

The Extra … contains the highest amounts of esters and therefore has the sweetest odor, while the later pressings have a less-sweet odour. The ‘extra’ is not used in aromatherapy, but used in the perfume industry…(Esoteric Oils)

The Extra fraction of Ylang Ylang is the oil that is collected from the first hour of distillation; this fraction of Ylang Ylang is generally the most desirable grade of all the ylang ylang oils and usually comprises about a third to nearly half of the total distillate. It is used mainly in high-end perfumery. The I (first) fraction is from the next 2-1/2 hours, the II (second) fraction from the next 3-4 hours of distillation, and the III (third) fraction is collected from the last hours of the distillation process. Ylang Ylang Complete is a continuous distillation of 6-7 hours, rendering a full-spectrum, non-fractionated (complete) oil. (Eden Botanicals)

Products known as “ylang complete” are available which can be either a blend of the three grades of ylang or the complete oil that results from the full, uninterrupted distillation of the flowers. No uniform standard exists as to when the distillation is suspended and each grade of ylang drawn off. This results in a notorious inconsistency of aroma across the three grades; an experienced nose is required for accurate evaluation. If ylang extra is taken too soon, for instance, many of its outstanding aroma characteristics could show up in the secondary ylang II oil — thereby creating an outstanding ylang II but a weak ylang extra. If the secondary ylang II distillation is allowed to go too long, some of the less fine aroma characteristics of ylang III might show up in the ylang II.

Ylang tends to predominate, so it should be used in small amounts on its own or when blending with other oils. Too much of a good thing might evoke negative effects; restraint is the key to working successfully with ylang. When creating blends, start with amounts that seem too small. Let the blend age for several days before evaluating the aroma, so the power and radiance of the ylang can expand through the blend and reach its ultimate presence. You may find that a blend comprised of as little as 5 to 10% (in aromatherapy) ylang smells like 20 to 30%.

(Auracacia)

Their nose: Fresh, sweet, floral, slightly fruity, fragrant yet delicate.

Our organic Ylang Ylang Extra is intensely sweet, highly floral, and ethereal, with watery undertones. The intoxicating aroma of Ylang Ylang conjures palpable images of the flowers’ paradisial origins: palm trees swaying over sun-drenched beaches, exotic spices, peaceful island breezes, gossamer rays of moonlight, and the rhythm of the ocean’s song. Such is the power of Ylang Ylang’s amazing aroma for easing the mind, as well as for its effect in the composition of perfumes. It is one of the finest aromatic materials in the perfume industry. (Eden Botanicals)

The standard bearer of all ylang grades is ylang extra, which has a creamy, delicate aroma, never overpowering or too densely sweet. Aroma-sensitive individuals sometimes experience headaches when inhaling the potent ylang III, but usually don’t when inhaling the subtle sweetness of ylang extra. (Auracacia)

An elegant intensely sweet floral odor with a refined vanillic, fruity, spicy undertone. (White Lotus Aromatics)

My nose: Ylang Ylang Extra literally explodes as a thick, floral big-petaled bomb! It’s like the word in Italian “femmena” (really it’s “femmina”, meaning female, but said with a southern Italian accent it comes out as this beautiful, heavy, important word.) There is nothing discrete about Ylang Ylang Extra. It’s evocative, cloying, creamy and dominating.  Ylang Ylang Extra is all that and then some! 15min and now it’s juicy, heady, intoxicating, opening up seriously now, over blown, like a storm of floral power blasting you. 30min and to me this is now like s*x. So far no other floral or material for that matter has made such an impression upon my mind. It’s total sexual abandon. (I had other words to describe it but had to keep this post G-rated ;). S*x without fear, sweet thick, succulent, satisfying, sultry, carnal and of course floral. 45min into the top notes and any hint of submission is only a deception. She’s cheating because later Ylang Ylang Extra comes back! She remains carnal, still s*xually disruptive, but now there’s a hint of green, a bit of shine, but the projection remains powerful. 1hr now but I had a phone call and didn’t evaluate. 2hrs and it’s warm, sweet, still gutsy, a bit more aged but there’s a roundness to the shape, thick, still loaded with this warm sensuality. 3hrs into the heart now and it’s round, bold, extravagant, exotic and voluminous. After 7hrs now Ylang Ylang Extra is wonderfully soft, plumy, warm, floral, like late summer languishing over a beautiful glass of wine at the golden hour. I can’t believe how bold this layer still is!!! 12hrs later and this is so pleasing. The first inhale brought a smile to my lips. It’s more ethereal now, I can smell commonalities with Rose, but still she remains generous and a sheer delight. The final 24hrs evaluation is WOW! Ylang Ylang Extra is intensely floral, even after a whole day on the scent strip! It remains thick and commanding. But, now it’s expression is much more classically floral and approachable, still a voluptuous, Botticelli beauty! If anyone just a few months ago would have told me that I would have been this overcome by a floral I would have laughed. And not ha-ha-hehe. But ha-ha-WHATEVER! But this just shows me that I am making progress in my olfactory training as I develop an ability to smell beyond my olfactive boundaries set only by my past opinions, culture and a whole host of assumptions!

12/24 comparison: The 12/24 comparison yielded some interesting insights: the 12hr strip was pungent, arresting, consuming; this layer was still powerfully floral! But at this stage I prefer it’s carnal suggestions more. In a straight comparison it’s much more exciting. Which leads me to believe that interacting with other materials this facet of excitement could become highlighted. The brightness is still there. Whereas on the 24hr strip comparing the two, this one is simply beautiful, it’s pure poetry now. There is a fuller appreciation that emerges when you do the comparison that you just don’t pick up on its own! I can appreciate this so much more for how it suggests sensuality during the comparison. The brightness is gone but what remains is a glow, the embers of a wild night that coax you into a warm slumber with a smile on your face.

The gift of this floral is that Ylang Ylang Extra reminds me to luxuriate in all that life is and to take pleasure in the simple things.

Enjoy your mid-week!

MC