Sunday, June 27, 2010


I think I'm getting a better impression of what, exactly, "phenolic" means. Take something I recently got: methyl benzoate. Interesting chemical. Its smell is described as chemical, phenolic, ylang almond tropical flower. It is definitely chemical. But it also has that wintergreeny ylang floral thing going on. When I first smelled it I thought it would be useful to create a type of indolic floral smell, like an imitation of indolic jasmine. I always think of Forever by Alfred Sung when I think of recreations of indolic jasmine. Right or wrong. But then I started to connect this smell with what's commonly called phenolic. I've seen cade oil described this way (that's obvious--cade smells like smoke), but also Cyclopedine, ylang and methyl benzoate. So I've come to determine that phenolic also denotes a particular texture. I would say something like velvety, but perhaps harsher, since velvety is commonly used to describe Velvione (duh) and Cashmeran. So, for phenolic, I suppose I would say velvet-but-harsher. You know how ylang has that topnote that's creamy but also velvet-but-harsher? That's the texture I'm thinking of. Methyl benzoate has it and to an extent so does Cyclopedine. I'm expecting some para-cresyl acetate soonly, as well as some Aurantiol (can't wait to smell that--it's a base of hydoxycitronellal with methyl anthranilate. The latter is supposed to smell intensely of grapes. A lot of descriptors would call it floral, but I think floral is meant in the same way that it's meant of indole--that as a component it can help fill out a floral smell. I have to say that I feel very vindicated that methyl anthranilate is used to create orange blossom smells, because I remember smelling perfume oils long ago that were supposed to be "orange blossom" or "pikake," and thinking they had a heady grape smell, like a deeper version of grape soda. Then later I smelled this spray someone had which she swore up and down was all natural neroli. But it had a pronounced grape backnote, which led me to believe, based on all my experience, that it was petitgrain and a base rich in methyl anthranilate, although I wasn't aware of the chemical name then. ). The para-cresyl is supposed to be animalic narcissus phenolic floral. That should be interesting. The Aurantiol will just be interesting.

The other new thing I got was Nectaryl. Interesting. I thought it would be sweeter. It's your basic peach fragrance oil writ large. Not sweet. Long-lasting, though. A shame I'm not creating anything I'd like to use it in right now.

I have to give props to raspberry ketone, however. While the crystals don't smell strong by themselves and again, I thought it would be sweeter), it really does do something magical to woody odors. Color me impressed. Maybe I'll try it on my face and hair now!

Also in the pipeline: Orris. Specifially, Koavone, which supposedly smells woody/violet/green, and at high levels aldehydic/pine needle; and Orrinniff 25%. Also: the IFF Fir Balsam reconstitution. Every recon I've smelled so far has been Givaudan. And I've also ordered the Carnation and Ylang Ylang key accords from The Perfumer's Apprentice. Gotta say: LOVE them. Love the supersweet carnation accord, and the ylang smells practically nature-identical.

That's the beep for now.


Susan said...

Ed, we're traveling in parallel universes & have all the same aromachems. We might be aromachem twins! You've talked me into ordering the cyclopedine. The methyl anthranilate does smell just like grape soda or Welch's Grape Juice, the purple one, not white grape juice. I'm banging my head against the wall trying to figure out how to use it without smelling conspicuously like kool-aid. The aurantiol is also very, very strong.

Very top of my to-do list says to figure out how to use these basenotes without smellin like a pop sickle melted all over my face and ran down my arms.

BTW-I think there are a few species of azaleas up North that have a slight, sweet fragrance. It's been some years since I had my hands on one, but they do exist.


Ed said...

Hmmm, maybe we are aromachem twins! :P Although considering my limited collection, that might make you a very imprudent selector of chemicals (I have really small amounts of everything, and many I've already used up. And my collection is very helter-skelter). I hope you like Cyclopedine. I really like it, but it's a fleeting note, and it might not be to your liking.

Have you tried the methyl anthranilate in a white floral? That's how everyone says to use it. I'm finding the Aurantiol amazingly versatile. I love it! I want to try some oranger crystals now.

At the moment I'm trying to figure out how to use para-cresyl acetate. (I wish I had the aldehyde, if it's anything like the description on Have you smelled it? Such a strange chemical. Leathery, a bit green, "phenolic." I'm wondering if it smells like a paperwhite at 1% or below. One of these days I'll actually get around to ordering dipropylene glycol and diluting these things!