Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Aromachemicals Series

I suppose I would be remiss if I didn't mention the nascent collection of soundpieces that's been spilling out of my brain onto my computer. I'm referring to it as The Aromachemicals Series, and it looks like it may grow into an album, which would allow me to use a title that I thought up some time ago: If I Can't Make a Perfume, Then I'll Make an Album! We'll see how it develops.

So I've been posting them as they come along. So far I have three:

  1. Isocyclocitral and Unhappiness
  2. Caramel Furanone 3%
  3. Calone 1951: A Tribute to Aromachemicals that have Defined Their Time

So far I've just been putting them up on The Neld Adventure, so go there to hear them. But I suppose I'll put them on music sites or whatever eventualish.

Ed Shepp

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Quick Notes - Isobutyl Quinoline and Isobutavan

I just got them today, along with others.

IBQ: WOW. It's not what I expected. Except: what you've heard about it being strong--that's all true. So open it outside or in your lab. But about the scent--amazing. I thought it was just going to be inky or smoky or just dark, or maybe unpleasant. But I quite like it. From my brief encounter with it today I perceived it as earthy and rooty, similar in a way to vetiver. But it reminds me (like isocyclocitral) of playing in the backyard as a kid. We were fond of digging holes for a while--maybe it's similar to that dirt smell. (In case you're wondering, isocyclocitral reminded me of the leaves on the trees in the yard, or possibly a combination of the leaves with pinecones. Kephalis smells a bit like potting soil to me--my parents had a big nursery/greenhouse when we were growing up, so I think of "peat" when I smell Kephalis.)

Isobutavan: Well, after smelling bicyclononolactone, methyl laitone in dilution and coumarin (I think all these are lactones--I don't know me chemistre), I expected it to be rather mild. At 100%, it's stronger than I expected. Its profile is something like "white chocolate/cream soda with an apricot nuance, lends a thickening rather than a powdery effect." OK, sounds cool. Anyway, at 100% on a piece of paper, it smells like paint. But I get the creamy/slightly fruity tone behind it, and as it evaporates and weakens a bit, it definitely smells much creamier. In that "damn, this smells delicious!" creamy kind of way. Incidentally, I also got some ethyl vanillin today, and it's fantastic. Love it. Knew I would.


Tuesday, February 02, 2010


So I was at that witch store in the East Village over the weekend--I can't remember the name of it, but it's the one that has the civet that smelled just like the stuff at Symrise--and I thought I'd see what some of their other stuff smelled like. I ended up getting a heliotrope-type oil and a ylang ylang type. Both reconstructions. I don't know how close the heliotrope is to smelling like either heliotrope flower or heliotropin, but it does smell interesing: very cherry, creamy almondy and a bit plastic. And not unlike Play-Doh. This gels with what I expected to smell. Of course, it's also almost sickeningly sweet, but interesting. More interesting is the ylang ylang, which I got specifically because it's a synthetic reproduction. The fidelity to the natural flower is astounding. It has the creaminess and spiciness, and when you put it on your skin, it doesn't fall apart right away. I compared it to my bottle of natural ylang, and while the natural one seemed a bit softer, not quite as sweet, maybe "oilier," the reconstruction still smelled fantastic. A touch brighter and lighter. There was also a slight fishy tone in the synthy one, but I'm almost positive that was something else I was smelling, or maybe something I perceived after smelling something else. I definitely did not get a fishy odor in the store, and I doubt it would have gone from perfectly fine to rancid in one day. Even the crap on the street doesn't do that. So yeah. That's the buzz on the stuff from the witch store. I'm still surprised by how good their synth accords are--the tuberose was nice, the civet good, the ylang practically nature identical.... Their tonka is not a good likeness of the natural absolute; I'm curious about their plum.

Monday, February 01, 2010


Wow. Isocyclocitral. This is probably one of the best odorants I've ever smelled. IFF calls it green/aldehydic/herbal, with a sharp, leafy note. I don't catch the aldehydic part, but admittedly I'm not well-versed in aldehydes. But it is hella-green. The immediate impression that I got when smelling it was "Conifer! It's the perfect conifer top note!" And thegoodscentscompany says it's a pine modifier, so I guess my instinct was on. But as I smell it, I'm thinking of this tree in the backyard of the house growing up, and how I'd break the leaves and what that would smell like. I think it smells like that tree, which may or may not be deciduous (I grew up in Florida, so it might've been, but it didn't lose its leaves in winter; some, like dogwoods, do). Of course, there are also craploads of pines in the backyard, so it could be more conifer than I'm thinking. Essentially, it smells like home.

So now I've smelled cis-3-hexanol, Stemone and now isocyclocitral, and I adore all of them. I'm getting to the point where I could paraphrase what someone said over the weekend about color: "I have a thousand favorite smells, and they're all green!"