It’s very simple as 1, 2, 3 – 1 drop of geraniol, 2 drops of citronellol and 3 drops of phenyl ethyl alcohol. The proportions can be varied. This simple formula can be even used in a perfume as a part of a complex flower accord. The scent of a real rose is much more sophisticated – it consists of hundreds of ingredients (there are about 350 identified).
The natural rose fragrance is mostly made of rose alcohols – phenyl ethyl alcohol (PEA), geraniol, citronellol and nerol. There is a difference in PEA amount between rose oil (only 1% PEA) and a rose absolute (about 40-70 % PEA). From the rest of rose alcohols are geraniol (3 % in absolute and 20 % in oil) and citronellol (6 % in absolute and 35 % in oil) the most important and used in a rose fragrance base. Nerol (1% in absolute and 6 % in oil) is less popular and use in a few formulae to give a fresh citrus accent.
Pure phenyl ethyl alcohol smells like dried rose petals with some green note. I also smell an undertone that reminds me of bitter almonds or cherry stones. I don’t like that undertone and because of that don’t like the smell of PEA alone. It’s ok when combined although. Citronellol has a soft rose scent with an accent that reminds me of citronella oil (but not as harsh as citronella oil self).
Citronellol has a soft rose scent with an accent that reminds me of citronella oil (but not as harsh as citronella oil self).
Geraniol is a rose scent with a soft fruity accent that reminds me of dried berries (or let’s say rose hips).
That’s it – phenyl ethyl alcohol, geraniol and citronellol in varied proportions form the base of the rose fragrance. Some other important components are rose oxide and damascones. The natural rose scent has very small amount of a rose oxide (about 0,5 %). But because of the intensity of the smell it forms a part of a rose scent even in such a small concentration. It has a harsh gassy scent and diluted gives a green flowery note. Beta-damascone is also used in some of the rose formulae. In a natural rose scent it occurs at the concentration of 0,1% and gives a fruity plum-like note.
The base can be extended with essential oils of rose and geranium and rose absolute to increase the naturalness. 1 to 3 % of this precious oils is enough.
Clove bud oil can give a rose a bit spicy character.
Ionones, like methyl ionone and alfa-ionone in concentration of 1-10 % give a nice flowery accent with a violet or iris nuance. Alfa-ionone is more flowery and methyl ionone is also a bit woody that makes it a perfect bridge between flowery and woody notes.
Woody oils like guaiacwood, cedar wood or verivert could be used as fixatives.To give some green freshness it’s possible to use cis-3-hexenol (fresh cut grass or smashed green leaves) and/or phenyl acetaldehyde dimethyl acetal (harsh green, rucola like).