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Image - dried roses to illustrate the PEA odor found on http://www.your-healthy-gardens.com/drying-roses.html
Phenyl ethyl alcohol (PEA) is one of the most famous and important aromachemical possessing the rose odour – soft sweet rose with green notes recalling a smell of dried rose petals. It naturally occurs in rose absolute (making 40-70% of it). However the rose oil has almost no phenyl ethyl alcohol – just several percents. Phenyl ethyl alcohol in perfumery is widely used in many floral compositions – rose, lily of the valley, jasmine and many others. A rose formula can contain a huge amount of PEA – in some cases it can be the only rose-constituent like shown in a formula below.
The foundation perfumery course form the Perfumers World suggests a simple rose formula based on phenyl ethyl alcohol:
PEA – 15
Methyl ionone – 3
Clove oil – 0.5 (or Eugenol - 1)
Cedarwood oil – 1
This formula is a part of the foundation perfumery course - you can follow it free of charge at the Perfumers World.
Let’s see the role of other ingredients.
Methyl ionone is an iris or violet smelling chemical. It doesn’t occur naturally in rose, but there is another aromachemical with a similar smell that is a natural rose oil and absolute constituent – beta-ionone. There is only 0.03% of it found in a rose oil, but even such a tiny amount of beta-ionone contributes significantly to the rose odour. Our nose is very sensitive to beta-ionone almost 100 000 times more sensitive than to phenyl ethyl alcohol. Because of that even 0.03% of beta-ionone makes about 20% of the rose odour. More information on that interesting fact can be found at http://www.leffingwell.com/rose.htm
Methyl ionone and alpha-ionone can be used in rose formulae instead of beta-ionone. Methyl ionone has a woody undertone that makes it a perfect bridge between the woody notes and florals (especially red flowers).
Eugenol or clove oil (can contain up to 90% of Eugenol) gives the rose a spicy note. A similar aromachemical – methyl eugenol naturally occurs in a rose oil together with eugenol itself.
One drop of Eugenol can be used instead of 0.5 drop of Clove oil. Both are used to bring a spicy note to the rose accord. Too much eugenol makes the rose smell not only spicy, but also old, dry and a bit dirty – think of dried roses and cloves.
Cedarwood oil is a fixative for the rose accord. Another woody notes can be used like Sandalwood, Vetiver, Pathouli or Guaiac oils.
When I made a rose accord by this formula I was very disappointed by its smell. Nothing like a real rose. Of course I could expect that a rose accord made from four aromachemicals can not smell like a real rose consisting of about 350 ingredients. But it still can be a part of a more complicated rose accord. And some formulae shows that a nice rose base can be made of 10-20 ingredients. So, the next step is using of the rose alcohols to give some freshness to a drying rose.