Jasmine: meet ACA

The further development of jasmine formula with amyl cinnamic aldehyde

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Creating of jasmine scent in perfumery was no longer an attempt to recreate a natural jasmine absolute since the new aromachemicals were found. Most of them were purely synthetic and not found in nature.

In 1922 amylcinnamic aldehyde (ACA) was synthesized. At first it was not recognized as aromachemical. Its smell was not unpleasant, but it was not really a pure jasmine. Later someone found that the smell of diluted ACA has a jasmine character. Under the name of Flosal amylcinammic aldehyde entered the perfumery. It’s also known as Jasmonal or jasmine aldehyde. Its other names are Buxine (Givuadan) and Mahonia (Firmenich).

The smell of ACA is described as oily-herbal with floral nuances of jasmine, gardenia or tuberose. In its pure form it reminds me of a soap because of its waxy aldehydic smell with a kind of mushroom nuance (oh yes, there are also mushroom nuances known among the jasmine-gardenia-tuberose family). I do recognize its floral character, but rather the one of gardenia than of jasmine (may be because of mushrooms on the background).

Amyl cinnamic aldehyde has a smaller brother – hexyl cinnamic aldehyde (HCA, Jasmonal H). They have a similar smell, but HCA has more prominent floral nuances and is more pleasant than ACA.

Amyl and hexylcinnamic aldehydes are considered to be safe for use in perfumery as they didn’t cause any problems by a skin application on volunteers in the concentrations of 6% and 12%.

The combination of amylcinnamic aldehyde with benzyl acetate (the highly concentrated jasmine fruitiness) is used as a core of numerous formulas of jasmine compositions. ACA is not only taming the sharpness of benzyl acetate, but also fixing the jasmine smell. But the jasmine character of ACA comes out only in a diluted aldehyde. That is why it should make not more than 10% of the formula. In its pure form the mixture of benzyl acetate and ACA smells like a kind of jasmine radish.

To “dilute” the jasmine core the “all floral extenders” like linalool and linalyl acetate are used together with hydroxycitronellal (“all white floral extender”) and phenyl ethyl alcohol (a rose smelling aromachemical that reminds of dried rose petals). Modern muguets like Lyral and Lilial are used now instead of hydroxycitronellal.

Methyl ionone (violet-iris) may also be used to tame the sharpness of benzyl acetate. It sounds a bit strange to use the violet within the jasmine formula. Eugenol or Carnation base are used to give some spiciness. Either peach or strawberry aldehydes are used to give some creamy fruitiness to jasmine. Indole or methyl anthranilate are giving a narcotic note to jasmine, but they are not easy to use. First of all, because they are relatively active compounds and because of the possibility of discoloration. Cresols might be used as alternative. Ylang-ylang is the most popular and almost irreplaceable natural component of jasmine scent.

Those are know-how to create jasmine scent in perfumery in the middle of XX century. Before the times of Hedione when jasmones were still too expensive. But this is just theoretical knowledge. But perfumery is an art of creation. I am very curious what kind of jasmine scent can be made following those guidelines. Tomorrow I'll tell you what it was to make a jasmine following the formilae based on those recommendations.

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