Freesia quest II: technical details on smell

See the first part about Freesia here

There is something very special in Freesia fragrance in perfumery – it doesn’t really has a “key” ingredient. Unlike eugenol for carnation or rose alcohols for rose or benzyle acetate and indole for jasmine. PerfumersWorld course mentions linalool to be that “key” for Freesia. But linalool is also a very common ingredient in many other raw materials – bergamot, rosewood, lavender to mention a few. It’s also often used in floral bases to give freshness. I guess it explains the problem of Freesia note in perfumery – consisting mostly of linalool it can easily become dominated by other components, loose its character and just turn into a fresh note.

To my nose the white Freesia I bought does smell like pure linalool with a peppery nuance. A perfumer in a perfumemaking group where Freesia accord was discussed also mentions that Freesia smells like linalool, but without a harsh part of it. A chemical analysis of the smell shows about 80% linalool to be the major constituent of live Freesia fragrance (it increases up to 90% in a picked flower).

Another important constituent of Freesia fragrance is beta ionone. It’s found at the amount of 3% in the fragrance of a live flower (together with 3.7% of dihydro beta ionone, 5,4% 4-oxo beta ionone and 2,2% 4-oxo beta ionol). Michael Storer also mentions that smell of beta ionone is very close to the smell of Freesia. I tried his suggestion and I can say it’s true – 1% beta ionone solution on the blotter start to smell very close to my colored Freesia flower in about 30 mins (but not right from the beginning).

Another important constituents of Freesia fragrance are Terpineol 4% and traces of green molecules (like cis-3-hexenyl butyrate and beta cyclocitral). So, it looks like the formula of Freesia is made of linalool with a little bit of beta ionone and traces of green nuances. A good point to start!

The sample formula from the PerfumersWorld produces very clean, fresh and green Freesia note. The presence of aldehydes and sharpness of green notes make it soapy. It would be a nice base to use in body care products. It can be also a good fresh room scent reminding on spring. But I guess I have to work on it a little bit and try to make it closer to the smell of the flowers I bought.

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