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Flavor Bites: Damascenone

By: John Wright
Posted: September 17, 2009, from the October 2009 issue of P&F magazine.

Flavor creation is not the only hobby I pursue—food and wine are my other two deeply followed passions. I particularly appreciate the complex, yet fascinating flavor transformation that a wine undergoes, after spending a few years in a cool dark corner of a cellar. The aging process not only gets rid of some harsh components present in young wine, but it also adds a few desirable characteristics of cedar, dark red berries and farmyards. One particular chemical that is most reminiscent of this lovely red berry character is Damascenone (FEMA# 3420), and hence a personal favorite.

Before damascenone was commercially available, adding a highly characteristic ripe berry note to flavors was difficult. The closest one could get in achieving this profile was by using dimethyl benzyl carbinyl butyrate (FEMA# 2394). Although this material lacked the natural character of damascenone, it was widely used, especially in berry flavor formulations.

This is only an excerpt of the full article that appeared in P&F Magazine. The full content is not currently available online.