Ingredient Profile: 3-Mercaptohexanol*

Contact Author Cyndie Lipka, Sethness Greenleaf
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Ingredient Profile is an occasional feature from the Chemical Sources Association (CSA;, providing insights into specific flavor compounds. –Editor

The purity and enantiomeric form for this material are essential to its description. Descriptors published by Frutarom and Treatt range from mango and pineapple to durian, chicken and pork. In a 0.1% solution presented during a recent CSA meeting, the material was markedly savory, with a distinct rhubarb note. At dilutions below 0.01% the material imparts fruitier notes.

In European Food Research and Technology, Bernhard Weber found an enrichment of the (S) enantiomer in yellow and purple passionfruit.1 However, the range for the (S) enantiomer varies greatly. The ingredient is found in a wide variety of red wines such as cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, Bordeaux and merlot. White wines that contain 3-mercaptohexanol include sauvignon blanc, sauvignon Semillon and petit arvine. The latter wine is described as having strong grapefruit and rhubarb notes. According to Ferriera, Grenache rosé wine’s most significant flavor contributor is 3-mercaptohexanol.2

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*One supplier, A.M. Todd, lists this material as a 50/50 mix of the (R) and (S) enantiomers.