There’s Nothing ‘Plain’ About Vanilla*

Contact Author Felix Buccellato, Custom Essence Inc.
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“White vanilla” has often been referred to as “plain vanilla.” The ubiquity of vanilla and vanilla flavored and fragranced products has created this common misconception. Truthfully, there is nothing plain, or white, about vanilla. The vanilla beans start out green and are dried to a dark chocolate brown.

How do people make the association that vanilla is white? It is most likely due to marketers of products like candles who think that vanilla should be white because vanilla ice cream is white. What may not be realized is that the dark brown vanilla flavor is added to the cold cream, sugar and other minor ingredients, kept frozen and in the dark. The product is shielded from any lightinduced reactions that would normally cause the product to turn yellow, then brown.

What is Vanilla?

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Vanilla is an extremely complex natural product containing more than 300 ingredients. One of the major characterizing components is vanillin. Vanillin became available as a synthetic ingredient in 1874 in a process developed by Ferdinand Tiemann and Wilhelm Harmann (Haarmann & Reimer; now Symrise).

Other topics discussed: Vanilla in Fragrances; Problem Solving with Vanilla; Elements of Vanilla