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Nitriles in perfumery

Contact Author Dr. Robert DeSimone
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The nitrile function has been studied and used by organic chemists for quite some time but it has not been generally recognized until relatively recently that this class of materials my have wide utility in fragrances. A monograph published in 1949 which deals with synthetic perfumes refers to only one fragrance chemical containing the nitrile group, musk cyanide. This product, to our knowledge, is nonexistent in modern perfumery and may indeed never have been used to any significant extent in formulation work. A more recent survey on aroma synthetics suggests that a variety of nitrile chemicals  has been introduced to perfumers over the years. However, very few of those shown prior to the early sixties are evident in perfumery today. Myristic nitrile, reportedly was first suggested for perfumery use in 1944. This synthetic, decanonitrile and dodecylnitrile are the only products now commercailly available which were used in perfume compositions in the earlier era. 

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