Musk Alcohols

Contact Author Clive Jennings-White
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Structure-odor relationships among musk odorants, including both the shape and size of the hydrophobic portion of the molecule together with the position and identity of the functional groups(s), have been very widely studied. A variety of functional groups are tolerated with retention of musk odor. Examples are ketone, ester, aldehyde, ether, nitro, cyano, and anhydride. Notably absent from the class of musk odorants are compounds bearing one or more hydroxyl group.

There are, however, a very few alcohols that have heen reported to have a musk odor. For example 5α-androst-16-en-3α-oI [1] is still occasionally described as possessing a musky odor, although this has been shown not to be the case. 2,4,6-Triisopropylbenzyl alcohol [2] has also been described as possessing a musky odor, as has “muscomere” [3] although this apparently acts primarily as a fixative for other materials rather than being musky per se.

The purpose of the research described herein is to investigate the odors of some alcohols which might otherwise be expected to be musky were it not for their possession of that particular functional group.