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In the 1970s, perfumers could employ costus root oil, chenopodium oil, fig leaf absolute and Citralva (IFF)* without any problems. We could use real bergamot oil from Reggio, Calabria, Italy, and lavender oil from Barrême, France. Essentially, we could use all the ingredients we wished, which were included on the long list internally labelled le livre bleu, the blue book. We could use all the “allergens,” including farnesol, the characterizing constituent of magnolia flowers that is now is restricted as potentially harmful to human health (despite the fact that I smell this material every sunny day in June and July when the charming white magnolia flowers bloom on my terraces, and it has never made me sick).
The situation was better and different than today—although today we have many new chemicals that allow us a more nuanced perfumery. As Pete Seeger used to sing: “Where have all the flowers gone?”This was the time of new exciting emergent chemicals:
- Galaxolide 50 (IFF)
- Lyral (IFF)
- Helional (IFF)
- Iso E Super (IFF)
- Bacdanol (IFF)
- Aphermate (IFF)
- Verdox (IFF)
- Vertenex (IFF) and its isomeric forms such as Vertenex Intercis and Vertenex High cis
- Allyl amyl glycolate (IFF)
- Andrane (IFF)
- Cashmeran (IFF)
- Myrac Aldehyde (IFF)
- Muguet Aldehyde 50
- Dimyrcetol (IFF)
- Fructone (IFF)
- Grisalva (IFF)
- Dihydrofloriffone TD
- Intreleven Aldehyde (IFF)
- Vertofix Coeur (IFF)
- Precyclemone B (IFF)
- Corps N378B, later called Hedione (Firmenich)
- The first bases including rose ketones: Damascenia (Firmenich), created by Philippe Sauvegrain, which became extremely important in Guerlain’s Chamade; and the impressive Dorisinone (Firmenich), the internal name of b-damascenone
- Cetylia Base (Firmenich)
- Dorinia (Firmenich)
- Fixateur 404 (Firmenich), a 10% solution of ambrox that at the time was still captive and which Jordi-Pey judged as extremely powerful. The perfumer scolded me because I once said that I was planning to use 5% of Fixateur 404 in a fragrance—the new and old generations of perfumers!
- Z11, which I smelled for the first time at 1% solution in APV, imparting an indescribable impression
- The captive Cedratyl
- Thujopsanone (used in Ô de Lancôme)
- Ethyl safranate—beautiful but unstable compared with tehtrahydro ethyl safranate (also called thesaron), which is stable even in bleach
- Pyralone, the most elegant and pure sec-butylquinoline in the world
- Ethyl citral, which unfortunately has been discontinued
And the list goes on. All of these chemicals represented the dawn of a new perfumery. The real trendsetter in this movement was IFF, following a generation of important chemicals that included Lilial (Givaudan) and Sandela (Givaudan). This of course meant the end of an epoch of great, almost sacred ingredients such as vetiveryl acetate coeur, vetiverol, the great santalol and its esters, Iralia (which was edged out by cheaper methylionones), natural rhodinol and its esters, the great and extinct vetiver Bourbon (now produced in Haiti), geranium Bourbon (now available in Chinese varieties that have been highly rectified), and dynamone.
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Other topics discussed: Discovering and Working with Gardenia—the Influence of Brazi; Deconstructing and Formulating with Gardenia; Beyond Brazil