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Fragrance Creation: Gardenia in Perfumery

By: Arcadi Boix Camps, Auram Art & Perfume
Posted: March 17, 2008, from the April 2008 issue of P&F magazine.
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: 

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.

Other topics discussed: Discovering and Working with Gardenia—the Influence of Brazi; Deconstructing and Formulating with Gardenia; Beyond Brazil

This is only an excerpt of the full article that appeared in P&F Magazine. The full content is not currently available online.