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Jasmine, Vanilla Curing, Damascenone and Bergamot: P&F's October Issue

Posted: September 21, 2009

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This month's Perfumer & Flavorist magazine surveys a range of ingredients and their applicaiton. Highlights include:

Flavor Bites: Damascenone
By John Wright

Flavor creation is not the only hobby I pursue—food and wine are my other two deeply followed passions. I particularly appreciate the complex, yet fascinating flavor transformation that a wine undergoes, after spending a few years in a cool dark corner of a cellar. The aging process not only gets rid of some harsh components present in young wine, but it also adds a few desirable characteristics of cedar, dark red berries and farmyards. One particular chemical that is most reminiscent of this lovely red berry character is Damascenone (FEMA# 3420), and hence a personal favorite. Before damascenone was commercially available, adding a highly characteristic ripe berry note to flavors was difficult. The closest one could get in achieving this profile was by using dimethyl benzyl carbinyl butyrate (FEMA# 2394). Although this material lacked the natural character of damascenone, it was widely used, especially in berry flavor formulations.
 

Vanilla Curing
By Patrick Dunphy and Krishna Bala


Vanilla bean curing, whether occurring naturally on the vine or practiced at curing stations, is a facet of plant senescence. This process is an actively regulated and genetically controlled development that includes slow and ordered breakdown of selected tissue structures with associated membrane leakage, degradation of chlorophyll and proteins and extensive lipid peroxidation (due to enhanced production of oxygen free radicals); the oxygen free radicals are, in fact, the primary mediators of oxidative damage during plant senescence.1 Dropping of leaves from plants in the fall is the most common example of plant senescence, which entails massive mobilization and recycling of nitrogen, carbon and minerals to other parts of the plant.

Molecule of the Month: 5-Isopropyl-2-methylphenol
By Michael Zviely

5-Isopropyl-2-methylphenol, also known as carvacrol, is one of the three isomers of isopropylmethylphenol. It is a transparent, colorless to pale yellow liquid and the main constituent of origanum oil (see F-1). Carvacrol also occurs in some essential oils of the Labiate family such as azov and thyme oils, beer and cranberry. Its odor profile is aromatic, somewhat medicinal, phenolic, spicy, herbal and woody. The other two isomers of isopropyl methylphenol are thymol and meta-thymol; all three isomers differ in their organoleptic properties (see F-2).

Jasmine
Pierre-Jean Hellivan

“Whilst the rose is the queen of flowers, jasmine is the king of perfumes. It has been a symbol in Grasse of the perfume industry of the whole world. … It is the natural product par excellence,” wrote Edmond Roudnitska, mentor to many of today’s great perfumers and creator of Christian Dior’s Diorella (1972), a quintessential jasmine perfume. The jasmine flower is tattooed on the history of the fragrance industry and the city of Grasse, France. Over the course of three centuries, it crept over the hills and valleys surrounding the fragrant city, elevating the small town to world-renowned cradle of the French perfumery industry. Perfumery eventually employed thousands of Grassois devoted to serving the world’s growing appetite for jasmine. Testimony to the thirst for its liquid extract can be found in the old saying, “No perfume without jasmine.”

Evaluation of the Genuineness of Cold-pressed Bergamot Oil
By C.Mangiola, Enrico Postorino, Francesco Gionfriddo, Maurizio Catalfamo, Renato Manganaro and Giuseppe Calabrò

The evaluation of purity and quality of bergamot oil has always been one of the objectives of the Experimental Station for the Citrus Essences and Derivatives Industry in Reggio Calabria, Italy. The results of studies carried out over the years have allowed determination of certain parameters of the variability intervals within which bergamot oils must fall, in order to be considered genuine. The parameters laid down by international regulations, such as the Association Française de Normalisation (AFNOR) and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), have the same objective. Moreover, in regulating “Denominazione di Origine Controllata, Disciplinare per la Denominazione di Origine Protetta (DOP; Protected Designations of Origin)—Bergamot of Reggio Calabria—Essential Oil,” specific variability intervals are laid down within which the essential oil must fall in order to be sold with this name.

Comparing Notes: Annie Buzantian and Harry Frémont

Of the perhaps 3,000 novel aroma molecules created, assessed and vetted by Firmenich’s perfumers and R&D staff each year, perhaps as few as three will make their way onto the company palette. One such material is Helvetolide, a captive musk that was discovered and commercialized in the 1990s. “For a perfumer to discover a new material, it’s almost like a painter discovering a new color,” says master perfumer Harry Frémont, considering a blotter of the material. “Imagine … what the artist could do. We use the new materials in different contexts, giving new effects.” “The palette is so important,” says master perfumer Annie Buzantian. “You can use the same note over and over again in different contexts, but when you have something special in particular that you fall in love with, it gives a fragrance a soul.” These sorts of “exceptional notes,” she adds, can in many cases serve as founding inspirations for fragrances. “When you have something that is exclusive to your company, it gives you a sense of confi dence in what you do and what you show to the client,” says Frémont. “You feel you have something special. As a perfumer, it’s important to have this kind of confidence.”