Thankfully, a very limited number of flavor ingredients have the unfortunate property of becoming stubbornly ingrained in the clothing, skin and hair of flavorists no matter how cautiously they add them to a flavor. 3-(Methylthio)propionaldehyde, also widely known as methional (FEMA# 2747, CAS# 3268-49-3), is a prime example. It is so widely distributed in nature and so indispensable in a broad spectrum of different flavors that these odor risks are all too real for the typical flavorist working with this ingredient. 3-(Methylthio)propionaldehyde has a powerful, highly pervasive aroma of cooked potatoes. This note can be very useful, indeed, in the appropriate context and dilution of a wide range of different flavor profiles, but it can also be very irritating when it attaches itself to skin or clothing and generates a miasma of boiled potatoes that follows your every step like a faithful old dog.
The uses of this chemical are myriad and range from the more obvious vegetable and savory applications to a wide range of non-savory products, and can be especially effective at surprisingly low dose rates.
Vegetable and Grain Flavors
Potato: Although 3-(methylthio) propionaldehyde is most obviously characteristic of boiled potatoes, it also works very well in flavors that are intended to reproduce every other type of potato cooking process. Dose rates can vary dramatically, but 1,000 ppm is a good place to start.