Creating Elegant Apple Flavors


An elegant flavor is simple, completely balanced and shows an absolute understanding of the aroma jigsaw. Above all, the flavorist is able to explain the role of each ingredient in the formulation.


In temperate climates throughout the world, the apple is the most widely cultivated fruit. There are several thousand different varieties of apple but only a small number, around 40, are commercially produced. Flavor, texture, sweetness and acidity vary considerably. By far the most outstanding apple is the Cox’s Orange Pippin with its perfect balance of acidity and sweetness and an amazing depth of flavor. Unfortunately the tree is prone to disease. The Golden Delicious is an older variety and is still extremely popular, especially in the culinary world. Some of the modern varieties also have excellent flavor profiles including the Braeburn, Fuji, Gala, Empire, Granny Smith and Mackintosh apples.

Apple is a popular flavor in the food industry, particularly in confection and beverage applications. The flavors tend to have one of two distinct profiles, green or sweet, but in recent years there has also been demand for the sour apple profile.

The key profile descriptors for apple are green, fruity, sharp, cheesy and candy. One green component is essential for character recognition, trans-2-hexenal (green, apple). Other commonly used green notes include cis-3-hexenol (green, leaf), cis-3-hexenyl acetate (green, leaf, fruity) and hexanal (green, unripe). The most popular fruity notes are ethyl 2-methyl butyrate (fruity, apple), methyl 2-methyl butyrate (fruity, apple) and hexyl acetate (pear, banana). Both 2-methyl butyl esters have strong apple characters. Ethyl aceto-acetate (fruity, leaf green) contributes a bright fresh character.

The damson character gives fleshiness and seediness to the apple flavor. α-Damascone (fruity, damson) and β-damascone (fruity, damson, cedar) are the most widely used components that give a damson note. α-Damascone is often favored because it is considered to be less woody and has more apple character than the b isomer. Dimethyl benzyl carbinyl butyrate (fruity, damson, rhubarb) may also be used to give a damson character, but it also confers a jammy undertone to the flavor.

Other popular fruity notes are iso-amyl acetate (fruity, banana), iso or n-butyl acetate (fruity, banana), ethyl butyrate (fruity) and ethyl acetate (fruity, rum). When trying to attain a very fruity and fleshy profile, some of the passion fruit or tropical fruity notes are incorporated, such as hexyl 2-methyl butyrate (fruity, passion fruit, pear) or hexyl butyrate (fruity, passion fruit, pear). Roman chamomile oil is the best source of fruity notes in natural WONF (With Other Natural Flavors) apple flavors.

A sharp note is obtained by using the vinegary note of acetic acid and the pungent, but fresh, character of acetaldehyde. Sharp fusel notes such as iso-amyl alcohol (sharp, fusel), butanol (sharp, fusel) and hexanol (sharp, fusel) also contribute to complex characters like fleshiness and juiciness of the flavor. The dried character of 2-methyl butyric acid (cheesy, dried) evokes the skin note of the apple flavor. Traces of floral notes, such as rose and cyclamen, may be used in apple flavors to add depth and complexity.

Green apple flavors contain very high concentrations of the green notes, in particular trans 2-hexenal (green, apple) and hexanal (green, unripe). The sweet apple profile is achieved using fewer green notes and increasing the concentration of the more fruity notes. Adding a candy note, such as maltol (candy), also helps to achieve a sweet apple character. The sour profile is achieved using high concentrations of green and sharp components in addition to larger quantities of acid in the product application. The best acidic effect is achieved by using a mixture of malic and citric. Malic acid accounts for 90% of the acid blend in a natural apple. In applications a mix of 70% malic and 30% citric give a great sour profile.

It is important to be aware of the unpleasant acetals formed between propylene glycol and trans 2-hexenal or hexanal. This is the reason that triacetin is often the preferred solvent for apple flavors. An alternative solution is to inhibit the formation of acetals by the addition of at least 30% water.

This information is an excerpt from the book Flavor Creation: 2nd Edition. To learn more about this topic or to purchase the entire book, visit www.Alluredbooks.com.


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