2-Phenylethyl Alcohol: An Aroma Profile

Phenylethyl alochol is a higher aromatic alcohol characterized by a delicate fragrance of rose petals starting at 20 ppm. Ahove 40 ppm, this aroma becomes an undesirable in foods. Generally, the higher alcohols are quantitatively the largest group of volatile compounds and their presence is essential to the overall flavor quality. These alcohols also can play indirect roles as precursors in the preparation of other flavorants. For example, alcohols can be oxidized to aldehydes or used for the production of esters.

Phenylethyl alcohol followed ethyl alcohol as the main commercial alcohol. It is the most used fragrance in the perfume and cosmetic industries. It is found in the composition of numerous perfumes in various proportions, from 5-20%. With regard to its world consumption, several studies have come up with the figure of 7,200 metric tons per year; however, in foodstuffs (1-3 ppm in soft drinks, candy and cookies), the consumption is estimated at only 10 metric tons per year.

The properties of such an aroma are described in Table 1. Freshly prepared phenylethyl alcohol, free from impurities, possesses an aromatic appeal described as a rose-like aroma. The material available on the market is produced mainly by chemical processes. It is added to modify certain flavor compositions, especially fruit formulas, where it contributes organoleptically.

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