Ethyl methyl phenyl glycidate! With its several deceptive alternate names, this compound embodies the art of confusion. It belongs to a group of flavor and fragrance materials that illustrate the type of nomenclature prevalent in the aroma chemical industry in the first few decades of this century.
When they were developed (1905-1910), the glycidic esters—such as ethyl methyl phenyl glycidate—were new magic bullets used in the flavor and fragrance industry to create unique formulas. Their existence was therefore a closely guarded secret. The names given to these chemicals were used to hide their true chemical identity not only from competitors, but often as not from the flavorist or perfumer who created formulas with them. Thus began the industrial tradition of using trivial and non-chemical nomenclature to identify aroma chemicals. The custom continues today and has spread to include not only aroma chemicals, but also bases and specialties (or whatever else firms call their trade secret materials).
This group of glycidic esters aptly illustrates this phenomenon, since the esters we seldom referred to by their chemical name. A quick viewing of the alternate names used to identify these materials reveals the razzle-dazzle used to obscure their true nature.