The name thymol comes from the name of the herb thyme from which the aroma chemical was originally isolated, and, in turn, from the Greek word Thymos meaning positive disposition, elan, soul or spirit.
Our reference for organoleptic descriptions is based upon our cultural experiences. Those materials and products we encounter in our culture and the uses they find in our own world determine the vocabulary we use to describe the aroma chemicals and essential oils we utilize.
Thymol, because of its antiseptic properties, has found its major niche in the aroma chemical world in oral hygiene products that have medicinal value. Hence, the organoleptic description employed for thymol inevitably contains a reference to that use; that is, thymol is best defined as a sweet phenolic-herbal-medicinal odor with a similar taste description. Natural thymol that has been isolated from essential oil invariably is tinged with notes of carvacrol, a material that is described as being more dry-medicinal-phenol-tarry than thymol itself. Very little, if any, natural thymol is produced today as its price would be about tenfold higher than the synthetic product available.