Cinnamic aldehyde’s odor is as familiar to all of us as grandmother's cookies. Its smell invokes childhood memories of home baking and a warm kitchen on a cold winter's day. In our organoleptic world of terminology, cinnamic aldehyde falls into the class of "spice" and by itself defines a subclass "cinnamon." The high levels of cinnamic aldehyde present in cassia and cinnamon spice, their oils and oleoresins have so colored their impressions as to have created a blur both organoleptically and practically in our industry. In the U.S., no distinction is made between cassia (Cinnamonum Cassia Blume) and cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum Nees in Wall); while in other regions of the world, the two spices are recognized as separate entities. In addition, the historic practice of stretching cassia oil by adding synthetic cinnamic aldehyde, one of the worst kept secrets of the industry, has further confused the products. Thus, a review of cinnamic aldehyde inescapably involves these spice oils and related products.
Cinnamic aldehyde possess a pleasing, spicy unique odor and a sweet spicy taste, which can only be described using the term "cinnamon." Its positive impression upon humans goes back to the dawn of history and was recorded by Moncrieff as ranking 33 (Cinnamon bark oil) in preference out of 132 materials.