Flavor Bites: α-Ionone

Contact Author John Wright
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Violet flavors are not exactly popular in the United States, but have a certain following in Europe.

It is sometimes fun to be wrong. At least that’s what I keep trying to tell myself. In any case, it is actually always fun to learn something new. Many years ago, I tried to determine, on odor alone, if α-ionone or β-ionone was the best representative of the violet primary odor. α-Ionone had a clean floral violet note, perhaps with a faint powdery nuance. β-Ionone, on the other hand, seemed to have an obvious cedary character underneath the violet. My choice seemed clear; α-ionone was the cleanest violet note. The small but subtly nagging worry in the background was that β-ionone was far more widespread in nature than α-ionone. It now looks as if I was wrong; β-ionone is well on the way to being established as the violet primary note.

Both ionones have something to contribute to a range of flavors, sometimes alone and sometimes in combination, but β-ionone undoubtedly has the edge in respect of versatility. Despite that conclusion, the two ionones are really quite different, and there are a number of areas where α-ionone (FEMA# 2594, CAS# 127-41-3) shines.

α-Ionone is the subject of this article, and β-ionone will be the subject of the article next month.

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Note that the dose rates given throughout this article are the levels suggested for use in flavors intended to be dosed at 0.05% in ready-to-drink beverages or in a simple bouillon.

For the full article, please check out Perfumer & Flavorist's December 2020 issue.


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