Topics in Perfumery: Saffron in Perfumery and Flavors


My friends often tell me that I do not look my age. Maybe they do it to please or flatter me, but maybe it is true. I believe human beings have two ages, the chronological and the biological. There is a time when those ages are relatively close together, but the differences between them do grow over time. This I know, because I feel exactly as I did when I was 22 or 23 years old.

Let me tell you one secret that I have never told to anybody but my closest friends: Since the age of 18, I have started every morning with a glass of iced Spanish saffron infusion, which imparts a sensation of youth, energy and strength inside my body.

Not long ago, I thought to analyze saffron. It is well known that saffron contains: approximately 0.4-1.4% essential oil; yellow flavonoids that are derived from the diterpene, crocetin; bitter substances, including picrocrocin and safranal (one of the compounds that imparts the characteristic aroma of saffron); beta-hydroxycyclocitral; 2-butenoic-acid-lactone; carbohydrates; beta-carotene; gamma-carotene; cineole; copper; crocin 1-4 (disaccharide analogs of crocin, such as crocin-1 and crocin-2, are less potent than monosaccharide analogs of crocin, such as crocin-3 and crocin-4, in improving eyesight); crocose. The stigmas also contain: 8.5-16% water; 6-13% fixed oil; oleanolic-acid derivatives; oleic acid; 4.3-4.8% fibre; 12.6-13.6% protein; 12-13% starch; lauric acid; lycopene; manganese; 2.2-2.4% nitrogen; thiamine; xanthophylls; and zeaxanthin. As a flavorist and perfumer, I of course wished to delve deeper into the 0.4-1.4% of essential oil.


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