Benzyl alcohol is an aroma chemical that is not an aroma chemical--maybe! The literature is awash with conflicting organoleptic terms to describe the impression of this material.
The above descriptions are only a sampling of the recorded organoleptic impressions one finds in the Flavor and Fragrance literature. A review of these sources results in an initial impact of confusion on the reader. Later on, this impression changes to the opinion that the reviewers must be examining widely different materials. Herein lies the key to benzy alcohol's true organoleptic nature.
Freshly prepared benzyl alcohol, free from impurities, possesses a bland, aromatic impression that could be described as slightly sweet floral, damp-wet. Aged material, expsed to air, will take on a slight benzaldehyde note which, as it develops, changes the impression to fruity and then to almond as the impurities increase in trace amounts.