Soapiness. What causes it in Gendarme?

    Soapiness. What causes it in Gendarme?

    post #1 of 26
    Thread Starter 

    Soapy is a common descriptor for some fragrances and I know that a number of ingredients can cause it, sometimes musks, sometimes ambroxan, etc.

    Who here is familiar with Gendarme? I've long been interested in trying to tear this frag apart as it does the soapy thing in spades.
    Who has a clue as to what exactly is going on here and what ingredient(s) cause the downright 100% soapiness of this frag? Nerol? Other fatty alcohols? Long fatty acids and their esters such as laurates? Or? I know that Topper designed this frag to be not so allergenic so I suspect it's not too high in aldehydes. But fatty alcohols, perhaps?

    Thanks in advance for any ideas here...

    Mike Storer in Arizona.

    post #2 of 26

    It's funny I think, because I bought Gendarme in the mid 90's, and then decided it was way too soapy for me, and gave the full bottle away.

    post #3 of 26

    Lavender can be pretty soapy.

    I suggest that you experiment with these:


    "White" Musks,












    some soft leather-accord

    Maybe balance it with something like Virginia Cedar, Pepper, Vetiver and Oakmoss.

    post #4 of 26

    I am not familiar with this fragrance so cannot be sure; however straight chain aldehydes are often described as "soapy" because most soap fragrances contain a lot of them. As far as I am aware these aldehydes (called Aldehyde C10, C11lenic, C11 udecylic, C12 lauric etc.) are not especially allergenic and are not on the list of 26 allergens; unlike other aldehydes such as Citral, Cinnamic Aldehyde, Lilial etc.

    post #5 of 26

    I find Spanish rosemary (camphor chemotype) to be very soapy. I thought that it had been adulterated with a soapy chemical, until I tried some from another supplier, which had the same soapy smell.

    post #6 of 26
    Thread Starter 

    To further clarify my original query:

    I've smelled many frags and concoctions that infer the notion of soapiness by the fact that they are aromas often used in soap or detergent type products, but the soapiness of Gendarme to me is actually that same fatty effect that is inherent in soap itself even if it is not fragranced. If you've ever tried making soap yourself, you know this aroma. This makes me believe it must be a fat type note in Gendarme. But exactly what this would be is unknown to me. Some stearate perhaps? Not something I'm particularly familiar with as an aroma chem per se.

    Was just hoping perhaps someone else had figured this out. Thanks all for your ideas, but I'm not sure any of has actually hit how this effect is created in Gendarme.

    post #7 of 26

    As David says, the aldehydes

    C11 undecylenic - Citrus, waxy, fatty and aldehydic with a green soapy nuance

    C11 undecylic - waxy, soapy, floral aldehydic, citrus, green, fatty, fresh laundry

    1-dodecanol - earthy, soapy, waxy, fatty, honey, coconut

    Musk xylol - fatty, dry, sweet, soapy musk

    Musk ketone - fatty musk, soapy, dry, powdery

    I haven't smelled this fragrance but there are very many different nuances to soap. The fatty sweet, the medicinal cleaning, the creamy smooth, the powdery sorts. I did read the reviews of the perfume though and it certainly looks like no 2 may be the culprit due to the fresh laundry comments.

    Notes from their own site are:-

    The classic crisp, clean, fresh scent that started it all is simplyGendarme. Containing lemon and lime, bergamot, lavender, and just a hint of jasmine and lilac, there is nothing on the market like it.

    post #8 of 26
    Thread Starter 

    Paul Kiler did some searching and found a "soapy" list by Bill Luebke. This is a gold mine. I've copied a few suspects here that I wish I could study further of out of the many listed:

    decanoic acid
    butyl laurate
    decyl acetate
    ethyl laurate
    methyl laurate
    myristic acic
    neryl acetate
    decyl acetate
    methyl citronellate ..interesting in any case as this is the first I've heard of citronellates, but had wondered about such beasts.
    benzyl laurate

    Actually, I've sort of looked into the laurates and find laurel acetate and ethyl laurate nearly indistinguishable from each other and although both are indeed "laundry clean", the effect is rather that of "detergent".. since we are all so familiar with the aroma effects of sodium lauryl sulfate and its derivatives. However, this isn't the kind of FAT smell one gets from old fashioned saponified fats creating SOAP, the latter being closer to the aroma I get from Gendarme and what I'm seeking to duplicate.

    I just suspect it's some big, long FAT aldehyde or fatty acid ester...

    post #9 of 26

    Some long chain fatty alcohols are used in Perfumery, but not that often as they are not especially strong. Lauryl and Decyl Alcohols are the most common. The equivalent aldehydes are much more familiar. Aldehydes C7, 8 and 9 have not been mentioned, even more fatty/soapy and less citrus than the longer chained ones. The smell of clean clothes, and the original Fabric Conditioner smell was due to a mixture of Galaxolide, Lilial, Terpineol and some aldehydes; but that is not what you are after, is it?. And I'm still not familiar with Gendarme.

    post #10 of 26

    I used to muck about with old fashioned soapmaking years ago and the fatty soapy smell from that was the lardy or tallow smell, then there is glycerine that smells of nothing, then the lye, and that's what put me off. The soap process is something along the lines of a triglyceride which is three fatty acids to one of glycerin. Maybe the addition of a creamy animalic accord may replicate the more meaty aspects of old fashioned soap.

    post #11 of 26

    I suppose you mean that waxy "texture" of Gendarme then. While I have no idea what it actually is, I think the effect can also come from essential oils. One that comes to my mind is Ylang Ylang and maybe Lily Of The Valley, too.

    post #12 of 26

    Lol... we need a sample pass to help.....

    post #13 of 26
    Thread Starter 

    Would send, mumsy, but I don't have any. It's been some years since I've owned a bottle of it, but I did use to enjoy it quite a bit.

    post #14 of 26

    It is still in production but that won't mean anything if you are remembering the 1991 version. I've been curious about this so looked up the notes and lots of reviews and I would wager that it was the soapier aspects of Jasmine (maybe a sambac) with the edginess of thyme giving the impression of clean but fatty soap and then the leather accord giving the meatier aspects.

    The notes list

    Verbena, Lemon

    Jasmine, Thyme,


    What actually happens when you blend those? Is there anything missing?

    Of course I may now have to do this myself as well and look out for a sample... Look what you've done!! Lol.

    post #15 of 26

    Gendarme "soapiness" is due to Bergamot. It is the citrus ingredient that scents Cashmere Bouquet, Camay and many other bar soaps. I included it in Gendarme because it has a comfort level and soothing quality to it. Many of Gendarme's ingredients have a heavy aromatherapy values.That's why it makes you feel so good when you apply it.

    post #16 of 26
    Thread Starter 

    My god, it's Topper Schroeder! You read here???

    We haven't spoken in years! I haven't been active on this board in years, either. I just signed into this forum a couple days ago and there you are! So amazing. You're the person who got me into all this in the first place so many years ago, Topper.

    BN people, in case you don't know Topper, he's the originator of Gendarme! The genius himself and an indie from way back in ... exactly what year was it, Topper? 1990 or earlier still?

    I still believe your Gendarme is one of the most wearable and truly unique fragrances out there. It was certainly a first in its class with only wannabes trailing after it. I've smelled your later winners, too, but your original formula will always remain my favorite..

    However, I just refuse believe the secret to its soapiness lies merely in its bergamot oil. It seems to me, if I mix up bergamot with alcohol it simply doesn't do this same Gendarme "soapy" thing. LOL.. oh, you sly dog, you'll never tell and that's why I never tried asking you!

    But wow, on the other hand, this makes me remember something odd that I'd truly forgotten. When I was a kid my mom would occasionally make lye soap at home in a big kettle the way she'd learned to make it from her Czech mother using lye and beef tallow she'd saved up. She kept a little bottle of "oil of bergamot" in the cupboard. The only thing she ever used this powerful-smelling stuff for was to scent that hard, white soap, even though she she suspected that it irritated her skin (clearly the stuff she had wasn't bergapten free). So my childhood association with "bergamot" was definitely this soap.. only later did I make the connection with Earl Grey tea.

    Ok, I'll have to revisit the idea that perhaps this certain bergamot association runs much deeper than I'd assumed.

    I do clearly get the association between ginger oil and soap, however.. via Ivory Soap.

    Thanks so much for chiming in, Topper. I hope you're doing well these days. Wonder if you're still on Nemo? When I first met you, it was above the bank on the corner of Sta. Monica Blvd and San Vincente. OMG, those were the days of my wild youth! You encouraged me to go ahead and make fragrances.. Don't know whether to love or dispise you for that;-)

    ~Mike Storer, a former longtime resident of West Hollywood now living in remote Arizona.

    Edited by mastorer - 6/18/13 at 10:35am
    post #17 of 26

Loving perfume on the Internet since 2000