Originally Posted by ariodant
Chris, what is the difference in scent profile between pure ambroxan and mixed isomer ambroxan? Is the pure one just stronger, or do the other isomers smell different?
A very good question. I'm growing gradually more in favour of doing competitive evaluations of one product against another and I'd not previously pitched these two against on-another directly so your post prompted me to do so.
The first thing you will notice if you compare the two materials in their pure form is that Ambrox
is a colourless, clear liquid, highly mobile and easy to use at room temperature. Ambroxan
is a white crystaline solid at room temperature.
Both dissolve readily in ethanol and both have the characteristic ambergris scent that defies useful description (use the links above to read the standard industry text [under Organoleptics] on what the scent smells like but for me those are just nuances on the smell of ambergris).
To do a comparison I've prepared 10% solutions of each in ethanol and dipped labelled smelling strips, to the same depth, in each. Immediately after dipping the Ambroxan seems marginally stronger, the Ambrox distinctly woodier - almost cedary. Without a direct comparison you'd struggle to tell them apart. After 20 minutes or so the difference is more marked, both still smell surprisingly faint though - you find yourself wondering why writers so often talk about how powerful these materials are.
After two, three and four hours though, it starts to become clear what those writers mean: the scent is if anything clearer and it does not seem to diminish perceptibly between checks at all - after 6 and 12 hours there is still no change.
24 hours after dipping both have become noticeably softer in odour, more mellow. You can still detect a slightly woody nuance to the Ambrox that is absent from the Ambroxan but it's very
subtle now. The odour intensity has hardly changed at all.
The woody-cedar note is still there in the Ambrox more strongly than the Ambroxan which smells slightly cleaner.
Finally I just want to give you the price comparison between these products - Vigon stock both and publish their prices on the net - here are the prices:
Ambroxan (they stock it as Ambrofix) $990 / Kg
Ambrox DL $920 / Kg
The comparison is slightly complicated by the fact that Ambrox DL is at a purity level of 86% while Givaudan don't quote a purity level for Ambrofix - I suspect from the price that it isn't all that high, but can't be sure as I've not bought their product.
The Ambroxan I used in my test came from SAFC and is at least 99% pure, but also costs rather more - unfortunately SAFC don't stock a mixed isomer version so I can't do a price comparison there.