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  1. #1
    NillaGoon's Avatar
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    Default What is this aroma chemical or accord?

    There are some scents that can be inflected but never really submerged in a mix; they always seem to stick out as a dominant note. Vetiver is one of these, as is the Montale house oud accord.

    My question is about another accord of this type that I smell in a lot of different fragrances. Can anyone help me identify it?

    Here are the clues:
    It's in a lot of "fresh" fragrances and is featured prominently in Cool Water, GIT, Silver Mountain Water, Millesime Imperial, Paco Rabanne XS, and most recently, Serge Lutens L'Eau. Based on reading reviews, Himalaya is another one that probably has this accord, although I haven't smelled it personally.

    I would describe it succinctly as "orange creamsicle scented cleaning product". In particular, it has an little bit of the edge of the active ingredient ("Super N Concentrate") in Nilium, a janitorial odor counteractant that you've doubtless smelled in a few restrooms -- sweetish, initially pleasant, a bit bubblegummy, quickly becomes overwhelming and cloying in large doses.

    Another description that makes me think someone is smelling the same thing as me: "The top is that orange aromachemical that smells nice and juicy for a minute, before it goes all artificial and Tang-smelling. Then that dreadful flint/chlorine/metal note that's singlehandedly killed the last 10 years of mens' designer parfumery comes in and takes a massive cheap-smelling dump over the whole thing." (rogalal in this thread, regarding L'Eau)

    This accord is very "present" without being pungent. It projects quite a ways without giving the impression of being a heavy scent.

    It lasts a long time - hours.

    It's linear. You smell it right out of the bottle, and you continue to smell it to the tail end of the drydown.

    I had thought this might be either calone or dihyrdomyrcenol, since these seem to be regarded as the lynchpins of fresh/light/fruity perfumery. But the descriptions of these aroma chemicals that I've found don't quite mesh with my perceptions of the accord. Is it in fact one of these, or...
    Last edited by NillaGoon; 13th March 2010 at 07:52 PM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: What is this chemical or accord?

    I've noticed that kind of thing in Adidas Victory League, though there is no orange listed, and I don't think there is much, if any, in the formula. It used to smell like what you call orange creamsicle, but now I can identify the notes better and I don't get that. What I do get is a sweet/syrupy quality that does come across as at least somewhat "synthetic." Depending upon my mood (or whatever is determining it), I can easily ignore it, or else it bothers me. Fortunately, I usually can sense when it will bother me, and so I never use it those times.

  3. #3
    rogalal's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is this aroma chemical or accord?

    I asked this question about that citrus aromachemical at the SF Basenotes meetup and I seem to recall both JaimeB and ROtto knowing what it was (citronel? limonene?). I've read that most (even non-citrus scents) use limonene as a fixative that only really effects the fragrance by brightening it, not making it smell like lemon. So I think it's citronel, but I can't be sure.

    I'd also love to know the name of that horrible metallic/flint/chlorine swimming pool/cheap woody amber/whatever-you-want-to-call-it note that's become practically synonymous with lowest-common-denominator mens scents, while we're at it.

    What happened to all the perfumers who used to be here at BN? Anyone know??

    Edit to add: Neither of the chemicals in question are calone - that much I know...
    Last edited by rogalal; 14th March 2010 at 05:27 AM.
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  4. #4
    NillaGoon's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is this aroma chemical or accord?

    Is citronel the same as citronellol? I know that's used in a lot of fragrances, but it's a pretty small molecule -- hard to imagine it lasting as long as that orangey scent seems to. Limonene has an aromatic ring, maybe that's more plausible. Where do you fragrance science types go to look up longevity on skin?

    Rogalal, it sounds like you distinguish the metallic accord from the orangey one. My perception of the fragrances in the OP is that they all have something of a metallic, high-pitched edge.

  5. #5

    Default Re: What is this aroma chemical or accord?

    Quote Originally Posted by NillaGoon View Post

    I would describe it succinctly as "orange creamsicle scented cleaning product". In particular, it has an little bit of the edge of the active ingredient ("Super N Concentrate") in Nilium, a janitorial odor counteractant that you've doubtless smelled in a few restrooms -- sweetish, initially pleasant, a bit bubblegummy, quickly becomes overwhelming and cloying in large doses.
    May be it helps, CLARINS Eau Ensoleillante is what You describe to a very high degree. I'm sensible to that, while others don't smell it, even if I take 7 spritzes all over me. It tends a bit towards tangerine, though. To soft/sweet for orange, even if 'creamsicle' (??). It smells clearly edible, yes fatty, and becomes slightly suffocating in the palate due to that (swallowing reflex). CLARINS states that EE is made using plants extracts, but it is not said by that that these extracts are exclusive, and no aroma chemicals are used.

    Ehhm, naturally not only naturals - list of chems below (French): http://www.beaute-test.com/eau_dynamisante_clarins.php

    Alcohol, aqua, parfum, glycerin, propylene glycol, butylene glycol, aloe barbadenis leaf juice, aganthopanax senticosus (eleuthero) root extract, zingiber officinale (ginger) root extract, panax ginseng root extract, harpagophytum procumbens root extract, plantago ovata seed extract, equisetum arvense extract, citric acid, potassium sorbate, sodium benzoate, limonene, linalool, hexyl cinnamal, citral, coumarin, eugenol, alpha-isomethyl ionone, geraniol.
    Last edited by merry.waters; 14th March 2010 at 08:59 AM.

  6. #6
    shamu1's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is this aroma chemical or accord?

    You sure you're not talking about woody amber? Woody amber gives a brutal, sharp, almost metallic smell to any fragrance it's in. It's in just about every "fresh" and "sports" fragrance released since the early 1990s, I believe.

  7. #7

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    Default Re: What is this aroma chemical or accord?

    I have a feeling you are smelling some sort of synthetic melon note paired to calone. As for the part about flint/metal/chlorine, I think you *might be smelling more than one aromachemical at once (ie. a synthetic melon + calone + [what I would I would imagine to be Iso E Super, which has no sweetness, fruit or musk to it all but smells fizzy and chlorinated on its own]).

    I think that the melon/calone combination is just one of those fragrance mixtures that go well together, like bananas and peanut butter. Thus, it's used in countless fragrances. Not to mention that most mainstream fragrances often contain over 100 aromachemicals, I don't think it's such a stretch that you could be smelling a typical combination of notes, as opposed to one in particular.

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    Last edited by L'Aventurier; 14th March 2010 at 10:57 PM.

  8. #8

    Default Re: What is this aroma chemical or accord?

    Uh....What about ISO super E....? Terre D' Hermes is known for using quite a bit of it, and it's also described as "flinty"--and it has a certain "citrus" top end....though it's not really citrusy to my nose....
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    Default Re: What is this aroma chemical or accord?

    Quote Originally Posted by conehead View Post
    Uh....What about ISO super E....? Terre D' Hermes is known for using quite a bit of it, and it's also described as "flinty"--and it has a certain "citrus" top end....though it's not really citrusy to my nose....
    Iso E Super actually isn't very flinty at all - it's more cedary and sharp, coming off more as a texture than a smell, actually. Terre d'Hermes, while using lots of Iso E Super, also employs other aromachemicals to give off that dusty, flinty vibe.

  10. #10

    Default Re: What is this aroma chemical or accord?

    OK....does Gucci PH (I, the first, brown juice) have Iso E Super?
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  11. #11
    NillaGoon's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is this aroma chemical or accord?

    Thanks to Escentric Molecules, I think I have a pretty good handle on Iso E Super. It's definitely not the orangey/metallic component I'm thinking of, although it might certainly potentiate that aroma in combination. Hard to say. I seem to get olfactory fatigue pretty quickly for pure Iso E Super, but the orangey/metallic note is quite persistent.

    You know, that orangey note could be interpreted as melon, I think. It has the same amorphous sweetness. It's certainly not a piercing, citrus scent. I'll have to retest with melon in mind and see how it goes.

    Shamu, when you say "woody amber", are you thinking of a specific accord? It seems like a general term that would cover a lot of ground. And neither "woody" nor "amber" really resonates for me with regard to that particular scent. (Although to be honest, I have only a general idea of what qualifies as "ambery".)

  12. #12
    shamu1's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is this aroma chemical or accord?

    NillaGoon, although I'm no chemist or expert on aromachemicals by any means, my understanding is that a "woody amber" is not an accord but an actual aromachemical, though I don't know its actual chemical name. I don't understand why the term "amber" is used in woody amber, because woody ambers are anything but "ambery". Unlike amber, which is usually warm, rich, sweet, and is actually a mixture of various oils or resins (kind of like a "base"), woody amber is meant to replicate some natural wood oils. I don't find that woody ambers do a good job of replicating real wood oils - to my nose, woody ambers merely add a sharp bite to a fragrance, a sort of metallic smell that give a scent a synthetic 'fresh' smell that lacks depth. Though I'd bet Creed would vehemently deny it, Millesime Imperial smells like it's loaded with woody amber; that harsh, chemical woody amber smell made wearing MI tiring for me, and I eventually just threw out my bottle of the stuff. Basically, woody ambers smell a lot like an extra-brutal rubbing alcohol.
    Last edited by shamu1; 16th March 2010 at 03:11 AM.

  13. #13
    rogalal's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is this aroma chemical or accord?

    Thanks, Shamu, for the "woody amber" run-down. I've seen that term thrown around a lot and took it literally.

    That "extra-brutal rubbing alcohol" smell kind of describes my hated metal/flint/chlorine note. If you've sniffed L'Homme or the new DKNY for Men or the new Bond No 9 Perfume, they all have a huge shot of the chemical I'm referencing really prominent right from the top, to the point that it's the prominent feature of the scents. I'm curious if you can confirm this...

    I've tried pure Iso E Super and it's not what I'm talking about at all.

    And I think I may have a skewed idea of calone, which actually involves calone mixed with melon (apparently a REALLY popular combination). My calone reference is the calone room spray from Le Labo, which isn't melon at all and has always confused me (though I've been chalking it up to Le Labo's creative naming...)

    Anyone have any ideas about that citrus chemical? I remember it being in one of the new-ish Diptyque colognes, as well as Tom Ford for Men.
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  14. #14
    shamu1's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is this aroma chemical or accord?

    Rogalal, if you're talking about YSL's L'Homme, then yes, I believe it has a strong woody amber presence. I have not smelled the other two you're talking about, but I'm not surprised. You could write an entire book of endless lists of men's scents released since the mid-90s that are loaded with this stuff.

    Also, every single Creed scent that NillaGoon listed in his original post smells like it's drenched in woody amber. That's why I tend to like Creed's other offerings a lot more than those.

  15. #15
    rogalal's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is this aroma chemical or accord?

    Quote Originally Posted by shamu1 View Post
    Rogalal, if you're talking about YSL's L'Homme, then yes, I believe it has a strong woody amber presence... You could write an entire book of endless lists of men's scents released since the mid-90s that are loaded with this stuff.
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