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  1. #1

    Default What do aldehydes smell like and other newby questions.

    Hi all,

    I'm a total noob. So far all I know about fragrance is that some strong smells give me a migraine.

    Aside from reading lots of Base Notes posts and fragrance blogs, I've been trying to teach myself about fragrance notes by ordering essential oils, but I have yet to see an essential oil of aldehydes. So my question is what do people mean when that talk of an aldehyde smell?

    As an aside, should I sniff my essential oils straight or would it be better to dilute them in something like jojoba oil (any other suggestions?). What dilution would be good?

    Is there anything else I should be doing to educate my nose? Any reading suggestions?

    Thanks for any pointers. I love this forum; I've learned a lot here.

  2. #2
    Neurosis's Avatar
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    May 2010
    I don't have the accent, Massachusetts
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    Default Re: What do aldehydes smell like and other newby questions.

    i'd just try to smell anything that is a "pure" fragrance, that way you can indentify notes once blended. i go in bath and body works/yankee candle on occassion just to learn individual notes i may not know

    aldehydes: i could be totally off with this but im pretty sure its that fresh laundry, fresh air smell? or maybe its thinking its fresh laundry though

  3. #3

    Default Re: What do aldehydes smell like and other newby questions.

    While I certainly have a lot to learn myself I have to say the knowledge I do have in scents has come from the use of essential oils. I either use them with a carrier oil ( I prefer grape seed or grape seed mixed with avocado or Jojoba) for massage therapy or put them in a diffuser for aromatherapy. Diffusers are very simple just add a few drops of oil in with the water filled reservoir and heat it up. I recommend for the sake of learning individual smells that you look into one that is easy to clean so you can be sure you're not getting any scent from old leftover oils.

    I was surprised how fast my girlfriend and I were able to start recognizing scents with the two methods above. In no time she would walk into my house sniff the air and say "ylang ylang, lavender and......clary sage?" and be spot on.

    You may find the following article helpful with aldehydes I know it just educated the heck out of me.

  4. #4

    Default Re: What do aldehydes smell like and other newby questions.

    Thank you so much to Neurosis and Scent2Thrill for your helpful suggestions. S2T: I'll look into diffusers. Neurosis: doing laundry tomorrow, will sniff.

  5. #5
    Heartwood's Avatar
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    Jan 2007
    SF Bay Area
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    Default Re: What do aldehydes smell like and other newby questions.

    Perfume Shrine is a incredibly valuable resource for many things fragrance related, especially materials and fragrance families (check out the index down the right side of the page). While Perfume Shrine talks about aldehydes having a "soapy" quality, I think that's different than the recent trend of laundry-like freshness in fragrances such as Ralph Lauren Romance Always Yours and DKNY Be Delicious Night. Aldehydes are more soapy like soap or wax made from fat. It's a sort of thickness or richness. For me, aldehydes stand out when the florals of a perfume are so amplified that they seem to be vibrating in my nose and, though recognizable, not exactly true to nature.

    I'm very sorry to read that you suffer from odor-induced migraines. About three years ago I endured sudden episodes that occurred several times a week. After a few months, they disappeared as mysteriously at they originated (though stress was certainly a contributing factor). Of course, you'll want to understand the triggers of this terrible, debilitating condition.

    When sniffing essential oils, I recommend placing a drop on a paper strip, then putting the strip in a red wine glass or brandy snifter and inhaling from there. This allows the scent to open up, but not disperse too much so you can get a good nose full.

    Hope this helps and welcome to Basenotes, silkenpaw!
    Eddie: Sweetie, what are you drinking?
    Patsy: Oh, this? Chanel No. 5.
    -- Absolutely Fabulous

  6. #6

    Default Re: What do aldehydes smell like and other newby questions.

    If you can obtain some alcohol, that is probably the best way to dilute oils, otherwise jojoba will do. Dillution depends on the odour strength of the oil in question. Most work well at 10-20% but some are far stronger (e.g. jasmine 5% is fine, rosemary is super strong at 10%).

    Aldehydes are a group of chemicals, several of which are in common use in perfumery. They all smell different, some fruity, some floral. They occur naturally in florals (good rose absolutes and jasmine oils contain them) but are often added to emphasise the aspects of florals which smell "brilliant", "shiny", "sparkly". They also occur naturally in citrus oils and are often used with those or to blend those with florals. Chanel No.5 is famously very strong in aldehydes.

    Hope this helps...
    "Don’t try to be original. Be simple. Be good technically, and if there is something in you, it will come out. ” - Henri Matisse.

    "Wear R de Capucci" - Hirch Duckfinder


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