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Thread: Shelf lives

  1. #1
    Basenotes Member
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    Default Shelf lives

    Is anyone with a large collection of odorous chemicals worried about their shelf lives? I am sometimes surprised that this is considered so little here and elsewhere. I have two bottles of Limonene, one is a year old and the second one is 5 years old. The odor has strongly changed. The "high" parts are missing. It probably oxidized partly into +/- carvone. I am aware that limonene is not used so much in high-quality perfumes for this reason, but I am already worried if the shelf lives for other chemicals are not larger by at least an order of magnitude. I am not just talking about essential oils or finished perfumes.

    Does anyone here use nitrogen in addition to a refrigerator? I am not sure how to organize such a nitrogen storage. Maybe it helps to keep only dilutions and not the pure chemicals?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Shelf lives

    Good question, Domek. I look forward to our learned friends' responses. While I'm at it, is there a difference between Limonene and D-Limonene?

  3. #3

    Default Re: Shelf lives

    Different raw materials have different shelf lives, dependent upon their chemical structure, and the way they are stored. It is important for anyone doing perfumery to know how long their materials will last, and to be able to judge the quality of them. Limonene, and indeed all citrus oils containing Limonene should be stored in a fridge. Limonene oxidises very quickly (to para Cymene). In a fridge it should have a shelf life of about a year.

    By the way every fragrance made will contain some Limonene, as Limonene is found in pretty well all Essential Oils, especially Citrus Oils.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Trufflehunter, how good is your chemistry? D-Limonene refers to a specific optical isomer of the chemical Limonene (dextro). There is also L-Limonene (laevo) which does not smell the same.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Shelf lives

    Just to add to what David has already said, other materials do age significantly too including many of the aldehydes, which will also benefit from refrigeration and tightly sealed, full containers. A number of materials are also degraded by contact with ferrous metals, so stainless steel containers are not a good idea for those.

    In almost all cases materials keep better once diluted in ethanol, though they will still oxidise and degrade. Most degrade into odourless or similarly scented materials, but a few degrade very badly and will become unpleasant smelling. You really need to look up (or ask your supplier) about each material as you acquire so that you know how to keep it.

    In my experience suppliers put a Ďshelf-lifeí on most things of a couple of years, which in many cases isnít really important - things like ambroxan, iso e super and the like are pretty stable and donít really deteriorate unless you let them get hot or something, so you do also need to use good judgement about when to throw things out.

    I donít personally use nitrogen in addition to the fridge, though I know some perfumers do - for me itís just a bit too complicated to arrange, especially as most of the materials that deteriorate fastest are quite cheap.
    Chris Bartlett
    Perfumes from the edge . . .

    www.perfumedesigner.co.uk
    Twitter: @PellWallPerfume

    If you are looking for a perfumery consultation Iím happy to quote: if you want free advice, thatís what these forums are for
    You can also join my blog if you wish to ask questions of me.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Shelf lives

    Some indication about EOs shelf lives here http://www.aromaticsinternational.com/shelf_life
    Sebastiano - Organic Chemist

  6. #6

    Default Re: Shelf lives

    David, my chemistry is much better than 'average', though still not very good! However, I understand the principles of isomers. My question is really about the difference in smell between 'limonene' and 'd-limonene'. Thanks!

  7. #7

    Default Re: Shelf lives

    d-Limonene smells citrus, mainly Orange. I have not smelled l-Limonene in a very long time but from memory it had a cruder, more Pine like smell. One normally means d-limonene when referring to Limonene. Also Orange Terpenes is mainly d-Limonene.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Shelf lives

    Thanks for clarifying that, David. I'm just 'branching out' into synthetics and wanted to get some limonene, but could only find d-limonene. Now I know it's one and the same.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Shelf lives

    Glad I was able to clear things up for you, but Limonene isn't a synthetic. It is found in Citrus oils, and the Limonene commercially available has been distilled from Orange Oil.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Shelf lives

    Technically a "natural isolate"?

  11. #11

    Default Re: Shelf lives

    Quote Originally Posted by Trufflehunter View Post
    Technically a "natural isolate"?
    Yes exactly. Though whether it is recognised as natural by the Guild depends on how it is extracted, if I've understood their arcane rules correctly.
    Chris Bartlett
    Perfumes from the edge . . .

    www.perfumedesigner.co.uk
    Twitter: @PellWallPerfume

    If you are looking for a perfumery consultation Iím happy to quote: if you want free advice, thatís what these forums are for
    You can also join my blog if you wish to ask questions of me.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Shelf lives

    How interesting that I stumbled upon this conversation when it is still so recent. I have a number of materials I ordered to teach myself more about aromachemicals. I based this purchase on the list in "Perfumery, Practice and Principles". I purchased them about ten years ago, they are now stored in my basement. I would like to start working with aromachemicals again...Would it be best to discard them at this point, and start fresh? I should note that most are in glass bottles with rubber droppers.
    I do refrigerate most of my essential oils and absolutes (not with dropper caps) For new acquisitions of aromachemicals, is it best to also refrigerate?
    Thank you!

  13. #13

    Default Re: Shelf lives

    Depending on the type of chemicals you have. Calone and musk ketones probably will last forever...But I would say toss them, just for your peace of mind. Someone like Chris can probably tell if the chemicals are still in good shape, but if you are in the training phase, smelling something that has been degraded and register it as the original chemical won't do you any good.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Shelf lives

    Something distilled from a natural, is a natural. Something resulting from some chemistry done to a natural (e.g. Vetiveryl Acetate from Vetiver oil) isn't.

    Michelle, ariodant is right; unless you know your smells it is safer to ditch and start again.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Shelf lives

    Quote Originally Posted by David Ruskin View Post
    Something distilled from a natural, is a natural. Something resulting from some chemistry done to a natural (e.g. Vetiveryl Acetate from Vetiver oil) isn't.
    There are miles of lines in every perfume forum in the world about this I think. What I keep repeating is: the molecules are exactly the same, not meaning they are like two similar brothers but they are actually like two clones, i.e. very much the same. What I don't get is: what are people looking for when ask for "natural isolates"? Is it an idea, a concept, a "belief"? Don't misunderstand me, I respect them and I think it's great they can have what they want, but I really would like to understand why they want it, because I can assure it is actually the same thing, just made in different ways.
    Oh just to be clear, no isolation from naturals is actually more "environmentally friendly" than any organic synthesis. We always talk about using heat, electricity, solvents ecc.
    Sebastiano - Organic Chemist

  16. #16

    Default Re: Shelf lives

    otoclone, I agree absolutely. However having had to work on briefs that demanded "all nature" or even "all organic" i know what the ridiculous rules are. I think you are right when you say "Is it an idea, a concept, a 'belief'". It is exactly that. However, the "molecules are exactly the same"
    Last edited by David Ruskin; 30th July 2012 at 04:18 PM.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Shelf lives

    I store all in the fridge, but there are some oils, like sandalwood for example, that will be better with time.
    The supplier generally give a time of two years and after suggest to check the quality before use.
    I think that in the fridge the life will be longer for all raw materials.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Shelf lives

    Quote Originally Posted by David Ruskin View Post
    Different raw materials have different shelf lives, dependent upon their chemical structure, and the way they are stored. It is important for anyone doing perfumery to know how long their materials will last, and to be able to judge the quality of them. Limonene, and indeed all citrus oils containing Limonene should be stored in a fridge. Limonene oxidises very quickly (to para Cymene). In a fridge it should have a shelf life of about a year.

    By the way every fragrance made will contain some Limonene, as Limonene is found in pretty well all Essential Oils, especially Citrus Oils.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Trufflehunter, how good is your chemistry? D-Limonene refers to a specific optical isomer of the chemical Limonene (dextro). There is also L-Limonene (laevo) which does not smell the same.
    I'm really glad you mentioned the point about p-cymene. I'm working from a GC test, and the samples I had tested were apparently really old; the top notes of this particular fragrance are bergamot and clementine, which together make up 10 to 15 percent of the concentrate, so there was plenty of limonene. Anyway, there was also 1.66% p-cymene, and something about that doesn't seem right. Now I suspect that the samples were old, as there was also lilial diethyl acetal in there, which must have formed from lilial after dilution in ethanol.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Shelf lives

    p Cymene is often the chemical that is left when other Terpenes have oxidised; especially Limonene. pCymene is very stable, and so accumulates.

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