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  1. #1
    edshepp's Avatar
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    Default Benzyl Salicylate question

    So I was reading through a thred on musks when I came across this comment, possibly made by David Ruskin, but I don't recall:

    "...not everyone is anosmic to musk chemicals, and those who are not can smell them on smelling strips. For those who are, it is often possible to detect their presence in a fragrance. I have often experienced this when using Benzyl Salycilate; on its own I can barely smell it, but in a fragrance I KNOW it is there."

    Since I've read this sentiment before from Luca Turin, where he talks about benzyl salicylate giving floral notes a 'satiny finish' (or something thereother), I wanted to get other people's thoughts on it. Especially since I've played around some with benzylsal but haven't noticed this yet. I should note that I can smell benzyl sailcylate faintly on its own (greenish, spicy-like-carnation, balsamic, oily) but don't really notice much when I add it to something, except for that oiliness.

    What is the thing that benzyl salicylate does to blends that it's obvious that it's there? Is it mostly floral blends (all florals? white flower notes? spicy florals?) or just about anything? Is it just the benzyl or is this a characteristic of all salicylates? I especially like isoamyl and cis-3-hexenyl salicylates.
    Last edited by edshepp; 11th January 2013 at 01:31 PM. Reason: clarity

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Benzyl Salicylate question

    I don't have any experience with using benzyl salicylate, so I'm afraid that I can't really answer your questions. I've read descriptions of the odor of this and similar compounds and they seem to have a range of faint aromas that span a broad spectrum. When you combine the full spectrum of light together you get white light and when you combine the full spectrum of sounds together you get white noise. Could benzyl salicylate have a broad range of faint notes, that combine to form an indistinctive, white smell? Giving a sense of dimension or space, for other aromas to play around in? Or perhaps it has a broad range of faint aromas that help to bridge between other aromas and make the fragrance more cohesive? Anyhow, it's just an idea. Hopefully someone knows the answers your questions.

    Pears
    Last edited by Pears; 12th January 2013 at 01:06 PM.

  3. #3
    David Ruskin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Benzyl Salicylate question

    edshepp; yes it was me that you were quoting. Benzyl sal is a unique material, and no other salicyate behaves in quite the same way. It adds floralcy and smoothness to all fragrances, but especially white florals. Your odour description of Benzyl Sal, was spot on by the way. It also acts as a fixative, but without depressing the vibrancy of a fragrance. Why not try an experiment. Take your floral fragrance, add 5.0% Benzyl Sal to one part, then add another Salicylate ( Amyl for example), and compare the two. I hope you will be able to see what Benzyl Sal is doing.

  4. #4
    Basenotes Member Luís Carlos's Avatar
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    Default Re: Benzyl Salicylate question

    I think it's really weak. It doesn’t distinguish well in a mixture. To know about their usefulness, take a single floral note and add Benzyl Salicylate to get an idea. I could not describe it with words... Maybe something sweeter ... Perhaps the 'satiny finish' of Luca Turin is a good approximation ... I think it's combines with any floral, but combines better with white and spicy florals as you said. Vetiver is also a good addition.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Benzyl Salicylate question

    David is right that Benzyl salicylate does not behave like other salicylates. Consider Methyl salicylate for example: it is almost the only chemical in Wintergreen oil. If you don't know wintergreen you perhaps know the smell of germolene - that's Methyl salicylate - powerful, distinctive and very easy to overdose in a blend.

    Benzyl salicylate is none of those but the effect on a blend is profound nevertheless - try combining it with aliphatic aldehydes and see how those powerful notes are tamed and smoothed by it. With green notes it rounds them, preventing the 'pile of weeds' effect you can easily get with too much green. It's a very special ingredient of great utility.

    Also don't underestimate it's fixative value, which is significant.

    Furthermore it has UV stabilising effects. Finally it is also valuable as a solvent for some musks: I use it with celestolide for example especially handy when using that excellent musk in floral blends where the Benzyl salicylate is often also useful in its own right.
    Chris Bartlett
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  6. #6
    Basenotes Member ION's Avatar
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    Default Re: Benzyl Salicylate question

    below...
    Last edited by ION; 12th January 2013 at 11:21 PM.
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  7. #7
    Basenotes Member ION's Avatar
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    Default Re: Benzyl Salicylate question

    Hi edshepp,
    The only way to understand how it works is to compare a mixture of white flowers (jasmine, tuberose, ylang e.t.c) with different salicylates and see for yourself. Benzyl salicylate is a lovely material ("Alien", especially in its latest incarnation has it in abundance) that works both as a fixative and a cushion (for flowers in particular) in a formula - I find its smell to be noble and polite.
    Personally, I add it to all my lilac accords for rounding the terpineol and mellowing the impression; it really works!
    My "Evelina" perfume has it in the base as part of the lilac and "cotton" musc accord, an ideal
    support for the jasmine in the heart, to gloriously shine.
    Last edited by ION; 12th January 2013 at 11:26 PM.
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  8. #8
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    Default Re: Benzyl Salicylate question

    I tried putting this with Jasmine, and it smells more like weeds, yucky and green?

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Benzyl Salicylate question

    Quote Originally Posted by Ambolt View Post
    I tried putting this with Jasmine, and it smells more like weeds, yucky and green?
    Not what I would expect: I would normally use about four or five times as much Benzyl salicylate as Jasmine Absolute and I find it works exceptionally well with aldehydic top notes too.
    Chris Bartlett
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  10. #10
    David Ruskin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Benzyl Salicylate question

    Benzyl Salicyate was the key to the original formula of L'Air du Temps, which contained (I believe) 15.0%

  11. #11
    Mark's Avatar
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    Default Re: Benzyl Salicylate question

    Quote Originally Posted by David Ruskin View Post
    Benzyl Salicyate was the key to the original formula of L'Air du Temps, which contained (I believe) 15.0%
    A mix of benzyl sal & eugenol at a ratio of 9:2 is used as a basic carnation note and this is used as the main accord in L'Air du Temps along with iso-eugenol (a softer, powdery incarnation of eugenol) and ylang ylang.
    IFRA has now restricted benzyl salicylate to 8% of the finished product which seems a lot, but apparently this has still resulted in a reformulation of L'Air du Temps.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Benzyl Salicylate question

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark View Post
    A mix of benzyl sal & eugenol at a ratio of 9:2 is used as a basic carnation note and this is used as the main accord in L'Air du Temps along with iso-eugenol (a softer, powdery incarnation of eugenol) and ylang ylang.
    IFRA has now restricted benzyl salicylate to 8% of the finished product which seems a lot, but apparently this has still resulted in a reformulation of L'Air du Temps.
    The 8% limit is unlikely to be the culprit there - if there has been a reformulation it is more likely it was driven by the restrictions on Eugenol (0.5%) and Isoeugenol (0.2%) - or the most common reason for reformulation of all: cost.
    Chris Bartlett
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