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  1. #1

    Default What Material Causes the Soapy Aroma

    I enjoy some fragrances with a "soapy" aroma, but it's a note that I don't like to have overdone. The problem occurs after I take a shower. These soapy notes seem to amplify because the heat and water strengthen them, and the other notes wash away.

    The note(s) in question are soapy and somewhat dry or woody and usually associated with rose. Does anyone wish to hazard a guess as to what material I might be smelling?

  2. #2

    Default Re: What Material Causes the Soapy Aroma

    Lavender 40/42 oil is commonly used in soaps. It has a highly floral scent but it's more camphoraceous than English lavender, which gives it more of a soapy nuance. Spanish rosemary oil is high in camphor, which also makes it smell quite soapy. Rose alcohol is commonly used in soaps, as are geranium oil and palmarosa oil. If linalool, geraniol, or citronellol are listed in the ingredients, then there's a reasonable chance that it's from one or more of these ingredients. If not, then perhaps it's an aroma chemical.
    Last edited by Pears; 21st December 2013 at 03:51 PM.

  3. #3

    Default Re: What Material Causes the Soapy Aroma

    If it remains on the skin after a shower then it's probably something long-lasting like a musk, possibly in combination with other base-note materials. Don't know about the rose part though...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Portland, Oregon

    Default Re: What Material Causes the Soapy Aroma

    I'm guessing musks and aldehydes - or - schiff bases. Whenever I get a schiff base on my hands I can't wash it off, even after repeated soaping. It usually takes a whole day to wear away after washing it off. To me aldehydic bases smell very soapy especially with certain laundry type musks.
    Last edited by JEBeasley; 21st December 2013 at 07:07 PM.
    Justin E. Beasley

  5. #5

    Default Re: What Material Causes the Soapy Aroma

    I just discovered that musks (at least the ones I have) simply smell like
    laundry, and barely come off even after scrubbing.

  6. #6

    Default Re: What Material Causes the Soapy Aroma

    It makes sense, as musks often have the floral and woody notes that purplebird described. Perfumers World has a good list of musks, along with descriptions of their properties and uses. Tonalide and Galaxolide in particular are described as having use as laundry musks.
    Last edited by Pears; 22nd December 2013 at 12:37 AM.

  7. #7

    Default Re: What Material Causes the Soapy Aroma

    All of those explanations seem plausible.

    Rose is a major component of these perfumes but not lavender or rosemary. As for linalool, geraniol, and citronellol -- it is highly likely that they are part of the formula, and they are common ingredients.

    Tenacity leads me to believe that a synthetic is primarily to blame amplified soapiness. The only natural-smelling aspect of the aroma that remains after washing is patchouli, but that is sweeter and not soapy.

    Musk plus aldehydes? Possibly. There is some waxiness about the aroma. Most likely there's a third component, too.

    The idea of a Schiff Base intrigues me. One of the perfumes is dark yellow. Aurantiol? Maybe. Orange blossom, chypre and oriental aspects? Check.

    The part that puzzles me most is that the hot water brings this aroma out. Either the soapiness was masked before washing, or it is a reaction that occurs outside of the formula in the bottle.

  8. #8

    Default Re: What Material Causes the Soapy Aroma

    As mentioned in the previous posts certain white musks can give a clean soapy impression. I would say Muscenone more than any other.

    As for specific aroma chemicals i would say C-12 Lauric, Ambrettolide, Benzyl Laurate,& anthranilate cinnamaldehyde schiff's base

  9. #9
    New Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2015

    Default Re: What Material Causes the Soapy Aroma

    If you are still looking for an answer, it may be Farnesol and or farnesyl acetate. They both are clean, floral, soapy odors. Farnesyl acetate has the rosy character that is clean and soapy.
    Both of these aromachemicals are found in Ambrette seed essential oil which is a musky yet soapy, especially ambrettolide which is a constituent or form of Ambrette however has a fruity nuance to it.
    The woods are probably an additional chemical blended with a soapy note to create what you are smelling. Just a guess.

  10. #10

    Default Re: What Material Causes the Soapy Aroma

    Benzyl Salicylate, Helvetolide and Ethylene Brassylate (especially when combined) always give a soapy, shampoo-like aroma to blends if they are not properly masked.

  11. #11
    Super Member cybervoltage's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Detroit. Michigan

    Default Re: What Material Causes the Soapy Aroma

    As others have mentioned here - the white musks such as Helvetolide, Ethylene Brassylate, Galaxolide, Tonolide, Exaltolide, etc have a clean "soapy" aspect to them. Orris and synthetic orris replacers such as Orivone and Irival used sparingly can impart a soapy nuance (the "Dove Soap" smell).

  12. #12

    Default Re: What Material Causes the Soapy Aroma

    As you can see from the variety in the answers above, there isn't one single ingredient that gives a soapy note. It's always a combination of things, and can arrive quite unexpectedly in a blend. I made a Daphne accord that I found here on Basenotes once and the result was so incredibly soapy! I scoured the formula trying to figure out what caused it; I'm still not sure. A friend describes THE SOAP NOTE as one of the "gravity wells" of perfumery.

  13. #13

    Default Re: What Material Causes the Soapy Aroma

    I would like to add Methyl Atrataat (Evernyl) and Methyl Ionone to the list of soapy notes, and Tonalide is the most soapy musk I have found so far!

  14. #14

    Default Re: What Material Causes the Soapy Aroma

    I think it can also be a question not of literal smell (the molecules going into the nose) but how the brain processes them.

    For example, years back I used to experience a very, very particular stench from perfumes some women wore. Very garbage-y. It was the only thing I could smell of these perfumes. Why on earth were they wearing that?

    As I started working myself with fragrance materials, to my amazement I discovered many of my mixtures working fine up to a given point, and then one more drop would give that exact same stench! Amazing. It could be done with quite a variety of different mixtures, with no need for ingredients in common.

    So it was my brain. Certain combinations it did not like, it gave me this particular perception which seemed a very exact smell, but really was a mental creation entirely.

    I also had this with soapiness, though not to where the entire actual fragrance would disappear as with the stench-combos. And here, it was only certain musks that really blasted me with soapiness.

    I now do perceive soapiness as an aspect of some musks, but the apparent perception is far less, only as a component.

    So at least for me, how the brain processes the signals has a lot to do with it, and with experience perception may become totally different.

    And there may be no way to predict how others will perceive, only letting them try. For example, I doubt the perfumers making whatever those ladies were wearing years ago ever expected I'd experience only garbage stench!

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