Rose, lily of the valley, mimosa flower, patchouli, all these scents are associated with our favorite perfumes. If perfumers use natural fragrances they also use synthetics aromas for different reasons. Let ‘s see together.
Why using synthetic aromas?
Plants have been used for a long time as a source of essentiel oils and aroma compounds ( flowers, resins, roots, seeds…). Aroma compounds from animal have also been used for a long time such as musk, ambergris and civet.
If it is possible to extract essential oil from roses for instance, some flowers are called « mute » and won’t give essential oils ((peonies, lilac, lily of the valley, sweat peas). The perfumers are going to « fake » nature blending materials to create molecules to get their scents.
Nowadays, animal componds such as ambergris, musk or civet are no longer use due to animal protection and replaced by synthetic molecules.
Synthetic aromas mixed with natural compounds give a richer palette of scents rather than using only natural materials.
They are also cheaper but not always as some synthetic aromas can be very expansive.
Some synthetic molecules
- coumarin smells like freshly cut hay, warm notes of tobacco or vanilla
- ionones smell like fresh violets and mild woody
- macrocyclic musks provide sensual and creamy scents
- vanillin is an alternative to vanilla
- calone gives ozone an aquatic nuances
- ambroxan gives a sweat and woody scent as ambergris
- heliotropine brings a creamy and vanilla scent
- aldehydes provide soapy, fresh, floral and clean scents
- hedione gives a fresh and very light jasmin scent
There are a lot of more synthetic molecules giving pear, litchee, chocolate, honey accords…
Using synthetic molecules in perfumes is not always lack of quality. After all, without aldehydes, Chanel n°5, recognazible among all the perfumes, won’t exist.