Scent Note: What do aldehydes smell like?

Aldehydes in perfumery

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Aldehydes: Pioneers of Synthetic Revolution

Aldehydes played a crucial role in the creation of the iconic Chanel N° 5 perfume. In 1921, aldehydes were first introduced into luxury perfumery, giving birth to the timeless Chanel N° 5. Although their name may not sound poetic, aldehydes possess a diverse range of unique olfactory notes. They are categorized based on the number of carbon atoms, ranging from C6 to C12. For instance, C10 aldehyde has an orange scent, C11 exudes a candle wax aroma, and C12 smells like a hot iron. Aldehydes contribute lift and intensity to a fragrance composition, displaying a distinct temperament. Following the success of Chanel N° 5, numerous designers incorporated aldehydes into their creations, such as Coty's Magnet, Guerlain's "Liu," and Hermès' "Calèche."

Aldehyde Combinations

Thanks to their diverse aromas, aldehydes can be combined with various olfactory families. They often accompany floral notes, imparting a magical effect and exceptional radiance. Floral-aldehyde perfumes have become increasingly popular among women, as they are predominantly feminine fragrances. A classic example is Lanvin's "Arpège," created in 1927 yet still remarkably modern. "Arpège" opens with fresh notes of bergamot, neroli, and honeysuckle. The heart notes feature a blend of Bulgarian roses, jasmine, and ylang-ylang, resulting in a sumptuous and irresistibly floral essence. Jeanne Lanvin crafted this perfume to celebrate her daughter Marie-Blanche's 30th birthday, aiming to create the most beautiful perfume in the world. Aldehydes are also found in chypre-floral-aldehyde perfumes, which cater to elegant, self-assured women, such as Guerlain's "Mitsouko" and Sisley's "Eau du Soir."

Introduced to fine perfumery in 1921 with the legendary Chanel N° 5, aldehydes are chemical molecules that have significantly expanded the range of available scents. They can be easily combined with other olfactory families, especially floral ones, resulting in an array of captivating feminine fragrances.

Fun Facts About Aldehydes

  1. Aldehydes are responsible for various natural scents, such as the aroma of fresh citrus fruit, rose petals, and cinnamon.
  2. Aside from perfumery, aldehydes have applications in the food, cosmetic, and pharmaceutical industries.
  3. Ernest Beaux, the creator of Chanel N° 5, was inspired by the smell of frozen rivers and lakes in the Arctic Circle when he incorporated aldehydes into the perfume.
  4. The use of aldehydes in perfumery marked a significant shift from traditional natural essences to modern synthetic ingredients.
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