Raw Materials  A Glass of Milk With A Bun: Breakfast Fragrances

A Glass of Milk With A Bun: Breakfast Fragrances

11/05/16 03:32:40 (24 comments)

by: Matvey Yudov

Very often, colleagues working in related disciplines do not take each other too seriously, underestimating each other's professional expertise. Physicists make jokes about chemists, violinists sneer at trombonists, etc. Flavor chemistry – working on gustatory properties of food – is closely related to perfumery. Perfumers often look at flavorists haughtily, referring to them as plodders doing things far from creativity. On the other hand, flavorists consider perfumers stuck-up smugs that are not even capable of making a "normal strawberry".

 


Looking at the perfume history, flavors had been restrained from perfumery for a long time with only few exceptions, like, for example, vanilla. The perfumer Mark Buxton recalls that, while studying at perfume school long before Thierry Mugler Angel appeared, he was amazed by Ethyl maltol with its scent of candy-floss, but his colleagues did not share his enthusiasm considering it in bad taste and a totally unacceptable thing in high perfumery. The chemist of Givaudan, Philip Kraft, recollects his professor's opinion about Angel as a poorly constructed "dessert" smell.
 


Nowadays we are used to sweet gourmand fragrances, but they were impossible some 25 years ago. We can now choose from a great variety of praline, caramel, candy-floss, chocolate and other tempting sweets in perfume bottles, and read many authoritative works about gourmand fragrances being a solid perfume direction, just like chypre or fougere. 

Indeed, perfume sugar deserves to be discussed. Moreover, gourmand details more and more often start appearing in classic compositions, and gourmand borders expand every year.
 



MILK
 


Milk, cream, butter and other dairy products have become quite popular accords in perfumes. Traditionally, milk is made of lactones (lat. lactis – milk) which are cyclic esters of hydroxycarboxylic acids, usually five- or six-membered, i.e. γ-lactones and δ-lactones respectively.

Some natural vegetal musks are also lactones, but macrocyclic, they consists of 14-20 carbon atoms. For example, Ambrettolide contained in ambrette seeds, a popular source of vegetal musk, is a macrocyclic lactone of 17 carbons.

The simplest γ-lactone, Butyrolactone, smells like cream with certain fatty waxy nuances and some tinge of peach and caramel. 
 

γ-Undecalactone is one of the most well-known aromatic lactones. It was synthesized more than a hundred years ago and debuted in Guerlain Mitsouko, adding a fruity creamy hue to the chypre structure.

 

Perfumers simply have fallen in love with the smell of γ-Undecalactone, reminiscent of peach skin warmed in the sun, and kept actively using it since then. Lactones are important in the re-creation of the smell of many flowers, like gardenia, tuberose, jasmine and others.
 

Besides lactones, there are many other materials used by flavorists for mimicking the smell and flavor of cream, butter, as well as sweet condensed milk and caramel such as Acetoin, Diacetyl, Butyl lactate and others. Sometimes they are used in "high" perfumery, for example in Lostmarch Lann-Ael.

 



TOASTS & PASTRIES
 


The smell of baked or fried food (bread, pastries, coffee) had been unobtainable to perfumers for a long time, until the end of the 20th century when new more sensitive technological methods were invented and compounds carrying their smells were discovered. They were pyrazine derivatives, a heterocyclic six-membered aromatic organic compound with two nitrogens in opposition to each other.

Substituted pyrazines are substances with an extremely intense odor (which can be already distinctly sensed in the concentration of several parts per million). Depending on the substitute, pyrazine can smell like roasted nuts, bread, cocoa, chocolate, pop-corn, soy beans, or even a distinct smell of burning or soil.

Pyrazine derivatives are extremely important in imitating of the coffee aroma and making a synthetic castoreum smell. It is believed that our brain interprets the smell of pyrozines as a smell of heating and burning, as a kind of marker of high temperature.

Structurally very similar to pyrozines, methoxy pyrazine derivatives (which also smell very strong) have a totally different odor profile, they smell like green vegetables, – asparagus, green beans, bell pepper, galbanum. Some insects use this compound as their chemical weapon. For example, lady bugs in stress produce 2-methoxy-3-isopropyl pyrazine. This compound is also believed to be responsible for a specific "veggie" smell of some wines. (One lady bug per 1 olympic pool of wine would be enough to smell it clearly).
 


Sometimes, very specific food flavors find their way to perfumery to create unusual effects and curious combinations. Dries Van Noten, created by Bruno Jovanovic in 2013, is a perfect example of unconventional use of Sulfurol, a compound with a characteristic warm smell of milk and baking. Sulfurol is widely used in food flavorings, from dairy to chips, in the perfume it made an elegant amplifier to a milky aspect of sandal, adding a nice gourmand touch to a woody base.
 


What we usually perceive as a taste, is a much more complex sensation, also related to several senses: smell, tactile and temperature perception (irritation of the trigeminal nerve). Smell is usually the most convincing of them that attracts us to food. Remember, when ordering your favorite fast-food, how many flavorists worked on the smell of your burger and even on the smell of a bun for your burger. The smell of food has always been the most attractive to people, so it is no wonder that food smells have finally overcome our shame of exploiting our primitive instincts, and made their statement in perfumery.

 

Mat Yudov

Mat Yudov is a chemist, perfumer, and musician. Mat is also a researcher and specialist in the chemistry of aromatic materials. He graduated from Moscow State University "Lomonosov" in 1999. He writes for the popular perfume blog leopoldray.blogspot.com (in Russian).



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ami.alger
ami.alger

I always love reading your articles. Enthusiastic and helpful, as well as genuinely smart. Now I feel like I might know why Gris Clair smells not just of laundry, but of hot laundry, fresh from the dryer! :D

Dec
31
2016
raw umber
raw umber

Loved learning the difference between animal lactones and plant lactones. I always wanted to know what the chemical differences (and similarities) were and now I do thanks to you!
Also makes me want to look into it further on my own.

Dec
31
2016
K1
K1

This article worths a million. Mat you opened a big door to light. I expand it with precise and longer researches. Thank you so so much.

Dec
31
2016
colettemichelle
colettemichelle

This has to be in my top 5 favorite articles ever presented on Fragrantica! Well done!

Nov
08
2016
paneradfisk
paneradfisk

Very appreciated article, thank you.

Nov
06
2016
nurStress
nurStress

Dear friends, thank you for your kind words. I'm really happy to know that was useful for you!

Nov
06
2016
Christina Ivy
Christina Ivy

Great article! Helps me to understand the raising popularity of gourmand scent.

I found this gourmand trend extremely annoying too! Don't get me wrong, I love food and enjoy the smell of food when I have them. But as an adult the idea of smell like gummy bear or fruit juice all day long is a very disgusting thought and highly inappropriate (especially in workplace, gym and public transport... Imagine your boss smells like a burger from 9-5, does that make a great professional Image?), most of those scents are able to cause headache or migraines in a few seconds.

However, the only thing I'm happy about this gourmand trend is that it reduce the number of perfume I purchase dramatically - 0 for over 18 month, which saved me money and I believe the perfume money is going to staying in my pocket for a very long time...

Nov
05
2016
rob2b
rob2b

Fantastic!! Thank you, Mat.

Nov
05
2016
LadyPilot
LadyPilot

Although I enjoyed the whole article, I'm especially grateful for the information about ladybugs. There was a plague of them on the Polish seaside in 1989, you had to walk knee-deep into the see in order not to get attacked by them. This awful smell that they make appeared frequently and everywhere - at least I was able to feel it, so was my mum. The bugs were stressed by the multitude of tourists and probably produced this substance extensively. Yes, it is a "veggy" odor! Very interesting piece of information for me, nice to know there was nothing wrong with my nose:D

Nov
05
2016
Steleale
Steleale

Thanks for this interesting article.

Nov
05
2016
fazalcheema
fazalcheema

This brings me to the conclusion I reached on my own recently. I have gotten discontinued Gabbana By for Man last month. The reviews say it has high sillage and it is approp. for cold weather but I could barely smell it on me even though I have pretty strong sense of smell. in addition, I don't do drugs, smoke, or drink so that is also good for my sense of smell. I thought my bottle is off since it is old one. Then I smelled some perfume bottles of mine that always smell strong and I could barely detect them now. This helped me realize the temperature doesn't just significantly affect how perfume performs on our skin but our sense of smell, too and the variations can be quite significant. I knew our sense of smell is affected by temperature but I didn't realize until now it is affected to such a great extent.

Nov
05
2016
HeidiLynn
HeidiLynn

Love these columns! I enjoyed my chemistry classes, but don't recall them being this interesting; thanks for a good read.

Nov
05
2016
Scentrifuge
Scentrifuge

I enjoy this series. On top of building appreciation for the role of synthetics in perfumery, it's truly educational.

It's also really nice to read an article that casts gourmands in a positive light for once. Indeed, they're much more innovative than many people believe and "perfume sugar deserves to be discussed." Thank you, Mat.

Nov
05
2016
polly golightly
polly golightly

fantastico!

Nov
05
2016
suhaesa
suhaesa

Thank you for this wonderful article!I dislike gourmands, too sugary and creme brule because I want to eat them and they confusing my mind.However I like some.
I don't want to smell "foody".
I want to smell like a perfume mostly a vintage one!!
i share your views veda
thank you Mat Yudov for a well written article that can make people with limited chemistry backgrounds and immense love of perfumery understand some chemical basis of perfumery ..
i finally understood why i cant take many of the modern formulations due to this utter burning like or hay like smoky accord that simply disturbs my mind ,i dont like mind tricks and i dont like burning smokey smells or tar like accords or plasticy accords..
i dont mind the peachy ones or the milky ones though so i am not totally against all synthetics just in moderation and when they ad to the perfume profile not take center stage of a burning barn with animals inside it !

Nov
05
2016
AveParfum
AveParfum

Great fun article! Perfume is just a little bit less of a ystery now, LOL. Thank you!

Nov
05
2016
mystiquerida
mystiquerida

Big thumbs up for this article

Nov
05
2016
RkrChk
RkrChk

Highly informative write up on the complexities and subtleties of 'foody' smells in fragrances...It was hard for me to pick one chemical group since my favorites are among the descriptions offered by Mr. Yudov...

I love the outstanding visuals and the author's user-friendly take on the subject matter...Simply genius!

Nov
05
2016
drugstore classics
drugstore classics

Fascinating...

A breakfast treat indeed!

Nov
05
2016
johngreenink
johngreenink

Another extremely helpful article from Mat. The lactones and their variations are incredible to smell by themselves. And it's so nice to see the mysteries of Jeux de Peau revealed! It's one of the most delicious and warm/calming scents ever. Excellently done, thanks and please bring us more!

Nov
05
2016
veda
veda

Thank you for this wonderful article!
I like fresh-herbal-lemony perfumes and I would love to drink them ;)
I dislike gourmands, too sugary and creme brule because I want to eat them and they confusing my mind.However I like some.
I don't want to smell "foody".
I want to smell like a perfume mostly a vintage one!!

Nov
05
2016
SzekelyEmoke
SzekelyEmoke

I love articles like this. Thank you for the breakfast! ☺

Nov
05
2016
Feli15
Feli15

Educational yet fun and approachable. Thank you for another lovely article!

Nov
05
2016
nightcutter
nightcutter

Great article!

Nov
05
2016

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