Raw Materials Calone: The Air of the 1990s

Calone: The Air of the 1990s

06/20/16 07:55:10 (15 comments)

by: Matvey Yudov


Every generation has its own perfume mark in time. For the 1990s it would be one of the greatest trends, a hankering for watermelony freshness. 

One single perfume ingredient, Calone 1951, is responsible for the appearance of the entire new perfume family of aquatic scents. It was first synthesized by J. J. Beereboom, D. P. Cameron and C. R. Stephens from Pfizer in 1966.

Very often in chemistry while searching for one thing, another is discovered. German chemist Alfred Baur was trying to invent explosives similar to TNT, but in 1888 he synthesized the first artificial musk instead. Albert Hofmann was exploring alkaloids and discovered some interesting properties of Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) several years after this substance had been synthesized (you can search and find more about this discovery on "Bicycle Day" in 1943). Shashikant Phadnis, who didn't speak English very well and messed up "test" and "taste", discovered by mistake that Sucralose was 600 times sweeter than sugar. The same Pfizer company, while searching for a medicine for ischemic heart disease, found Sildenafil (sold as Viagra), a medication used to treat erectile dysfunction. These are only few popular examples of discoveries unintentionally made.

Let's come back to Calone. As I mentioned above, Calone 1951 was invented by chemists from Pfizer, or, to be more precise, employees of the perfume company Camilli, Albert & Laloue, which was founded in Grasse in 1830, aquired by Coty in the same year and then passed on to the Pfizer pharmaceutical group's control in 1963. The chemists were working with cyclic Ketones, including Benzodiazepines, as a part of a big research to find an affordable tranquilizer, and they synthesized it in the end, it was marketed as benzodiazepine diazepam (Valium).

In the lab there was a policy to name all new compounds by a special code, which included the first letters of the company name, the class of the invented compound and its sequence number: Camilli+Albert+Laloue+ketone+=CALone. The substance registered by the number  1951 (methylbenzodioxepinone), was the only one which had a strong scent of watermelon. It was immediately patented just in case and during the next 20 years Calone 1951 had been a marginal perfume ingredient, basically it was used in trace amounts for flower accords, predominantly in creating the smell of lily-of-the-valley. When the patent had expired, Calone 1951 stepped into its glorious era: the fisrt perfume with a significant amount of Calone (1.2%), Aramis New West for Her (1989), opened a new aquatic perfume trend. Different companies started to produce this compound, and it is now known by many names: Aquamore, Watermelon Ketone, Ozonor, Ozeone, Calone 161 or simply Calone.

For your information the company Camilli, Albert & Laloue was aquired by a Société Marcel Blanc in 1985, and in 1996 became a part of the Finnish corporation Cultor.

In its pure form, Calone possesses a fresh, somewhat green, ozonic smell, with  characteristic oyster and watermelon nuances. Сalvin Klein Escape (1991) with  0.8% of Calone, oficially approved a new fashion for fresh aquatic scents. Hundreds of perfumes in which Calone was the leading note appeared, other ingredients were merely enhancing its different facets, especially its fresh metallic hues. After an intense 10 year long fashion, everybody has gotten tired of Calone to the extend that many perfumes have been reformulated to decrease their "marine freshness", and some of them (for example, the already mentioned CK Escape) have lost it completely.

Calone enjoyed its uniqueness for quite a long period of time, but chemists didn't stop and researched almost any possible substituted Benzoxazinone and Benzodioxepinone. It was found that replacement of the methyl group to something heavier resulted in a stronger smell. One of the first 'Calones' was Transluzone, synthesized by Firmenich.
 


Transluzone smells more floral [compare its structure with Lilial] and less marine. You can find it in Replica - Beach Walk (Maison Martin Margela) and in Biotherm Eau Ocean.

Cascalone and Aldolone (patented in 1997) were also invented by Firmenich. The first one has an ozonic aldehydic smell (reminiscent of Adoxale), which is more intense than Calone, with no oyster facet. Aldolone is also an ozonic aldehydic ingredient, and very easy to work with, because it does not have the unpleasant properties of Calone (it is very hard to balance Calone and nicely incorporate it into the whole perfume structure).

Azurone, a product by Givaudan, was patented in 2000, and now is available for public sale only as the base Ultrazur. Azurone is both stronger and more diffusive. It was tested for the first time in the quantity of 0,06% in the perfume Oscar Marine Spirit (Oscar de la Renta, 2005). Another perfume, which I can hardly imagine without this ingredient, is Secretions Magnifiques (Etat Libre d’Orange, 2006); it has 0,025% of Azurone.

Among the Benzodioxepinones, I would like to mention the product Conoline by Calchauvet SA. Its olfactory profile is different: phenolic, leathery, earthy, with hyacinth and lily-of-the-valley nuances, and almost without ozonic freshness.

A row of compounds has been dicovered with a much more intense odor than Calone, for example, the scent of 124 and 219 are several times stronger. They smell different from their original inspiration, Calone, the first one being more fruity aldehydic, the second much greener and metallic.

Calone 1951 has its own nominal perfume, "Сalone 17" (in a scented candle and home fragrance), dedicated to it by Le Labo. The marine ozonic Calone in this scent is framed with notes of geranium and amber. Calone is certainly not the only way to put a perfume in a "fresh marine" direction, but it has become a textbook classic and formed a big olfactory group of aquatic scents.
 

Mat Yudov

Mat Yudov is a chemist, perfumer, and musician. Mat is 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).

BW

 



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originaldeftom
originaldeftom

1993 L'eau D'Issey was born and arguably became THE most iconic fragrance of the 90ies, IMO. With its conical bottle it was just so weirdly new and wonderful just like BJORK who also made debut as a solo artist with "Human Behaviour" that same year. Grunge was on all catwalks and shirts and jumpers sold with seams inside out.
CLubbing was at its peak and house music remixes ruled the dancefloor.
It was a great time!

Jun
22
2016
Olotitan
Olotitan

Excellent Review Calone, Oh my Aramis New West where did you go! I would love for some perfumer bring this classic back..
I still have a bottle of New West and I'm treasuring it like a Diamond or a Pearl in a Oyster in the bottom of the Sea.

Jun
21
2016
nurStress
nurStress

smellagent, as to me Calyx is more about green and water then melone. Perhaps it contains some Calone, I'm not really sure, but the most important thing there is Helional, another fabulous substance with water/ozonic properties. Rarely a perfume has only one marine odorant, usually there is a complex of things like calone/helional/melonal/floralozone, with different proportions.

Jun
21
2016
smellagent
smellagent

you did not mention Calyx by Prescriptives which is the first melon smelling perfume I remember. Anyway people are always dogging Aquatics but I happen to love Floral Aquatics because they work especially well in a hot humid climate plus they smell good on me. Anyway thanks for the trip down perfume memory lane. Great article and I read the whole thing. I will continue to love the Aquatics that I love.

Jun
21
2016
celia46
celia46

I would love to read more of this kinds of articles! Really interesting!

I love the smell of the 90. I was a teenager and the biggest problem I had was fighting with my mum about the long of my skirts :)

Jun
21
2016
Jet Adore
Jet Adore

Ahhh, finally an article on Calone and its variant, and with mention of the oyster / shellfish nuance of it, yet! LOL. I have mentioned many times that certain fragrances have a seafood or fishery undertone to them, but only to be insultingly informed, by persons who do not smell this nuance, that I'm just imagining the whole thing! Hrmmph!

Ahhh, vindication does have a sweet aroma! ;)

Jun
20
2016
Thomaso7
Thomaso7

tha'ts why I hate aquatics, I have never liked watermelon. eew the taste. honeydew and cantalopes are even worse. not even sweet at all.

Jun
20
2016
NebraskaLovesScent
NebraskaLovesScent

Hey, Aramis! Bring back New West, please! :-)

Jun
20
2016
LadyPilot
LadyPilot

I'll take my time and study this article in more detail one day - it requires a lot of attention to understand it well. However, as regards this category of scents - it can really raise contrasting emotions. I used to hate it in the nineties - everybody around me smelled Escape and the like "melon" nightmares. Now, Escape is a must in my wardrobe! But over 20 years had to pass, I had to gain the sentimental perspective and go through the tonka-vanilla-powder fascination period in my life.
Yes, I want more of calone! Especially now that it's getting really hot. Thank you for the article!:))))

Jun
20
2016
Arabian Knight
Arabian Knight

I hate calone. It's so abrasive, bitter and obnoxious, so obviously synthetic. When I catch a whiff of calone I can almost taste it in the back of my throat. If I smell it in a restaurant, it puts me right off my food. The sharp, aquatic, chemical scent just spoils everything.

Death to calone!

Jun
20
2016
interdite
interdite

Great!

And I LOVE Calone!!! To me, it is such a whimsical, enchanting note.

Jun
20
2016
Aafridi
Aafridi

Thanks for sharing such an informative article.
I have reached to the conclusion that we all perfume lovers are smelling chemicals not perfumes & spending huge amount on purchasing these chemicals.

Jun
20
2016
marios4
marios4

Really really interesting, thanks a lot, Mat. But a list whith the scents using Calone and their years of release?

Jun
20
2016
ysatis
ysatis

Precise and accurate, as usual!! "Science for fun"!! To be continued...

Jun
20
2016
Adelaide Rocks
Adelaide Rocks

Thank you, thank you for an extremely helpful and informative article.

Jun
20
2016

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