Raw Materials Synthetic Pathways to Sandalwood Notes

Synthetic Pathways to Sandalwood Notes

02/23/14 12:44:29 (17 comments)

by: Elena Vosnaki


There is absolutely no denying that a natural product such as sandalwood, the sacred tree of India, hides a multitude of vibrant, soulful and even spiritual attributes which elevate it beyond the scope of aromatics into the realm of a true balm for the senses. Yet with the protection of the endangered species of Santalum album from overforesting, ever since the 1980s, especially in the Mysore region of Karnataca and Tamil Nadu, the previously inexhaustible source is for all practical terms as good as exhausted. Several synthetics rose to the task of replicating it, often at a quite elevated cost despite their man-made aspect, and many times entering into venerable "modern classics."
 

Nowadays many of those synthetics are used in combination with or attendance of the harvests of Mysore-identical sandalwood trees being farmed on Australian soil. These are trees of the India native species and not of the different, native Australian sandalwood (Santalum spicatum, such as the one used in Le Labo's Santal 33) which is a different species with a different, sharper and lightly smoky scent profile, nor of the New Caledonia sandalwood variety (steadily gaining in popularity). One of the first ethically sustained sandalwood fragrances using the Mysore trees from the Australian farm was last season's release Dries van Noten by Frederic Malle, a somewhat lightweight skin scent which was received favorably but didn't wow the hardcore fans of the note.

sandalwood cutters and exporters, 1905, Australia, wikipedia

If nevertheless you want to acquaint yourself with the original Mysore Sandalwood from India, I direct you to the fascinating botanical and spiritual aspects of Dr.Chandra Shekhar Gupta's article, here on Fragrantica. The rest of you can read on.

Several sandalwood synthetics nowadays comprise part of a perfumer's palette for both their technical merits (they are capsule forms of the effect of an otherwise very dense and demanding essence that is amazingly complex in nature), as well as for their isolated facets that boost one aesthetic choice over others, according to said perfumer's mood. Sometimes they can even co-exist as in the case of Guerlain's Samsara (up to a point in time), the beautiful balance of natural and synthetic in one.

Most aroma producing companies have patented their own versions of this prized material, though in many cases the creation is so old that the patents have expired and the materials are in the public domain.

Niche perfumes with various takes of sandalwood in their name, such as Santal Blanc or Santal de Mysore by Serge Lutens, Santal Imperial by Creed, Tam Dao by Diptyque, L'Artisan Parfumeur's Santal, Bond no.9's Chinatown, Cannabis Santal by Fresh, Floris's Cefiro or 1725 Casanova by Histoires de Parfums have not shied away from judicious use of sandal substitutes. Nor has Bois des Iles by Chanel, adored by many (myself included) for its gingerbread and warm biscuit coziness which lays down the parquet wood for a ball where women in silk dresses and mink stoles dance the night away. Another personal favorite is Tom Ford's Santal Blush: all curves and no brakes!

Sandalwood is a perennial in appeal, even after all these years: The upcoming By Kilian, part of the Asian Tales collection, Sacred Wood, is indeed an etude on sandalwood, composed by perfumer Calice Becker.

Among synthetic sandalwood notes, Polysantol, a former Firmenich trademark, is quite popular thanks to its intense diffusion and realistic replication. Otherwise known as santol pentenol due to its structure, it enters many a fragrance composition thanks to its part herbal, part lived-in warmth. Beta santalol or technically (-)-(1'S,2'R,4'R)-(Z)-beta-santalol is also a nature identical typical sandalwood note. The process of producing sandalwood organoleptic substances from camphogenic aldehydes produces the prized Firsantol, another Firmenich trademark and a favorite with perfumer and writer Arcadi Boix Camps. Levosandol by Takasago introduces a sharper, more austere cedar note within the standard creamy sandalwood note.

Ebanol [(1S,2'S,3'R)-Ebanol], a Givaudan trademark, is noted for its potency. Symrise proposes its Fleursandol which has a very strong, animalic-laced sandalwood note with floral elements surfacing.

Other sandalwood substitutes present various unexpected facets: a good example is the cleanly smoky top of some enantiomers of HomoPolysantol while other enantiomers of the same ingredient take on leathery aspects.

Javanol, Ebanol, Sandela, Santaliff (IFF santal mysore core), and Santalore are extremely powerful and true to sandalwood synthetics. In fact this might explain the curious effect one experiences when handling them: it was enough to smell a 10% dilution to anesthetize my nose for several hours later, a state I was taken out of by squeezing fresh lemon juice. A perfumer must be cautious and restrained when using them in order not to end up making the wearer of the finished fragrance tired and anosmic to them. Extreme dilution (even lower than 0.5%) is recommended, as alongside Iso-E Super (woody cedar) and methyl ionone (violets) those notes cause rapid nose fatigue.

A recent addition is a synth blend smelling of sandalwood tagged "HipNote Sandalwood", composed by Tru Fragrance (formerly Romane Fragrances), claimed by the company producing it to be picked by perfumer Harry Fremont of Firmenich no less: “The use of synthetic substitutes within the fragrance world, like those found in 'HipNote Sandalwood' and many of the season’s product launches, are essential in assisting in sustainability efforts, helping to ensure the fragrance development process does not destroy natural resources. By using these synthetic blends, we are able to eliminate any allergens that are found in nature and create consistency across different batches of the same fragrance product,” adds Amy Braden, director of product development for Tru Fragrances.

sandalwood plant, wikipedia

More than allergy concerns or repletion of natural resources, consistency is the magical word here. A mass produced product, like fine fragrance inevitably is (unless you're making your own or have the hip artisan across town compose one for you), cannot afford to smell different from batch to batch. Consumers do not respond well to change.

The quest for sandalwood substitutes continues as we speak, with several patents from Japanese companies under way, and is only going to accelerate in the coming years despite the ethically sustained sandalwood farm in Australia (after all, it is but a single farm).

Elena Vosnaki

Elena Vosnaki is a historian and perfume writer from Greece and a Writer for Fragrantica. She is the founder and editor of Perfume Shrine, one of the most respected independent online publications on perfume containing fragrance reviews, industry interviews, essays on raw materials and perfume history, a winner in Fragrantica Blog Awards and a finalist in numerous blog awards contests.

Her writing was recognized at the Fifi Awards for Editorial Excellence in 2009 and she contributes to publications around the world.

 



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rowan.walters
rowan.walters

Thank you so much for this fascinating article.

I grew up with an inexplicable, passionate fondness for White/Mysore sandalwood, and as an adult this fragrance would always elicit a powerful sense of profound pleasure and relaxation. More than that, it triggered an internal scent memory forever linked with comfort, safety and serenity.

I recently discovered the source of these childhood associations: as a toddler I was fascinated with a wooden fan made from hand-carved Mysore sandalwood - one of several that my parents had brought back from India in the 1960s, and apparently I used to take this fan with me everywhere. Curiously, I can still see it in my mind's eye - intricately carved strips of wafer thin sandalwood joined together by a red silk band and exuding a wonderfully regal, majestic aroma that will forever live in my memory.

Almost ten years ago now, it suddenly became difficult to find real Myssore sandalwood from India and many of my favourite products - including Crabtree & Evelyn Extract of Mysore Sandalwood either became unavailable or changed their formulation.

Although white sandalwood is difficult to obtain from India these days, there are many other places which produce Santalum Album, such as Indonesia, Malaysia and China - and because these areas still have enormous reserves of old-growth forests the quality is infinitely superior to the Indian equivalent.

But by the same token sustainable and renewable plantations of Santalum Album, Santalum Spicata, and other fragrant woods like the endangered members of the Aquillaria genus, have been planted on a massive scale in Australia.
Currently there are more Mysore Sandalwood trees in Australia than India, and in coming decades they will hopefully fill the gaping void in the market.
So there is definitely hope for the future of sandalwood.

And until then we have some wonderful new molecules to play with.
In recent months I have started experimenting with Sandalore, Sandela, Indisan, Javanol, Osyrol, Ebanol and countless others and it has been both fascinating and exciting to see how effectively science has been able to replicate different facets of one of the most sophisticated products of nature, which has been venerated by every culture it came into contact with since ancient times.

And just a quick comment about the relative safety of these particular fragrance molecules - while they may be synthetic, the vast majority of the sandalwood and woody type aroma chemicals are derived from plant sources that have been known to science for over a century, so in terms of their chemical structure they are, for the most part, a "variation on a theme" and less liable to cause hormone disruption or carcinogenesis than many other synthetics.
And even 100% natural essential oils have health risks.
Young children especially should NEVER be exposed to Lavender and Tea Tree Oil on a regular basis, especially young boys.
Those oils contain incredibly potent phyto oestrogens that have caused young boys to grow breasts and girls as young as five to enter premature puberty.
So long as fragrances - natural and synthetic - are diluted and used sensibly, they will continue to add an extra dimension of beauty to our lives, enhancing our overall quality of life as well as bringing pleasure.
And for me sandalwood is a sacred scent memory that brings peace, comfort and serenity, and I hope to enjoy its beauty as long as I live.

Jun
20
2014
hadassa
hadassa

Wonderful article, I really enjoy Elena's writings on raw materials. Thank you!

As to the object of this research, the scent of sandalwood is one of my favorite notes in perfumery. I am not sure if I'm always able to tell if this or that is the real thing or not, as I am no expert, only an enthusiast.

The discrepancy between what I remember of Samsara and what it is like now makes me sad. I think that with the synthetic substitute it lost all its soul, charm, allure, you name it. My aunt still wears the older version, it smells like heaven, and it's nothing like the newer Samsara, which is a nice abstractly woody cologne.

I have never tried the older Tam Dao, but the new one smells like dry paper to me. I don't understand this smell. It isn't repulsive, but not attractive to me either.

On another note, I don't know what is inside of Santal Majuscule, but to me it's an almost pure perfection! I wish I knew if it is composed of synthetic stuff or not... If yes, that would be a big deal. If synthetics might reproduce the scent of sandalwood like this, I am sold! Also in the newest Bois 1920 Relativamente Rosso: the sandalwood in its composition is just amazing, I wish I knew if it's real. Smells very true.

Feb
26
2014
physalis
physalis

Arbre Amer, what you said makes sense to me. Your feedback is very lucid and it leads to deeper reflection. I appreciate it a lot.

I can not lie to myself and say that I agree with Elena's line of argument, but taking readers into consideration, I respectfully don't want to extend discussion in a boring way.

Primordial, in my opinion, is that people can freely read and comment on articles, even if divergences arise.

The debate is important to the raising of information, knowledge, and points of view, so we all can broaden our understanding on the whole matter.

I thank all participants and readers for words, thoughts and such an enormous patience. : DD

Feb
25
2014
Elena Vosnaki
Elena Vosnaki

Physalis,

possibly there is a misunderstanding under way. I'm not championing synthetics. I have just seen a void in conventional perfume writing. Not many write about these issues, whereas many want to learn about these things for whatever reason. Simple as that!

Very often the argumentation that appears in the press against perfume and the "chemicals in it" [sic] harming people, the environment, the planet etc. go on tangents that are unscientific at best and ridiculous at worst. The tone is also invariably holier than thou, as if anyone that does not agree with the viewpoint presented is corrupt, unethical and irresponsible for the future of the generations coming after them.
This is but one example (you will have to copy paste the URL requisite, as the platform does not allow it):
mariasfarmcountrykitchen.com/secret-scents-the-hidden-chemicals-in-fragrance/

The argument about what today's ingredients might do in a scope of 50 years is rather simplistic, especially since comparative studies did not exist for the materials which were used "for hundreds of years" so that we could ascertain whether they were indeed harmful or not. Empirical data from perfume lovers does not validate the argument 100% I'm afraid. There is no conclusive evidence that would stand a strict medical standard scrutiny.

If people suffering from tuberculosis had been hesitant to try the "new" and "synthetic" antibiotics back then when they were novel and no one knew what they would "do" in the scope of 100 years from then, they would have been dead instead of surviving. Same with those suffering from Hansen's disease. There's always risk involved, in anything we do. Otherwise we'd live in a bubble. The problem is not in disruptive technologies, the problem lies with how these technologies end up being used.

Not all evolution is corrupt and it is certain that the pharmaceuticals industry is much more involved in pushing things compared to the fragrance industry.

Additionally some of the materials that were deemed "unsafe" have been absolved and have been re-introduced in perfumery according to newer studies. Let me mention musk ketone as an example.

There is a fascinating investigation in the phenomenon of research data and retractions on those studies being investigated at the moment since the retraction rate has multiplied exponentially in the first decade of the 21st century. You might find it of interest.
popsci.com/science/article/2013-08/us-behavioral-science-researchers-more-likely-skew-their-results

plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0005738

Since you feel so strongly about this, I suggest you investigate options of funding the sustainability farms in Australia. It's a commendable cause in my opinion, which of course has much way to go before the sold essence becomes the standard in perfumery.

Feb
25
2014
Arbre Amer
Arbre Amer

Elena, thank you for the informative article. No idea there were that many sandalwood odourants. I didn't expect the subject to start such a controversy but the more I think about it the more it seems justified.

Physalis, I agree with most of your points. I am a big fan of natural perfumes and prefer them over conventional whenever that is possible.Having established my position I have a couple of comments of my own to add to this conversation.

A: The term substitution is to a degree misleading. Synthetics are never a perfect substitute for a natural substance but that is not their true purpose to begin with. They are aimed to replicate an effect and that is quite different. They can never replicate the complete profile of an oil and of course its other effects that go well beyond scent (aroma-therapeutical properties). On the other hand, as miraculous natural oils as they are, there is still a limit to what can be accomplished by just them. Most of todays perfumes could not be replicated by using only natural oils even if we were to take the cost out of the equation. That is not to say natural perfumery is inferior but it abides to a different code of aesthetics than the one the average consumer is accustomed to. Most of my friends make weird faces when they sniff my collection of natural perfumes. What I am saying is that naturals and synthetics are not really interchangeable.

B: On the potential hazard I tend to agree with you but not because I consider natural substances safe. I believe that both sides hide potential dangers. Natural substances have been tested in practise for much longer than synthetics but that doesn't say much strictly scientifically speaking. There is no way we can monitor the profound effects oak moss, jasmine or calamus have had on a populous just as it is impossible to do so for man made chemicals. Saffron in particular has been consumed for ages, hard to beat that as a safety test and yet, only recently it has been linked to teratogenesis. Naturals are far from harmless but I still prefer them, why? The choice is not scientific but ethical. I am more willing to accept risks for my health that exist in nature than those introduced by man. Bottom line is I don't want to be at risk every time someone comes up with a new way to make money. I don't want to put the world at risk based on my aesthetic choices. Unfortunately one cannot make a legal case with those arguments. One can only inform others in hope that eventually a change in the industry will be called for by the majority.

Naturals VS Synthetics: For the reasons explained above I prefer natural perfumery but also, because they are largely subjective, based on belief rather than evidence I understand if others choose differently. Further more I understand why people would be torn between the two positions or choose to sit comfortably somewhere between. I think that if the writer of this article wishes to stay impartial and not choose sides, she is perfectly entitled to. Elena's experience on perfume writing by far exceeds the limits of fragrantica and many of us owe her a big portion of our perfume education.

Hope I made some sense here... :)

Feb
25
2014
physalis
physalis

Elena,

More than intrigued, now Iam surprised. If you really believe that free thinking members of this community may prefer to discuss my comment instead of your article, it's time to revise your positioning.

That was not my intention. However, the only thing that I can ensure is that MY comment expressed solely the experience and the critical eye of a perfume lover and does not advocate financial nor market interests. Iam not an insider.

Your opinion - (“I do NOT claim that synthetic substitutes are a better option, just a more practical one.”) - worries me.

Practicality (for industry) can not be above important issues such as health. And if you, actually, do not defend any of the sides, it gets dark for us readers, because your article preferably quotes comments in favor of the use of synthetics. Anyway, you are free to expose your side, if you have one, but do not blame divergent reviews.

There is no guarantee that synthetics are safe based on short-term scientific studies conducted prior to the release of these substances to the public. Many of them, like musks and phthalates (named by you) were withdrawn from the market years after being used by millions of people. They were assessed for multiple hormone disruption, which can trigger hormone-related cancers (namely breast, endometrium, ovary, prostate, testis, thyroid, etc) and teratogenicity too.

Are we safe with new synthetics that are being released? Are they going to be withdrawn some years later too?

In this case, I thank you for quoting greenpeace, because their studies contributed for removing harmful synthetic products from the market and they do not encourage their use in perfumes. Greenpeace is also concerned with the hidden impact that these synthetic substances may cause in the environment, contaminating soil, water sources, the atmosphere and intoxicating humans, plants and other animal species.

And not-informed ingredients relate to researches conducted by EVA (Evironmental Working Group) that revealed secret chemicals in name-brand fragrance products, some of them with troubling hazardous properties or with a propensity to accumulate in human tissues and breast milk. This complex mix of clandestine compounds in popular perfumes makes it impossible for consumers to make informed decisions about the products they consider buying.

At last, diverging on YOUR final suggestion - [“In the end, the consumer who will be safer is the one that uses LESS perfume or any other product in current production (be it drugs, foodstuff, functional products,etc)”] - I will replicate wiser reflections raised by other commited members:

@Eeyore III: “Plain old sandalwood oil is hard to beat. Thankfully, some geniuses have started--you know--planting sandalwood trees.”

And the promotion of sustainability practices.

Do we need to deplete natural resources, or saturate environment with synthetics to enrich an industry that wants to produce and sell in large scale, without proper ethical commitment elements?

@Mellyhelly: “To the big companies I would like to say: Be careful, REALLY careful with people's health. It's not just consumers' trouble, it's yours and your children and grand-children's trouble, too. Even if you don't wear anything, you still smell it everywhere from all those you sold it. Unless you live in a glass bell.”

For the sake of the planet and future generations, we may not want to be driven by financial and market interests. Conscious consumers, conscious perfume writers may require a much broader ethical, environmental and humanitarian commitment, far superior to the one that currently prevails.

Think about it :-)

Feb
24
2014
Jordan88888888
Jordan88888888

Keen to smell the HipNote blend or molecule.

Feb
24
2014
Mellyhelly
Mellyhelly

I love sandalwood and almost all my faves contained sandalwood: Samsara, Cartier So pRetty (discontinued), YSL Paris, Dior Dolcevita...
All these perfumes are now olfactively dead in their current versions.
Take any classic with a good sandalwood and smell it now.
Really, no synthetic can replace the real thing, not even in those cases where syntetic was paired with real thing. Samsara is a sad example.
Now, the motivation of saving sandalwood trees is very noble and I could not agree more, but please...
I cannot drink all the story about allergies and the great creativity/innovation.
A natural ingredient is not just a plain molecule. It has a soul.
People can be allergic to just anything both natural and syntetic.
Lab-made material has not stood the test of time, yet.
They are very new. Since the heavy introduction of syntetics in perfumes and cosmetic products, allergies never decreased. Mine went worse, but also long-term effect can be Dangerous.
The story is packed with stuff that was all the new and great invention and resulted in: "oh, we didn't know it can make you sick, Oh, we'll remove that from all our products, maybe..." 20 years later.
To the big companies I would like to say: Be careful, REALLY careful with people's health. It's not just consumers' trouble, it's yours and you children and grand-children's trouble, too.
Even if you don't wear anything, you still smell it everywhere from all those you sold it. Unless you live in a glass bell.

Feb
24
2014
lovingthealien
lovingthealien

This is another fantastic piece, Elena, and it brings up some serious issues that many people don't consider. Ethical and sustainable practices are first priority. The preservation of species is far beyond the scope of the commercial world.

Spicatum isn't lovely on its own. It surprises me to learn that Santal 33 contains it - it's a phenomenal fragrance. New Caledonian smells almost just like the real deal, but with slightly off top notes. The original is truly as good as they say. The synthetics are so numerous that I can't say for sure what I've smelled. Javanol is a very nostalgic scent for me, but it is extremely unsubtle! I would love to know what's in Bois des Iles these days; it smells like it's loaded with the real deal.

If there is anything good about synthetics in commercial perfumery, it is that they protect these natural resources by not using them at all. The urge to have something "real" in fragrance rarely accompanies the images such as the photographs of deforestation you have included here. The population in 1905, when those pictures were taken, was well under 2 billion by any popular estimate. At more than 7 billion and counting, there is a far greater load on all crops, perfume or otherwise.

In 1905, scented products were a luxurious novelty. These days you would be hard pressed to find any beauty, bath, or household product without it, no matter what country you're in. Without synthetics, there simply would be no way to sustain the industry.

This is just one of the many reasons that I enjoy vintage; I get to wear illicit scents without the guilt.

Feb
24
2014
Eeyore III
Eeyore III

The reason perfume corporations use synthetics, whether "sandalwood" smells or anything else, can be summed up in one word: money. Not olfactory results: money. Not conservation: money.

The reason synthetics don't smell (that much) like sandalwood has been explained, chemically, by Luca Turin: "(Z)-(-)-beta-santalol, the molecule present to about 25 per cent in natural sandalwood oil and largely responsible for its gorgeous smell, is, synthetically speaking, a real back-breaker. The best total synthesis to date is an eleven-step affair, and any research chemist who tried to talk his production colleagues into making this would be quickly shouted down."--L. Turin,The Secret of Scent p.77.

Of the mentioned perfumes, Serge Lutens "Santal de Mysore" contains the real thing, but it is covered up by a lot of phantasmagoria (I'm not complaining, it's very enjoyable.) until total drydown, when the simple, rather austere (to my nose) sandalwood emerges, as anyone can verify for themselves by doing a side-by-side. I'll also opine that "Tam Dao" in its current formulation is garbage.

Plain old sandalwood oil is hard to beat. Thankfully, some geniuses have started--you know--planting sandalwood trees.

Feb
24
2014
Elena Vosnaki
Elena Vosnaki

Physalis,

before everyone starts commenting on YOUR comment instead of my article and my statement, therefore swaying the flow of the commentary into discussing things that never were the purpose of the article, let me repeat -if it wasn't clear before- that I do NOT claim that synthetic substitutes are a better option, just a more practical one.


You say:
"However, regarding protection of human health through the reduction of natural allergens, it is still very controversial issue. There is no guarantee that synthetic materials, now used in profusion in fragrances, are actually safer for human health, especially when it comes to medium and long term side effects, as well as risks of teratogenicity* and carcinogenicity*."

It's true that allergies and skin sensitivity are a controversial issue and this leaves some room for (understandable) debate, yet your claim that synthetics used in perfumery lead to teratogenicity and carcinogenicity are not founded in reality. In fact several ingredients have been removed exactly because there was data of them being at risk for (marginal or more substantial) effects of that nature. Let me bring on as an example certain types of musks (of synthetic nature), phthalates (which are also present in lotions, deos, shower gels, plasticizers and cosmetics) as well as costus root and other whole natural ingredients etc.

The fact that something is natural does not guarantee its safety: just think of hemlock! The distrust of man-made materials has become an arena for the clashing of two ideologies. I'm not taking sides on this, but I find that both sides sometimes use inaccurate and unscientific argumentation.


You also say that:

"These studies in general are encouraged and sponsored by the perfume industry itself, which clearly involves the conflict of interests between the market and the consumer."

Not necessarily. There are also independent studies, such as those which Greenpeace has at times broadcasted. I don't necessarily find them impeccable (Greenpeace or anyone for that matter isn't impervious to having a specific axe to grind), it just shows that not every study out there is current-industry-sponsored.

The accuracy and focus of scientific studies is a notorious subject of controversy in the scientific community, with many even medical studies that are peer-reviewed to fall short of accomplishing a high standard.


Further on you state:
"There is also the need of consistency, but I don't think the usage of synthetic materials can solve that, since there is no specific legislation, regulation, nor control that precisely inhibits the modification of formulas or the inclusion of non-informed ingredients. This leads to actual poor consistency between batches released to the consumer much more than the use of instable natural molecules."

The consistency of the materials themselves is the thing that was meant in my article, not of the finished product (which can be reformulated to smell somewhat different). I don't understand what you mean by "non-informed ingredients".
Synthetic materials that are lab produced are invariably exactly the same each time one produces them, just ask dr.Turin.

In the end, the consumer who will be safer is the one that uses LESS perfume or any other product in current production (be it drugs, foodstuff, functional products etc.) Think about it. :-)

Feb
24
2014
jht4060
jht4060

Very informative Elena! I find the synthetic replicas remarkably good (I am an amateur perfumer) but it is also great to read about the farming of Santalum album in Australia. Jordan River wrote a long blog on this project, which one can find by searching for his name and sandalwood.

Feb
24
2014
aLmoravado
aLmoravado

Very interesting, thanks Elena!

Feb
24
2014
chayaruchama
chayaruchama

Great article, on my favorite odor !

Feb
24
2014
Carnation
Carnation

As an Indian sandalwood lover, I can remember as a child back some forty something years ago ,the beauty and sheer euphoria of this gift from nature. It is so sad that synthetics have to be used in today's world. At least I still have the memories,which can't be substituted.

Feb
23
2014
physalis
physalis

Here I am, intrigued again by another text, somewhat informative, somewhat controversial as it originally comes from the replacement of sandalwood with synthetic molecules, but later takes much broader positioning regarding the substitution of natural by synthetic materials.

It raised some questions that I intend to share with the participating community.

I agree that repletion of natural reserves of raw materials and suffering or extinction of animal species are certainly a commendable justification for the use of synthetic ingredients in perfumery. It would be, nevertheless, limited to some ingredients.

However, regarding protection of human health through the reduction of natural allergens, it is still very controversial issue. There is no guarantee that synthetic materials, now used in profusion in fragrances, are actually safer for human health, especially when it comes to medium and long term side effects, as well as risks of teratogenicity* and carcinogenicity*.

It is known that studies to observe the safety of these ingredients are:

1. restricted to poisonous short-term effects;
2. focused mostly on allergic reactions;
3. tested in animals;
4. performed under controled and unnatural conditions;

These studies in general are encouraged and sponsored by the perfume industry itself, which clearly involves the conflict of interests between the market and the consumer.

There is also the need of consistency, but I don't think the usage of synthetic materials can solve that, since there is no specific legislation, regulation, nor control that precisely inhibits the modification of formulas or the inclusion of non-informed ingredients. This leads to actual poor consistency between batches released to the consumer much more than the use of instable natural molecules.

We, perfume lovers, know that reformulations nowadays are performed much more often than the normal consumer can even imagine. These reformulations of synthetic juices are made, in general with less noble objectives, as cost reductions and profit margin gains.

In fact, the consumer has been, over time, the least informed and the most exposed element of this whole dynamic. He indisputably consumes something he does not know and pays dearly for its dubious quality and safety.

* Teratogenicity – the capability of producing fetal malformation.

* Carcinogenicity – the ability or tendency to produce cancer.

Feb
23
2014
Sherihan
Sherihan

Interesting ,I love sandal, it is very relaxing to me, and I notice all perfumes,almost with no exceptions has it in the base. I adored the Mysore one, it is even a great skin care if diluted in a good carrier oil base.

Feb
23
2014

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