I’ve been going to various perfume and beauty product events and have found that people, primarily women, want a floral. I’ve been letting people smell rose otto and they go nuts.

So, to the drawing board it is.

I’m starting out using Jellinek’s notes (see earlier entry) about what goes into a rose perfume and how to modify the basic formula.

I’ve started out with phenylethyl alcohol which has a definite aroma of roses, albeit in a chemical context that reminds me a little bit of coal tar. Artander (the best reference for this kind of thing), describes it as “Rose-honey-like of moderate to poor tenacity…” and, later, describes how it is used in concentrations of up to 20% in a formula. Most enticing is this: “…with an apparently weak crystalline fixative/odorant, such as trichlolo methyl phenyl carbinyl acetate…” in 5% solution will make the smell more rosy and also make it last longer. Jellinek doesn’t mention it, but does mention Rosatol (which I don’t have), phenylethyl dimethyl carbinol, dimethyl benzyl carbinol acetate, and dimethyl benzyl carbinol butyrate, these last three which I do have. Experiments will ensue.

Jellinek suggests that phenylethyl esters be combined with the alcohol to give it character and nuance. I looked through my collection and found phenylethyl acetate, phenylethyl isobutyrate, phenylethyl proprionate, and phenylethyl benzoate. My own notes: I detect no odor from phenylethyl benzoate. The strongest smell is from phenylethyl isobutyrate. It’s clearly persistent (it smells on the strip after hours), but not terribly agreeable, at least on its own. I get fruity and nutty notes. Phenylethyl proprionate is similar to phenyl ethyl isobutyrate, but with a fruity aspect. Phenylethyl acetate has a fresh, rosy aspect.

Here’s what Arctander has to say:

Phenylethyl acetate: “Very sweet, rosy-fruity, honey-like odor of moderate to poor tenacity. The fruity notes are mostly peachy with a pleasant leafy-green tonality, the rosy notes are very sweet, almost towards Gardenia.”

Phenylethyl benzoate: “Very faint floral-balsamic odor reminiscent of dry rose leaves and petals with a soft, honey-like undertone and excellent tenacity. The odor of this ester may not impress the observer on the first encounter, but in use it displays very attractive effects, other than the fixative effect.”

Phenylethyl isobutyrate: Not mentioned

Phenylethyl proprionate: “Very warm, herbaceous-rosy, deep-fruity and moderately tenacious odor with a delicately spicy note (warm-balsamic).” “This ester is, in the author’s opinion, one of the most useful of all the derivatives of phenyl ethyl alcohol. Its virtues are often vastly underestimated by many perfumers, and the material is left unused on the shelf…”

Clearly, I must try combining phenylethyl alcohol with each of these to see which will lend itself to my rose.

My attack plan consists of building a basic chemical structure that is both persistent and projects. Once that’s in place, I’m going to add an unreasonable amount of white rose absolute, rose otto, and white rose otto. White rose otto costs about $50 a milliliter. If everything goes according to plan, I’m going to make a white rose perfume that’s going to blow the mind.