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Chemistry for Everyone
edited by

Products of Chemistry

George B. Kauffman
California State University Fresno, CA 93740

Chemistry Perfumes Your Daily Life
Anne-Dominique Fortineau Quest International, Ashford, Kent TN24 0LT, United Kingdom; One has to rely on chemists to find new aroma chemicals creating new, original notes. In perfumery thefuture lies primarily in the hands of the chemists. Ernest Beaux, perfumer who created Chanel No 5

Until the middle of the 19th century, perfumes were reserved for the wealthiest strata of society. In contrast, the picture we see today is very different. We have come to accept and expect fragrances to be used not only in haute couture perfumes but in a wide range of consumer products from soaps anddetergents to household cleaners, including bleaches. This dramatic change in the use of perfumes has come about with the development of synthetic organic chemistry. Until 100 years ago, perfumes were made of entirely natural materials, whereas the modern perfumery industry makes extensive use of synthetic chemicals: tonnage consumed runs into six figures. Today, it is estimated that out of the3000 fragrance ingredients available to the perfumers, fewer than 5% come directly from natural sources. This article gives a brief history of perfumery. The different methods available for extraction of natural perfume ingredients and the development of synthetic materials are introduced. The role of the perfumer in the modern fragrance industry is presented and illustrated by a number ofingredients of the main perfumery odor notes. The perspectives are endless and it all depends upon the chemists to invent molecules never synthesized or smelled before. The Royal Society of Chemistry has recently published a general overview of the perfumery industry (1). General technical and industrial information, along with highlights in fragrance chemistry are summarized in the review. A Brief Historyof Perfumery The use of fragranced materials for all kinds of purposes goes back thousands of years. The word “perfume” comes from the Latin per fume “through smoke”, reflecting one of the oldest uses of aromatic materials: the burning of incense and herbs as a religious offering (2). The ancient Egyptians were particularly famous for their use of perfumes. They used fragrant materials in manyforms: pressed, boiled, dried, powdered, macerated in fat, and even a simple form of distillation. The Crusades made Europeans more aware of perfumery. By the Middle Ages trade in spices from the East was important in Western Europe. The spices were used in perfumes, medicine, and food. During the 17th century, the guild of glove and perfume makers was established in France. Alchemy gave way tochemistry in the 19th century. In 1882, Paul Parquet created Fougère Royale around an accord1 composed of synthetic coumarin, oakmoss, geranium, and bergamot; with its launch by Houbigant, the new era •

menced. In the following years, major achievements in the synthesis of fragrant compounds, as well as the discovery of new odorants, catalyzed the creation of many landmarkperfumes. Vanillin, blended resins, animalic notes, and a floral accord with citrusy elements were the basis of Shalimar, created by Jacques Guerlain in 1925, and considered the prime example of an oriental fragrance. In 1917 in Chypre, François Coty already used the newly available quinolines,2 especially iso-butyl and iso-propyl quinoline, though leathery Chypre fragrances like Bandit (Piguet,1944) became fashionable only much later. Angel (Thierry Mugler) has been very successful since its 1992 launch. The blue, star-shaped bottle contains a fresh, sparkling oriental fragrance based on a powerful blend of patchouli enveloped by honey, vanilla, and caramel. Production of Natural Perfume Ingredients Traditionally, the discovery and development of new synthetic chemicals were based on the...
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