One of the attendees on our recent five day course was a person who had been an evaluator for IFF (International Flavours and Fragrances). She had gone there on a work placement and after being offered her boss’ job stayed for six years.
It was great to have her along and we all benefitted from her experience. The reason that she came to see us was to learn more about naturals and develop her own fragrances. It was obvious from the start that she had a really good nose but what emerged was a surprise.
It is no secret that I use up to 1% of fragrance compounds in my compositions and I asked her to give my compounds the once over. Firstly, she acknowledged that they were very high quality compounds but what surprised me was how she described their odours. One of the descriptions included the adjectives ‘indole and ginger’. Now I would never have described the compound in that way because I recognise natural indole in the jasmines, white champac, frangipani, gardenia etc and I know natural ginger because we use quite a lot over at Aqua Oleum.
So not only does the mainstream industry retain the use of language that implies content of naturals but also use ‘natural’ adjectives to describe compounded smells quite different from their authentic natural counterparts. I went over all the compounds again and in one I could get a greenish smell very vaguely suggestive of ginger but lacking the richness and body of the real thing. Likewise the ‘indole’ was lighter and fresher than what I recognise as natural indole.
Another reason that it was great to have this lady along was because she was able to verify my comments about how the mainstream industry works. Quite often people are so shocked by things I say about the industry regarding budget, marketing spend, copy cat fragrances etc. Having an independent witness was great, as is having a new smell buddy.