Monday, August 03, 2009

Lilac Flower CO2 - Disappointment, Yet Hope

New Lilac Flower CO2 too faint and too short-lived - but let's keep hoping!

I was very excited to be offered a sample of an ambitious extraction that could have rocked the natural perfumery world - a CO2 form of lilac flowers. The only lilac flower scent in perfumery is synthetic, and many of us long for the ethereal, green sweet tangy floral note on our perfume organ.

The CO2 is a pale yellow wax, and at first sniff out of the bottle, I was pleasantly surprised - true lilac scent! No indolic undernotes, either, showing that the flowers had been harvested and quickly extracted before the musky, rank indoles could develop.

I invited a student over for the formal organoleptic evaluation. We used the sheets I designed for my online perfumery course, and we sat down with high hopes. She wasn't very familiar with lilacs, coming from a part of the country where they don't grow, so I knew this would be interesting!


First we smeared a little bit of the wax on the broad end of the scent strip, saving the dipping end for the second eval of the diluted wax. At first, the wax was very faint, and we only rated it a "1" on the intensity scale, out of 1 to 5, 5 being a very strong, intense scent. Then I made a rough 50/50 dilution of some of the wax in 190 proof alcohol. It dissolved rather quickly, as CO2s tend to do. We dipped our scent strips and disappointment showed on both our faces.

The interesting thing was that she could only use "fragipani" as a scent reference for the floral component, her being very familiar with fragipani absolutes, unaware of what lilac smells like. I could see the fragipani component, but I got true lilac. And paper. We also noted a fresh, green crisp scent which I do recognize as part of the lilac blossom. After just a few minutes the scent was gone on the strip, but seemed a little stronger on the wax-smeared paper. How unusual.

This company is experimenting with new extractions, and I'm going to encourage them to continue with the lilac flowers. With practice and experimentation I hope they'll be able to produce a produce of a higher scent intensity that lasts longer. At this point in time, I just view their efforts as beginners luck in so much as they did capture a pure, clean lilac scent, but improvement is needed to create a market-worthy product.


7 comments:

  1. I held such high hopes for this breakthrough, what a pity, but it is heartening to see people trying to capture these long sought extracts. Keep us posted Anya, I cant wait to purchase some rare beauties. Emma-Fleurage

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  2. Growing up with lilacs I would be interested in a natural lilac essence to use in my perfumes.

    Looking forward to further attempts.

    JoAnne
    www.JoAnneBassett.com

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  3. When I was a child we had a giant lilace bush. The smell of lilacs is something I have always cherished.

    I would love to use this essence in my perfumes.

    JoAnne
    www.JoAnneBassett.com

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  4. Lilac to me is a true wonder in that it's both green/fresh and intimate; capturing it would certainly offer natural perfumers a priceless material. Too bad...but it's a start at any rate! Hope to hear more of the efforts on this.

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  5. Emma, it is a breakthrough, and I'm thrilled that they are attempting this. I have given them feedback, which they really treasured they said, because all they usually get is a sale or rejection. I will be in touch with them with suggestions and we shall see what happens.

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  6. JoAnne, the essence I got was lovely, just very weak. Let's hope they can improve the extraction techniques.

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  7. Elena, I'll keep you - and everyone - posted on the developments. It is a very exciting time for perfumery, and I have news about violet flower coming soon, either as a natural isolate or with a very, very limited historical production here in the USA.

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