Galaxolide 100% (and some thoughts)

Very viscous (glucose-like consistency), colourless liquid.

Very often sold diluted at 50% in DEP, DPG, IPM, BB, etc. (hence the specification in the title)

Standard musk smelling, soft, long-lasting. Without any particular complexity, very linear.

Often used at very high % in perfume compositions: from 10-50% in the fragrance concentrate, in some cases even more), for its good performance (long lastiness, projection) and low cost. Its olfactive transparency explains pretty well how easy is to overdose this product.

Olfactively it is the kind of musk that smells “clean”, not surprisingly, since it is very much appreciated in functional perfumery (to a lesser extent today, when biodegradability concerns arise for this musk).
Indeed, it doesn’t possess any “animal”, dirty facet (unlike the surprisingly beautiful Exaltone, aka Romanone Extra or Silvanone Supra). But I think that the “clean” adjective is still quite misleading. I invite you to thoroughly study civet absolute (@1%) and compare it with the “clean” smelling civettone (the musky molecule found in civet). You will understand how, a part from the faecal, skatole-like accents of civet, the interesting and animalic notes are built upon the shining muskiness of civettone. Musks really add a third dimensions to animal odours and are a part of them.

It also doesn’t fit into the “powdery” musk category.

It is more close to the ambrette seed-like musks, like ambrettolide, Helvetolide, Romandolide, ethylene brassylate etc. with his sweet floralcy and velvety seedy woodiness.

In my essays I was often surprised how good this product performs in alcoholic perfumery, from 5% to 20%. It adds depth, wearability, without changing too much the odour profile of the composition. Surely, it is quite a “cheap”, boring choice in fine perfumery, were high price should account for quality or inventivness (some more interesting and original musks are available, but they can be pricey).

Needless to say, it blends perfectly well with almost any fragrance material. In my personal experience (the exception that proves the rule): I found it ugly and hard to blend with ambery-labdanum compositions, where an old-fashioned richness, opulence, thick sweetness is required. In this case Galaxolide (and similar musks) are to be used cautiously at low %, in order not to introduce a transparent, light verticalness that doesn’t fit very well (nitromusks, Muscenone, would fit better).


It has been suggested that Romandolide could replace Galaxolide.

I very much enjoy Romandolide and think that it closely resembles Galaxolide under various aspects.  Romandolide is slightly powdery, more ambrettolide-like, whereas Galaxolide bears some resemblance to Exaltolide. Romandolide has a particular green-bitter and metallic topnote that I find rather interesting for a musk, while Galaxolide is more neutral.

Romandolide also is quite cost-effective. Unfortunately, I am not able to speak about its performance in functional perfumery (where it could be an interesting asset), since this field requires a particular experience I don’t have.

I will test thoroughly the differences and similarities between the two musks (in alcoholic media) and post my thoughts in some months.

5 comments
  1. Nizan said:

    Stumbled upon this when looking for Silvanone.. Did you happen to find a source for it in small quantities? I’m pretty curious about it.
    Thanks!🙂

    • Andrea said:

      Hi Nizan,

      Thanks for commenting. Sadly, I have yet to find a supplier that carries this product. The exclusive european agent for Givaudan products doesn’t seem to have it, surprisingly. Maybe it could be available under request, but still you would have to buy some 100 grams, I think.
      Luckly, I do have a sample of Exaltone – Firmenich, (they synthesized it for the first time in the 20’s, doing research on muscone), which is the same molecule as Silvanone Supra, and I can get some in small quantities. It’s quite pricey though, more than 2000 euros/kg.
      I will soon post a new article on Exaltone.

      • Andrea said:

        In fact I was wrong. Silvanone Supra seems to be a mixture of 2 products: cyclopentadecanone (Exaltone) and hexadecanolide (juniper lactone) http://bit.ly/1jI9lm0, and actually Givaudan’s commercial agents seem to carry it! I’ll maybe ask for a sample or buy some and write a review.

  2. Great blog, helps me a lot with my perfume experiments. I’m really interested to know what do you say about Benzyl Salicylate. Thanks for sharing your knowledge!! Best from Spain, Carles.

    • Andrea said:

      Thanks Carles, I really appreciate your feedback.
      I will certainly do a new article on Benzyl Salicylate🙂 Cheers, Andrea

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