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On 31 December 2014 one of my readers asked me:

Do you have any recommendations for a papery/dusty isolate? Brand new to this, and all I want is to smell like a library!

I replied:

Hi, Thank you for commenting. I think you should try Vetyrisia (Firmenich), a beautiful orris-vetiver base which features ionones, powdery, cardboard-like notes (similar to Chanel N19). There is also orris butter, indeed, and amyris oil: sawdusty, cardboard-like. Between the different vetiver qualities, the one from Haiti is the most dry, papery. Gentiana absolute should also be quite interesting in small amounts for its powdery, earthy, fresh paint-like, fatty, leathery, tobacco notes. Thinking about synthetics, I recommend you to work on acids which, generally speaking, have dry, powerful, dusty, sometimes fatty notes. Citronellic acid posesses a dusty, dry, rose petal-like, pollen-like character. 9-decenoic acid is more fatty, waxy, truly reminiscent of an unscented candle (not beeswax), or an old soap tablet. I don’t know if orris synthetics could work: Orivone for instance, while possessing a nice dry, orris-like odour is too fatty for a paper accord. Cedrol and cedryl acetate should be useful. Other interesting synthetics may be ethyl laurate, methyl/ethyl linolenate, ethyl ricinoleate as modifiers. I would start building the accord on an amyris backbone, cedrol, adding traces of citronellic acid, vetyrisia/orris butter, and then play around the products listed above: ethyl laurate, ethyl ricinoleate, 9-decenoic acid, traces of gentiana absolute. Hope this helps! Andrea

Now, quite intrigued by this amusing request, I wanted to actually test my suggestions. So I came out with this accord. It took me only one essay. I wanted to share it with you:

# Supplier #
CITRONELLIC ACID PCAS 20,00
9 DECENOIC ACID BEDOUKIAN RESEARCH 10,00
ETHYL LAURATE PCAS 100,00
ETHYL LINOLENATE PCAS 600,00
CEDROL TEXAS IFF 100,00
AMYRIS OIL commercial 100,00
                                                                 Tot: 930,00 grams

old bookAs you can see, amyris oil is in much less quantity than originally thought, it is more of a modifier and a topnote, than the backbone. Cedrol plays a very interesting role adding a refined, sweet, velvety, powdery effect, and some consistency to the composition, along with amyris oil (which, however, is more of a topnote). But the core of the accord is undoubtedly Citronellic acid. Books, and old books in particular possess an odor that I could describe as: acidic (a choking effect), fatty (linseed oil-like, for instance), powdery, (and animalic, costus-like, especially in old books).

Heliotropyl acetone

Heliotropyl acetone

Not to be confused with: heliotropyl acetate.

White crystals.

Easily soluble in ethyl alcohol @10%.

Mild smelling, sweet, fruity, long-lasting raspberry-like odour.
I was expecting some resemblance  with heliotropine (sweet, powdery floralcy), but this one has a quite different odour profile.

It has very much in common with raspberry ketone: it possesses a jammy, red fruit-like character. Somewhat dry and woody, not much powdery. Rose ketone nuance.

It shuold be interesting in jasmine imitation bases. As suggested by S. Arctander for raspberry ketone, I think that Dulcinyl would also fit very well in a synthetic jasmine composition, bringing a realistic and elegant fruity juiciness very characteristic of some absolutes.
In his work he reports some resemblance with “the sweet-floral notes in Mimosa and Cassie“. Interesting to note that this product is called “Cassione” by Firmenich.

Pale yellow, ambery mobile liquid (denser than the redistilled quality).

Soft, sweetsawdust-like, patchouliy odour. Drier and more powdery than the redistilled one. Almost no trace of terpenic, mouldy, “cooked vegetable” notes.

In the opening it starts very softly, it has a very poor impact (if kept in cold you barely could tell you are smelling patchouli at all). Then, it opens up and blooms in a beautiful, well refined, cedary, dusty, camphory, clean patchouli. Fruity plum-like nuances. It’s less green-floral than the redistilled quality, but woodier. It does smell a little earthy, but in a clean way: without any mouldy effect.

I like to think this smells like a summery walk in the woods by night: you can detect dead leafs, wet wood and an earthy odour, while a cold humidity arising from the dark chills you to the bones. It also recalls me the smell of rain.

Modern (linear) and interesting. It is well-faceted and complex. I think it is special and different from a simply redistilled oil because here’s the intelligence of some mind that picked-up some fractions and put them together shaping a new character, different from any other patchouli oil.

I can also perceive an ambery (ambrox-like) captivating facet: woody, dry, musky and addicting. Do I detect an animal whiff? Maybe, or simply this oil recalls me some 70’s 80’s animalic bases (like the Animalis, Synarome) used not infrequently in those years in perfumes like Yatagan (Caron, 1976), Antaeus (Chanel, 1981) or Kouros (YSL, 1981): a patchouli-cedar theme, enriched by costus root castoreum and civetty notes, completed by fatty, incensey aldehydes (c12 MNA-like).

Long lasting and beautiful in the dry down. Dry and cedary, ambroxy, orris-like.

A 3D (sort of) gif I made. Photos taken in the woods near Versailles.

A 3D (sort of) gif. Photos were taken in the woods near Versailles.

Pale yellow, mobile liquid.

A very fine, smooth, silky patchouli oil. The terpy, mushroomy, earthy notes: erased in this redistilled quality.
It starts a little softer than the regular one: there’s only some distant green, leafy suggestion. It is velvety and rich in the heart. It dries out in a cedary, woody, dusty, ambery very patchouliy odour. It is indeed very long lasting.
I can smell some resemblance to narcisse absolute: its vegetable greenness, soft floralness (powdery and pollen-like) does suggest me an interesting and unexpected facet. Somehow hedione-like.

This is an intermediate quality between a regularly distilled oil and a fractioned one. Here the bouquet is lighter than the regular but finer. It is quite similar to the fractioned patchouli oil (see: Patchouli Coeur n.3 – IFF).

Very modern and linear. The most useful quality in my opinion: not too much chaotic or dirty in the top notes, ambery and velvety, elegant and simple all throughout the evaporation.

The IFF logo and name are a trademarks of IFF.

Pale yellow, mobile liquid.

Very fine and fresh, soft floral, with hesperidic nuances, well rounded. Slightly pungent, vert, terpy; evoluting from white fresh flowers to a metallic, rosey, ocimene-like, warm odour; very slightly indolic, but in a pleasant way, perfectly balanced.
A subtle, sweet tension produced by some linalyl acetate-like molecules, enlightens its aura. It somewhat recalls me the odour of wet, hot cotton tissue. It has a powdery, ‘clean’ aspect. After 15 minutes smelling it beautifully dries out and stabilises in a pronounced hesperidic bergamot-petitgrain-like whiff, and a tender flower suggesting hints of hay, tobacco, civet under a green fleshy and waxy veil.

Smelling this oil, discovering its facets throughout the evaporation curve is enchanting, a charming experience.

I like to ask me how one could use this product in a new, original way. Besides conventional compositions (colognes, chypres, fougères) or soliflores featuring orange blossom or rose, this material may need complete reinventing. It does smell just wonderful all alone, simply diluted in alcohol. It’s great in simple mixes (with woody, musky materials), but quite boring.. I think I should do some research on the flowery side of the perfumer’s palette. For example: it could be worth testing in some fine Narcisse, Lilac base, or leafy, green, imitation tea accord (its sweet fruitiness does fit well, indeed).