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An old base from Firmenich.

It was created in the 30’s, although it was possible to compose such accords back in the first decade of the 20th Century heliotropine was first synthetised in 1869, ionones in the 1890’s, methyl heptine/octine carbonate in 1900.


AD from a 30’s French trade paper


This is the very classical accord of violet, not quite reminiscent of the flower though. An elegant, powerful and longlasting violet, reminiscent of violet leaf absolute (that was possibly meant to replace).

I like to think that this very base shaped consumers for almost a century. This base is the archetype of perfumers’ violet  in fine fragrances and functional products as well. True-to-nature accords are easy to make using p-cresyl derivatives, indol and ionones as a foundation but unpleasant to the general customer.

Green, sweet, powdery, slighlty jasmine-like. You can have a beautiful example of such violet in Paris (Yves Saint Laurent), where I definitely smell this very accord (I cannot prove that Parmantheme was used though).

In Parmantheme I smell nonadienal and/or nonadienol as a powerful topnote: a green, cucumber-like, wet, oily note. This perception seems to be confirmed by S. Arctander in his monography on Nonadienal.

The base is founded on the main accord: methyl heptine/octine carbonate – ionones (an heavy dose!) – heliotropine – powdery musks. Some additional notes might be jasmin or rose.

A simple and beautiful composition that glorifies the green, violet leaf-like, extremely powerful methyl heptine/octine carbonate, quite difficult to use alone (and nearly banned by today’s IFRA standards).

I think that today Parmantheme features some methyl heptine/octine carbonate replacer.

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Colourless crystals.

Not ready soluble in ethanol (@2,5% only) or DPG (it forms a cloudy solution).

Floral, warm animalic (civetty), sweet honeyed, thickpowdery, sharp, slightly urinic smell.

Superior to any other p-Cresyl derivative in my opinion. Rounder and much floral than p-cresyl acetate (“horsey” notes) or p-cresol (jasmine-like): it bears a closer resemblance to narcisse, jasmin and violet. Also sweeter, higher-boiling (greater tenacity) and more delicate than the former.

It can easily mimic the violet with the sole addition of indole and ionones. The same for narcisse, being careful in replacing the ionones with methyl anthranilates and a hint of greeness. On paper and diluted, it is almost like smelling a dried out strip of jasmine absolute.

Interesting in a rose-jasmin complex: a warm animalic side married with a powdery phenylacetic acid (dirty honeyed) suggestion.
A short digression on an old perfume: JOY, Jean Patou. Warm and powdery, slightly harsh, intensely floral and jasmin, quite linear. I bet this molecule along with phenylacetic acid was used there (and a lot of Musk Ketone, rose and jasmin absolute, of course).

In jasmine reconstitution I would prefer p-cresol over p-cresyl acetate: it is sweeter and floral; in narcisse and tonkin musk imitation p-Cresyl acetate is my choice; while p-Cresyl phenylacetate elegantly and quite discreetly (in low dosage) fits in both (slightly too much floral for a musk accord, but nice in civet).

Definitely the richest, most floral, animalic, lively, nuanced and smooth p-cresyl derivative out of the three (I didn’t mentioned here p-cresyl methyl ether since it is the most different: thin, low-boiling and ylang-like).

Surely one of my favourite “floral” chemicals, along with indole, linalool and methyl anthranilate.