Jenny says…I am a fragrance oil hoarder lol and have purchased fragrances from many companies (like Brambleberry, Sweet Cakes, Natures Garden, etc). Most fragrances I love out of the bottle when I’m sniffing it, but oftentimes I put it into a soap or candle, I begin to smell a plastic vinyl scent. Everyone tells me that they don’t smell it, but I do and it bothers me very much. I’ve been told that I might be able to smell benzyl benzoate but I’m not really sure if that’s the problem. I hope you guys could give me some insights on what it might be.
The Right Brain responds:
Jenny, I don’t know where you’re getting your information on fragrance chemistry, but it’s pretty darn good!
The “benzyl” family of chemicals (not to be confused with the Denzel Washington family) is actually pretty interesting when it comes to fragrance chemistry. For example, benzaldehyde has a distinctive cherry-almond scent that you might recognize it (if you’re old enough) as the core of the original the Vidal Sassoon shampoo and conditioner fragrance.
Its cousin, benzyl benzoate, is commonly used as a solvent and fragrance modifier in perfumes. While it has related chemistry it has much different fragrance properties. Benzyl benzoate has a plastic-like or vinyl scent just as you described so it’s likely that it’s causing your problem.
Vinyl or CD?
As you’ve already figured out, this chemical is not used in all fragrances. You should be able to ask your fragrance supplier for benzyl benzoate-free fragrances. This may not be as easy as it sounds because many of the smaller fragrance distributors do not in fact make their own fragrances. They buy it and repackage it from larger fragrance suppliers. Therefore they may have to push on their suppliers to get the information you need. But, if you’re clear about your request and if they have decent customer service they should be able to accommodate you.
The only concern is that fragrances without the benzoate may have somewhat different olfactory properties (in other words they may smell a little different than what you’re used to.) But it’s probably worth it to get rid of the vinyl scent that bothers you. Good luck!
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What do YOU think? Are there any fragrance notes that drive you crazy? (not in a good way!) Leave a comment and share your thoughts with the rest of the Beauty Brains community.