A-D: Letter by letter with the ABC of Perfumery System.

Updated: Apr 5, 2018

A-D: Letter by letter with the ABC of Perfumery System.

Click acá para la version en español

Hello Everybody, and happy weekend!

First of all, my apologies for the late posting. Even though I try really hard to make it every Friday night, sometimes Life happens… From now on actually posting will be done Saturday around 7 pm.

Well, as promised this will be a posting regarding specific letters of Perfumersworld ABC of Perfumery system. Today we’ll cover today from (A) to (D).

Before starting, let me respond to something that I have been asked several times already, so I can get it out of the way:

What my connection is with Perfumersword? And the answer is: I AM GRATEFUL. I am not receiving money from them, neither getting special discounts or treatment for me promoting their system. I really like the ABC and with time, being as inquisitive as I am and by bothering SO many times Steve Dowthwaite (it’s owner and mastermind of the system) with so many e-mail questions (which e-ve-ry ti-me he took the time to respond) the idea of running their course in Spanish was born and since I am originally from Argentina (yes, Evita, Maradona, and my mother language is Spanish, the option of being the translator become a reality.

So, that’s my relationship. I like the system, I am grateful, and I will be translating their Foundation + introductory course in LA, California.

Now, back to business, as Julie Andrews would sing: “let’s start from the very beginning…”

If you didn't read about the ABC of Perfumery, you should by reading the series of articles about it. This posting is complementary and will make NO SENSE whatsoever if you didn't read about it. This system is explain in 4 postings: Post 1, Post 2, Post 3, and Post 4

Letter A:


As we already know, it represent the (A)liFATic category of smells and we call it aliFATic instead of aliphatic to remind us of the fatty characteristics of this odor. These aroma chemicals are aldehydes and alcohols that smell “fatty”. They are super powerful and if you want them to co-exist in a composition you will need to somehow combine them with complimentary notes. The most popular example of this is Chanel No. 5, a landmark in Perfumery exactly because of this reason. It was the first time that aliphatic aldehydes were used in dominant proportions in a fine fragrance. Earnest Beaux, its creator, achieve this by blending it with Ylang ylang, a heavy sweet floral note, (N)arcotic in our ABC. Another example is Rive Gauche (by Yves Saint Laurent) in which the aliphatic notes are mixed with a fresh (R)ose note.

As for the smell, as a general rule, the aldehydes are somehow harsher than their alcohols counterparts, as instance: Alcohol C10 (DecanOL) is milder than its Aldehyde DecanAL (Aldehyde C10).

The common description of this smell is Fatty, Waxy, Soapy and or Clean

As for sub-classification of the A on our ABC, we have:

  • Aa – Aliphatic alcohols

  • Ac – Aldehydes C8 – C10

  • Ar – Aldehydes C11 – C12


When it comes to aromatherapy, in which aroma-chemicals are useless, we mostly find in the (A)liFATic group Orange oil Terpeneless (mostly aldehyde C-10), Ambrette seed and “Carrier” oils have a fatty character.

As mentioned before these are materials quite difficult to work with and extreme caution has to be taken because they overpower a composition really quick. Most of the times you will find yourself working with dilutions of 1%, 0.1% or even 0.01%.

As an example, out of my perfumes, in ENVISION FEMME's compound, 2.65% is Aldehyde Fleuressence, or to understand what traces means: SiS (for women) has only 0.02% of Aldehyde C-11 Undecylenic on the compound and yet you can tell there's an aldehydic note on the opening!

Here is a list of the most common materials on the (A)liFATic group. It is not by any means exhaustive and it should be used only as a reference.

Aroma chemicals:

  • Alcohol C-7 Heptanol

  • Alcohol C-8 Octanol

  • Aldehyde C-10 Decanal

  • Aldehyde C-11 Undecanal

  • Aldehyde C-11 Undecylenic

  • Aldehyde C-12 Lauric

  • Aldehyde C-12 MNA

  • Aldehyde C-7 Heptanal

  • Aldehyde C-8 Octanal

  • Aldehyde C-9 Nonanal

  • Dodecyl nitrile

  • Lauric acid

  • Myristic acid

And the following Perfumerword’s exclusive perfume compound bases, a mixture of aroma chemicals, isolates and essential oils:

  • Aldehyde Fleuressence

  • Citrus aldehyde Fleuressence

  • Green Aldehyde Fleuressence

  • Powdery Fleuressence

  • Rose aldehyde Fleuressence

Letter B:


Materials in this category are Ideal to add freshness to citrus or herbal notes. As a theme or main note are usually used for products like "Tiger Balm", "Vapex" or "Vicks Vaporub". This letter is also a big protagonist on massage oils, because of its relaxing and anti-inflammatory properties.

If you need to accentuate the "coolness" of a material of this category, you can do so by adding some (S)pice.

As a general rule, Alcohols smells are somehow milder than their ketones counterparts, as instance: menthOL is milder than MenthONE.

The common description of this smell is Cooling, Borneol, Mint and Camphor.

As for sub-classifications, we have:

  • Bh – Eucalyptus

  • Bw – Camphor

  • Bg – Mint


In this group we find: Menthol, mint, peppermint, Spearmint, white Camphor oil, Spike lavender Oil, Rosemary Oil and eucalyptus Oil.

The "cooling" effect of the materials of this category have the ability to contract blood vessels, hence slowing down the blood flow. They are also known for their anti-inflammatory properties as well for being ideal for aiding breathing (specially Eucalyptus essential oil which is considered a decongestant, great for treatment of colds, to relieve asthma and fevers, for its bactericidal and anti-viral actions, and to ease aching joints.

My perfume EMERGE (for men) has a really cool (in both senses, fresh and amazing -lol-) opening that was achieved with 2.65% of Helichrysum rambiazina combined with a lot of different citrus notes in the compound.

Here is a list of the most common materials on the ice(B)erg group. It is not by any means exhaustive and it should be used only as a reference.

Aroma chemicals:

  • beta-Homopcyclocitral

  • Borneol

  • Camphor

  • L-carbone

  • Menthone

Essential oils:

  • Cajeput

  • Camphor, white

  • Cornmint

  • Eucalyptus Globulus

  • Eucalyptus Blue Malee

  • Helichrysum rambiazina

  • Myrtle

  • Niaouli

  • Peppermint

  • Spearmint

Natural Isolates:

  • Eucalyptol

  • Menthol Crystals

And the following Perfumerword’s exclusives perfume compound bases, a mixture of aroma chemicals, isolates and essential oils:

  • Camphoraceous Fleuressence

  • Iceberg Fleuressence

  • Peppermint Fleuressence

  • Spearmint Fleuressence

Letter C:


Hidden inside the peel of citrus fruits are most of the oils that represent this category. They are vastly used as Top notes. As just mentioned, if you want to "freshen" them up you need to add a touch of coolness of ice(B)erg. A lot of male perfumes has a predominant citrus note on the opening. Eau de Cologne and 4711 are the longest surviving commercially produced perfumes and are mostly based on citrus oils with a little (H)erb and Se(X)y musk. Other perfumes with citrus dominant notes are: Eau Savage (Dior), Cool Water (Davinoff), CK One (Calvin Klein) and a lot of Lacoste Colognes for men.

Same as in letter A, alcohols smells are somehow milder than their aldehydes counterparts, as instance: CitrAL is stronger than NerOL. or GeraniOL. (Citral is a mixture of isomers –same formula, different arrangement of atoms in the molecule and different properties– as instance, NerAL + GeraniAL)

The common description of this smell is Sour, Sharp and Citrus Peel.

As for sub-classifications, we have:

  • Ca – Orange

  • Cc – Lemon

  • Ck – Lime

  • Cl – Bergamot

  • Cn – Mandarin

  • Cj – Neroli

  • Cw – Petitgrain


Lemon, Lime, Kaffir Limes, Orange, Grapefruit, Mandarin, Bergamot, Petitgrain, Lemon Verbena, Litsea Cubeba, Lemongrass and Citronella are all essential oils used for aromatherapy.

The main effects of the materials of the (C)itrus category are stimulating, refreshing, antiseptic and anti-depressive. They lift the spirits and they provide a fresh "clean" sensation.

A note of caution: Unless distilled, the essential oils in this category that have been cold expressed maybe be photo-toxic (unwanted reaction with the sun) so to avoid this, try to use bergaptene free (BF) or Furanocoumarin free (FCF) oils.

Following with examples of my perfumes, ENVISION HOMME has 3.19% of lime essential oil or the Eau de Cologne has a wooping 83.87% of a mix of different citrus essential oils.

Here, several of the materials in the (C)itrus group. It is not by any means exhaustive and it should be used only as a reference.

Aroma chemicals:

  • Citral

  • Citralva

  • Citrathal

  • Citronellyl Nitrile

  • Dihydro Myrcenol

  • Dimetol

  • D-limonene

  • Isocyclocitral

  • Lemonile

  • Lime Oxide

  • Nerol

Essential oils:

  • Bergamot

  • Bitter Orange

  • Citronella

  • Elemi

  • Eucalyptus citriadora

  • Grapefruit, white

  • Grapefruit, pink

  • Kaffir lime

  • Kaffir lime leaf

  • Lemon

  • Lemongrass

  • Lime distilled

  • Limonella

  • Litsea Cubeba (May Chang)

  • Mandarin

  • Neroli

  • Nerolin Bromelia

  • Nerolin Yara yara

  • Petitgrain

  • sweet Orange

  • Tangerine

Natural Isolates:

  • Citral

  • Citronellal

  • D-limonene

And the following Perfumerword’s exclusives perfume compound bases, a mixture of aroma chemicals, isolates and essential oils: