Dimethyl Sulphide

David Ruskin

Basenotes Dependent
May 28, 2009
It has been suggested that I write about this chemical, mentioned on another thread, as it has aroused some interest.

Firstly Dimethyl Sulphide smells bad. In concentrate it smells like rotten cabbage, and indeed when you boil cabbage or beetroot, DMS is produced. It is very volatile, so you have to be careful how you store it. Any leak in its container, and you will be able to smell the stuff. Storage will be a problem, and if you can buy it pre-diluted that would be to the good. It is very strong. That is an understatement. IT IS VERY STRONG, and very easy to overdose. I rarely used it at a higher concentration than a 0.1% solution, more often at 0.01%. Between 0.1 and 0.5% of the final perfume concentrate. It is quite a tricky ingredient to use. It is one of those chemicals that seems to disappear into your fragrance, until after a little drop more, it overwhelms completely. It may take a few days to blend into your fragrance, so be patient. It may be that what, at first, you thought was too much, will not be enough.

So given all its faults; why use it? I can think of three areas of Perfumery where Dimethyl Sulphide is invaluable. Firstly, whenever Geranium oil is used. Many Geranium oils (especially Chinese, and South African) contain DMS. In fact all Geranium oils used in Perfumery contain DMS, it is just that in some it is more noticeable than others. Diluting DMS to a workable level changes the smell from bad cabbage to a sweet, floral which enhances the rosy quality of Geranium. Should you wish to boost that then little extra DMS will do the trick. Despite its volatility, DMS seems to affect the Top and Middle notes of a fragrance. Any Rose base can be modified by a touch of DMS. Many years ago I worked for a company that sold a Rose base to Guerlain which contained Rose Oxide, Chamomile and DMS; plus a few other bits. It was wonderful. Combining the sweetness of diluted DMS with the fruitiness of Chamomile and the bitterness of Rose Oxide worked like a dream. Fougeres will be improved with a touch of DMS. So if you wish to floras Geranium, Lavender and Bergamot (basic Fougere accord) add a touch of DMS and see what happens.

The second type of fragrance that will benefit from DMS, is Tropical Fruits; especially Lychee. Open a tin of Lychees or peel a fresh one and smell, you will smell DMS. To get a fruity quality, especially with Tropical suits such as Papaya, or Mango, or Lychee it is necessary to add a certain rotten quality, which provides a ripe fruit note. Very often Butyric acid can be used, Thiomenthone, Thiolimonene, Oxane, iso Valeric acid, all give a sweaty, rotten aspect which is desirable to create a ripe fruit note. DMS is right up there for this quality.

Finally, if you wish to duplicate the smell of the sea, DMS can help. Apparently it is responsible for what we smell by the sea side. To make a fragrance some DMS will add authenticity.

Dimethyl Sulphide is not an easy chemical to use, but once you get it right you will see how useful it can be. Try some experiments. Make a simple mix of Geraniol, Citronellol and PEA, add a small amount of 0.01% DMS and see the effect it has. Make a simple Fougere blend, and try using 0.1% solution of DMS, just to see what happens.

Perfumery is a doing subject; by doing you learn. I hope this has been helpful. Any questions please do not hesitate to ask.
 
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DrSmellThis

Basenotes Dependent
Apr 13, 2013
Thanks for this educational post. A very interesting chemical, and certainly the sulphurous notes are a significant piece of the smell of nature to understand.
 

Dmitriy

Basenotes Junkie
Dec 10, 2014
Oh thank you! It is very interesting and useful information .. I have also had the idea if it would be possible to ask David to conduct the constant thread where he could talk (when he wants) on the properties of the materials and their using it would be great! Maybe someone will support me ..? )):smiley:
 

Serg Ixygon

Basenotes Junkie
May 2, 2015
The question is- If it's so volatile, would it escape from perfume mixture in a few days or weeks?
 

David Ruskin

Basenotes Dependent
May 28, 2009
The question is- If it's so volatile, would it escape from perfume mixture in a few days or weeks?

Dimethyl Sulphide is very volatile, and lasts for a few minutes only on a smelling strip, before it disappears; and yet, it seems to exert a strong influence when used in a fragrance. As I explained above, there are certain types of fragrance that will be improved by its use.
 

David Ruskin

Basenotes Dependent
May 28, 2009
Oh thank you! It is very interesting and useful information .. I have also had the idea if it would be possible to ask David to conduct the constant thread where he could talk (when he wants) on the properties of the materials and their using it would be great! Maybe someone will support me ..? )):smiley:

It has been suggested that I do exactly that. I will write about the more unusual materials in just that way. Any ingredient that is of interest to this community. Any suggestions happily received.
 

Serg Ixygon

Basenotes Junkie
May 2, 2015
David, I'm concern, that very volatile compound will not live not on the smelling strip but in the bottle- with every opening and every spray the perfume is getting poor of that compound.
 

Nizan

Basenotes Dependent
Nov 15, 2013
Very nicely written! Thanks!
I would suggest Sulfurol - you once suggested it to me, and I really like it. It gives a nice edge to Sandalwood. Though it was really tough to source, since apparently it's used to dilute arteries.

Oh, and of course Skatole.. I thought of braving it yesterday, but decided against it. Too scared to touch the bottle :)
 
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David Ruskin

Basenotes Dependent
May 28, 2009
David, I'm concern, that very volatile compound will not live not on the smelling strip but in the bottle- with every opening and every spray the perfume is getting poor of that compound.

What can I say? All I know is that DMS is used in Perfumery, and does something that nothing else can do. If you are not happy with it, then don't use it, but I would say, try it first.
 

David Ruskin

Basenotes Dependent
May 28, 2009
Thanks for the suggestions, I shall start writing soon. I was wondering where the best place for these articles is. I used the DIY forum as I thought that what I was writing was of interest to those who make their own fragrances. However, there is a "Single Note" forum; would it not be better there? Or would it get lost? I'm happy to take your advice.
 

Nizan

Basenotes Dependent
Nov 15, 2013
Hmm.. I occasionally use the single note forum. Maybe you could write here and I'll place a link to your message on the single note forum?
Or copy paste it? (Assuming the admins are ok with that)
 

jfrater

Basenotes Dependent
Jun 2, 2005
David - can you clarify what you said in your first post: "Between 0.1 and 0.5% of the final perfume concentrate."

Is that 0.1 and 0.5 of DMS at 0.1% or is that 0.1 and 0.5 of pure DMS in the final fragrance concentration?
 

David Ruskin

Basenotes Dependent
May 28, 2009
I meant that I used either a 0.1% solution of DMS or 0.01% solution of DMS, and would use between 0.1% and 0.5% of those solutions in my fragrance concentrate. Of course you are free to use whatever amount works for you.
 

Serg Ixygon

Basenotes Junkie
May 2, 2015
I bought DMS and I smell it thru sealed bottle. So I'm afraid to loose my DMS after a few month. Idea- to take some for dilution and the rest to seal the cap in liquide paraphines? Or how do you seal the cap fully airtight?
David, what your suggestion for "a simple Fougere blend" made of synthetics only?
Thanks.
 

David Ruskin

Basenotes Dependent
May 28, 2009
I bought DMS and I smell it thru sealed bottle. So I'm afraid to loose my DMS after a few month. Idea- to take some for dilution and the rest to seal the cap in liquide paraphines? Or how do you seal the cap fully airtight?
David, what your suggestion for "a simple Fougere blend" made of synthetics only?
Thanks.
I told you how strong Dimethyl Sulphide was.

You want a formula? I don't give formulae. A Fougere is made up of a basic skeleton of Lavender, Bergamot and Geranium on a base of Moss and Musk. You can add woody notes, spices, aquatic notes, floral notes; whatever you want. As this is a "Do It Yourself" forum, and not a "Ask Someone To Do It For You" forum, I will not go any further.
 

Serg Ixygon

Basenotes Junkie
May 2, 2015
Thanks, David! Just Don't You think it's pretty weird in 21th century to talk about Fougere made of Lavender, Bergamot and Moss while there is no Fougere perfume on the market made of such components. It's a fata morgana. May be it's time to do modern determination of Fougere?
 
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David Ruskin

Basenotes Dependent
May 28, 2009
Thanks, David! Just Don't You think it's pretty weird in 21th century to talk about Fougere made of Lavender, Bergamot and Moss while there is no Fougere perfume on the market made of such components. It's a fata morgana. May be it's time to do modern determination of Fougere?

I would maintain that even today, every Fougere will contain either natural Bergamot, Geranium and Lavender (or Lavandin, cheaper) or a synthetic base, or those chemicals which give the essence of those three oils. If you want to try and duplicate the three Essential Oils, that is another matter. Fougere, all Fougeres, depend of the accord of those three smells. However it is perfectly possible to then, change and distort that basic accord. Make it spicy and turn it into the Fougere used in Imperial Leather soap. Make it woody and turn it into Jazz. Make it green and aquatic and turn it into Cool Water. Add a lot of Musk and Labdanum and turn it into the Spanish Heno. Add floral notes, or increase one of the three basic oils., and go in whatever direction you want. Combine other citrus notes with the Bergamot, other herbs with the Lavender, other florals with the Geranium It is one of the most flexible odour types I know.
 

'Timon

Super Member
Nov 23, 2014
thank you for the insights!
Do you also happen to have experience with Dibutyl sulfide? According to Nowak this occurs in Geranium as well and is more green than Dimethyl sulfide.
It's inexpensive and not as extremely volatile as Dimethyl sulfide.
 

jfrater

Basenotes Dependent
Jun 2, 2005
I told you how strong Dimethyl Sulphide was.

You want a formula? I don't give formulae. A Fougere is made up of a basic skeleton of Lavender, Bergamot and Geranium on a base of Moss and Musk. You can add woody notes, spices, aquatic notes, floral notes; whatever you want. As this is a "Do It Yourself" forum, and not a "Ask Someone To Do It For You" forum, I will not go any further.

I bought my first lot neat and it evaporated out of a tightly sealed bottle in a matter of a few weeks. Now I buy it mixed with DGP (I think - or DEP) and keep it in the fridge. That seems to have done the trick.
 

'Timon

Super Member
Nov 23, 2014
yes, it's boiling point is similar to pentane (~37°C)! Not very far from butane, the well known "liquid gas"
I think it's the most volatile fragrance material in use, alongside Acetaldehyde (used in some flavors)
the dibutyl sulfide I mentioned boils at 188°C instead, somewhat similar to Limonene
 

David Ruskin

Basenotes Dependent
May 28, 2009
thank you for the insights!
Do you also happen to have experience with Dibutyl sulfide? According to Nowak this occurs in Geranium as well and is more green than Dimethyl sulfide.
It's inexpensive and not as extremely volatile as Dimethyl sulfide.

I have used DBS as a top note for Violet fragrances. It is less volatile than DMS, and less like boiled cabbage. DMS is more commonly used.
 

Clare30

Basenotes Junkie
Sep 25, 2015
This is really fascinating and informative, thank you David. it is so interesting to me how things that smell really bad, once in heavy dilution can be the thing that transforms and enhances all the good things in a perfume. I've just looked in three different aroma-chemical resources and can't find this product, however. Where would I find it, and can it be bought ( due to its volatility and strength) in dilution?

I feel anywhere you cared to talk about your knowledge would be vastly beneficial. I look forward to following those posts.
Clare
 

David Ruskin

Basenotes Dependent
May 28, 2009
I'm afraid I have no idea how you could obtain DMS; I'm sure that there will be others who do know. If you get hold of some, please be very careful with it, it is very strong.

I'm also fascinated by those chemicals which smell so vile at full strength and which can be so useful when used carefully. There is an analogy with cooking I think. A little touch of something that could not be eaten by itself will do wonders for an otherwise dull dish.
 

Clare30

Basenotes Junkie
Sep 25, 2015
Yes, thanks so much for putting us onto where it can be found.

I think exactly as in cookery, David, there is always a balance, and even "bad" things can be good if used in the right way.

Clare
 

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