Guide to Rose accord

parker25mv

Well-known member
Oct 12, 2016
Rose is a very important and often used note in perfumery. It's also one of the most complex notes.
When trying to construct a rose accord with aroma chemicals, many amateur perfumers have no idea where to begin. Hopefully this will help.

There are basically four different fundamental categories of notes in the fragrance of rose.


Beta-damascone
This is the "jammy" aspect to rose. Beta-damascone is pretty potent so not much needs to be used, which is a good thing because it is also very expensive.
This is the best part of the smell of rose, and the most exquisite.

beta damascone - beautiful, jammy, floral, dried rose petal but real rose, natural. might be contamination of my sample but a sense a green bitterness in the end, ever so slight vinyl smell. The slightest suggestive hint of mint, ever so small. Kind of an underlying sweet pleasant mellow pink-orange and rose smell, maybe a little like European varietals of grape. Of course very valuable in a perfume, if it were not for the expense. This is the nice part in a rose. I can really see this type of smell being in a food flavoring in juices, white wines or light fruity desserts.​

(natural rose contains Beta-damascenone, which is nearly identical to damascone)

possible substitutes: Few other chemicals can really have the same smell as Beta-damascone, but there are a handful of others that contain the same sort of effect.
Firascone, Givescone, a little bit of ionone combines well with the former two to help contribute a more damascone-like feel, Pomarose (a Givaudan captive)

Firascone- more jammy than Givescone. unlike Givescone it's just apple juice, not pomegranate juice. Maybe twice as damascone-like as Givescone. I get a slight minty white aspect in the smell. It smells very much like rose potpourri but in a more damascone like way than other chemicals. I get a smell effect that's similar to the feeling of methyl anthranilate (Concord grape), I mean just a little heady and pungent. Deep in the same sense as Douglas Fir, does have a bit of opaque greenness. Bit of Pelargonium rose geranium edge, maybe almost slightly sage effect. Maybe tiny hint of saffron effect. Feels very "juicy", maybe like an apple juice with exquisite grape blend, has a sweetness. This is an intriguing smell. I don't know if this could substitute for damascone in a rose accord but it could certainly strengthen it. Reminds me more like the rose-like notes in some wines. This is a lot more opaque salicylate like than regular rose.

Givescone - very white/opaque like Life Savers mints, has a salicylate end note, slightly mint. Almost pomegranate in apple juice smell, maybe dried cranberry.
very interesting, but I don't think I like this one. very slight rose-apple smell, but has a harsh note at the end. Too edible-like smelling. Most reminiscent of sweet Life Savers mints mixed with pomegranate juice.

A very tiny bit of Apritone can help shift the smell in a more orange apricot peach direction, depending on what the variety of rose is that is desired.
It is also a bit jammy, like damascone.


Geraniol, and to a much lesser extent citronellol

Geraniol is the main fragrance substance in rose geranium. Kind of scratchy, sharp, wet morning dew smell, reminiscent of red rose.
Citronellol has a very similar sort of feel to geraniol but smells more oily, a bit toned down, and lemon-like.
Rhodinol 70 works even better than citronellol, and less of the characteristic twangy off-putting metallic edge that standard citronellol has.

Geraniol - smells beautiful, but maybe not exceptionally amazing. smells like rose absolute, alcoholic rose, very fresh rose, a little bit green and dewy but smells most reminiscent of the red rose variety. This is the fresh petal feel of a newly opened rose on a misty cool day. This has texture, scratchy, almost slightly rose leafy. a little bit herbal geranium leaf. fresh, a little bit cooling, "rosy" and leafy. Keep in mind this is only one component in the smell of rose, but it's a very primary component and very characteristic of the smell of rose. You're still going to need beta-damascone if you want the full on feel of rose in its entirety.​


Rose oxide

possible substitutes: dihydro rose oxide, Doremox (sour green Riesling tropical starfruit note)

dihydrorosan - slightly musky like the faint smell in some camellia flowers. This a complex white/pink rose type of smell, opaque, with a green nuance, but not quite as complex as Beta-damascone.
This smells similar to Doremox but a little more herbal geranium and metallic. It also smells a little more "rosy" (in a sharp geraniol sort of way) than Doremox. overall still beautiful but a little less fruity than Doremox, maybe a very tiny bit flatter, greyer, and ivy.

Doremox - very diffusive, like the aroma from a sour green Reisling wine, delicious but not particularly edible, a bit green apple, a little waxy. I really like this. I can see how this would be indispensable for making the smell of roses, especially the more sour lemon-smelling roses. It's mildly bright, mildly piercing. I might use this in the sour note of lychees (the tropical fruit). very slight honeydew melon feel, but in a sharper sort of way, I'm really getting a starfruit note here. If delicious green fruit notes could be metallic, this is what they would be.​


Phenylethyl alcohol

Phenylethyl alcohol smells like the sharp alcohol-like aspect in rose fragrance. (Not all rose varieties have this fragrance aspect but many of them do, especially the red ones) There is a slight sweetness to the smell, but it's a bit more sharp floral than sweet. When I say "alcohol-like" I mean like those little alcohol cleaning wipes. There's also another aspect to the fragrance that is more like rose petals that have started to wilt. The fragrance is not unpleasant.
a little bit of the scent of sweet, honeyed rose, wet pink roses, roses after a shower of rain

possible substitutes: Phenoxanol

Phenoxanol - like the very musky undertone of rose potpourri. Much more complex, subtle, mild, and deeper than phenethyl alcohol. I get a musky rose petal. Heavy in the same way that patchouli is, but doesn't smell like patchouli. slightly soap like, in a good way, not a cheap way, like a rose soap. Just a little bit oily or greasy feeling, or waxy (waxy rose petal). This could be useful for background effects in perfume. Maybe ever so slight metallic end note, but in a way that is perfectly natural for rose (rose oxide).​

A mix of both Phenylethyl alcohol and Phenoxanol can work very well.

Also, Phenoxanol has some reminiscence to the smell of citronellol (strangely enough), so if you use Phenoxanol, you don't need to use the other. You could also really tone down on the use of geraniol, but I think at least a little bit of geraniol would be desirable. So Phenoxanol is an AC that sort of crosses over into two different categories simultaneously.
 

parker25mv

Well-known member
Oct 12, 2016
Parker, this makes no sense.

What, specifically, are you talking about? It is not clear at all.
I mean that this category includes both geraniol, and a smaller amount of citronellol.
I grouped them in the same category because they are so similar to each other.
Not every rose accord absolutely needs citronellol, but the addition of citronellol helps add more realism depending on what type of rose accord you are going after.
The fragrance of natural rose contains both.

If you are using citronellol, you are likely going to want to use a bit less geraniol. So they are somewhat interchangeable to a mild degree.


In perfumery terms: rose is a flower, geranium (Pelargonium) is a leaf. Both are scented. One smells of geraniol, yes. The other can be very high in citronellol.

What, specifically, are you talking about? It is not clear at all.
I'm not sure it's clear what you are talking about. Sorry if I did not answer your question.
You'll have to be more clear, if that is the case.

Geraniol is the main substance that gives rose geranium (Pelargonium graveolens) its smell.
 

Bill Roberts

Well-known member
Mar 1, 2013
I am pretty sure that in rose accords I have always chosen more citronellol than geraniol, probably always 2 or 3 times as much, and thought it more important to the task than geraniol.
 

parker25mv

Well-known member
Oct 12, 2016
I am pretty sure that in rose accords I have always chosen more citronellol than geraniol, probably always 2 or 3 times as much, and thought it more important to the task than geraniol.
Geraniol is 2 or 3 times more potent (stronger smelling) than citronellol, so that would make sense.

I think it depends somewhat on the exact type of rose effect you are going after. "Red", I would use a bit more geraniol, "purple" or more "lemon"-scented, I would use more citronellol.
 

parker25mv

Well-known member
Oct 12, 2016
I still cannot understand what you are talking about. Rose does not smell like Geranium. They are two different plants.
I didn't say rose smells like geranium.

I indicated there is an aspect in the overall smell of rose that smells very reminiscent of rose geranium.
I believe rose geranium is a subcategory of geranium.
 

pkiler

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Dec 5, 2007
This is a simplified GC of a rose absolute. But I'm sure that you can ignore the ethanol.
But for my tastes, this is a very large dosage of PEA. I usually prefer around 40% PEA.
I have not bothered to read the original post, just adding this here.

Edited: This is Rose Absolute (Rosa x damascena) from Florihana, alcohol extracted, product #FLJ131, Batch: D060818BG, country of origin is Bulgaria.
88197210_10215702906954328_2959981174232973312_o.jpg
 
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parker25mv

Well-known member
Oct 12, 2016
For those reading the bad information above: Geraniol is not more important for rose than citronellol.
Do you mean that it would be better to have no geraniol in the accord than no citronellol?
Or do you mean that much more citronellol should be used than geraniol? Because that would not be the same as claiming citronellol is "more important".
 

fragrantregard

Well-known member
Aug 2, 2015
Do you mean that it would be better to have no geraniol in the accord than no citronellol?
Or do you mean that much more citronellol should be used than geraniol? Because that would not be the same as claiming citronellol is "more important".

Your exact words are: "There are basically four different fundamental categories of notes in the fragrance of rose ... Geraniol, and to a much lesser extent citronellol."

That is a ridiculous generalization and not true. I am not interested in running around in circles. That is all I have to offer. I can reply no more.
 

Bill Roberts

Well-known member
Mar 1, 2013
Paul, not that my memory is necessarily accurate, but that seems to be the most PEA I have ever seen in a GC/MS of a natural product rose.

Further, a lot of them, absolutes particularly I think but at least some ottos as well, have only trace amounts of it. Certainly very variable. Myself I have a bias against the material, but that's purely personal. It certainly can be used to good effect to my nose despite my bias.
 

fragrantregard

Well-known member
Aug 2, 2015
Paul, not that my memory is necessarily accurate, but that seems to be the most PEA I have ever seen in a GC/MS of a natural product rose.

Further, a lot of them, absolutes particularly I think but at least some ottos as well, have only trace amounts of it. Certainly very variable. Myself I have a bias against the material, but that's purely personal. It certainly can be used to good effect to my nose despite my bias.

I must admit that I am surprised as well, as rose oils don't often contain large amounts of PEA. It is quite water soluble.

Absolutes contain much more, in general.
 

pkiler

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Dec 5, 2007
Maybe I had the Absolute and the otto mixed up... But I have seen as much as 80% in a Rose GC result.
 

Bill Roberts

Well-known member
Mar 1, 2013
I've been looking some more and I believe I led myself astray by "ass"uming that the many entries in the EODB were absolutes though they actually say neither absolute nor otto. In that database, which was a formative one for me, there is not much PEA to be seen. Searching elsewhere for what definitely are absolutes though, the percentage PEA is consistently high.
 

pkiler

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Dec 5, 2007
I've been looking some more and I believe I led myself astray by "ass"uming that the many entries in the EODB were absolutes though they actually say neither absolute nor otto. In that database, which was a formative one for me, there is not much PEA to be seen. Searching elsewhere for what definitely are absolutes though, the percentage PEA is consistently high.

Thanks, corrected...
 

xii

Well-known member
Jun 9, 2015
It's actually a valuable bit of information that the ratio of geraniol to citronellol in a rose accord can be chosen quite liberally. I have Double Delight hybrid growing in my garden whose scent hints on beta - ionone and is generally sweet almost fruity with very little floral citrus. For this type of rose one might consider using more geraniol than citronellol.

Generally though, I don't feel terribly compelled to use any of the constituents of rose oils in rose accords. To me accord and reconstitution are distinct notions.
 

Bkkorn

Well-known member
Feb 21, 2020
I like threads like this. It’s got a healthy dose of:

- useful information
- real world examples/formulas
- great debates and opinions

My next accord I’m gonna try to build is a basic rose accord, so this thread makes me happy. I’ve got some ingredients coming in within the next day or so.

CITRONELLOL COEUR (IFF)
GERANIOL COEUR (IFF)
PEA
Damascone Beta - Firmenich
Rosamusk (IFF)
Rosaphen (Symrise)

I even bought the “true rose accord” from creatingperfumes.com so I have something to compare to. This threads timing couldn’t have been better!
 

Bkkorn

Well-known member
Feb 21, 2020
If you already have standard qualities of these, I doubt you will see a difference with the Coeur quality. L-citronellol is different enough, but I never understood paying more money for a coeur of a synthetic.

I just picked up little 15ml bottles. Was pretty cheap, around $5 per bottle. I just got small quantities for this fun rose accord experiment :laugh:
 

Bkkorn

Well-known member
Feb 21, 2020
I don't have original citronellol to compare, but I do have geranial to compare with the cour version. I'll report back once delivered.
 

parker25mv

Well-known member
Oct 12, 2016
Link about another AC that I would classify in the "Phenylethyl alcohol" category (not that it exactly fits, but that's the best group it would go into)

Dimethyl Sulphide
Apparently very small trace amounts can be used to great effect. David Rushkin had a great thread all about this.
 

pkiler

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Dec 5, 2007
Link about another AC that I would classify in the "Phenylethyl alcohol" category (not that it exactly fits, but that's the best group it would go into)

Dimethyl Sulphide
Apparently very small trace amounts can be used to great effect. David Rushkin had a great thread all about this.

Uhhhhhhhh Are you really equating / co-classifying PEA and DMS?
 

fragrantregard

Well-known member
Aug 2, 2015
Huh, all I know is it's the regular dihydrogeraniol one from PSH. (Natural Citronellol ex Citronella Oil)

So I remain skeptical that this could be racemic. I have asked a friend of mine who is a specialist. In my opinion it is likely d-citronellol. I will let you know. Interesting for me to investigate too!
 

pkiler

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Dec 5, 2007
A conflation between a rose alcohol and a sulfur molecule just may be the most asinine statement to come out of the person's mouth.
 

chyprefresh

Well-known member
Jan 15, 2018
So I remain skeptical that this could be racemic. I have asked a friend of mine who is a specialist. In my opinion it is likely d-citronellol. I will let you know. Interesting for me to investigate too!

Yeah it probably isn't since it's just a distilled version, no isolation of fractions, sorry if I confused you at all, I just learned that racemic is a mixture as well. Buy some Coeur for yourself and see.
 

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