- Oct 12, 2016
Yes, those two molecules are identical, except for lilial having an extra methyl group on its tail. So it is surprising... although in some ways also not very surprising. Those tert-butyl groups, with a carbon atom completely surrounded by methyl groups, tend to have a very different smell than isopropyl groups (think the smell of p-cymene, for example).I know small differences can make a big difference in smell, but it's still surprising that lilial and cyclamen aldehyde smell so different. Cyclamen aldehyde has a cool refreshing watery smell, and it doesn't have the 'spicy' hot heavy aldehyde smell in lilial and also in some other aldehydes like cinnamaldehyde, and even citral. Cyclamen aldehyde smells like fresh dewy leaves, and like the fresh green part of honeydew melon.
It is also believed those tert-butyl groups can create some toxicity issues and not be the best for the environment because it is difficult for organisms to break them down. (Something that was specifically referenced in the same article to which I earlier referred to)