symroxane: what do we know about it?

editorinscent

Basenotes Dependent
Oct 3, 2007
I've tested it at 1.5% in a fragrance using vetiver materials (and may increase it; also using Ysamber, Timbersilk, Sylvamber, and Ambrox Super so honestly the formula is getting full of woody ambery materials), it's subtle. It could definitely be a focal point at higher concentrations. The damascenone like effects are quite nice, subtle fruitiness along with balsamic vetiver and soft amber character. It isn't quite as long lasting as typical woody ambery materials.
 

julian35

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Feb 28, 2009
I've tested it at 1.5% in a fragrance using vetiver materials (and may increase it; also using Ysamber, Timbersilk, Sylvamber, and Ambrox Super so honestly the formula is getting full of woody ambery materials), it's subtle. It could definitely be a focal point at higher concentrations. The damascenone like effects are quite nice, subtle fruitiness along with balsamic vetiver and soft amber character. It isn't quite as long lasting as typical woody ambery materials.

I appreciate you taking the time to share your impressions of this material.
 

parker25mv

Basenotes Dependent
Oct 12, 2016
Symroxane is an amazing material and one that actually made me sit up and pay attention. A beautiful woody note but to my nose a brilliant sparkling spicy note reminiscent of new green wood in the late spring. Green, Black pepper and wood.
I personally do not get a green color feel from Symroxane. Symroxane does have a damascone-like nuance to its smell (like an equal mix of alpha, beta, and delta damascone). If Symroxane is perceived by some as green, I think it is because of the damascone-like effects; it's only a little "green" in the same way that alpha-damascone is. The greenness is as much green apple like as it is green wood (if you have smelled verdox or certain benzoates). (I suppose there's a tiny element in that that could be a little reminiscent of certain types of green plants, but "green wood" is misleading, maybe more like English laurel leaves or birch wood, but again this is a tiny element of the overall character)

Symroxane also has a "cedar"-like nuance to its smell (what I would say is half Atlas cedar and half virginiana cedar in quality).
Part of the smell reminds me of Cedramber, but not as dry and not as strongly cedar.

Overall I think this is a great material, but would be best used in combination with an amber from another family.
(There's nothing excessive or too strong about Symroxane, it just could use a little something else; and it could use a little reinforcement in amber effect, since the strength of its amber effect is a little low or only moderate)

I'm not really sure that it's totally fair to evaluate Symroxane separately, side by side compared to the other ambers because, again, the damascone-like effect that is present is adding a lot of life to the smell. Any of the other ambers would smell great too if a hint of damascone, firascone, givascone were added. I do want to say this is a rather unusual effect and there are actually not that many materials that have a damascenone/damascone-like effect. This is part of the reason Symroxane is valued.

I don't get much "black pepper" at all. It's a weak nuance far in the background. (But what hint of pepper might be there is a very natural black pepper and captures a desirable aspect of black pepper).
If we say this is "wood"-like I think we have to be very careful because it is not really very woody. Besides from the cedar-like aspects, it is not really very "woody" at all, besides from certain very specific softer varieties of wood that are not normally the type of smell that comes to mind when one thinks of "woody" smells. Even the cedar facet is not a very "scratchy" textured type of cedar.

When I first smelled this to write a description of the smell, "green" and "black pepper" were not even things that immediately came to mind. It was only after reading the above comments and then thinking about them while smelling it again that I realised those are little aspects that are in there.

I know this is very excessive detail, but it is not simple or easy to be able to accurately describe smells in words, so I am trying to be as much detailed as I can.
 

parker25mv

Basenotes Dependent
Oct 12, 2016
What color would you give it Parker?
That's a very difficult one. I don't think I would even be able to answer that without smelling it again while thinking about that specific question.
I don't think this really has much of a "color feel" to it.
I guess I would give it a black or grey, slightly brownish grey, color, but it is a very diluted black (maybe like a black transparent crystal, like a cut piece of smoky quartz, though I want to be clear I am not implying it smells "smoky").

I suppose paying very close attention, there's a tiny aspect to it that might be green. But it's not exactly the smell that you most usually think of when the word "green" is used. Maybe a little bit of an opaque soapy sappy, a little bit balsamic green, almost a little bit of the sort of "green" in hexyl benzoate or Japanese mountain pepper. If it does have any green color to it, it does have some alpha-damascone like green to it. (Now I want to be clear that Symroxane does not smell like all these things, but I am only trying to describe the little green aspect in it)

Sorry, I don't know if my descriptions are too verbose and complicated to be useful to anyone.
I'm not claiming anyone is "wrong" but in some situations different people have different perceptions or interpretations.
 

mnitabach

Basenotes Dependent
Nov 13, 2020
OMG... OK, in the interest of tethering this discussion to empirical reality I'm going to do an experiment now adding some symroxane to a highly stripped-down muguet accord discussed in the other thread. I will report back.
 
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parker25mv

Basenotes Dependent
Oct 12, 2016
You know what I just realised?
There's an element to the smell of Gurjun balsam that smells really similar to Symroxane, which is missing from just plain caryophyllene.
 

mnitabach

Basenotes Dependent
Nov 13, 2020
OK here is a very simple actual experiment I just performed with symroxane mixing it together with other aromamaterials, diluting in EtOH, and testing on smelling strips and on skin. The experimental conditions are as follows (listed as final concentration in EtOH):

Formula A:
hydroxycitronellal 0.6
lilial 0.1
lyral 0.1
benzyl salicylate 0.2

Formula B:
hydroxycitronellal 0.6
lilial 0.1
lyral 0.1
benzyl salicylate 0.2
symroxane 0.05

Formula A is a very simple cartoonish muguet accord, discussed to some extent in recent posts in the following thread:


When comparing the two sprayed onto smelling strips, the difference is quite subtle. According to my notes the different effect of formula B is "damp wood: like a worn weathered wooden picnic table that has been alternately sun-weathered & rain-soaked for years". You have to think hard to detect this effect.

On skin, the difference is much more apparent. Initially, there is a strong amber effect that makes this simple muguet accord much more lively & radiant. This effect is not subtle at all. After about twenty minutes to a half hour, the damp wood nuance detectable on the smelling strip comes through, also with easily discernable earthy/root/vetivery/(tobacco?) nuances.

Less apparent, but I can see what they are getting at in the Symrise marketing materials, is a kind of herbal/aromatic nuance. This latter effect seems much more of a "cool" ambience or texture than an affirmative scent effect. In fact, I would say that in general the effects of symroxane in this simple accord are much more "textural" & modifier effects than affirmative scents. Later, about forty minutes after spraying on skin, the "dried fruit" (damascenone?) effect does become discernable, and forms an interesting contrast with the aromatic effect.

Also very interesting--and perhaps relates to the Symrise marketing verbiage about "bridging woody & floral"--is that as the hydrox evaporates it seems to reveal that the symroxane is somewhat exalting the woody nuance of lyral.

So in summary, these are not enormous effects at this dose, yet I think can do some very interesting things. Overall, formula A smells simplistic & trivial in comparison to formula B, which is much more elegant & interesting: like a "real perfume". On my wrist, I have been MUCH more drawn to keep sniffing at formula B than formula A. This is yet another example of how uninformative it generally is to sniff single aromachemicals or even in blends in smelling strips. Formula A & B are not different in any compelling or interesting way on the smelling strip & only on skin are the big differences apparent. When the intended use case is fine fragrance, spraying EtOH dilutions on skin is the only useful way to test your materials & formulas.

ETA: As the drydown proceeds & the hydrox & lilial evaporates, the ambery effect becomes more & more prominent. It's a pretty strong amber!

ETA2: In relation to what Paul K posted above about how needing to use symroxane at pretty high doses to get substantial effects, that may be true. However, in light of the breadth & complexity of its effects, it is worth considering that symroxane could be used to simultaneously replace multiple other materials in a composition. Just in terms of formula B discussed here, after a few hours on skin, it is literally drying down into an elegant complex perfumey fougèrey type of woody floral ambery (even mossy) drydown...
 

polysom

Basenotes Junkie
Apr 4, 2021
Thanks mnitabach, this is a quite helpful description and comparison. I've used symroxan a lot, but I never really smelled it, nor understand its effect. I will redo your test formulations to learn more about symroxan.
 

mnitabach

Basenotes Dependent
Nov 13, 2020
Thanks mnitabach, this is a quite helpful description and comparison. I've used symroxan a lot, but I never really smelled it, nor understand its effect. I will redo your test formulations to learn more about symroxan.
From the standpoint of mastering perfumery, it's worth interrogating why you've used symroxane a lot without ever having really smelled it or understood its effect. This is not a criticism of you, but something I have been grappling with myself now entering year three of my perfumery journey. While it is definitely important to keep the juices flowing with attempts at complex accords & compositions that sometimes hit big, it is also essential to engage with seemingly trivial simple experiments like this one.
 

mnitabach

Basenotes Dependent
Nov 13, 2020
Thanks mnitabach, this is a quite helpful description and comparison. I've used symroxan a lot, but I never really smelled it, nor understand its effect. I will redo your test formulations to learn more about symroxan.
And BTW, if you do this exact experiment, it's probably very reasonable to double the amount of symroxane.
 

pkiler

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Dec 5, 2007
ETA2: In relation to what Paul K posted above about how needing to use symroxane at pretty high doses to get substantial effects,
We are, / I am always learning, eh?
Gotta use the materials in a blend to understand them.
I've now used Symroxane even down to 0.1%
 

polysom

Basenotes Junkie
Apr 4, 2021
In my personal list of my materials I do have this abstract about symroxan, which is also quite interesting (don't remember the source):

Under the action of catalysts, longifolene can undergo a series of transformations and turn into isolongiopols, which is a source of many popular fragrances. An isolongifolene derivative - isolongifolene-7-ol - has been used to produce longifolene acetate. In 2002, two chemists from Dragoco, Wilhelm Pickenhagen and Dietmar Schatkowski, synthesized a methyl ester of this alcohol, later called symroxane. Symroxane has a warm, woody aroma rich in nuances, especially musk, fruit and amber tones. There is a whole series of perfumes made with this material for example: Givenchy Play for Her, created in 2010 by Lucas Sieuzac and Emilie Coppermann: Symroxane plays a very important role in the composition. The same perfumers created Carolina Herrera 212 VIP Men, in which symroxane together with ambrocenid forms an accord called the "King Wood". Symroxane blends very well with woody and amber fragrances and can be used in any accord: floral, fruity, gourmand or aquatic.
 

mnitabach

Basenotes Dependent
Nov 13, 2020
When I smell Symroxane I smell royalty for some reason, I see why they call it King Wood in combination with ambrocenide, there's something very exclusive and exalted about it.
In my experiment it definitely turned a grossly simplistic muguet accord into a reasonably elegant complete perfume.
 

Bmaster

Super Member
Sep 24, 2021
We are, / I am always learning, eh?
Gotta use the materials in a blend to understand them.
I've now used Symroxane even down to 0.1%
This is something I’ve recently noticed and it’s relative to the context of your working formulae. For example, if you take a citrus accord and enter in a small amount of a woody amber material, you gain depth, whereas the opposite can be true for a woody accord with the introduction of a discrete material such as a small amount of aquatics, florals, ect. It’s bizarre how our olfactory distinguishes small changes to a scent when you incorporate a unique material in small amounts.
 

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