Understanding Fragrance Chemistry

Author: Charles Sell, PhD


Improve your understanding of perfume and its interactions with the wide variety of products in which it is used.

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Format Details

  • Hardcover
  • 417 Pages
  • Published 2008
  • ISBN-10: 1932633383
  • ISBN-13: 9781932633382
  • Description
  • Table of Contents
  • Author Information
  • Expert Review

Perfume molecules are compounds of carbon and hence come under the general heading of organic chemistry. Our bodies are also composed of organic chemicals and so are most of the components of consumer goods such as soaps and detergents. Understanding Fragrance Chemistry therefore concentrates on those aspects of organic chemistry, which are of particular importance to the fragrance industry. It is intended for those who have little or no previous training in chemistry and who would like to know enough in order to improve their understanding of perfume and its interactions with the wide variety of products in which it is used. Topics include:

  • The structure of matter
  • Organic molecules
  • Chemical reactivity
  • Acid/base reactions
  • Oxidation and reduction reactions
  • Perfume structure
  • Chemistry in consumer goods
  • The biological way we detect odors
  • How nature makes fragrant molecules

Each chapter has review questions which allow readers to check their understanding of the content, and glossaries are provided where appropriate. A chapter on chemical information and a bibliography will help those who want to read more on any of the subjects covered.

Correction to Chapter 11, Missing Figures 11.17 and 11.18.

    • Forward
    • Introduction
    • Chapter 1: The Structure of Matter
    • Chapter 2: Carbon 1-Hydrocarbons
    • Chapter 3: Carbon 2-Heteroatoms
    • Chapter 4: States of Matter
    • Chapter 5: Separation and Purification
    • Chapter 6: Analysis
    • Chapter 7: Chemical Reactivity
    • Chapter 8: Chemistry and Perfume 1: Acid/Base Reactions
    • Chapter 9: Chemistry and Perfume 1: Oxidation and Reduction Reactions
    • Chapter 10: Perfume Structure
    • Chapter 11: Chemistry in Consumer Goods
    • Chapter 12: Chemistry of Living Organisms
    • Chapter 13: The Mechanism of Olfaction
    • Chapter 14: Natural Fragrance Ingredients
    • Chapter 15: Synthetic Fragrance Ingredients
    • Chapter 16: Chemical Information
    • Answers
    • Glossary
    • Index

Charles Sell, PhD, earned a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry with honors from The Queen's University of Belfast in 1970. The following year, he was awarded a master's degree in organic chemistry from the same for research into the anticancer drug podophyllotoxin. In 1974, he received a doctorate from the Australian National University in Canberra, for research with the late Professor Arthur Birch (of Birch Reduction fame) into the synthesis of two Australian diterpenes, one of which is a food trail pheromone for an indigenous species of termite.

Through a European Fellowship of The Royal Society, Sell spent a year with Professor Albert Eschenmoser at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zürich, Switzerland, working on the synthesis of the antibiotic rifamycin, followed by a year at the University of Warwick with Professor Bernard Golding, developing an understanding of the mechanism of action of vitamin B12.

In 1976, Sell joined Proprietary Perfumes Ltd. (later to become PPF, then Quest International, and now Givaudan). There, his work covered all aspects of synthetic organic chemistry as applied to the fragrance industry, from discovery of novel materials through process R&D, to improvement of established chemical manufacturing processes.

Additionally, in 1983–1984, Sell served as a visiting scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology during which time he worked on the development of novel synthetic methodology with the late Professor George Büchi.

Sell has published a large number of original research papers, patents and reviews, and is editor and co-author of The Chemistry of Fragrance, the second edition of which has just been published by the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC). A second book, A Fragrant Introduction to Terpenoid Chemistry, was published in October 2003 by the RSC. Recent publications also include a review for Angewandte Chemie on the unpredictability of odor, a chapter on terpenoids for the new edition of the Kirk-Othmer Encyclopaedia of Chemical Technology, and a chapter of olfaction for the Wiley Encyclopedia of Chemical Biology. A paper titled, "Odorantreceptor interactions and odour percept; a chemical perspective," is forthcoming in Chemistry and Biodiversity.

"Understanding Fragrance Chemistry is a reference book for both the novice and advanced fragrance student. Written with easy-to-understand language, the book builds one’s knowledge base sequentially, and this approach allows the reader to follow the trail from the structure of matter to how plants create fragrance. Chemical reactivity, perfume structure and all aspects of fragrance creation are detailed, making this book valuable to anyone in the fragrance industry. I encourage artisan perfumers to delve into chemistry because the knowledge of it will assist them in avoiding common pitfalls in perfume creation. I keep this book at hand and refer to it frequently."

—Anya McCoy, Perfumer at Anya's Garden Perfumes, President, Natural Perfumers Guild

"We findhttp://www.alluredbooks.com/Cosmetic-Chemistry/Organic-Chemistry-for-Cosmetic-Chemists-p59.html">Organic Chemistry for Cosmetic Chemists and Understanding Fragrance Chemistry great reference books for anyone involved in the cosmetic and personal care industries. They provide a review, as well as insight into areas that many of us may have forgotten. We recommend the books as secondary books for chemistry, as well as for perfume courses and as library reference books."

—Larry Smith, Professor
—Virginia Bonofiglio, Chairperson
Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT)

"This book is written both for the novice and the perfumer alike, as it takes you on a journey from a simplified introduction to organic chemistry through separation techniques and analytical methodologies to the structure of perfume creation. It addresses the myriad reactive ingredients that exist in consumer-based products and it shows how the creative perfumer can formulate a fragrance to ensure long-term stability. This makes it a unique book that should find a place on the shelf of everybody who has an interest in perfumes."

—Brian M. Lawrence, PhD

"For the non-chemist approaching the subject for the first time, the basics of fragrance chemistry are clearly explained. For more experienced practitioners current developments are reviewed such as the mechanism of olfaction. This well-written, well-illustrated book is essential reading for all people interested in fragrances."

—Dr. Tony Curtis
University of Plymouth Business School, UK

"Renowned scientist and author of a series of books on fragrances and terpenoid chemistry, Charles Sell, presents a new book to aid any reader, those in the industry as well as the average consumer, in understanding what a fragrance compound is. By discussing basic chemistry through more advanced knowledge, this book is somewhat of a textbook addressed to all who are interested in fragrances.

Subdivided into 16 chapters, the first seven of which deal with the basics of general and organic chemistry while maintaining the goal of understanding the chemical side of a fragrant molecule, Understanding Fragrance Chemistry invites the reader to look into the fascinating and alluring chemical landscape of fragrances, how they are obtained, synthesized and analyzed, and where they are used and how they are perceived. The characteristic teaching within this book is also strengthened by the fact that each chapter concludes with review questions to be answered by the reader, the answers for which are given following the book’s final chapter. In addition, a glossary explains many words, conceptions and technical terms. This volume is a pleasure to read. It satisfies one’s curiosity and unlocks the final knowledge of what a fragrance compound really is. I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the field of these volatile and small molecules that are so important for our everyday life."

— Dr. Gerard Buchbauer, Department of Clinical Pharmacy & Diagnostics
Center of Pharmacy, University of Vienna