Chemistry 101: Gamma-Undecalactone / Persicol

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Gamma-undecalactone, Periscol, Peach Aldehyde, C14

“Jacques Guerlain built Mitsouko by breaking the power of the oak moss with a natural jasmine and, more significantly, a new synthetic molecule that had recently appeared. Jukov and Schestakow might have patented aldehyde C-14 (actually not an aldehyde but a lactone; it’s real name is gamma-undecalactone) in 1908, but Michael Edwards reports that it had been available from other suppliers, and it was probably Firmenich that introduced Jacques Guerlain to the molecule in the form of a base it called Persicol, which it had put on the market in 1908. C-14 was a marvel, a fruity, aromatic, delicious scent that gave ripe peach skin. Guerlain plugged C-14 into the equation perfectly (the rumor is, actually, similar to Chanel 5, that he in fact accidentally overdosed the stuff; who knows), and Mitsouko became a thing of subtle opulence, strength and balance and silken twilight.”  Chandler Burr

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Les Parfums de Jacques Fath 1945 – 1953

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Chasuble and Green Water, Les Parfums Jacques Fath, photographed by Herbert Gehr for Life Magazine, September 1949

Chasuble and Green Water, Les Parfums Jacques Fath, photographed by Herbert Gehr for Life Magazine, September 1949

During his lifetime, Jacques Fath, the “little prince” of post war Parisian couture, would see seven perfumes released for Les Parfums de Jacques Fath between 1945 and 1954. Two of the most famous fragrances, Iris Gris and Green Water, were created by Vincent Roubert, who also composed Knize Ten in 1924 and Coty’s answer to Chanel No. 5, L’Aimant in 1927.  He also worked with Coty on L’Or (1912), A’Suma (1934), and Metéor (1949).

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