Pineapple flavor and Allyl caproate

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My favorite unit in O-Chem(Organic Chemistry) was when the professor brought in a small bottle of Allyl caproate (aka Allyl hexanoate FEMA #2032) for the class to evaluate. It was my first exposure to a flavor aromatic. He passed around the bottle and asked us carefully smell the bottle and tell the class what we thought. I was intrigued, it smelled like pineapple. From that moment on, I was hooked on O-Chem. The unit's focus was probably naming or was focused on esters. Allyl caproate is an ester. Esters are often times described as fruity.  Allyl describes the group of atoms attached to the ester group.         Allyl caproate is fruity and smells like pineapple, but also has a … [Read more...]

Grapes, Grandma and Methyl anthranillate

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My grandmother died last month. She's been in my thoughts quite a bit. In fact, just last week, while preparing grapes, I thought of her. Grandma showed me how to prepare grapes by cutting them into little bunches. She said little bunches are handy for grabbing, packing in lunches, and as snacks. Every summer, I spent at least two weeks at her beach house in Laguna playing in the ocean. After a few "wipe-outs" in the  waves, cold grapes were a good snack. This summer, while vacationing in southern California, I kept with tradition and prepared grape bunches for beach snacks. My kids loved the grapes as well as the ocean and boogie boarding. My last conversation with my grandmother was about my beach vacation and I told her my girls … [Read more...]

Apple Flavor and Ethyl-2-methyl butyrate

Lattin's Country Cider Mill & Farm, Olympia, WA

Americans love apples, hence the saying "As American as Apple pie". In Washington state, Apples are the largest agriculture crop with over 100 million 40 pound boxes being harvested annually. Last week I traveled to the "Apple Capital of the World", Wenatchee, WA. I was in meeting rooms most of the time, but I did manage to get out and purchase a big bag of Honeycrisp apples for home. My family never understood the fuss about Honeycrisp; until now. My children traditionally favor Gala or Fuji apples, but this bag of Honeycrisp apples opened our senses to what a truly a delicious apple Honeycrisp is. Next time, I will buy a crate of apples, because this bag only lasted a few days. These Honeycrisp apples were perfectly crisp, juicy, sweet, … [Read more...]

Peach Flavor

picture from the UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources

Orangevale, California is home of some of the best peaches in the world, but I am biased because it is my hometown. Like most teenagers in Orangevale, my first job was at Tomich Bros. Orchard. Working at a peach orchard gave me an appreciation for hard work and the taste of a good variety of freshly picked peaches. As a child of the 1970's, I remember peach flavored sweets were not good. In fact peach flavored candies were usually thrown out because they had an odd heavy wine note. In the late 1980's this changed with the release of Snapple® Peach Ice Tea. For me, the peach flavor in Snapple® revolutionized peach flavors. The flavor chemist that developed the Snapple® peach flavor contacted my previous employer to apply for a … [Read more...]

Methyl salicylate, Artificial Wintergreen oil (FEMA 2745)

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A standard lab experiment in organic chemistry is to convert aspirin(acetylsalicylic acid) to Methyl salicylate. Methyl salicylate is an ester which smells sweet, is strong, is approved for use in food and is the characterizing flavor of wintergreen. Wintergreen flavor is very popular in the United States. Countries like Japan and Italy think it's most suitable for cleaning bathrooms, but not for eating. Personally, Wintergreen is one of my favorite flavors. It not only adds cool minty flavor, it adds sweetness. You can taste wintergreen in toothpastes, candies, gums, rootbeer, and bubble gum. Yes, that's right, root beer.  Try a swig of rootbeer;  doesn't it taste a little like wintergreen?  Rootbeer also has vanilla, ginger, cinnamon, … [Read more...]