Sonia Rykiel, a renowned French fashion designer defined the importance of perfume in one’s life and said, “Perfume is like a parenthesis, a moment of freedom, peace, love and sensuality between the disturbances of modern living”. No doubt people treasure perfumes.
What if the perfume you treasure so much damages your skin? Clara Steve, a perfumery technician who is responsible for quality assurance of perfumes from several years now, said, “Perfume contains alcohol in great amount that makes perfume testing, a very lengthy procedure as it demands accuracy. A little amount of negligence could affect the quality at large.”
Several types of fleuressence bases such as Aldehyde, Citrus, Narcotic, Phenolic, etc. are used while making perfumes. All these bases have a certain concentration level that has to be well maintained to give birth to a right kind of perfume. But knowing and maintaining the concentration level is a big deal. California based EST Inc. provides an electronic sniffer called zNose® that could test any vaporized essence of perfume within real time, with speed, precision and accuracy. This new technology uses GC chromatography and SAW sensor technique to give favorable results and possesses varied unique features.
A set of primary odor perfume compound bases containing one or more aroma chemicals act as a set of basic fleuressence groups and are useful for perfume compounding. Also, fleuressence bases are prime olfactory notes from which complex perfume aromas can be created. A perfumery training kit with 25 fleuressence bases representing a set of prime notes was obtained from Perfumersworld to carry the testing procedures of zNose®.
By employing the ultra-high speed gas chromatography, zNose® quantified and judged chemical profiling of 26 different fleuressence bases. Following are the key results got from the testing procedure:
- It is possible to quantitatively measure quality in a fast and efficient manner and compare the chemical signature of perfumes created by trained perfumery technicians.
- Indexing of retention times for target compounds using an n-alkane perfume standard provides a convenient method of identification.
- Eliminates the need for multiple chemical standards and allows for instrument independent chemical libraries.
- Dynamic headspace analysis accompanied with sensory data effectively classify perfumes by fleuressence notes or olfactory images.
- The chemical image and sensory data can be subjected to pattern recognition using Multivariate Analysis, Principal Component Analysis (PCA) and Partial Least Squares (PLS) methods to determine perfume classifications or model human perception.
- Proper choice of samples and use of optimized variables as well as preprocessing of chemical data, including scaling, transformation, and normalization, may also prove useful in assessing quality.
Popular perfume, Chanel No. 5 was also tested using the aroma testing method, carried by zNose®. The perfume contained a major compound peak with an index of 1,135 and a concentration of 4,578 counts. Many significant minor compounds were also clearly perceptible, but some fail to separate using this fast method. By lessening the detector temperature to 20°C while using a 3°C/second column ramp, the compounds that failed to get identified were spotted easily.
Hence, zNose® is a tool that offers perfumery experts the speed, portability, precision, and accuracy which is required for cost-effective quality control measurements. Such measurements can easily be validated by independent laboratory testing as they are based upon well-known chromatographic methods. So, with this distinctive and substantial electronic nose, make perfumes free of any harm and give perfume lovers a delightful experience.