Here's an interesting article from the New York Times Business section that gives you a little insight on how most perfumes ARE just synthetic chemicals. And remember that musk, synthetic or not, may interfere with hormones.
Remember, what you put on your skin gets into your blood. How do you think "the patch" works?
Its scent is reminiscent of a mixture of a just-picked apple and a rose in its prime. But to the Takasago International Corporation, which manufactures this synthetic material, it smells even sweeter.
Last year, that chemical, with the trade name Thesaron, became an essential ingredient in a new perfume, Silver Shadow Altitude, released by Davidoff, a brand owned by Coty. Playing a role in one of the most successful international fragrance trade names — Davidoff has had a scent on the top five perfume best-seller list for the last 20 years — means that molecule is highly profitable for Takasago.
Similarly, the scent makers — Symrise of Holzminden, Germany; Givaudan of Geneva; International Flavors and Fragrances of New York; and Takasago of Tokyo — spend billions on research to find new smell molecules, patent them and sell them. The innovative scents of these “captives,” as the patented molecules are known, are crucial to enticing consumers to buy the 600 or so new perfumes introduced every year and appealing to buyers of other fragrant products like soaps and air fresheners.
Captives have other virtues as well. Jean Jacques, Takasago perfumer, put Thesaron in Altitude, for example, because it solved three problems: Thesaron has the fruity/rosy note of a very expensive class of molecules called rose ketones, but it costs far less and can be used in unlimited amounts (rose ketones are restricted because they set off allergic reactions at high doses)....One example is a molecule that stays firmly on fabric, perfect for scenting laundry detergents. “That’s a specific attribute we like to see,” he said....One recent successful Takasago captive is l-muscone. A musk, l-muscone has been known for years, but no one could come up with a way to make it economically until Takasago did. It then patented not the molecule but the synthesis pathways to produce it.
L-muscone is still expensive (“It’s a luxury material,” Mr. Warr said, “costing high four figures per pound”), and it has no trade name yet because Takasago does not sell it to anyone else. It’s a “nature identical” — identical to the molecule found naturally in a gland in the musk deer — but Takasago produces only the synthetic version.
Andrea Lupo, a perfumer at Takasago, put l-muscone in the perfume Intimately Night for David and Victoria Beckham and Coty, their licensee.
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