The latest set of new toys that I got, 2 months ago now, included aldehyde C12 MNA and hops flower essential oil. I’d never played with aldehydes before, but I knew they were brightly fizzy (this one smells like Sprite) and it didn’t take me long to put two and two together.
My relationship with beer has been somewhat unpredictable. I had tasted it as a child, but likely mixed with artificially flavored fruit juices (orange or guava). At the tender age of 16, I got the chance to do it properly—instead, I took a sip from a tall can of Heineken, winced at the bitterness, and that alone put me off “beer” universally for more than a decade. I would still go to pubs with friends, occasionally, but it was usually an unpleasant ordeal of smelling stale brews wafting from the stained floors while sipping an overpriced soft drink wondering why it cost so much (literally and figuratively) to have a social life.
Eventually I dipped my feet in the water again, to continue the run of clichés, with well knowns like Sapporo. When I started dating my other half, he introduced me to the world of craft beer, and I realized just how little I knew about even the existence of different types of beer. I practically had to learn a new language to tell my lagers from pilsners, session ales from double India Pale Ales (DIPAs), stouts from porters, and really any of those things from each other. In time, we toured several breweries, posed for photos next to giant fermentation tanks, and sniffed varieties of hops. My current favorite is the Citra hop, a staple of juicy New England–style IPAs.
Before anyone calls me out on it, I will say that I am aware of the popular beer by Wormtown Brewery called Be Hoppy. We have enjoyed this crisp IPA on many occasions. My decision to name my latest perfume experiment Be Hoppy has nothing to do with that.
In addition to beer-like aroma materials, my batch of new toys also included several woods, of which I was particularly taken by hiba cedarwood. It has a raw, unpolished quality, making it bright and smoky—a seeming contradiction in words, but not in smell. I wanted to feature this ingredient, which also complemented the hops flower quite well. The rest was about building around this backbone.
- Top: aldehyde C12 MNA, Citral, Glycolierral
- Heart (florals): hops flower EO, rose absolute, Sampaquita Givco, Hedione®, Rhubofix®
- Heart (woods): hiba cedarwood, elemi heart
- Base: Haitian vetiver, Ysamber® K, Evernyl
The thing about aldehydes is that their power is amplified by dilution. My first several mods smelled like soapy nothingness until I reached a low enough concentration of aldehyde C12 MNA (and it could probably go much lower still).
As I discovered, Ysamber is a lovely aromachemical—a dry woody, musky note that is supposed to blend well with citrus. It’s not really perceptible in the mixture, though, as hiba cedarwood takes the spotlight as it should, quickly after the initial hoppy aldehyde blast dissipates. The florals don’t stand out, either, but their presence gives balance—a bit like the tissue paper used to buffer gift bags, but in a more purposeful way. The overall composition is light and doesn’t overstay its welcome. Rather, it’s like a stranger passing by who might’ve had something interesting to say.
Possibly along the lines of, “Be Hoppy, my friends!”