Pure ethanol is a reflection of the raw ingredients used to make it. Even at 100% alcohol, experienced noses can quickly determine the originating food stock used to create their non-denatured ethyl alcohol. Different raw materials create vastly different noses inherent to the base alcohol used in your perfume recipe. Choosing the right raw material can result in a complimentary fragrance experience, while the wrong choice can set the whole thing askew.
Through our experience over the last 10 years working with pure food grade ethanol, we have come to recognize the following varieties of ethanol by their aroma profiles:
Alcohol from Cane - As in sugarcane, the alcohol produced possesses a strong, close to burnt/very toasted notes of molasses, brown sugar, hard caramel. Blends well with vanillas or spicy herbs, present when looked for. Most popular form of "value-priced" organic spirits.
Alcohol from Grape - Easy to recognize. Abundant fragrant flora aromas obtained after juicing for wine from the rich grape skins & pulp, earthy not sweet. Prominent odor, even with layers applied. Available in organic.
Alcohol from Wheat - Crisp, spicy, reliably consistent aroma profile when sourced from different reputable distillers. Wheat alcohol's use in the beverage industry, coupled with handling requirements that differ from corn and other grain, typically price wheat alcohol higher than other raw materials.
Alcohol from Corn - Naturally the most neutral aroma, taste, and character profile of all the alcohol options available for perfumers. Corn ethanol is renowned for its ability to create a supremely pure base ethanol with very little odor naturally. Low natural odor means corn ethanol is the best for hiding behind the delicate botanicals or fragrance oils you choose to incorporate into your perfume. Corn ethanol is naturally gluten free, and even available made with Certified Organic Non-GMO Corn.