Description and usage notes:
Benzyl alcohol appears in many flower and herb GC and headspace analyses and appears to act as a natural fixative and blending agent in flower scents: it can be used in a similar way in fragrance creation.
What is offered here is fragrance grade material of high purity: when benzyl alcohol develops a distinct almond note it is due to the formation of benzaldehyde – if this happens discard it and buy fresh.
Bedoukian suggests this material as a stabilising solvent for the aliphatic aldehydes, which will retard the formation of oxides or trimers without adding a strong odour of its own and without the flammability of ethanol.
Arctander seems to have a mixed opinion of this material: “Used in perfumery as a blender, in some florals quite extensively. Jasmin, Gardenia and Lilac may often be composed using Benzyl alcohol although this material is really dispensable in most cases.”
Calkin & Jellinek suggest benzyl alcohol as a blender in rose, lilac and orange blossom fragrance compositions. They also speculate that its widespread presence in the scent of flowers might be an indication that bees and other pollinating insects are better able to detect this material than humans.