Description and usage notes:
Still very violet but also distinctively fruity. As Arctander points out “There is some degree of disagreement between perfumers as to the ‘fruity’ note. Not all perfumers find it fruity, and the general preference for one Ionone over the other as a perfume material also seems to vary. The common viewpoint is that beta-Ionone resembles Cedarwood and has a Raspberry-like undertone, while alpha-Ionone is the more typical Violet odor, sweeter, and less green than the beta-isomer.”
The beta isomer can be used instead, or more commonly alongside the alpha in many circumstances and appears in the headspace of many flowers, though in most cases as a minor constituent.
Arctander suggests other uses: “It finds its way more into fragrances rich in woody notes, including those employing newer derivatives of Cyclohexanol, etc. It is also more widely used in lipstick fragrances on account of its compatibility with fruity fragrance materials.”
Jean Claude Elena, in his book Diary of a Nose, suggests that in combination with frambinone and fructone this material can produce an effective illusion of the smell of raspberries. He says “Unlike cherries, which have more taste than smell, raspberries are all about smell … Adding cis-3-hexenol gives a sour, green quality, while geraniol will give a taste of lipstick.”
He goes on to suggest this material for another of his ‘Summary Smells’ (highly simplified odour pictures): Cherry. He says “I like cherries picked straight from the tree, perhaps because they are a symbol of spring, but mainly because they are crisp, acidic and sugary. The taste we remember is mostly the flavor in, say, yoghurts, and this condemns us to the same bland olfactory reference.