Description and usage notes:
One of those older perfumery materials that seems to have gone somewhat out of fashion in favour of more expensive specialities, this is a material that deserves to be rediscovered: immediately pleasant to smell, the primary character is floral, with aspects of rose, hyacinth and chrysanthemum present; Arctander also describes it as having a watercress foliage note.
The cinnamic background makes it very useful as part of a cinnamon note in any fragrance where its floral character is appropriate. This is a top-to-middle note material that benefits from combination with longer-lasting floral notes such as phenylethyl salicylate, rose crystals and Peonile.
Arctander expresses surprise at how rarely this material appears in fragrance formulas and suggests these uses: “The ester is an excellent modifier in Muguet, Orchid, Lilac, Rose, Narcisse, and, in larger amounts, in Hyacinth. It is interesting to note once more the enormous difference between the Formates and the Acetates while there is not nearly the same type-difference between the Acetates and the Propionates, etc. Generally formates are neglected in perfumery, perhaps partly because of above mentioned problem. But their warm, dry-foliage type floral odor lends very natural and attractive effects to a fragrance.”
The problem he alludes to is that a poor quality formate does not keep well: “One reason for its infrequent use may be that it does not keep well if it has not been prepared in the proper quality in the first place. If traces of water or formic acid were present from the beginning, the material will not only show pungent and unpleasant odor, but it will deteriorate rapidly and increase further in acidity. However, a properly made ester, kept dry and cool, will keep excellently on the perfumer’s shelf, and its odor remains warm, green-herbaceous and floral.”