Following yesterday's fascinating facts about the unique fragrance of the Christmas tree, today Penny's exploring the ubiquitous scent of Christmas kitchens... Gingerbread!
If you've ever wanted to know the science behind this comforting, mouth-watering odour, read on...!
Masquerading as houses, men, women - and even snowflakes and stars - gingerbread has become a festive favourite. The only thing that can compete with the delicious taste of gingerbread is the delectable aroma released as it bakes. The key contributing ingredients to this sense tingling smell are Ginger (obviously), Cloves and Cinnamon.
Ginger is the dried root of a herb. We say ‘root’ but officially it’s a rhizome, which is an underground stem. It’s grown in tropical and sub tropical regions as it needs humid weather and both a hot dry season and a rainy season – China and India are the main producers of ginger. Once ginger is harvested it is dried to develop the characteristic odour and taste which comes from ‘Gingerin’ a resin which is present between 1 and 3% depending on the age of the ginger root. When you cut a piece of root ginger it smells warm, spicy, almost fizzy and also slightly citrus – this citrus note comes from Citral which is the characteristic smell of lemon. Gingerin contains many ingredients including various terpenes but Gingerol is the molecule responsible for most of the recognisable characteristics of Ginger. When ginger is dried or cooked, Gingerol loses a water molecule producing Shogoal and Zingerone. Gingerol, Shogoal and Zingerone combine to form the recognisable smell of Ginger.
You can read more about Penny in our 'People in Perfume' blog post. If you're interested in knowing more about courses with TIPA (or perhaps you know someone who would love to receive a course as a Christmas gift!), you can find out more,here.