Perfumery is an art, and as with any form of creative expression, the results are often most rewarding when they’re unexpected. This is what makes cetalox such a special ingredient in perfume-making – it’s such an unconventional ingredient in a world of predictable fragrances. But what exactly is this strange note?
Cetalox (sometimes called Ambroxan, depending on who makes it – different fragrance companies have different names for it) is a synthetic form of ambergris that’s widely used in fragrances today. Its chemical make-up is similar to that of ambrein, a fat-like cholesterol component that gives organic ambergris its characteristic aroma. In a way, it’s a very handy synthetic recreation since actual ambergris (produced from sperm whale stomach excrement) is very rare and illegal in modern perfumery.
Like the real thing, cetalox smells of musk and amber, with some sweetness thrown in. Above all, it smells clean and fresh, hence its widespread use in laundry detergents. Cetalox is a powerful aromatic ingredient, as well as a sillage and depth enhancer in many fragrance formulas.