Tonka Beans, Tonka Tincture, Dipteryx Odorata, Tonka Absolute

Tonka Bean (Reconstitution)


Tonka Absolute is a semi-solid or crystalline mass of pale amber orpalebrownish-yellow color.

Its odor is very rich, sweet and warm, distinctly coumarinic-herbaceous, with a prune-like or caramellic-sweet undertone. The odor description “tobacco-like” is somewhat confusing since tonka tincture has been used quite extensively in the flavoring of cured tobacco leaves. The absolute consists of from 20 to 45% Coumarin, but the effect of a true tonka absolute goes far beyond that of the coumarin contained in the absolute. In this fact lies the explanation for the continuous use of tonka absolute today, almost a century after the appearance of synthetic coumarin on the perfume and flavor market. Tonka Absolute is used as a fixative and nonfloral sweetener which introduces warm notes in chypres, fougures, new mown hay bases, lavender bouquets, Oriental bases, etc. lt blends very well with lavender, Iavandin, clary sage, flouve, phenylacetates, salicylates, cinnamates, styrax products, heliotropine, bergamot, oakmoss products, geranyl esters, citronellyl esters, menthyl esters, etc.

Tonka “Beans” are the seeds from the fruits of a large tree, Dipteryx Odorata (and other species of Dipteryx) which grows in western and northeastern South America, particularly in Venezuela, the Guianas and Brazil. The tree also grows in Nigeria, West Africa, but production of beans for export has been irregular and remains unimportant in Nigeria.

The seed is removed from the ripe fruit and is dried and soaked in alcohol or rum for 12 to 24 hours. The seeds then swell and, when they are removed from the alcohol bath, they shrink on drying, and on the surface appears the well known crystalline frosting of coumarin. This treatment is partly a curing, partly a conventional “sales promotion” process.

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