Where does the smell of chocolate come from?
Where does the smell of chocolate come from?
A little flavor chemistry.

this new paper analyzes two kinds of dark chocolate samples, which contain 90% and 99% cocoa, respectively. In short, they are very dark. The researchers extracted the odorant substances, separated them by gas chromatography, and identified the chemical composition of each odor substance and their respective odor intensity (odor activity values) to the human nose.

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results more than 70 volatile odors were found in dark chocolate samples, of which about 30 contributed significantly to the odor. Among them, the most important "flavor substances" are dimethyl trisulfide, acetic acid, guaiacol, 3-methyl butyric acid, phenylacetic acid, vanillin and linalool.

some things have a relatively simple odor composition, such as vanillin, a molecule that can well reproduce the smell of vanilla, but the situation of chocolate is still much more complicated. The main aroma substances of dark chocolate include acetic acid and vanillin, but it doesn't smell like vinegar or vanilla. None of these molecules can reproduce the smell of chocolate, and the taste we perceive depends on a combination of substances.

the aroma of chocolate has also been successfully reproduced in this study, but the method of reproduction is still troublesome. The researchers mixed all 30 odors in proportion so that people smelled like chocolate.

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Source: https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acs.jafc.8b06183