Old French fragrance , < late Latin frāgrantia , frāgrans
- 1a : a sweet or delicate odor (as of fresh flowers, pine trees, or perfume)
- b : something (as a perfume) compounded to give off a sweet or pleasant odor
An aroma compound, also known as odorant, aroma, fragrance or flavor, is a chemical compound that has a smell or odor. A chemical compound has a smell or odor when two conditions are met: the compound needs to be volatile, so it can be transported to the olfactory system in the upper part of the nose, and it needs to be in a sufficiently high concentration to be able to interact with one or more of the olfactory receptors.
Aroma compounds can be found in food, wine, spices, perfumes, fragrance oils, and essential oils. For example, many form biochemically during ripening of fruits and other crops. In wines, most form as byproducts of fermentation. Odorants can also be added to a dangerous odorless substance, like propane, natural gas, or hydrogen, as a warning. Also, many of the aroma compounds play a significant role in the production of flavorants, which are used in the food service industry to flavor, improve, and generally increase the appeal of their products.