Basil oil Methyl Chavicol

Essential oil produced by steam distillation of culinary basil (Ocimum basilicum) of the anisic form, high in Estragole (aka Methyl Chavicol) and very low in linalool.  This particular oil contains at least 80% methyl chavicol. Contrast with our Sweet Basil Oil.

Widely used in perfumes in relatively small amounts, and in foods in larger quantities, this type of basil is often considered inferior to the Sweet Basil or Linalool type.  Nevertheless it offers a very attractive sweet-spicy odour profile.

According to Arctander: “This oil is usually yellow or greenish-yellow to pale green in color, Its odor is somewhat coarse-herbaceous, slightly camphoraceous in the initial notes, and displaying the intense sweetness of the estragole, a so-called “anisic” type of odor. The estragole, also known as methyl chavicol, is distinctly perceptible in the odor of “Exotic” Basil Oil.

Although it has been claimed by authorities in the field that this “exotic” type of basil oil can be used “wherever the price of sweet basil oil prevents the use of this expensive oil”, the author of the present work can hardly consider the “exotic” type of basil oil as a replacement for the “French” type.

The trade offers basil oils under a wealth of ‘exotic’ and ‘French’ names, and it is not uncommon that an ‘exotic’ oil may be ‘doctored’, with e.g. 60% added linalool. This blend is then offered as “French” basil oil, occasionally with the addition of “pays” or some “provincial” name added on the label.” 


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