It is produced by the influence of oxygen on alcohol - by oxidation. Alcohol is distilled with sulphuric acid and oxide of manganese, or bichromate of potassium. The distillate is dephlegmated with ether and ammoniac gas, and the separated crystals of aldehyd-ammonia again decomposed with dilute sulphuric acid. Aldehyd is a colorless, thin, neutral, and very inflammable liquid of suffocating, peculiar, ethereal odor, lighter than water, specific gravity 0.805 at 0° C. (32° F.). It boils at about 21 °C. (69.8° F.), is soluble in all proportions in water, alcohol and ether.

Amylic Alcohol (Fusel Oil)

This is obtained from fermented grain or potatoes, by continuing the process of distillation after the ordinary spirit has ceased to come over. In alcohol produced from potatoes, it is found in greatest proportion. It is a colorless, thin, oily liquid, of a disagreeable and suffocating odor, and a burning, acrid taste. Specific gravity 0.818, boils at 132c C. (269.6° F.) and congeals at - 25° C. ( - 13° F).

Amyl Acetate (Oil of Pear) is prepared by distillation of amylic alcohol, sulphuric acid and acetate of potassium, rectified with soda and magnesia. Also prepared, after Fehling, without distillation, by treating amylic alcohol with acetic acid (glacical) and sulphuric acid and heating. Amyl acetate is a colorless liquid of agreeable fruity odor, specific gravity 0.869 at 15.1° C.

Amyl Butyrate

Mix ethyl butyrate (see Ethyl Butyrate) with some amylic alcohol.

Amyl Valerianate - This is produced by the action of sulphuric acid upon amylic alcohol and chromate of potassium. The amyl valeriate thus produced has no agreeable odor its concentrated state, but mixed with ten parts of alcohol imparts a fruity odor, resembling that of apples. It boils at 188 to 189° C., specific gravity 0.879 at 17.7° C. (Kopp).

1Tincture of orris root, powdered, one pound; alcohol of 95 per cent., two pints. Macerate for a month, then exhaust by percolation.


Prepared by distilling alcohol with chlorinated lime. Commercial chloroform, according to the United States Pharmacopoeia, should contain at least 98 per cent, of chloroform, specific gravity 1.470. Purified chloroform is a colorless liquid, not inflammable, has an agreeable ethereal odor, sweet taste, is soluble in 200 parts of water, to which it imparts its taste, also in all proportions in alcohol and ether. Specific gravity 1.485 to 1.490 at 15° C. (59° F.), boiling at 60 to 61° C. (140 to 142° F.).

Ethyl Acetate (Acetic Ether)

This is produced by the action of sulphuric acid-and alcohol on acetate of soda. It is a colorless liquid of an agreeable ethereal and somewhat acetous odor and taste, specific gravity 0.900 at 15° C, boils between 74 to 76° 0., soluble in ether, alcohol and chloroform in all proportions. Pure acetic acid is soluble in eleven to twelve parts of water. A greater solubility is proof of adulterations with alcohol or water. Its purity is determined by agitating ten ccm. of it with an equal volume of water in a graduated tube; the ethereal layer, after its separation, should not measure less than nine ccm. - (U. S., P. G,) Spirit acetic aetherous is one part of acetic ether mixed with three parts of alcohol, and sometimes sold for acetic ether, as it is also a colorless liquid of agreeable, odor and tastes like acetic ether. The foregoing examination of acetic ether will detect this fraud.

Ethyl Benzoate (Benzoic Ether)

This is a product of the distillation of benzoic acid with alcohol and sulphuric or muriatic acid. It is an agreeable, Colorless, bright liquid, of vanilla-like odor; insoluble in cold water, easily soluble in alcohol and ether. Specific gravity 1.05 at 16° C.

Ethyl Butyrate (Butyric Ether)

This is obtained by distilling butyric acid, alcohol and sulphuric acid. A colorless, limpid, very agreeable rum-like odor. Specific gravity 0.900. Mixed with alcohol it is the pineapple essence. It forms generally a constituent of rum ether or rum essence. Butyric acid is a constituent of butter and St. John's bread, and a chemical product from them.

Ethyl Formate (Formic Ether)

This is a product of the action of sulphuric acid on alcohol and formic acid or formic salts, obtained by distillation. A colorless, thin liquid, inflammable, of agreeable odor and pungent taste. Specific gravity 0.918 at 17° (62.8° F.); boiling at 55° C. (131° F.). Soluble in about nine parts of water, in all proportions of alcohol.

Ethyl Nitrate (Nitric Ether)

Obtained by distilling alcohol with nitric acid or nitrate salts and sulphuric acid. Pure spirit nitric is very much volatile. For practical purposes the crude ether is mixed with alcohol, then forming the spirit of nitrous ether. The spirit of the British Pharmacopoeia contains about ten per cent, of nitrous ether, specific gravity 0.845; the United States Pharmacopoeia requires five per cent, of ether, specific gravity 0.828-0.825. Ethyl nitrate is a thin, pale-yellow liquid, having a pungent, ethereal, apple-like odor, boils at 17.5° C. (72.5° F.), somewhat soluble in water, and acquires an acid reaction on keeping. The spirit of nitrous ether is a transparent, volatile, inflammable liquid, colorless or with a slight yellowish or greenish-yellow tint, has an agreeable, ethereal, fruit-like odor. It mixes with water in all proportions. It should be kept in small well-filled and well-stoppered bottles, and not exposed to the direct sunlight.


"A portion of the spirit, in a test-tube half filled with it, plunged into water heated to 63° C. (145.4° F.), and held there until it has reached that temperature, should boil distinctly on the addition of a few small pieces of glass. If ten grammes of spirit of nitrous ether be macerated with 1.5 grammes of potassa for twelve hours, with occasional agitation, the mixture then diluted in a beaker with an equal volume of water, and set aside until the odor of alcohol has disappeared, then slightly acidulated with diluted sulphuric acid, and a solution of 0.476 gramme of permanganate of potassium gradually added, the color of the whole of this solution should be discharged (presence of at least four per cent, of real ethyl nitrite)". - U. S. P.

Ethyl Oenantliate (Oenanthic Ether)

This is the odorous principle of all wines. It is also called wine oil or cognac oil (see Wine Oil).

Ethyl Sebate (Sebacylic Ether)

By distilling oleine (oleic acid) with alcohol and sulphuric acid, ethyl sebate is obtained. A colorless, oily liquid, specific gravity 0 871. It is mentioned in some old formulae. In new formulae ethyl butyrate is substituted.

Ethyl Valerianate (Valerianic Ether)

This resembles amyl valerianate very much, and is obtained with ethyl alcohol by the same process.

Methyl Salicylate is oil of wintergreen and oil of birch.

Benzoic Acid

This is contained in benzoine, tolu balsam, Peru balsam, etc., and is prepared artificially from hippuric acid. Benzoic acid is in yellowish-white, feathery, flexible, crystalline plates and needles, having an agreeable aromatic odor. Its vapors are suffocating and acrid, inciting to coughing. It requires for solution two and one-half parts of 90 per cent, alcohol.

Oxalic Acid

Obtained by heating sugar with nitric acid, also by the influence of the latter and alkalies, or many other organic compounds. Colorless transparent prisms, not deliquescent, inodorous, of a strongly acid taste and reaction; soluble in about eight parts of water at ordinary temperature, and in nearly all proportions of boiling water, and in two and one-half parts of cold alcohol. Oxalic acid is poisonous. Its taste is intensely sour. It has only a very limited medical use. The quantities entering in the artificial essence, and consequently in the beverage, is so infinitesimal as to cause no alarm.

Succinic Acid

It is a product of dry distillation of amber and exists also in various plants, etc. Impure succinic acid is in yellowish or brownish prismatic crystals, with a slightly sour taste, and has an odor like oil of amber. The pure acid is inodorous. Soluble freely in warm alcohol, in two parts of boiling and twenty-eight parts of cold water.