This section is from the book "A Treatise On Beverages or The Complete Practical Bottler", by Charles Herman Sulz. Also available from Amazon: A Treatise On Beverages.
By the oxidizing action of fuming nitric acid on benzol, the nitrobenzol is produced. It is a yellowish oily liquid of 1.209 spec, gr., crystallizes in needles at 3° C. (37.4° F.), and boils at 205° C. (401° F.) It has a strong odor, resembling that of oil of bitter almond - hence incorrectly named artificial oil of bitter almond - has a sweet taste, dissolves in all proportions in alcohol and ether.
The oil of bitter almond used by bottlers for various preparations is not infrequently adulterated with nitrobenzol, which is very objection-able. Nitrobenzol exerts poisonous effects, and is therefore unsuited to the carbonator's purposes, and never imitates the fine aroma of the true oil of bitter almond.