Benzyl acetate is the principal constituent of the oil of jasmine flowers and of gardenia oil. It is also contained in ylang-ylang oil and in hyacinth oil. Artificially this ester can be obtained in a variety of ways. The simplest method is to acetylize benzyl alcohol with acetic acid anhydride, or to act on benzyl alcohol with acetic acid in the presence of sulphuric acid.1) According to Seelig2) a mixture of benzyl chloride, fused potassium or sodium acetate and glacial acetic acid are boiled for 20 to 30 hours in a flask connected with a reflux condenser. The latter is provided with a calcium chloride tube to keep out moisture. Tiemann3) uses benzaldehyde as starting point which he gently boils with zinc dust and glacial acetic acid for about 12 hours in a flask connected with a reflux condenser.

1) Walbaum and Stephan, Berl. Berichte 33 (1900), 2307.

2) Tiemann and Schmidt, Berl. Berichte 29 (1896), 907.

3) Beitrage zur Kenntnis aliphatischer Terpenverbindungen. Inaug.-Dissert. Gottingen 1896, p. 49.

4) Loc. cit.

Benzyl acetate is a colorless liquid of a refreshing odor reminding of jasmine. According to Hesse and Muller4) it boils between 215 and 216° and has a specific gravity of 1,060 at 15°.

In connection with their own products prepared on a technical scale, Schimmel & Co. have observed the following constants: b. p. 215° (760 mm.), 95° (10 mm.), 69° (4 mm.); dl5o. 1,060 to 1,062; nD20o 1,502 to 1,504; ester content 98 to 100 p. c; soluble in 2 vol. of 70 p. c, 6 vol. of 60 p. c, 20 vol. of 50 p. c, 70 vol. of 40 p. c, 120 vol. of 35 p. c, and 200 vol. of 30 p. c. alcohol.

The benzyl acetate content is the principal criterion as to the purity of the product. In as much as benzyl chloride may be used in its production, the absence of chlorinated products should be ascertained.

On account of its ready solubility in dilute alcohol, benzyl acetate is particularly adapted to the preparation of perfumes with low alcohol content.