This alcohol, which is of importance because of its application in perfumery, has been found as such in the oils of tuberose, ylang-ylang, jasmin, cloves and of cassie flowers (Acacia Farnesiana and A. Cavenia). Possibly it is also found in small amounts in cherry laurel oil. As acetate it occurs in the oils of ylang-ylang, hyacinth, jasmin and gardenia; as benzoate in the oils of tuberose, ylang-ylang, Peru balsam and tolu balsam; as cinnamate in storax oil and in the two balsams just mentioned; as salicylate in ylang-ylang oil; and as phenyl acetic acid ester in neroli oil."

1) Report of Schimmel & Co. October 1904, 92.

2) Joum. and Proceed. Royal Soc. of N. S. W. 41 (1907), 196.

3) Report of Schimmel & Co. October 1904, 92.

4) Report of Schimmel & Co. April 1904, 69.

It is prepared by heating benzyl chloride with water and freshly precipitated lead oxide to 100° or by prolonged heating of the chloride with water or potassium carbonate solution. Or it can be obtained, as suggested by Cannizzaro,1) by double decomposition between benzyl chloride and potassium acetate and subsequent saponification of the benzyl acetate. Still another method consists in shaking benzaldehyde with alkali, whereby one half of the aldehyde is oxidized, the other half reduced. In order to remove the last traces of aldehyde the alcohol is shaken with an acid sulphite solution before it is distilled. In this case the sulphurous acid should be washed out with alkali. Otherwise the sulphuric acid resulting will convert a large part of the benzyl alcohol into the benzyl ether.2)

Benzyl alcohol is a colorless liquid which, when freshly prepared, has a faintly aromatic odor. Upon exposure to air it oxidizes and assumes an odor of bitter almond oil. B. p. 205°; d15ol,05; nD20° about 1,540. It is soluble in about 35 vols, of water, in 8 to 9 vols, of 30 p. c. alcohol and in 1,5 vol. of 50 p. c. alcohol. With other solvents it is miscible in all proportions. In as much as it can be prepared from benzyl chloride, special care should be devoted in its examination to the test for chlorides. (For details see the chapter "The examination of volatile oils".)

Upon oxidation benzaldehyde and benzoic acid result. Characteristic derivatives are the phenylurethane3) melting at 78° and acid phthalic acid ester melting at 106 to 107°.4) The semi-carbazone of the pyrouvic acid ester (m. p. 176°)5) may also be used for this purpose.