Molecule of the Week

(S)-(+)-Carvone

August 21, 2006

The nose knows. (S)-(+)-carvone (shown here), a naturally occurring compound found in caraway seeds and mandarin orange peel oil, smells like caraway. Its mirror image, (R)-(–)-carvone, is extracted from spearmint and kuromoji oils and smells like spearmint. Gingergrass oil contains a mixture of both enantiomers.