Sorry, but Gertrude Stein got it wrong. In perfumery, a rose is hardly ever just a rose. The challenge facing perfumers is not so much to mimic nature as to go one better.
— Another article about the "naturals vs synthetics" debate, this one in the UK Times Online.
To capture the fragrance of a flower without having to kill it, IFF uses a kind of "smell camera" that detects and absorbs the particles that surround a plant to record its scent. The information is then translated into a formula with the help of chromatography and spectrometry, techniques that help identify the many components that make up a flower's scent.
— From The Smell Factory, in Time Magazine.