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2018 Citral Shortage Update

What Exactly is Citral?

Citral, also know as lemonal or 3,7-dimethyl-2,6-octadienal, is commonly found in the essential oils of plants like lemongrass, verbena, and citronella.

By itself, it comes in liquid form with a pale yellow color and a strong lemon scent. It is insoluble in water but soluble in solvents like ethanol (ethyl alcohol), diethyl ether, and mineral oil.

It is used in fragrances, flavorings, and in the manufacture of other chemicals. Citral is also used to produce synthetic vitamin A, ionone, and methylionone.

Are CandleScience Fragrance Oils Affected?

First, a little background on what happened. Citral is a common aroma chemical compound used in fragrance oils. One of the largest manufacturers of citral is the German company BASF. On October 31st, 2017 the plant where they make it was damaged by a fire. Thankfully no one was injured, but the loss of that facility has caused a global shortage of products that contain citral as an ingredient.

Now, what does this mean for you?

Our product development team is in constant communication with our fragrance suppliers to ensure our inventory remains strong. Currently, we do not expect stock outages or the need to reformulate any of our fragrances.

Why not?

First, we work with large fragrance suppliers that have multiple sources for important raw materials and keep larger quantities in reserve. They are able to make our fragrances without any change to the formulation, simply by using backstock or citral from other manufacturers.

Secondly, we’ve been working closely with these partners for nearly 15 years. Due to the strength of these relationships, plus the fact that we were able to provide them very accurate forecasts for our fragrance demand, they have allocated enough citral for us to avoid any reformulation.   


BASF expects to have their facility back online this spring. However, we will continue to keep a close eye on the citral shortage, and we will update this page if anything changes. And as always, we will give you notice if any part of a fragrance was changed for any reason.

We hope this helps answer any concerns or questions you may have. If there is anything else you’d like to know please reach out to us at [email protected].