Benzyl acetate is an ester formed from the condensation of benzyl alcohol and acetic acid. Its molecular formula is C9H10O2. This compound occurs in nature and is found in flowers such as jasmine and ylang ylang. It has a sweet, fruit odor that resembles that of pears. In nature, benzyl acetate is a compound that is attractive to bees. Studies revealed that orchid bees gather benzyl acetate that they synthesize into pheromones. Scientist also use the chemical as bait to attract and collect bees for study.
Due to its characteristic smell, this compound is often used in perfumes and cosmetics. In 1964, it was also approved by the FDA as a flavoring ingredient in food. Benzyl acetate is also used for industrial uses, especially as a solvent in plastics and resins, nitrates, oils and lacquers. It is also an intermediate in the production other organic compounds. The US uses about 1 million kilograms of benzyl acetate every year.