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Octanol vs. Octanal: What's the Difference?

By Aimie Carlson || Updated on May 22, 2024
Octanol is a fatty alcohol with a hydroxyl group, used in fragrances and as a solvent, while octanal is an aldehyde with a carbonyl group, used in perfumes and flavorings.

Key Differences

Octanol is a fatty alcohol, specifically a type of organic compound characterized by the presence of a hydroxyl group (-OH) attached to an octane chain. It is commonly used in the manufacture of perfumes, as well as a solvent in various industrial applications. Octanal, on the other hand, is an aldehyde with a carbonyl group (C=O) at the end of an octane chain. It is also used in the fragrance industry but primarily for its citrus-like scent, which makes it a popular choice in perfumes and flavorings.
Both octanol and octanal have significant roles in the flavor and fragrance industries, but their chemical properties lead to different applications. Octanol's alcohol group makes it a better solvent, while octanal's aldehyde group provides a strong, distinctive scent. Octanol is less reactive and more stable compared to octanal, which is more chemically active due to its aldehyde functionality.
In terms of physical properties, octanol is a liquid at room temperature with a higher boiling point, whereas octanal is also a liquid but has a lower boiling point due to the nature of the aldehyde group. This difference in boiling points affects their use in various industrial processes.
While both compounds have their place in organic chemistry, octanol is often used where a stable, less reactive alcohol is needed, whereas octanal's reactivity makes it suitable for chemical synthesis and creating complex fragrance notes. Octanol's role in the production of plasticizers and surfactants also highlights its versatility compared to octanal.

Comparison Chart

Functional Group

Hydroxyl group (-OH)
Carbonyl group (C=O)

Chemical Formula


Common Use

Solvent, fragrance manufacturing
Perfumes, flavorings

Scent Profile

Mild, slightly floral


Less reactive
More reactive

Octanol and Octanal Definitions


A type of alcohol with eight carbon atoms.
Octanol is used in the production of esters for perfumes.


A compound with a strong, citrus-like scent.
The lemon-scented cleaner had octanal listed as an ingredient.


An organic compound with a hydroxyl group.
Octanol’s hydroxyl group makes it a good solvent.


An aldehyde with eight carbon atoms.
Octanal is used to impart a citrus scent in perfumes.


A fatty alcohol derived from plant oils.
Coconut oil contains a significant amount of octanol.


An organic compound with a carbonyl group.
The reactive carbonyl group in octanal is key in organic synthesis.


A liquid at room temperature.
Octanol is often found in liquid form in laboratories.


An important ingredient in perfumery.
Perfumers use octanal to create fresh, citrus top notes.


Used in industrial applications as a solvent.
The cleaning solution contained octanol as a key ingredient.


A liquid aldehyde used in flavorings.
Octanal is added to enhance the flavor of citrus products.


(organic compound) Any of many isomers of the saturated aliphatic alcohol having eight carbon atoms, but especially the simple primary alcohol n-octanol; its esters are used in perfumery


(organic compound) The saturated aliphatic aldehyde having eight carbon atoms


Can octanol and octanal be used interchangeably in perfumes?

No, because they impart different scents and have different chemical properties.

Which has a higher boiling point, octanol or octanal?

Octanol has a higher boiling point due to the hydrogen bonding of its hydroxyl group.

What is octanol?

Octanol is a fatty alcohol with a hydroxyl group, used mainly in fragrances and as a solvent.

What is octanal?

Octanal is an aldehyde with a carbonyl group, commonly used in perfumes and flavorings for its citrus scent.

What type of scent does octanal provide?

Octanal provides a strong, citrus-like scent.

How does the functional group of octanol differ from octanal?

Octanol has a hydroxyl group (-OH), whereas octanal has a carbonyl group (C=O).

Is octanol more stable than octanal?

Yes, octanol is less reactive and more stable than octanal.

What type of scent does octanol provide?

Octanol provides a mild, slightly floral scent.

What is the chemical formula of octanal?

The chemical formula of octanal is C8H16O.

Why is octanal more reactive than octanol?

Octanal's reactivity is due to its carbonyl group, which makes it more chemically active.

Is octanal found in nature?

Yes, octanal can be found in the essential oils of citrus fruits.

What are common uses of octanal?

Octanal is used in perfumes, flavorings, and organic synthesis.

Which compound is used for a citrus scent in perfumes?

Octanal is used for its citrus-like scent in perfumes.

What is the chemical formula of octanol?

The chemical formula of octanol is C8H17OH.

Which is used more as a solvent, octanol or octanal?

Octanol is more commonly used as a solvent.

Is octanol found in nature?

Yes, octanol is found in plant oils like coconut and palm oil.

Which compound is used in flavorings, octanol or octanal?

Octanal is used in flavorings.

What physical state is octanol in at room temperature?

Octanol is a liquid at room temperature.

What physical state is octanal in at room temperature?

Octanal is also a liquid at room temperature.

What are common uses of octanol?

Octanol is used as a solvent, in fragrance manufacturing, and in the production of esters.
About Author
Written by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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