Seventy-three saffron samples belonging to three different storage time (<1 year, 3–4 and 8–9 years) were analysed using ultrasound assisted extraction-gas chromatography–mass spectrometry and ultrasound assisted extraction-gas chromatography–olfactometry. Nineteen volatile compounds were identified and their aromatic notes were assigned. In addition to safranal, the main compound found, (30.14–43.94% in mass of total volatiles), other major compounds were 4-hydroxy-2,6,6-trimethyl-1-cyclohexen- 1-carboxaldehyde and 3,5,5-trimethyl-2-cyclohexene-1-one. These compounds were significantly different for less than 1 year storage when compared with the 3–4 and 8–9 years of storage, although the minor constituents 2-hydroxy-3,5,5-trimethylcyclohex-2-en-1,4-dione and isomer of 4-hydroxy-3,5,5- trimethyl-2-cyclohex-1-one varied significantly for all three harvests. Positive and negative aroma descriptors were related with the overall saffron chemical volatile composition. Saffron with less than 1 year storage contained a higher proportion of saffron, flower and spicy descriptors, while the oldest saffrons (3–4 and 8–9 years of storage) contained volatiles with vegetal, caramel and citrus notes. The aromatic notes that contributed most to saffron storage differentiation are spicy, freshly cut grass and vegetable.
- Saffron (Crocus sativus L.)
- Volatile profile