Tuesday, May 02, 2006


I see Benzoin listed quite often in some of my favorite fragrances, but what exactly is it? I think it's a resin from a tree that adds a sweet musky edge to fragrance. Let's Wikipedia it and find out how close I am...

Ok, Benzoin refers to Benzoin Resin, a fragrant secretion from the bark of a genus of trees referred to as styrax. Botanical.com adds that this secretion is not typical, but only occurs as a pathology when the tree is cut or stabbed at sufficient depths so as to cause the resinous weeping. The most common varieties are Siamese and Sumatran and the resin often has a sweet vanilla-like aroma. The resin was likely brought to Europe from Indonesia and is a key note used in Orthodox Christian and Russian church incense.

Commonly used as a basenote in combination with woods, musks and vanilla, some of my favorite fragrances containing Benzoin are:
  • Balenciaga Cristobal pour Homme
  • Chanel Coco
  • Davidoff Relax
  • Givenchy Pi
  • L'Artisan Bois de Farine
  • Lorenzo Villoresi Incensi
  • Prada
  • YSL Body Kouros
  • Cartier Le Baiser du Dragon
What's your favorite benzoin-based scent?


katiedid said...

Oh man, everyone just needs to bow down to the glory that is Pi. Well, according to me anyhow, which is not much at all! Heh! Love the vanillic/benzoin curls in Organza Indecence as well. And I'm 90% sure that's what is the vanillic dab at the end of Xerysus Rouge that I love so much. Givenchy really does awesome things with this note, now that I think about it.

Ooooooooh, I know! Cannabis Santal! That is really what I believe to be its big appeal to me. I mean I like the other notes and stuff, but it's that big fluffy and addictive benzoin in it that really is happy-making for me.

Shannon said...

Mmmm I love the smell of benzoin! Years ago, at the hosiptal where I worked, we would use benzoin spray to protect patient's skin from the bandages we used.

Some of my favorite fragrances with benzoin notes are: Shalimar, Jaipur Homme, Boucheron Homme, Pi, Habanita ... the list goes on and on. It seems that benzoin is really versatile and blends well, adding a sweet, warm, resinous glow to any scent that it is in.

marlen said...

I agree, I found lots of interesting scents when researching benzoin...and Pi is one of my favorites.

Heather said...

Benzoin was used to make a old salve called 'Fryers Balsam' - for healing cuts etc - we used this balsam on our dogs feet if ever they cut the pads.

However, my chemist will not let me use benzoin in any of my toiletries - he insists its for candles only!! I sneaked it in to my mens fragrance 'countryman' simply because trying to substitute with vanilla just wouldn't work!


marlen said...

heather - would love to try countryman! good for you for sticking with your standards!