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Thread: Opopanax

  1. #1
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    Default Opopanax

    The note opopanax has always kind of puzzled me. I'm not sure exactly what it smells like, nor do I reference it to one particular fragrance that I have smelled or owned. It's one of those notes that I just...well, haven't really paid a lot of attention to.

    I am starting to look at Eau Lente by Diptyque, mostly because of the numerous recommendations on the Cinnamon thread I posted a while ago - but in the reviews both Vibert and Pluran (two reviewers who's opinions I respect) mentioned EL is an opopanax prominent scent.

    So, tell me some more fragrances that feature this mystery note prominently - so I have some frame of reference, before I venture forth.
    Last edited by mikeperez23; 19th October 2007 at 09:36 PM.
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  2. #2

    Default Re: Opopanax

    It's an important ingredient in the base notes of Jicky and Shalimar. It's the deep, thick, almost buttery balsamic base in those fragrances.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opoponax
    http://www.aromaticsinternational.co...l-oil/opopanax
    http://www.scents-of-earth.com/opoponax.html

  3. #3

    Default Re: Opopanax


    Mike,

    While Opopanax (Commiphora erythraea) and Myrrh (Commiphora myrrha) are closely related--they are both part of the Burseraceae family--they are two different plants which produce different resinoids and essential oils with somewhat similar, but also significantly difference scent profiles. The Commiphora erythraea from which Opopanax is derived is a tall tree, while the Commiphora Myrrha from which Myrrh is derived is a smaller more shrub-like tree with knotted branches and fragrant leaves and flowers. Both are native to Somalia and Ethiopia, while Myrrh is also native to Yemen and has a geographical extensiveness over a greater area than Opopanax.

    The confusion occurs easily because Opopanax goes by the synonyms of Sweet Myrrh and Bisabol Myrrh. The fragrant material for both Opopanax and Myrrh--an oleo gum resin--is harvested by incisions in the trunks of the respective trees. Opopanax oleo gum resin dries quickly when exposed to air to form tear-shaped dark reddish brown lumps, while myrrh hardens to a dark brown withered clumps.

    The Opopanax resinoid has powdery, sweet, balsamic, woody and root-like odor, while the Myrrh resinoid has a rich, spicy, warm balsamic odor with no hints of woody or root-like odor. A resinoid is the oleo gum resin after it has been processed by solvents such as hexane or petroleum.

    The major similarities and difference with regard to the essential oil derived from these two related plants are as follows: Both Opopanax and Myrrh have a warm and spicy sweet balsamic component to their scent profiles, but the former also has an animalic component absent in Myrrh, while Myrrh has a bitter, medical component absent in Opopanax.

    Opopanax is used widely in the liqueurs to add sweetness, body, and wine-like notes, while Myrrh is used widely as a flavoring agent in pharmaceutical products and in food and beverages that require a bitter flavoring component.

    Best regards,

    scentemental

    Last edited by scentemental; 19th October 2007 at 10:03 PM.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Opopanax

    Opopanax is a somewhat sweet, dark resinous note with a decidedly "oriental" feel to it. Besides Eau Lente, Imperial Opopanax and Santa Maria Novella Opopanax, I detect some in the base of Cimabue, and even perhaps Fumerie Turque. (Besides Eau Lente, Diptyque also makes an exquisite opopanax candle, one of which lives on my living room mantle.)

  5. #5

    Default Re: Opopanax

    While Opopanax (Commiphora erythraea) and Myrrh (Commiphora myrrha) are closely related--they are both part of the Burseraceae family--they are two different plants which produce different resinoids and essential oils with somewhat similar, but also significantly difference scent profiles. The Commiphora erythraea from which Opopanax is derived is a tall tree, while the Commiphora Myrrha from which Myrrh is derived is a smaller more shrub-like tree with knotted branches and fragrant leaves and flowers. Both are native to Somalia and Ethiopia, while Myrrh is also native to Yemen and has a geographical extensiveness over a greater area than Opopanax.
    Recently, what vendors are selling as Opoponax is described as essential oil of C. guidotti not C. erythraea. I am not certain if this is a different species or just a new name. To me, my recent samples labled EO of C. guidotti seem quite different from an older sample of EO from C. erythraea; more like EO of C. myrrha.
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  6. #6

    Default Re: Opopanax

    Quote Originally Posted by dcampen View Post
    Recently, what vendors are selling as Opoponax is described as essential oil of C. guidotti not C. erythraea. I am not certain if this is a different species or just a new name. To me, my recent samples labled EO of C. guidotti seem quite different from an older sample of EO from C. erythraea; more like EO of C. myrrha.
    Those are species designations that, more than likely, correspond to the provenance of where the tree is grown and from which the essential oils are harvested. These trees are, after all, found over a significantly large geographical area that would compound species differentiation.

    Place--climate, soil, and altitude--has a significant bearing on species differentiation and hence essential oil differentiation. Factor into the equation the way these materials which eventually produce the essential oils are processed (always a significant factor in the final scent profile of the essential oil) and one can see why there is such a great variance from one eo to another.

    scentemental

    Last edited by scentemental; 19th October 2007 at 11:39 PM.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Opopanax

    Lagerfeld classic for men
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  8. #8

    Default Re: Opopanax

    Quote Originally Posted by francois View Post
    Lagerfeld classic for men
    If you want opopanax, LC is the place to get it big time.
    --------------------------------------
    You should also try, Ligea "La Sirena" by Carthusia.
    Last edited by Kevin Guyer; 19th October 2007 at 11:08 PM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost

  9. #9

    Default Re: Opopanax


    In answer to the other part of your question Mike, here are some fragrances with opoponax. The boldfaced ones should give you a good sense of opoponax:


    Armani Attitude
    Burberry London for Men
    CdG Patchouli (Luxe Series)
    CdG Tar
    Chanel Bois d’Iles
    Chanel Coco Mademoiselle
    Chanel Pour Monsieur Concentrée
    Czech & Speake Cuba
    Dior Poison
    Eau d'Italie Bois d'Ombrie
    Eau d'Italie Paestum Rose

    Elizabeth Arden Sandalwood
    Etro Shaal Nur
    Frédéric Malle Editions de Parfume French Lover
    Gendarme Rage
    Gucci Envy for Men
    Guerlain Cologne du 68
    Jo Malone Pomegranate Noir
    Kenzo Flower
    Les Néréides Impérial Opoponax
    Lorenzo Villoresi Incensi
    Lorenzo Villoresi Sandalo
    Santa Maria Novella Opoponax
    YSL Opium
    Yver Rocher Voile d’Ambre EDP



    --------------------------------------
    Quote Originally Posted by Ruggles View Post
    If you want opopanax, LC is the place to get it big time.
    --------------------------------------
    You should also try, Ligea "La Sirena" by Carthusia.
    Certainly Lagerfeld Classic and Diptyque's Eau Lente. To get a sense of opononax's difference from myrrh, you might want to contrast Eau Lente with Diptyque's L'Eau Trois, which has a substantial myrrh component to it.

    scentemental

    Last edited by scentemental; 20th October 2007 at 02:29 PM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Opopanax

    Thanks everyone for the suggestions - keep 'em coming.

    p.s. - I wore Lagerfeld Classic in high school, I had no idea...very interesting.
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  11. #11

    Default Re: Opopanax

    funny, i just wound up buying Eau Lente from another thread in the sale forum

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Opopanax

    Quote Originally Posted by rentboy View Post
    funny, i just wound up buying Eau Lente from another thread in the sale forum
    Hey rentboy - you're not supposed to be using our Wonder Twin powers without asking me first!
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  13. #13

    Default Re: Opopanax

    LOL I'll certainly share wonder twin powers...
    It's just funny that I actually was in the sale forum, and said 'man that's a good deal on another Diptyque", sent her a PM about buying, and then came to the main forum to see your thread here! it was almost creepy

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Opopanax

    So if opopanax is from trees, then is labdanum the same thing from different trees?
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  15. #15
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    Default Re: Opopanax

    If I remember correctly, labdanum is extracted from Cistus ladanifer, an aromatic evergreen shrub that happens to be a popular landscape plant up and down the west coast.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Opopanax

    Opoponax is an essential oil distilled from a gum from a bush that grows in Africa. Labdanum is an absolute produced from a resin from a bush that grows in Spain.

    http://www.bojensen.net/EssentialOil...5.htm#Labdanum

    http://www.bojensen.net/EssentialOil...tialOils22.htm
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  17. #17

    Default Re: Opopanax


    Labdanum gum is derived from the Cistus plant which belongs to the family Cistacae; it’s scientific botanical name is Cistus ladanifer. Cistus is basically a small evergreen shrub with leaves that are white and furry on the underside and with fragrant white flowers. Labdanum gum is a natural oleoresin that is obtained by boiling the leaves and twigs of the plant that exude the oleoresin. It is then processed by solvents to produce an absolute that is complex and multivalent with a somewhat mossy, balsamic odor that’s rich and sweet, with animalic (ambergris-like) and somewhat incensy (think frankincense and myrrh notes) undertones, as well as leathery notes. Because of this multivalent complexity, it is frequently used to bolster the mossy, leather, ambergris elements of fragrances and is also considered one of the best of all the fixatives mixing seamlessly with oakmoss and patchouli
    to produce a rich, warm, intimate, all-encompassing mossy-earthy, animalic basenote accord of great depth and amplitude.

    The Cistus essential oil is produced from the steam distillation of the crude Labdanum gum or by direct steam distillation of the leaves and twigs themselves. The essential oil, as opposed to the absolute, tends to have a drier more musky, mossy scent. Cistus/Labdanum also goes by the name of European Rock Rose.

    scentemental

    P.S. Labdanum is one of the oldest fragrance materials going all the way back--thousands of years ago, in fact--to the time of the Pharaohs when was it used by the ancient Egyptians in their Kyphi mixtures. Legend has it that during this time, the labdanum resin was harvested by shepherds from the wool of sheep and hair of goats that had grazed on the cistus shrubs and was sold in local markets and to traders who then took it to other lands. The beards one typically sees in depictions of Pharaohs, were actually false beards made of the labdanum soaked wool of sheep or the labdanum soaked hair of goats.

    Last edited by scentemental; 24th October 2007 at 10:40 PM.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Opopanax

    Thanks everyone, for the info.

    I will never look at a goat beard the same way again scentemental.
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    Default Re: Opopanax

    Quote Originally Posted by mikeperez23 View Post
    Thanks everyone, for the info.

    I will never look at a goat beard the same way again scentemental.
    I once went on a road trip from Seville to La Coruña (in Galicia, my parents' original home) in Spain, and passing through the region of León (specifically the province of Zamora) in the month of June, the heat of the day released the most incredible scent of ambergris and tobacco and moss and incense. The cistus bushes were in bloom, and the early summer air on the plateau was saturated with their intoxicating fragrance. We drove for miles with the car windows open, catching the scent on the breeze sweeping across the fields and dreaming of castles in Spain (of which we were seeing not a few).

    There is a town in that province named Jara. The old Spanish name for cistus resinoid is "droga de Jara."
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    Default Re: Opopanax

    I was reading the 'CB I hate perfume' blog the other day and I recalled that CB mentioned that opopanax was apparently Alexander the Great's favorite scent.

    Christopher Brosius is working on an incense scent.

    more:

    http://www.cbihateperfume.com/CBjournal.html/84

  21. #21

    Default Re: Opopanax

    The beards one typically sees in depictions of Pharaohs, were actually false beards made of the labdanum soaked wool of sheep or the labdanum soaked hair of goats.

    [/QUOTE]

    I wonder if this is where the term "goatee" comes from...not much info on Wikipedia about it.
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  22. #22

    Default Re: Opopanax

    Quote Originally Posted by mikeperez23 View Post
    I am starting to look at Eau Lente by Diptyque, mostly because of the numerous recommendations on the Cinnamon thread I posted a while ago - but in the reviews both Vibert and Pluran (two reviewers who's opinions I respect) mentioned EL is an opopanax prominent scent.
    All I can say is, get Eau Lente without hesitation. Fantastic!

  23. #23

    Default Re: Opopanax

    Wow!!! What a thread here!
    Specially cuz I always like resinous notes like basalm, Mhyrr, Opoponax, cystus etc...
    For a nice Mhyrr touch I reccommend yoiu to try CK Obsession: in the old formulation specially the mhyrr was so strong in the base...
    For Opoponax very good suggestion has been given, but seems nobody mentioned Coco (not the madamoiselle) that has (and even more in the original formulation) a strong opoponax note in the base

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Opopanax

    So - I finally got a chance to give a healthy wearing to Eau Lente by Diptyque (thanks Vibert and rentboy) and I have come to the conclusion that I don't like opopanax.

    The powdery aspect heats up on my skin and combines to create a buttery almost fatty note to my nose that made me extremely uncomfortable. I was looking over the list above that scentemental made of opoponax prominent scents and honestly I like very few of those (except for Poison and Opium, which I adore). In fact, when I wore Incensi by Lorenzo Villoresi I kept wondering what it was, that was annoying my nose. Now I know what it is.

    So perhaps I can tolerate opoponax blended well with other notes in an 'oriental' setting, but the pure smell of it is not my cup of tea.
    Last edited by mikeperez23; 29th November 2007 at 11:25 PM.

  25. #25

    Default Re: Opopanax

    Quote Originally Posted by mikeperez23 View Post
    So - I finally got a chance to give a healthy wearing to Eau Lente by Diptyque (thanks Vibert and rentboy) and I have come to the conclusion that I don't like opopanax.
    Aw, now what am I going to do with that Opopanax bush that I was going to send to you?

  26. #26

    Default Re: Opopanax

    Ruggles, is that opposed to the oponax beard mentioned above?

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Opopanax

    Quote Originally Posted by Ruggles View Post
    Aw, now what am I going to do with that Opopanax bush that I was going to send to you?
    Quote Originally Posted by paintrman View Post
    Ruggles, is that opposed to the oponax beard mentioned above?
    LOL

    You two keep your bushes and your beards away from me... my goodness.

  28. #28

    Default Re: Opopanax

    try smn before deciding

    and as I've mentioned on the site many times James Joyce loved opoponax but he is also said to have had an erotic mania for flatulance

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Opopanax

    Does anyone know if opoponax is in Eau d'Elide by Diptyque also? After the bitter orange and lavender calm down in the top notes I swear I get that vibe that resembles opoponax but it's very faint?

  30. #30

    Default Re: Opopanax

    Supermarky writes, "and as I've mentioned on the site many times James Joyce loved opoponax but he is also said to have had an erotic mania for flatulence." (Oh, TMI, TMI, TMI.)

    I for one am still waiting to sample the Les Néréides Opoponax that everyone keeps talking about -- it's certainly cheap enough at luckyscent.
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  31. #31

    Default Re: Opopanax

    Well, this must be a note I like. I wore Obsession and Lagerfeld Classic forever. Did Perry Ellis have it? What about Bijan's fragrance?

    I also like Fumerie, and smelt some Parfums Generale Opponax I liked. Seems that like another poster mentioned, I may prefer Orientals with resinous-sort of notes. I also loved Piper Nigrum, Miller Harris' Feuilles de Tabac, and Tauer's L'Air du Desert Mor.

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