My peru balsam samples come from various essential oil shops, and I am unsure of their origins prior to those shops.
Sticky. No matter where I get my samples from, they are always STICKY. Difficult to work with for that reason, and so the first shop owner I bought from recommended reconstituting in a bit of ethanol.
The smell? Not the kind of balsam-wood smell you get from those pieces of balsam that one can purchase from Hobby Lobby or Michael's craft shops that one could use to made model planes. Deep, sour, smell. Reconstituted it is a little easier on the nose, less sour and dark.
I guess because of the stickiness, it is useful as a base note, lending longevity to lighter more volatile oils.
Still because of its sour smell, I use it sparingly. I am unsure if a higher quality resin would have a less sour smell. Some say it has a vanilla undertone. I guess. Still, its sour nature overpowers whatever vanilla I might enjoy in it. Asha is correct in that it's almost urine-like.