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Thread: Benzoin

  1. #1

    Default Benzoin

    Compiled from the Note Identification Project thread:

    Siam Benzoin
    , Southeast Asia – Fascinating note. Sweet, nutty, vanillic, with almond-cherry undertones.

    Siam Benzoin
    - This is an exceptionally buttery sample of this material. It is butterscotchy with its vanillic notes creating a burnt sugar aroma. Mine had a more pronounced almond-cherry note. This one is gourmand.

    Siam Benzoin
    : sweet, light vanilla, resinous, grape juice

    Benzoin Sumatra resin grains: smoke, wood, vanilla, incense--lovely stuff!

    Benzoin tincture (siam): dark vanilla

    Benzoin – Have you smelled Santal de Mysore by Serge Lutens, I think it's a benzoin monster.

    Benzoin, natural crystals, origin Siam, tinctured in ethanol, ratio approx 1:1 in volume: I found out I am definitely a benzoin lover. This resin has a warm, comforting but at the same time sensuous smell. Deeply vanillic with sweet citrus accents. Sweetly smoky but devoid of any incense facet. The crystals were yellow/brownish and were crushed fairly easily to a thin powder which dissolved completely in the alcohol. Also highly fragrant in their uncrushed state.

    Benzoin, resins in jojoba oil - Crushed them slightly, covered with oil, and then put the bottle in a bowl of hot water for 90min. Poured out the oil and it smelled just like Friar's Balsam without the medicinal notes. Kind of a weird vanilla-ish, not sure how else to describe it.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Benzoin

    Can you identify the Benzoin in the Santa Maria Novella Armenia Papers? They claim to have more notes than just Benzoin, but people always say that the papers are soaked in Benzoin.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Benzoin

    Silk, I am not familiar with the papers. Perhaps another member will chime in on this one!

  4. #4

    Default Re: Benzoin

    Benzoin resin is derived from the pierced bark of the Styrax species (shrubs or small trees native to Asia). This resin has been burned as insense and used as an air freshener since the Antiquities in the Middle East and it is in this form that Europe has adopted it and named it 'Papier d'Arménie' or Armenian Paper, which is basically styrax (or benzoin resin) soaked in paper which is then burnt.

    So essentially styrax (Armenian Paper) and benzoin are the same thing. They do not smell exactly the same though due to the fact they're employed diffrently and in different forms. I have benzoin essential oil that has a more vanillic, burnt sugar and woody quality while the Armenian Paper is more resinous and insense-y.
    Last edited by LillyBee; 28th February 2010 at 08:38 PM.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Benzoin

    I find that almost all of my favorite fumes have benzoin in them.
    By now I am convinced that benzoin is something of an aphrodisiac. Is it the vanilla-ish note?

  6. #6

    Default Re: Benzoin

    I love benzoin in perfumes too - and have you ever seen it? It is a dark-brown, tarry mess that smells like vanilla beans only better!

    reine

  7. #7
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    Talking Re: Benzoin

    Quote Originally Posted by reine View Post
    I love benzoin in perfumes too - and have you ever seen it? It is a dark-brown, tarry mess that smells like vanilla beans only better!

    reine
    Ma chére Reine: we are too sexy; enuff said.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Benzoin

    I smelled some benzoin resin (it looked like "rocks" of resin) at the Guerlain shop in Montreal. It smelled to me like sweet, vanillic sweat - very, very interesting. The tincture however, (also on display) smelled more like vanilla, but a softer texture and an ambery feel. Both forms smelled great.

    I noticed too that Cologne pour le Soir by Francis Kurkdjian employs lots of benzoin, however it also has some soft powdery notes that I didn't get when smelling the resin or tincture.
    Sales thread here

  9. #9

    Default Re: Benzoin

    My bottle of benzoin does not state it's source. To me benzoin at low concentrations is just generically sweet. At higher concentrations, it reminds me of labdanum (though much weaker). Not a strong note at all, even at high concentrations.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Benzoin

    This is my first visit to the single note area. I want to learn fragrances better and I thought one note at a time would be a good way. Where/how does one find, for example, benzoin? Where can you buy it to try it out? And can you wear it like cologne?

  11. #11

    Default Re: Benzoin

    Quote Originally Posted by flashpoint321 View Post
    This is my first visit to the single note area. I want to learn fragrances better and I thought one note at a time would be a good way. Where/how does one find, for example, benzoin? Where can you buy it to try it out? And can you wear it like cologne?
    You can find benzoin at sites like perfumersapprentice.com
    You wouldn't want to wear benzoin like a cologne; it's very thick and sticky. Besides, it doesn't have much smell to it.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Benzoin

    Quote Originally Posted by LillyBee View Post
    So essentially styrax (Armenian Paper) and benzoin are the same thing. They do not smell exactly the same though due to the fact they're employed diffrently and in different forms. I have benzoin essential oil that has a more vanillic, burnt sugar and woody quality while the Armenian Paper is more resinous and insense-y.
    That's fascinating. Had no idea they were that different.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Benzoin does *not* smell like vanilla

    There are a number of things to remember also: an amber accord or base is created with the use of vanilla, so vanilla is in there. When perfumes are created certain molecules are often selected rather than the entire complex of an oil or absolute being used. So, particular facets of an ingredient are emphasised or enhanced. There is also the question of quantity; smelling benzoin direct from a 5ml bottle of absolute or tincture will give a different odour impression than that of 0.5% dilution. Siam benzoin has a different smell to sumatran benzoin, the second being more cinnamony. Finally true benzoin is not a resin at all and is not derived from styrax but bitter almond. It is a benzolaldehyde rather than an acid and smells like almond. So depending on what's used and how it's used it can be resinous, medicinal, spicey even mulchy, but it is frequently vanilla like.

    By the way, when I mention almond, cinnamon and vanilla etc, I am not referring to the processed varieties coupled with sweetening agents.
    Last edited by miclsa; 3rd April 2012 at 01:28 PM.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Benzoin

    I've purchased some Benzoin essence from PA and to me it smells like sweet, powdery liquid wood. If there were such a thing! Not totally natural, actually a bit of synthetic nature to it. Strange and good!

  15. #15

    Default Re: Benzoin does *not* smell like vanilla

    Quote Originally Posted by miclsa View Post
    Finally true benzoin is not a resin at all and is not derived from styrax but bitter almond. It is a benzolaldehyde rather than an acid and smells like almond. So depending on what's used and how it's used it can be resinous, medicinal, spicey even mulchy, but it is frequently vanilla like.

    By the way, when I mention almond, cinnamon and vanilla etc, I am not referring to the processed varieties coupled with sweetening agents.
    I'm afraid this is completely and absolutely wrong. Benzaldehyde or Bitter Almond oil as it is often called (in theory implying natural origin, but in practice that is often misleading) is a totally different product. If you follow the link it will take you to a blog post in which I've explained in detail the origins, components and safety considerations for bitter almond.

    I've put together another blog post explaining the naming conventions (often confused and mis-used) for the various types of Benzoin and the species from which they are derived under the title Styrax / Storax.

    There is more on benzoin in the Notepad entry for Storax-Styrax as well.
    Chris Bartlett
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  16. #16

    Default Re: Benzoin

    Benzoin - Siam styrax benzoides, Hard Resin

    Pale caramel coloured chunks resembling tree bark and quartz. Completely unrefined and not chemically extracted by the appearance of it. Straight up vanilla essence hint of mothballs and exotic wood. Not as sweet as expected but I can see why this is used as a vanilla note.

    Benzoin - Sumatra styrax ?

    Dark brown\black crystals light weight and chunky. Only slightly vanillic, heavy dry wood, peppery, cola and burnt beeswax. Balinese teak furniture store. Smells quite like oils used on unvarnished woods. Entirely different to the siam so much so you would not know they are related. But I think this one is actually more versatile and useful in perfumery because it has a strong woody note and would support floral\wood perfumes much better than the siam.
    Last edited by ClaraAus; 12th November 2012 at 01:34 AM.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Benzoin

    I'm confused by this whole benzoin thing. I have benzoin Siam and "Onchya Benzoin." What is onchya benzoin and how does it differ from benzoin Siam. I can't find onchya in Arctander.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Benzoin

    From what I understand, no one is really certain what the bibical reference for 'onchya' actually is. It is only speculated by some to be Benzoin; others believe it was referring to a snail shell-derived scent (now called choya nacht), and still others believe it was referencing labdanum.

    I would ask whomever you received your 'onchya' from, why they are differentiating their benzoins in this way.

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