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  1. #1
    Oaksbluff's Avatar
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    Default all about the benzoins

    I'm never very good with discerning individual notes, apart from the obvious (rose, neroli, et al).

    But in two scents, Moss Breches and Absolue Pour le Soir, there's a similar honey-ish, beeswax-y, incense-y smell, front and center. I'm not sure if anyone else thinks these two are somewhat similar in that note, whatever it is, but which I'm wondering is benzoin-- from what I've read on the internet.

    Anyone have any thoughts on that? And if it is benzoin... what are some other standout examples? (search function for that note on the directory didn't seem to work for me)

  2. #2
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    Default Re: all about the benzoins

    well, I believe Givenchi Pi has a strong Benzoine note... though all I smell is sort of a light woody vanilla.

    if you like the beeswax/honey note, then there are a few with it IIRC - YSL Kouros, Chanel Anteaus (vintage), Boss #1, Lutens Miel De Bois, Knize Ten?, etc. I have no idea if that's Benzoine.
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    Default Re: all about the benzoins

    I don't know either of the scents you've mentioned. But benzoin is sweet and resinous and could be responsible for the effect you describe.

    I think of Givenchy Pi as the ultimate benzoin bomb. [Edit: M-C beat me to it!] (I like it, but it's a bit too heavy and unsubtle to be something I'd wear regularly.)
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    Default Re: all about the benzoins

    Great thread title, by the way!
    Spray it, don’t say it…
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    Default Re: all about the benzoins

    Benzoin is sweet, but not very strong. If you make a strong benzoin soliflore it can have a slightly vanillic character, but to me it faintly resembles labdanum. Its difficult to believe it contributes significantly to any powerful character. I find it useful for adding a rather generic sweetness to a blend.

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    Default Re: all about the benzoins

    My only experience is Pi, as well. I was always under the impression it was more vanilla-ish. Personally, I didn't really like it.

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    Default Re: all about the benzoins

    To my nose, both scents are very, very beeswax dominant. Moss Breches is drier; Absolue leans heavier towards the honey. I think it's beeswax rather than benzoin that you're looking for.

    That being said, it seems like you've already scouted out two fragrances that use the note the most! I really enjoyed the beeswax in Perfume by Nature's Goddess, and found its use in Gorilla's The Scent Of Weather Turning interesting ( it's a very peculiar fragrance ), but neither of those are beeswax bombs like the two you started the thread with.

    Benzoin is more of a denser, vanillic-amber smell. I find it somewhat related to Tolu and Peru Balsams, but it can smell almost coconut-y in some contexts. Guerlains Bois d’Arménie is a nice fragrance utilizing the note; most of the other benzoin heavies I've smelled have come across a little... blunt.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: all about the benzoins

    Like the others said, Pi is benzoin to a "T"

    I've heard really good things about Geir too. Not sure if that is benzoin or a vanilla note though...
    Looking for Hermessence Ambre Narguile and for TFPB Moss Breches (50ml bottle), willing to pay in cashdollars. PM me!

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    Default Re: all about the benzoins

    This is a good thread. Benzoin is the only resinous smell I like. Much more subtle than her trashy cousin Amber!

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    Default Re: all about the benzoins

    The French have a strange product, Papier d'Armenie, that's basically paper impregnated with (mostly) benzoin. They come in booklets, you tear off a page and light it, to freshen up a room. It's cheap, you can get 3 booklets for $13 from Amazon.

  11. #11

    Default Re: all about the benzoins

    Benzoin is one of my favorite notes-- and even though Pi is probably the biggest benzoin bonanza I can think of, I dislike it.

    I love the use of benzoin in Prada's Infusion D'Homme. That's what gives it that Dr. Pepper note.
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    Default Re: all about the benzoins

    Actually, I'm not really sure if I would say Pi is the best fragrance for which to experience benzoin. Though there is benzoin in it, I think the sweetness we all perceive is adulterated by vanilla and so its difficult to ascribe the entire base to just benzoin. Instead, I would suggest that you smell Pi AND YSL's Body Kouros, which also contains benzoin as a headliner, and compare the two bases for similarities.

    Great thread title!

  13. #13
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    Default Re: all about the benzoins

    Quote Originally Posted by timkm1 View Post
    Actually, I'm not really sure if I would say Pi is the best fragrance for which to experience benzoin. Though there is benzoin in it, I think the sweetness we all perceive is adulterated by vanilla and so its difficult to ascribe the entire base to just benzoin. Instead, I would suggest that you smell Pi AND YSL's Body Kouros, which also contains benzoin as a headliner, and compare the two bases for similarities.

    Great thread title!
    +1 I agree with timkm1

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    Default Re: all about the benzoins

    I always get confused between the notes of benzoin, vanilla, tonka and amber. I am not a fragrance maker so I don't understand all the sweet ingredients out there. They all smell sweet but the way I interpret them when I see these used in a perfume:

    benzoin is stiff and slightly sweet resin used to extend longevity of other sweet ingredients,

    vanilla is warm deep sweetness but is relatively short lived,

    tonka is powdery and hypnotically relaxing and sweet,

    amber is slow, warm and softly sweet but almost always very long lasting.

    I am sure there are other resins used for sweetness too that I don't know about.

  15. #15

    Default Re: all about the benzoins

    That's a fairly accurate assessment Buzzlepuff but real vanilla absolute is actually extremely long lasting. It is, as you said, deep and sweet, and has some woody vanilla bean nuances, and lasts for days and days on a smelling strip.

    Tonka tends to be very sweet and powdery but also has some hints of hay, tobacco, and sometimes even cherry in its coumarin-heavy sweetness.

    Amber is .. well, at its core, labdanum, benzoin and vanilla, so there's a lot of crossover there. IMO, amber is a pretty meaningless term, as ambers can be so wildly different that the term tells you relatively little. It's sort of like the term musk - animalic musk and white musks are almost polar opposite and yet both can fall under the moniker of musk in a notes list, rendering the term rather useless in utilitarian terms.
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    Default Re: all about the benzoins

    Moss Breches and Absolue pour le Soir (in the fuller list of notes given on www.fragrantica.com) share a beeswax or "white honey" note which is probably more responsible than benzoin for what you describe as a honey-ish note, though the two scents also have benzoin in common. I haven't smelled it in a while, but the example I was given years ago of benzoin was Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder, which was supposed to be heavy with benzoin.

    All about the benzoins (including a reference to J&J Baby Powder) can be found in a blog entry here.
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  17. #17
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    Default Re: all about the benzoins

    Quote Originally Posted by Sugandaraja View Post
    To my nose, both scents are very, very beeswax dominant. Moss Breches is drier; Absolue leans heavier towards the honey. I think it's beeswax rather than benzoin that you're looking for.

    Benzoin is more of a denser, vanillic-amber smell. I find it somewhat related to Tolu and Peru Balsams, but it can smell almost coconut-y in some contexts. Guerlains Bois d’Arménie is a nice fragrance utilizing the note; most of the other benzoin heavies I've smelled have come across a little... blunt.
    Sugandaraja, I think you might have hit it: probably is beeswax that I'm after! However, I do have a bit of Bois d'Armenie, and I get the grinding incense note that I'm after in that, although that fragrance has duration on me in inverse proportion to how much I love the smell.

    Thanks for the other suggestions, guys! Pi sounds like one I'll have to try; oddly enough, in all my life, I've never knowingly smelled it. I am curious for other suggestions, too. When I first sniffed Moss Breches, to me it was a more luxe version of Polo Green which I wore in high school. But I've been chastised in the past for thinking that the original is somehow deeper, or richer, or just different than what is out there now.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: all about the benzoins

    Wow! JaimeB - your discussion of benzoin is really "ALL about the benzoins". Thanks for that scholarly overview - everyone interested in benzoin should read your link.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: all about the benzoins

    I know exactly the effect that you're describing Oaksbluff. I do not think it is the benzoin that you're talking about. Benzoin is really powdery. Have you smelled the original Maison Francis Kurkdjian scent, Cologne Pour le Soir? It is a benzoin monster, IMO. If you smell this and like it, then yes, perhaps it is the benzoin you are enjoying.

    Also while you're at it try Bois d'Armenie by Guerlain. It, too, shares that same dry, honeyed, powdery sweetness - a bit more deftly, IMO.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: all about the benzoins

    benzoin is resinous, balsamic, with a vanilla-like note.

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    Default Re: all about the benzoins

    Quote Originally Posted by PaulSC View Post
    Great thread title, by the way!
    I agree, I nominate it for best thread title of 2010. Gave me a good chuckle.
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    Default Re: all about the benzoins

    I think Bois d'Armenie has a good dose of benzoin if I'm not mistaken, and it's really really good stuff.
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  23. #23

    Default Re: all about the benzoins

    Another scent that has a clear benzoin note is Eau d'Italie's Baume du Doge. The benzoin provides the sweetness in the heart, and has a syrupy texture and smells kind of like caramel or toffee. The note is very clear in this scent, and is much more representative of pure benzoin than say, Pi.
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  24. #24
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    Default Re: all about the benzoins

    Quote Originally Posted by mikeperez23 View Post
    Have you smelled the original Maison Francis Kurkdjian scent, Cologne Pour le Soir? It is a benzoin monster, IMO. If you smell this and like it, then yes, perhaps it is the benzoin you are enjoying.
    +1

    This is the one that sprung to mind when I saw the thread title - must revisit Bois d'Armenie now

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    Default Re: all about the benzoins

    Benzoin+Vanilla creates a very sweet outcome ...if the combination is at base you have a heavy vanyllic smelling perfume!
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    Default Re: all about the benzoins

    Quote Originally Posted by SculptureOfSoul View Post
    The benzoin provides the sweetness in the heart, and has a syrupy texture and smells kind of like caramel or toffee.
    i do not know the perfume, but this description of benzoin is right. when i first smelled benzoin siam resinoid, it made me think of the caramel-butter candy werthers original. i wrote down toffee as well. it is a very rich and easy to love kind of scent. it also had a weird fruity tone to it, especially in it's topnote, less so in the dry-down, like overripe fruit or liquor (i guess it must be the cinnamates, cinnamic alcohol). benzoin also contains vanillin, which explains the vanilla odor.

    please note, there are two kinds of benzoin, one from the styrax tonkinesis (benzoin siam) and one from the styrax benzoin (benzoin sumatra). the former is the superior, and the more expensive kind.

  27. #27
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    Default Re: all about the benzoins

    I always like to refer to Bo Jensen's website on various essential oils. For benzoin, see: http://www.bojensen.net/EssentialOil...s03.htm#Benzoe.

    An extract:

    Benzoe or benzoin gum is a balsam obtained from trees of the genus Styrax and produced mainly in Asiatic countries such as Indonesia, Sumatra, Java, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam. Two varieties of benzoin gums exist in the trade: benzoin gum Siam from S. tonkinensis and benzoin gum Sumatra from S. benzoin. The balsam is obtained from cuts in the bark.
    Benzoin gum siam has a pleasant, sweet-balsamic odour with a distinct note of vanilla, whereas benzoin gum Sumatra has a strong odour influenced by styrene. They are both used in flavours and fragrances.
    Benzoin gum Siam is essentially composed of coniferyl benzoate (65-75 %), p-coumaryl benzoate (10-15 %), cinnamyl cinnamate (styracine) (0.5-6%) , benzoic acid (12 %), siaresinolic acid (6 %) and vanillin (0.3 %).
    Cinnamyl cinnamate has a mild, soft and very tenacious balsamic-floral odour. However, the odour of the balsam is influenced by minor amounts of volatile constituents like benzaldehyde and methyl benzoate. Benzoin gum Sumatra is richer in cinnamates, cinnamic acid and styrene

  28. #28
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    Default Re: all about the benzoins

    Quote Originally Posted by sophi View Post
    Benzoin+Vanilla creates a very sweet outcome ...if the combination is at base you have a heavy vanyllic smelling perfume!
    i had created an oriental type accord with vanilla and amber, with lots of benzoin in it. it was meant as a base, but the outcome, in the drydown was just a little too much vanilla. ;) but i think the fault was actually too much ethyl vanillin. (a strong vanilla-like chemical) vanilla, like lactones, has a tendency to 'take over'.

    i've also noticed my benzoin has some overlap with the synthetic castoreum base that i have (castoreum givco, from givaudan).

    i am going to place an order soon that includes the actual resin, for burning on charcoal. this could be a good tip for the original poster, who wanted to know what benzoin smells like.

    there's also papier d' armenie, which are basically paper strips drenched in (probably cheap) benzoin. they do not smell as good as they could have. i have smeared a drop of my quality resinoid on some of these strips and the scent was much, much better. but i still think burning the actual lumps of benzoin siam resin is going to beat that by a mile.
    Last edited by gido; 21st October 2010 at 03:56 PM.

  29. #29

    Default Re: all about the benzoins

    Great thread about benzoin JaimeB!
    Indeed benzoin is a gum with resinous, sweet smell that can have milky, powdery, almondy or vanillic facets depending on the provenience of the gum. IMHO if you want to have an idea of benzoin smelling a scent, Guerlain Bois d'Armenie is the reference benzoin scent.
    About moss breches and absolue pour le soir, I think what you're telling is due to beeswax absolute more than to benzoin maybe.
    You can find a good dose of beeswax absolute also in Back to black By Kilian, Lutens Chêne or Miel de bois or in antaeus (possibly vintage)

  30. #30
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    Default Re: all about the benzoins

    Quote Originally Posted by gido View Post
    i had created an oriental type accord with vanilla and amber, with lots of benzoin in it. it was meant as a base, but the outcome, in the drydown was just a little too much vanilla. but i think the fault was actually too much ethyl vanillin.

    i've also noticed my benzoin has some overlap with the synthetic castoreum base that i have (castoreum givco, from givaudan).

    i am going to place an order soon that includes the actual resin, for burning on charcoal. this could be a good tip for the original poster, who wanted to know what benzoin smells like.
    Hi gido!

    I wrote about the mix of benzoin and vanilla because i came to that conclusion from my experience of smelling and testing perfumes!
    I also wanted to make the point that benzoin is sweet and in combination with vanilla the outcome is very vanillic smelling like you admitted that happened to your perfume.I have never tried to make a perfume of my own but my nose has the ability to separate notes !!!
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    Default Re: all about the benzoins

    This has been a great help! Thanks fellow bn'ers!

    Bois d'Armenie and Cologne Pour le Soir are both in the vein of this accord that I'm trying to describe. So I think it is a benzoin quest. I like both the Guerlain and that MFK... longevity is dim for me though. Which is rather odd given the resinous-ness of that note. I'd always think that something so earthy would have better staying power.

    Benzoin plus beeswax seems to be the goods I'm really after!

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    Default Re: all about the benzoins

    Quote Originally Posted by Oaksbluff View Post
    Bois d'Armenie and Cologne Pour le Soir are both in the vein of this accord that I'm trying to describe. So I think it is a benzoin quest. I like both the Guerlain and that MFK... longevity is dim for me though. Which is rather odd given the resinous-ness of that note. I'd always think that something so earthy would have better staying power.
    on a side note, benzoin itself has very, very good staying power. it is used as a fixative, people actually added it to the alcohol before mixing certain types of perfumes for this reason. what's more, when i was evaluating my benzoin siam when i got it, i had noticed that even after several weeks, you could not only still smell it, but it's odor shape was still completely intact and firmly present. it is one of the top-performers within the field of (botanical) naturals.

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    Default Re: all about the benzoins

    I believe the base of Zegna Colonia is mostly benzoin. I really liked the base of this, but found the fragrance a bit too simple as a whole.
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  34. #34

    Default Re: all about the benzoins

    Try Coromandel also.

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    Default Re: all about the benzoins

    So what's the note that smells like movie theater popcorn butter? I've always seen it referred to as benzoin, but I really think I've got it wrong. As examples, think of Costume National Homme or B*Men...
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    Default Re: all about the benzoins

    Quote Originally Posted by rogalal View Post
    So what's the note that smells like movie theater popcorn butter? I've always seen it referred to as benzoin, but I really think I've got it wrong. As examples, think of Costume National Homme or B*Men...
    That's weird, because I've always smelled 'buttered popcorn' when I smell Virgin Island Water.

  37. #37
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    Default Re: all about the benzoins

    For some reason a particular style of tuberose smells like buttered popcorn to my nose; I don't like it. I smell it in Guerlain's Mahora, Angela Flanders' Tuberose, and L'Artisan's old Tubereuse. There's also a significant hint of it in Sonoma Scent Studio's Jour Ensoleille, but there I find it pleasant and well-integrated.

  38. #38

    Default Re: all about the benzoins

    +1 on thread title.... hehehehee

    The only frag I believe I have that is benzoin based is PI... I'll have to check my other ones.
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  39. #39
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    Default Re: all about the benzoins

    Okay, I'm starting to feel left out of the party. What is it about the thread title that I'm not getting?

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    Default Re: all about the benzoins

    Givenchy Pi is benzoin x 100000

  41. #41

  42. #42
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    Default Re: all about the benzoins

    Quote Originally Posted by Sugandaraja View Post
    Okay, I'm starting to feel left out of the party. What is it about the thread title that I'm not getting?

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    Default Re: all about the benzoins

    Doh - I doubled up on Pipsta...
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  44. #44

    Default Re: all about the benzoins

    Quote Originally Posted by rogalal View Post
    Doh - I doubled up on Pipsta...
    OOF!! lol
    ***My SALE thread***My TRADE thread***
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  45. #45
    mtgprox05's Avatar
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    Default Re: all about the benzoins

    Quote Originally Posted by Pipsta View Post
    OOF!! lol
    Hahahaha. Please tell me you didn't notice Rogolal's avatar. Because that would be a hilarious coincidence if you hadn't.
    <><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><> <><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>

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  46. #46

    Default Re: all about the benzoins

    Ok..... I didn't.
    ***My SALE thread***My TRADE thread***
    Frag addicted? Join the support group We are too but dam we smell good!

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