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Thread: Frankincense

  1. #1
    treeman5823
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    Default Frankincense

    I'm a bit confused. Frankincense notes can smell so different; take, for instance, Tauer's Incense RosÚ, Amouage's Tribute Attar, or the Jubilation duo. Some smell of acrid, crepuscular smoke --RosÚ, XXV-- while others smell of deep green forests --Tribute Attar, Avignon.

    Is there a "standard" frankincense characteristic? Or do different frankincense varieties smell drastically different?

    I will appreciate your input.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Frankincense

    I don't know lots about this so I won't pretend like I do But, I assume it is the same as any ingredient. You can read "rose" or "iris" or "sandalwood" in fragrances notes and it can smell completely different in each one.
    Obviously there's the rich "Catholic" incense (as people call it), you have more Arabian style uses etc. I'm also assuming it's down to what it's blended with also. For example, a rose would smell different if you added cocoa to it, to if you added bergamot. Oils interract.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Frankincense

    I know that there's the catholic type incense, the Arabic frankincense , the Japanese incense, Indian incense and then 'others'.

    Frankincense is the name of the Arabic incense. In Arabic we call it L'baan.

    A good reference is the CDG incense series. Avignon, Kyoto , Jaisalmer and the Russian one smell accurate. Ouarzazate, the Arabic take on incense, doesn't smell like frankincense (L'baan).

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  4. #4

    Default Re: Frankincense

    Incense is stuff that is burned including Myrrh, Frankincense, Sandalwood and Oud.

    In perfumery frankincense (or Olibanum) has a very specific smell. I know there are several sources of this resin, and they all have their own characteristics, but in general their smell is related. The smell is a dry lemony resinous pine, and is exactly the smell of a Catholic Church, just after high mass. To my mind Avignon is the truest Olibanum fragrance.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Frankincense

    Agree with David regarding its smell. I've not tried Avignon, but the truest olibanum fragrance I've encountered is (the now sadly discontinued) Shanaan by Micallef.
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  6. #6

    Default Re: Frankincense

    There are several varieties of frankincense trees, each with their own distinctive scent and even within that it can vary by growing region. The "church" kind referenced above is Boswellia papifera, which typically is grown in Ethiopia. This one used more commonly in perfumes and everyday incense is distilled oil from Boswellia sacra (aka cateri) which originates in Somaliland and Oman. Boswellia frereana (also Somaliland) has yet another distinct scent; it can be used in perfumes and is also chewed in some Arab cultures (the original chewing gum!). Some perfumes also use myrrh which is more widely grown in East Africa and Asia.

  7. #7
    treeman5823
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    Default Re: Frankincense

    Quote Originally Posted by uwsnyc View Post
    There are several varieties of frankincense trees, each with their own distinctive scent and even within that it can vary by growing region. The "church" kind referenced above is Boswellia papifera, which typically is grown in Ethiopia. This one used more commonly in perfumes and everyday incense is distilled oil from Boswellia sacra (aka cateri) which originates in Somaliland and Oman. Boswellia frereana (also Somaliland) has yet another distinct scent; it can be used in perfumes and is also chewed in some Arab cultures (the original chewing gum!). Some perfumes also use myrrh which is more widely grown in East Africa and Asia.
    Do you know anything about boswellian serrata, or is that just another name of one of the species you already mentioned?

  8. #8

    Default Re: Frankincense

    I'm not familiar with that one.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Frankincense

    Boswellia carterii is richer and has the most depth. I always describe it as having a resinous cola fiz scent. Boswellia serrata is less strong and distinct, with a lighter whispier scent, and not as useful in perfumery as the carterii.

  10. #10
    treeman5823
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    Default Re: Frankincense

    Quote Originally Posted by Nymphaea View Post
    Boswellia carterii is richer and has the most depth. I always describe it as having a resinous cola fiz scent. Boswellia serrata is less strong and distinct, with a lighter whispier scent, and not as useful in perfumery as the carterii.
    Thanks. I was just wondering because Incense Extreme is based on serrata.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Frankincense

    I have been wondering about the types. I have four from different sources:

    Botwellia Thurifera is the medium leaning to citrussy
    Another unmarked one is much sharper and almost citrus lime thin - probably the cheapest sort I would imagine
    Bosellia carterii is slightly darker churchy incensy
    and one that is soft and heavy and almost faecal and I was given that by an Indian BNer as an example of the real deal.

    I am unaware of which variety the unmarked ones are.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Frankincense

    Boswellia frereana - Somalia, hard resin.

    Lemon yellow crystals. Pencil shavings, lemon, pine, eucalytus, clear, sweet and strong. Old fashioned furniture polish. Antiquarian bookstore.

    Boswellia Sacra - Oman Hojary, hard resin.

    Very pale, almost pure white large crystals. Lemon\lime tint. Strong lemon\lime scent on a clear note of cedar and dry dirt. Hypnotic scent and fresh with an incense vibe. White marbled palaces in an exotic land.

  13. #13
    Basenotes Member hlatif33's Avatar
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    Default Re: Frankincense

    I have the pure essential oil. As someone else said its "dry lemony resinous pine", but to me this is at first sniff. If I don't open the bottle for the couple of hours or about a day I get a really "ancient" kind of smell. Kind of musty, old,...maybe a very old book.

    Its quit special. I think it takes a mature nose to appreciate Frankincense.

    - - - Updated - - -

    I have a bottle of Frankincense 100% essential oil, but don't know how to use it. When I put a drop on the skin the scent is extremely harsh and burns my nose and is way too lemony. The essential oil is also incredible volatile. Does anyone have suggestions on how to use it?
    Favorite notes at this point: Sandal wood, Oud, Frankincense, Rose

  14. #14

    Default Re: Frankincense

    Quote Originally Posted by hlatif33 View Post
    I have a bottle of Frankincense 100% essential oil, but don't know how to use it. When I put a drop on the skin the scent is extremely harsh and burns my nose and is way too lemony. The essential oil is also incredible volatile. Does anyone have suggestions on how to use it?
    I tested mine diluted at 50% and it was still extremely overpowering. It actually blends very well with cedar and herb notes like patchouli. You could also use it in place of your wood note in a fragrance. I suspect the proper dilution for it would be less than 20% rather than neat. Frankincense tears when burnt can fill a whole room and they only contain 4% of the essential oil.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by hlatif33 View Post
    I have a bottle of Frankincense 100% essential oil, but don't know how to use it. When I put a drop on the skin the scent is extremely harsh and burns my nose and is way too lemony. The essential oil is also incredible volatile. Does anyone have suggestions on how to use it?
    I tested mine diluted at 50% and it was still extremely overpowering. It actually blends very well with cedar and herb notes like patchouli. You could also use it in place of your wood note in a fragrance. I suspect the proper dilution for it would be less than 20% rather than neat. Frankincense tears when burnt can fill a whole room and they only contain 4% of the essential oil.

  15. #15
    hednic's Avatar
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    Default Re: Frankincense

    Quote Originally Posted by treeman5823 View Post
    Is there a "standard" frankincense characteristic?
    Would also like to know thoughts about this question.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Frankincense

    @hednic
    From P.Kiler on DIY :-
    Quote:- Re: Frankincense help please
    I've studied Frankincense quite extensively...
    As for EO's, on another forum, I was laughed at for saying that Frank can be a topnote or a basenote...
    But it's primarily about the distillation times and techniques, that make it turn out differently. (With more limonene and light notes, than deeper notes...) You know, with a box of more than 25 frankincense items, Frank is all over the board... and it's about picking out the aspect you want to show around in your fragrance... and bless the world with...

    The Resinoid, or Resinoid Abs are also good for the basenote time period of evaporation.

    And raw Frank tears tinctures/dissolves <OK> into alcohol, which also serves as a good element... But you'll still want to strain it. And the Olibanum Couer 50 is also a very good product." end quote

    Recently bought some green Hougari tears from a specialist in U.K. & they are very different to other tears that I have tried, more lemony & good, fresh stock.
    The good stuff is edible and may be chewed, like gum - at your own risk & may stick to your teeth a bit, but a lovely experience.
    The fragrance from these green tears, when on a burner or the dying embers of a fire, is very pervasive & wonderful.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Frankincense

    Profumum Olibanum seems to be very heavy on frankincense.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Frankincense

    The new Sahara Noir

    One of my all time favorite l'baan (frankisense aka olibanum) scents.

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  19. #19

    Default Re: Frankincense

    @hedonist222 - any tips please re. chewing technique?
    I've found that leaving the green stuff to sort of dissolve around the back of my mouth is good, but would appreciate advice on how it should be done?
    Is there a knack?
    (Or am I just inept).

  20. #20

    Default Re: Frankincense

    Lpp, as you would normally chew gum.

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  21. #21

    Default Re: Frankincense

    Cheers, Hedonist - does it stick to your teeth too?

  22. #22

    Default Re: Frankincense

    Lpp, a bit but not overwhelmingly so.

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  23. #23

    Default Re: Frankincense

    Thanks - I need more patience then, maybe!

  24. #24

    Default Re: Frankincense

    Patience why..?

    What's happening?

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  25. #25

    Default Re: Frankincense

    Patience when it sticks to the teeth

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Frankincense

    Quote Originally Posted by mumsy View Post
    I have been wondering about the types. I have four from different sources:

    Botwellia Thurifera is the medium leaning to citrussy
    Another unmarked one is much sharper and almost citrus lime thin - probably the cheapest sort I would imagine
    Bosellia carterii is slightly darker churchy incensy
    and one that is soft and heavy and almost faecal and I was given that by an Indian BNer as an example of the real deal.

    I am unaware of which variety the unmarked ones are.

    The last one mumsy you mention:-) smells gorgeous to me, warm-soft, a bit kind of vague, not strong, and citrus note is not prominent nor sharp, its just very light, it almost smells musky, but not dirty to me, and herbal complex......anyway was surprised that it is so light smell:-)

    The frankincense from Absolute Aromas smells like lemon peal and very strong nothing like that indian frankincense,it emanates strong bitter lemon smell, while the first one is so much milder, and sweeter with just a touch of lemony smell, but overall smells very close to skin

    3rd Frankincense i tried is from Somalia, smells very much like Absolute aromas, clean, airy, lemony but much less bitter and strong


    I don't know which one is better:-) , i like the 1 st one but it smells like they mixed something in it to dilute it extremely?:-) , weak ?? But i get most similarity from this with Sahara Noir Hedonist mentioned, so maybe this is the the best one!

  27. #27

    Default Re: Frankincense

    The supermarket across the street sells the frankincense gum. May I should start a new habit instead of spending so much money on perfume .

    I picked up sahara noir sample yesterday from Saks. I like it, very incensy, however I need to wear it next to interlude to see if I should buy both our just one.

  28. #28

    Default Re: Frankincense

    Kimo, very different than Interlude.

    SN is more centered around olibanum while interlude is an accord of other things.

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  29. #29
    Super Member hoschhti's Avatar
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    Default Re: Frankincense

    Is it actually safe to put the undiluted frankincense oil on the skin?
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  30. #30

    Default Re: Frankincense

    Quote Originally Posted by hoschhti View Post
    Is it actually safe to put the undiluted frankincense oil on the skin?
    You're not supposed to, but I do. Most essential oils (apart from Lavender and Tea Tree) should be diluted. The recommended dilution is a maximum of 25 drops of essential oil in per 50ml of a dilutant. You can find a dilution/blending chart for essential oils if you scroll down the 'benefits and usage' tab on the Neal's Yard site;

    http://www.nealsyardremedies.com/Aro...Womens-Balance

  31. #31

    Default Re: Frankincense

    There are also some excellent 'sticky' threads in the DIY section of the forum.
    http://www.basenotes.net/threads/158...-(Version-1-0)

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