I bought some Cedarwood Himalayan from Hermitage Oils and for my surprise it has a really different smell that Cedarwood Virginian, and If I mix with vanilla the final scent reminds me to coconut. This Cedar isn't dry and woody is more aromatic and sweet. This is the real smell of the Himalayan Cedarwood? I'm confused.
Last edited by Pears; 26th November 2013 at 12:54 PM.
Hi Pears, thanks for your answer!! I'm more clear now!! I was confused because the himalayan cedar and virginian haven't really similar smell, and when I mix the himalayan with coumarine and vanilla....COCONUT!! I don't like much the coconut smell only for this I put this smiley hahaha.
I read that the virginian cedarwood isn't really from the cedar family... (http://www.edenbotanicals.com/cedarwood-himalayan.html)
And thanks for your propositions! Hiba and Sandalwood are really beautiful scents.
A note about Virginia cedar. Having played with it in the past I was later informed that it's not actually a true cedar but from the juniper family hence it smells a little pencil-y. There is also a close relative available from certain places called Texas cedar, and I think it carries a similar profile as Virginian cedar probably a little drier and phenolic? It's been a while since I've sampled it.
That himalyan cedar sounds nice, the atlas cedars I own have a VERY strong urinal note, more urine than wood to be sure, it's not my favorite wood oil. I'll have to find some good himalayan, hiba and hinoki myself as soon as all of the US retailers I frequent get it back in stock - it seems to be a hot commodity these days.
Texas is a bit pencil-like in it's odor, I'd say phenolic is a good descriptor, maybe balsamic, dry, dusty, woody, no urinal note detected... I don't have any Virginia to compare.
Texas cedarwood oil is a little drier and smokier than the Virginian offering. Both smell like pencil wood but the Virginian more so because it was actually used to make pencils. Hiba wood oil has a similar dry, pencil wood type aroma but it also has a small measure of the zesty, spicy aromas that you might associate with Hinoki wood oil or Port orford cedar oil. If you can't get any Hiba wood oil then you can probably make a reasonable substitute by blending say 4 parts Texas or Virginia oil with 1 part Hinoki or Port orford cedar oil. It would be better to get the real deal when it becomes available again though.
Last edited by Pears; 27th November 2013 at 01:26 AM.
Thanks for the detailed response Pears
I'm glad that I could help guys, just as others have helped me. I'm not sure that I'd recommend spending more money on another batch of Atlas cedar oil, just use what you have but in moderation. If the one from Hermitage oils smells better because the urinal note is partly masked, then you can do the same by using what you have and blending it with other things. If you'd like to try another wood oil that's completely different then I can recommend Western red (Thuja plicata) cedarwood oil, which is available from White lotus and Essential7. You may find the Pine and Fir needle oils useful too, particularly those with a balsamic undertone of good tenacity, like Dwarf Pine (Pumilio pine) oil and Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga memziesii) oil.
Last edited by Pears; 27th November 2013 at 03:48 PM.
I'm well on my way toward collecting the aromatic evergreens and as many wood oils as I can find.
I come from the pacific northwest USA where my own childhood memories are drenched in the evergreen aromas. I also have a couple decades of experience as a woodworker so the smell of different woods is a familiar and welcome one. Needless to say I have a fondness for them but the cedars have been a bit baffling as they rarely smell like what I've come to know as cedar from both childhood memories and as a carpenter. I don't have western red (amongst many others) and that is probably the one that will sound the bells. Fir balsam absolute, blue cypress and black spruce are three of my favorites.
Where I am currently living there are two trees that drip with resin, I have been collecting it to make tinctures but I have no idea what kind of trees they are. When I burn the resin as incense it smells incredible. One of them smells very dry and cedary - the resin itself is very dry, amber and crumbles easily. The other resin smells soft, fruity and sweet with a piney top note, almost like bubblegum and it is soft, pliable and sticky like gum.
I know that there is a cedar known as the California incense cedar and the oil is hard to come by. Perfumers Apprentice has small amounts and it's very expensive (3ml @ $30) but I'm intrigued as to why it's called "incense cedar". I also have to wonder if the cedary smelling resin I'm collecting is from the same tree since I'm living an hour from the California border and the tree is supposedly very common around here.
I enjoyed reading about your childhood and woodworking experiences, JE. It's good to talk with someone with years of woodworking experience. I have many different cedar oils in my collection, largely thanks to Pkiler's generosity, so I may be able to help identify the cedarwood that you're most familiar working with. As you may know, the main species that are harvested for their wood in the Pacific Northwest, under the name of cedar, are California incense cedar (Calocedrus decurrens), Alaska Yellow Cedar (Cupressus nootkatensis), Port orford cedar (Chamaecyparis lawsoniana) and Western red cedar (Thuja plicata). Perhaps they only reach your workshop under the generic name of cedarwood though. In which case, a brief description of their aromas may help.
The first two have a pencil wood aroma, especially the California incense cedar because it's used to make pencils. The Alaska yellow cedar's aroma is like pencil wood but with a much darker, bitter tone. Port orford cedar is completely different, having a strong ginger and citrus like note. It's often called Ginger cedar, infact. The supply of this wood has become quite limited because of overexploitation and disease, so you may not see too much of it coming through your workshop anymore. The Western red cedar has a woody smell that is much cleaner than a pencil wood smell and it has a strong top note of Lime or Pear drops, owing to it's high level of ketones. It also possesses an unmistakable smell of cumin, which gives it a comforting warmth. With both a clear top note and a complex base, the smell is much more expansive than most wood oils. I hope that you found these descriptions useful.
Last edited by Pears; 28th November 2013 at 12:15 AM.
Interesting post Pears. This yellow cedar you mention by BN of cupressus nootkatensis - this is not Callitropsis nootkatensis by any chance is it ?? Do you know of any producers or middle people??? Northwest Aromatics in Canada maybe worth a look JEbeasley. Adam
Besides Northwest Aromatics, White Lotus, The Perfumery and Liberty Natural sell it, although it's out of stock at LN. I agree with the description on White Lotus with regard to it having a resinous undertone. It's the darkest smelling cedarwood I've ever smelt, it would work very well in masculine blends.
Thanks Adam, I'll definitely check out NW Aromatics.
Pears, I don't work as a carpenter any more, it took it's toll on my joints so I had to find another line of work about a decade ago. Thanks for the info, after looking at the trees today that I harvested the resin from and comparing pics online I'm certain they are incense cedars.
Most of the cedar smells I have in mind are the ones from nature so given the geography they are probably western reds and incense. Your descriptions have been helpful, western red as you described it sounds very much like what I have experienced.
It's funny, even though I have years of woodworking experience I can't tell you much about trees, I've only ever seen the wood after the trees were cut and bark was removed.
Pears - sorry man, I was specifically referring to all you discussed in post 11 as you mention lots that interest me. If you know of a middle person in Europe Id be real keen to know. Pennies are tight right now but I want to start expanding the offering again late jan early feb next year. I know where to go for a fair bit but shipping costs kill it for me.
JE, all four species grow in or around your location, see the distribution maps below. It looks like you've managed to indentify the species by the odor descriptions though, I'm glad that they helped. Western red cedarwood oil really is unique, once you've smelt it you couldn't mistake it for anything else.
Adam, I'm afraid that I don't know of any European distributors for these oils. Although the Pumilio pine oil that I mentioned earlier comes from Central Europe. I'd recommend that one, it has a rather unique and deep smell for a Pine oil. To quote Goodscents:
"Although belonging to the group of low ester pine needle oils, pinus pumilio oil deserves a good deal of attention since its unique odor is due to trace amounts of substances which apparently are absent in ordinary pine needle oils. It is generally believed that the characteristic odor of pinus Pumilio oil is due to traces of lower aliphatic aldehydes and perhaps certain cyclic aldehydes."