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Benzoin: A Suave Vanilla Facet in Perfumery
Siam benzoin is highly sought after by perfume creators for its vanilla-like and suave facets, as well as its unique caramel, toasted almond, coffee, and honey notes. Primarily used in oriental, amber, or gourmand perfumes, benzoin imparts roundness, warmth, and sensual vanilla notes. It is also an excellent fixative. A prime example of a perfume showcasing benzoin is Guerlain's Shalimar, which features benzoin in the base notes alongside vanilla, sandalwood, and tonka bean. The heart notes consist of jasmine, carnation, rose, and ylang-ylang, while the top notes reveal tarragon, bergamot, lemon, and green notes. This enchanting blend transports us on a journey to the Far East, brimming with harmony and sensuality.
Fun Fact: Benzoin resin has been used for centuries for its medicinal properties, especially in traditional Chinese medicine. It was believed to have calming and anti-inflammatory effects, making it an essential ingredient in various healing balms and ointments.
Benzoin's Olfactory Combinations
Due to its vanilla and caramel-like scent, benzoin is often used in gourmand and sweet perfumes. It is frequently paired with vanilla, labdanum, amber fragrances, and spices like cinnamon. Benzoin can also be found in floral fragrances. While it is an intriguing note, benzoin can be challenging to blend. Nonetheless, it appears in several exceptional perfumes, such as Van Cleef & Arpels' Ambre Impérial. In this fragrance, benzoin graces the heart notes alongside cinnamon bark, while the top notes reveal bergamot and pink pepper. The base notes comprise amber and tonka bean. The resulting scent is voluptuous, sensual, and addictive, showcasing benzoin's affinity for its complementary scents.
Fun Fact: Benzoin is obtained from the Styrax tree's bark, native to Southeast Asia. The tree's bark is intentionally damaged to stimulate the flow of the resin, which is then collected, dried, and processed for use in perfumery and other applications.
Since ancient times, benzoin resin has been valued for various purposes, including its use in purifying the atmosphere. Today, benzoin is a significant component in international perfumery. With its sweet aroma reminiscent of vanilla, caramel, or toasted almonds, benzoin is particularly popular in oriental perfumes. It can also be found combined with amber scents like labdanum, or floral fragrances such as lily of the valley or rose.