What Does Frankincense Smell Like? – Scents Explained

Frankincense is a viscous milky white resin extracted from the bark of Boswellia trees which later turn into solid frankincense resin.

Tapping is the method through which frankincense is extracted. In which taps are made in the bark of the tree, which creates injury and resin leaks from the bark. Frankincense can grow in very harsh conditions, even from hard rock. It has been traded around the Middle East and Africa for more than 500 years.

Frankincense has huge significance for religious rituals.

It is distilled to make essential oils which is amazing for the skin. Thousands of tons of it are used every year by the makers of perfume and essential oils. Besides this it many other medicinal uses.

Read more about Best Versace Perfumes

Smell of frankincense

Since frankincense is a natural resin extracted from different Boswellia trees so its smell can vary. However, overall it has a unique aroma. It has a pleasant woody and earthy scent. When distilled into essential oils its sweetness in the aroma increases. Its aroma can also be matched to the woodsy scents of pine trees.

The smell is also similar to that of rosemary.

According to science burning, frankincense may be good for the function of the gut and improvement of asthma because frankincense has been used for centuries for the cure of several diseases.

Smell of Myrrh

If we call myrrh the cousin of frankincense so it won’t be wrong because they both are derived from the trees in the Burseraceae family. It has a rougher brown color. Its found in the lifeblood of the Commiphora trees.

It harvested the very same way as frankincense by slightly cutting the bark of the tree. And in a result, the resin is leaked in liquid form. Afterward, the resin becomes solid gum.

Similar to frankincense it has a relaxing but earthier scent. It may also have a deep earthy smell when burnt. According to some, it has a little bitter smell. Some people also compare its smell to that of gasoline.

Mainly it was used in death rituals. Myrrh has a lot of similar uses to that of frankincense. In ancient times upper-class Romans burned tons of frankincense and myrrh for death funerals to show how rich someone was even after death. The ancient Egyptians would use it in the embalming process of mummies. Myrrh also has a huge use in perfumery and medicine. Essential oils extracted from myrrh are said to reduce wrinkles on the face. Myrrh can kill bacteria and hence, therefore, it is being used in toothpaste and mouthwashes.

Smell of Patchouli

Patchouli is another amazing soft, aromatic, and bushy plant. This plant belongs to the mint family. Once the leaves are harvested, essential oils are extracted through the process of fermentation or steam.

Patchouli has a very unique smell. It smells a bit like wet soil. Its oil has a strong aroma. It can be said that it has a mixture of earthiness and musk.

Patchouli is thought to be compulsory for most aromatic preparations and is also used in most cosmetic items. This is one of the main reasons for the good demand for patchouli oil.  In perfumery, it’s usually mixed with other base notes like frankincense or myrrh.

Experts recommend that patchouli oil is also good for the skin to prevent allergies. It can also be good for hair conditions such as dandruff and hair loss. Patchouli oil can easily be used. You can add a few drops of patchouli oil to your shampoo or moisturizer and use it.

Does frankincense smell like sandalwood?

Sandalwood is another amazing aromatic wood that belongs to the family of Santalaceae trees. It is derived from the bark of the Santalum tree.

Its mainly found in India. Some other species of sandalwood can also be found in Indonesia and Australia but those are thought to have a bit harsher smell. Its been in use since ancient times. It’s very precious due to its smell. Well known for its earthy, sweet, warm, and creamy smell. Similar to frankincense they also come from trees, hence both of them have a resemblance in smell.

It is used in perfumes, cosmetic items, and essential oils. Also used as a home fragrance in the west. In fragrancy, it is mainly used as a base note with other woodsy scents due to its relaxing smell. It’s considered to be sacred in Hinduism and Buddhism because they use it in their rituals.

Learn more about Best Lavender Perfumes

The smell of ylang-ylang

Ylang Ylang is a star-like flower with a golden yellow color. It is grown on the Cananga tree which is a tropical plant mainly found in Southwest Asia and Australia.

Ylang Ylang has a fantastic fruity aroma with floral notes. The scent is like a mix of mango and jackfruit. It also brings a hint of jasmine, honey, and banana. Similar to Sandalwood it can also be used as a complement for other aromas.

Ylang Ylang can also be used for massage for its unique aroma. Oil is extracted from ylang-ylang flowers through the process of steam distillation. Which is then used to make perfumes, essential oils, and many other items.

Its believed that ylang ylang essential oil can clear acne and enhance the appearance of skin. Furthermore, it’s also proven that ylang ylang essential oil can reduce stress and lower blood pressure. Besides this, it has many more medicinal uses.

Ylang Ylang oil is said to relax the central nervous system of the body.


Perfume and flavor materials of natural origin.

Archaeological frankincense

Frankincense and myrrh

Leave a Comment