Incense as essential oils - Black Afgano

fjura

New member
Aug 21, 2022
Hi all. I’m trying to create an essential oil blend as a fragrance for some friends who are opening a store. I’m brand new at being the “nose”. I’ve only sold fragrance. As reasearch, I’m going over several fragrances I feel have elements of what my friends’ concept is. I’m sure this is a huge rookie question but, when a note is listed as incense (this generalization drives me nuts, as “green notes” does as well), what oils do you think would be included in this? Frankincense, myrrh, etc? At the moment I’m specifically talking about Black Afgano. But it’s everywhere. I’d love some ideas/recommendations/input from the community. Thanks in advance.
 

hemmett

Super Member
Nov 28, 2017
In my experience an incense note always involves frankincense, benzoin and/or labdanum. That would be incense in its most simplistic form. From there on you can build onwards and make your own unique composition.

It really depends on what you are trying to achieve. In the case of Black Afghano, it has a lot of woody and sandalwood materials next to which I’ve read on BN a crazy amount of ambrocenide. And what you can’t miss is Black Agar (Givco). IMO the latter materials are not necessary for an incense blend, but they make Black Afghano what it smells like.

Another interesting AC would be trace amounts of Aldehyde C12-MNA to enhance the frankincense note (in general).
 

ScentAle

Basenotes Junkie
Oct 26, 2021
Oh yes, and Black Afgano use also texas cedarwood, norlimbanol, kephalis. I feel strongly use of medicinal sweet notes and resins, and something toffee like, and maybe tonka abs that give that light syrupy smell with also a faint raspberry note, leafy tobacco, and vetiver, patchouli and labdanum.
 

parker25mv

Basenotes Dependent
Oct 12, 2016
It's difficult to describe. There are a whole bunch of notes that each smell very different but which are all reminiscent of an "incense" type of smell.
Frankincense, myrrh, oud, labdanum, caryophyllene, and many others each have this smell. Many natural incense notes are resins. Incense notes are usually deep woody notes, but not all deep woody notes smell like incense. Some things like elemi and spikenard have a partial incense feel. We could also talk about synthetic aroma chemicals that specifically have strong incense-like feels. That could be another long discussion.

I am aware of two synthetics that are commonly being added to fragrances right now that give an incense effect but you can't buy them.
 
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fjura

New member
Aug 21, 2022
It's difficult to describe. There are a whole bunch of notes that each smell very different but which are all reminiscent of an "incense" type of smell.
Frankincense, myrrh, oud, labdanum, caryophyllene, and many others each have this smell. Many natural incense notes are resins. Incense notes are usually deep woody notes, but not all deep woody notes smell like incense. Some things like elemi and spikenard have a partial incense feel. We could also talk about synthetic aroma chemicals that specifically have strong incense-like feels. That could be another long discussion.

I am aware of two synthetics that are commonly being added to fragrances right now that give an incense effect but you can't buy them.
Thanks for the input. Currently, I am only using natural EOs. But only because that’s what I’m familiar with and I have a fairly short window to get this project completed. I’m honestly looking forward to when I can play around with synthetics.

While we’re on the topic of incense, I have another question. When I was younger my family hosted a Japanese exchange student. She brought me a charm that had this incredible incense scent to it. Part of the odor was a sweaty armpit kind of smell that was incredible. I recently bought some incense by the brand Binu Binu that’s supposed to smell like calligraphy ink. It smells exactly like that charm. I’ve asked various friends if they know what the scent is but no one does. Do you or anyone else have any clue? It’s a mystery that’s driving me crazy!
 

parker25mv

Basenotes Dependent
Oct 12, 2016
While we’re on the topic of incense, I have another question.
You can try doing a search of this forum for "Japanese incense".
I cannot answer your question just based just off your description, but three guesses might be oud (often refered to as "agarswood" in Asia), specifically one of the "dirtier" smelling grades of oud, or patchouli (perhaps even Clearwood, a clearer smelling version of the patchouli smell), or spikenard (has somewhat of a dirty feet smell yet still smells beautiful and incense-like, maybe a little bit of almost a christmas time feel). The last might be most probable.
 

Mr.P

Basenotes Junkie
Apr 6, 2015
That musky / armpit scent is called borneo camphor, aka “borneol” aka “bing pian” and can be natural or synthetic. If natural it is from Dryobalanops camphora trees. The natural resin can come in a brown sugar like unrefined form or purified into white crystals. This is exactly what you were looking for, i am certain. Dryobalanops oil does not smell the same - what you want is the solid borneol crystals.

You can usually buy this from places that supply fine quality Japanese incense but it is quite expensive. Traditional Chinese herb shops in urban areas sometimes carry it but usually it is the synthetic form (inferior product made by modifying regular camphor, I was told) and not the actual resin from the trees.

At the moment I’m having a hard time finding this for sale in retail quantities but i used to be able to get it no problem and got a big jar of it a while ago. Been a long time since I looked…

Here is some on Amazon, this is chemically processed and made by modifying regular camphor:

 

fjura

New member
Aug 21, 2022
You can try doing a search of this forum for "Japanese incense".
I cannot answer your question just based just off your description, but three guesses might be oud (often refered to as "agarswood" in Asia), specifically one of the "dirtier" smelling grades of oud, or patchouli (perhaps even Clearwood, a clearer smelling version of the patchouli smell), or spikenard (has somewhat of a dirty feet smell yet still smells beautiful and incense-like, maybe a little bit of almost a christmas time feel). The last might be most probable.
I know most all mentioned as these are my favorite types of scent. I’m a patchouli junkies to say the least. Spikenard is the only one I’m not personally familiar with but actually have some in my Eden botanicals shopping cart at the moment. Very much looking for to trying it out.
 

fjura

New member
Aug 21, 2022
That musky / armpit scent is called borneo camphor, aka “borneol” aka “bing pian” and can be natural or synthetic. If natural it is from Dryobalanops camphora trees. The natural resin can come in a brown sugar like unrefined form or purified into white crystals. This is exactly what you were looking for, i am certain. Dryobalanops oil does not smell the same - what you want is the solid borneol crystals.

You can usually buy this from places that supply fine quality Japanese incense but it is quite expensive. Traditional Chinese herb shops in urban areas sometimes carry it but usually it is the synthetic form (inferior product made by modifying regular camphor, I was told) and not the actual resin from the trees.

At the moment I’m having a hard time finding this for sale in retail quantities but i used to be able to get it no problem and got a big jar of it a while ago. Been a long time since I looked…

Here is some on Amazon, this is chemically processed and made by modifying regular camphor:

Thanks so very much! I’ll order some as soon as I’m able to find it. Hope this is it!
 

Mr.P

Basenotes Junkie
Apr 6, 2015
Glad to help. I have taken Japanese calligraphy lessons and noticed the ink scent and its similarity to borneol and some traditional Japanese incense right away when I started grinding ink for the first time.
 

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