Gurjun Balsam

Mark Evans has this to say “Gurjun balsam essential oil is gently warm, sweet and complex and you’ll find yourself regularly turning to it when in the need for the perfect material to round off rough edges and seamlessly bridging one part of a composition with another. The soft fragrance is woody, sweet, dry, balsamic and resinous with hints of pine, patchouli and camphor – beautifully calming and centering.

Gurjun balsam itself is an oleoresin exuded from trees of the Dipterocarpus species which grow in various parts of Asia, particularly in India and is used in the varnish and lacquer industry there. In natural perfumery can be used in a wide variety of compositions as inexpensive fixative and blender/modifier in the same way as other similar materials such as copaiba, guaiacwood and sandalwood.

Due to its physical properties (to do with optical rotation of the molecules) as well as its versatile woody scent, gurjun oil is frequently used as an adulterant in patchouli, guaiacwood, ylang-ylang, sandalwood, vetiver and cubeb oils. On this point, in Indonesia it is common practice to space individual layers of patchouli leaves in the distillation vessel with twigs of the gurjun tree. Gurjun balsam present in the twigs contains an essential oil that contaminates the patchouli oil. Is this an adulteration of the patchouli or simply a method used in the production of the oil? Indeed, sometimes smelling gurjun balsam on the blotter the mind is tricked into thinking it’s smelling patchouli. Or is it that when smelling some patchouli oils, you’re also smelling gurjun balsam?”

Botanical Name: Dipterocarpus turbinatus

Origin: Indonesia