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Mark Evans has this to say “This is the actual balsam (known as the crude balsam) extracted directly from the Myroxylon tree (literally “fragrant wood” in Greek). A balsam is just a resin that has a high essential oil content so that it becomes a thick, mobile liquid rather than solid and crystalline. This balsam has a tar-like consistency that becomes pourable with heat. Also available are peru balsam essential oil and peru balsam absolute (also known as resinoid).
Now, peru balsam has been used for centuries for medicinal and cosmetic uses, however the IFRA has recently prohibited its use for fragrance use due to sensitisation issues (see http://www.ifraorg.org/view_document.aspx?docId=23256).
If you are not concerned with such recommendations (I won’t go into the huge controversy about whether IFRA recommendations should be relevant) then I would still recommend that patch testing be performed before using products containing it. The scent of peru balsam is similar to benzoin and tolu balsam – sweet, delicate, very pleasantly balsamic, warm, majestic, plush, ambery resinous, powdery, fruity vanilla with light touches of woods and cinnamon. Despite all these soft and warm notes, this balsam is still bright and clean smelling on the blotter. Due to the IFRA regulations, I would recommend using the essential oil or the absolute for use in perfumery as a base note in Orientals and gourmands and for building beautiful ambery notes.”
Botanical Name: Myroxylon bals var Pereirae
Origin: El Salvador