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Olibanum, also known as frankincense, is undoubtedly the oldest and best known of all gum resins used in perfumery.

Olibanum is a gum produced by several species of the Boswellia tree.

The tree grows mainly on the northern coast of the Horn of Africa. It thrives in dry climates and at medium altitudes (1,000 m) on slopes leading down to the Indian Ocean. Production (tapping, collecting, sorting, etc.) takes place in the dry summer months.

Manifacturing of Olibanum is estimated at 3,000 tons per year for the "burning" products (incense in church, etc.) and 500 to 600 tons per year for perfumery use.

Olibanum is used variously processed in perfume. On the one hand as a resinoid (extraction by solvents, for example ethanol, DPG, TEC, DEP,..) or as an essential oil, produced in the sense of steam distillation/pressing process.

In contrast to the resinoid which smells like old wood and has amber facets, the essential oil is furthermore fresher, peppery, spicy and has citrus aspects. Thus, different areas of application arise. The essential oil can be used especially well to fix citrus fragrances in perfumes and the resinoid is versatile when it comes to the base of the fragrance.


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