Myrrh, like Frankincense, is most well-known in association with spirituality, religion, and the gifts of the three wise men. The presence of myrrh in Christmas discourse is unavoidable. Actually, myrrh has been utilized in rituals all the way back to Ancient Egypt. We’re all familiar with the name, but can you describe the aroma and properties of myrrh?
Myrrh: What Is It?
Myrrh is the gum or resin extracted from Commiphora trees. You may find these trees in their natural habitats in Somalia, Oman, Yemen, Eritrea, and even certain regions of Saudi Arabia.
Myrrh is extracted by bleeding the waxy sap of these little, prickly plants. The gum eventually turns into tears and becomes a darker yellow as it dries.
If you could describe the aroma of myrrh, what would you say it is?
Myrrh has a strong, resinous, woodsy, somewhat medicinal fragrance. Flavors like harsh and astringent to warm and pleasant are all possible. Scents of frankincense and pine come to mind; this is a similar, refreshing aroma.
Resins often have a more smoky and sweet aroma than essential oils, which are distilled using steam and have a more therapeutic nature.
Myrrh’s Many Advantages
The advantages of myrrh have been employed in ancient Chinese and Ayurvedic remedies, and are now being scientifically examined, although the spice is most recognized for its usage in Ancient Egyptian, Jewish, Christian, and Islamic religious events.
Since myrrh may both kill germs and alleviate edema, it has several potential medical uses. Among the most prevalent applications are dental hygiene products like toothpaste and mouthwash, and cosmetic ones like reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Top-Rated Fragrances that Use Myrrh
In fact, the religious usage of incense (including myrrh) is responsible for the origin of the word “perfume” (from the Latin phrase “per fumum,” meaning “through smoke”). It’s a staple of many contemporary Oriental perfumes.
Exactly Where Does Myrrh Come From?
The little, thorny tree species Commiphora is native to the regions of Northern Africa and the Middle East, and its fragrant resin is known as myrrh. Large quantities of myrrh come from Yemen, Somalia, Eritrea, and Ethiopia. Putting it to a variety of applications and shipping it all over the globe.
Resin is harvested by repeatedly puncturing the Commiphora tree’s bark, and the myrrh gum seeps out through the holes. Coagulating into a waxy resin. Upon curing, this resin takes on a yellowish hue, darkens with age, and develops white streaks.
The resin is processed to remove the essential oils, which are subsequently utilized in cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and aromatherapy. Myrrh is often associated with the rich, earthy aroma of black licorice, and this is what the oil version of the material imparts. The oil from myrrh resin has been harvested for aeons. Some of these ancient methods for extracting the universally adored and indispensable oil are still in use by today’s farmers.
Myrrh’s origins as a word date back to the Aramaic and Arabic languages. Wherein the letters’murr’ and’mur’ stand for the bitter flavours of coffee and tea, respectively. Many ancient and current global languages have borrowed these words. Making its way into English via the Hebrew Bible, this word also served as the inspiration for the Greek word for scent.
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Myrrh’s Past Functions:
The ancient Chinese used myrrh in their medicine as well. The chemical is said to be especially helpful for the heart, liver, and spleen, according to the practitioners. In addition to providing blood-stirring abilities. Myrrh has long been recommended by traditional Chinese medicine practitioners for the treatment of a variety of ailments, including rheumatism, arthritis, circulation issues, and the symptoms of menopause.
Facts about Myrrh:
Myrrh, a gum resin harvested from Commiphora myrrha trees in its native Yemen and Somalia, has a complex yet reassuringly familiar scent. Possibly odd, but not quite alien. Put together the aroma of burning wet wood, bakery exhaust fumes, and raw mushrooms and black licorice, and you get the whole sensory experience. Because of its traditional use in liturgical incense mixtures, myrrh may also conjure up images of chilly church pillars in the minds of some.
Some of the materials used to make perfume are known to be more difficult to work with than others. One such challenging yet interesting note is myrrh. Because of its strong personality, myrrh may overpower a scent if not used by a trained perfumer. Perfumer Calice Becker makes the analogy that myrrh is to perfumers what butter is to cooks; it enhances the taste. When combined with other components, myrrh may take on a sensuous, eerie quality. Myrrh adds depth to any mixture, whether it’s given as a little touch or a hefty amount.
Notes of Myrrh:
To this day, Donna Karan Gold remains one of my all-time favourite fragrances due to its enticing myrrh undertones. The very sound of the word “myrrh” transports me back to ancient times, when its use in perfumes and medicines made it so valuable that its weight was equivalent to gold. In Gold, the myrrh adds depth and opulence to the lily and jasmine-driven floral bouquet. Similarly, the bright luminosity of mimosa, jasmine, and honeysuckle is transformed into a sensuous darkness by a trace of myrrh in Annick Goutal Grand Amour. My second unexpected find with myrrh was the estee bronze goddess. The myrrh is just a small part of the overall composition, yet it gives the piece a unique flavour.
Amouage Gold Woman, Ormonde Jayne Orris Noir, Estee Lauder Beautiful, Aftelier Candide, Jo Malone Vintage Gardenia with Cardamom and Myrrh, and Diptyque L’Ombre Dans L’Eau are a few more out-of-the-ordinary flowery fragrances that have myrrh.
A Bold Touch
Etro Messe de Minuit, a scent of incense reminiscent of old books with tattered pages and extinguished candles, is the ideal way to experience the dark side of myrrh. In this oriental combination, the peppery frankincense, amber, and patchouli are joined by the myrrh, a stronger accent. Serge Lutens Arabie has a calorie-dense aroma of dried fruit, spices, and tobacco, and myrrh is used to enhance that combination. Green myrrh plays a significant supporting role in Frédéric Malle’s Vétiver Extraordinaire, a vetiver scent as decadent as chocolate fudge. Perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour’s work is another great option for myrh fans. Myrrh is a haunting element in several of Penhaligon’s perfumes, either as an accent note (as in Sartorial) or as a dramatic flourish (as in Eau d’Italie Baume du Doge).
Guerlain’s Myrrhe et Delires, Eau d’Italie’s Bois d’Ombre, L’Artisan’s Mechant Loup, Neela Vermeire’s Trayee, and Serge Lutens’ Vétiver Orientale are a few other dark myrrh-enriched compositions worth sniffing out.
Myrrh, the Gold Standard
From an aesthetic and technical perspective, Serge Lutens’ La Myrrhe is a work of genius. Considering it’s an expensive eastern concoction, its brilliance is quite astounding. Given that La Myrrhe has such a high concentration of myrrh, its radiance comes as somewhat of a shock. Christopher Sheldrake, a renowned perfumer, came up with the idea of contrasting myrrh with a cocktail of aldehydes while playing around with different myrrh concentrations (aroma materials that give lift and effervescence.)
Few Myrrh Fragrances:
1. Yves Saint Laurent Opium Eau-de-toilette Spray for Women, 3-Ounce
Opium, launched in 1977 by Yves Saint Laurent, is an elegant, oriental, subtle fragrance. There are hints of mandarin and bergamot in the opening of this floral fragrance, followed by myrrh, jasmine, and carnation. The Amber finish is the perfect ending.
2. Carner Barcelona AMBAR DEL SUR Eau de Parfum Spray
Ambar Del Sur, the 2018 fragrance by Carner Barcelona, smells like the boundless sea. Scents of spicy patchouli, amber, and sandalwood drift in, while those of sweet vanilla, exotic tonka bean, myrrh, and Spanish labdanum mimic the warmth of the seaside air. Bright bergamot and jasmine notes, as clean and energizing as the sound of breaking waves, round up the sensory experience.
3. Ajmal Black Onyx Unisex EDP Spray
Black Onyx, introduced by Ajmal, is an oriental-inspired, feminine fragrance that blends sweet and spicy notes to create an alluring mystique. Middle tones of rose, oud, and myrrh temper the brightness of the lemon and cinnamon/cardamom/cardamon top notes. Base notes of white musk, amber, and patchouli provide a sensuous quality to the scent.
4. Tiziana Terenzi Tiziana Terenzi Delox EDP for Men and Women
Delox, a unisex fragrance created by Italian perfumer Tiziana Terenzi and inspired by a trip to the Greek islands, was launched in 2017. White hyacinth, iris, and coffee make up the invigorating top notes, while myrrh, Turkish rose, and vanilla make up the sweet heart notes. These eventually give way to a pleasant, lingering top note that may be enjoyed all day and into the night.
WHAT IS FRANKINSENCE?
Frankincense, often called olibanum, is a resin extracted from certain trees that has been used religiously for a very long time.
The Boswellia tree, a hardy deciduous species found in Eastern Africa, Southern Arabia, and India, is the source of this resin. After being extracted from the trees, the milky white resin is processed into semitranslucent, white to golden-amber coloured chunks.
Frankincense, as its name implies, was traditionally used as one of the primary components of incense. The term “high quality incense” (in French, “franc encens”) is where the English word “frankincense” was borrowed.
The ancient commerce of frankincense spanned the regions of Arabia, East Africa, and Asia, much like the trade of other aromatics and spices. Because of its historical significance and current high demand, frankincense was once regarded more precious than gold.
One of the three symbolic gifts given to Jesus at his birth was frankincense (alongside gold and myrrh). When it came to the specific ceremonial incense mix used in Jewish temples, frankincense was one of the four main smells. Muslims, Indians, Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans were just some of the various civilizations that found religious and medical applications for it.
What exactly is the aroma of frankincense?
The amber family of scents includes frankincense. Frankincense’s woody, earthy, deep, and spiritual scent is often invoked in memory when one thinks of the enticing odour of burning incense.
Frankincense, although often associated with incense, isn’t nearly as solemn or overbearing in home scents and luxury candles. Instead, it’s a key ingredient in several festive, upbeat, and enticing concoctions.
It’s important to remember that frankincense may have a variety of aromas, depending on its quality and country of origin. However, if you want to get a notion of what frankincense often smells like, we’d say it smells like:
- Soft and comforting
- Flavored with subtle hints of citrus
- Notes of pepper and spice
Frankincense and the aromas of rosemary, pine sap, and sweet amber all have certain commonalities in their composition.
Frankincense has a woodsy aroma, but it isn’t as smooth and seductive as sandalwood or as smokey and rich as vetiver. Frankincense, on the other hand, has a resinous or balsamic aroma that is reminiscent of pine (which makes sense, since it comes from tree resin).
It has a distinctive scent that is both sweet and zesty, making it pleasant to inhale and stimulating to exhale. Rather of being sickly sweet like many seasonal fragrances, this one blends pine and lemon to create a light, airy, and aromatically sweet perfume.
Frankincense is typically discussed simultaneously with it’s cousin myrrh, another pungent and earthy perfume produced from the resin of the Commiphora tree which also has a long history in religion and spirituality. It is generally agreed that frankincense has a sweeter, warmer aroma than myrrh, which is more earthy and harsh.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you smell the myrrh?
Essential oils from the musk family have strong, earthy aromas that penetrate deeply and stimulate the sense of smell. Myrrh, patchouli, and citronella are other examples.
Myrrh or frankincense; which has the sweeter aroma?
The resin of the Commiphora tree, from which both frankincense and myrrh are produced, has a long and storied history in religious and spiritual contexts. It is generally agreed that frankincense has a sweeter, warmer aroma than myrrh, which is more earthy and harsh.
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