Benzoin resin is a balsamic resin obtained from the bark of several species of trees in the genus Styrax. It is used in perfumes, some kinds of incense, as a flavoring and medicine . Commonly called "benzoin" is also called "benzoin resin" to distinguish it from the chemical compound benzoin.
Benzoin is also called gum benzoin or gum benjamin. But "gum" is incorrect as benzoin is not a polysaccharide. Its name came via the Italian from the Arabic luban jawi. Benzoin resin is also called styrax balsam or styrax resin, but wrongly since those resins are obtained from a different plant family, Hamamelidaceae. Benzoin was first reported in 1832 by Justus von Liebig and Friedrich Woehler during their research on oil of bitter almond which is benzaldehyde with traces of hydrocyanic acid.
Benzoin resin is a common ingredient in incense-making and perfumery because of its sweet vanilla-like aroma and fixative properties. Gum benzoin is a major component of the type of church incense used in Russia and some other Orthodox Christian societies as well as Western Catholic Churches.
Most benzoin is used in Arab States of the Persian Gulf and India, where it is burned on charcoal as incense.
It is also used in the production of Bakhoor (Arabic scented wood chips) as well as various mixed resin incense in the Arab countries and the Horn of Africa. Benzoin tree is from Java, Sumatra and Thailand and grows to 8 meters (20 feet).
Deep incisions are made in the trunk of the tree from which the grayish colored sap exudes. When the resinous lump becomes hard and brittle, it is collected from the bark of Benzoin.
It is also used as a fixative in the perfume industry.
Benzoin Siam is characterized by its content of Benzoic Acid
(10 to 12%), while the major constituent is Coniferyl Benzoate (65 to 75%).
Other resin acids are present. Benzoin Sumatra contains mainly Benzoresinyl Cinnamate
and Benzoresinyl Benzoate, Cinnamic Acid, Styrene (characteristic odor, also
found instyrax). Both types contain Vanillin.
There are following unique Benzoin products manufactured by BMV Fragrances Pvt Ltd. Perfumery use of Benzoin can hardly be described other than as this material virtually blends with almost every known material. In traces it also helps Rose accords and can be used in high percentages in Musks and Orientals.