Styrax (Pure and Natural)
Styrax, occasionally called Storax, is a natural balsam (see Part One of this work: Balsam), formed as a pathological product in the sapwood and bark tissues of Liquidambar Orientalis, a medium-sized tree native to Asia Minor and the surrounding islands. The name Liquidambar is derived from the French “liquid ambre”. The tree is wildgrowing, and does not have to be felled in order to yield styrax. The bark is removed spotwise, and the sapwood is deliberately injured. Styrax is formed and collected in cans below the wounds or scraped off the wound. The peeled bark can be boiled in water to yield an additional amount of styrax.
Extraction with alcohol (ethyl alcohol or rarely, methyl alcohol). Several extractions are necessary if the water content is high. The alcoholic extracts are subsequently dried with anhydrous sodium sulfate or the like prior to evaporation of the extract in mild vacuum. This leads to a so-called “resin-absolute” of styrax. Absolute of Styrax is alcohol-soluble, comparatively pale in color, and truly representative of the natural raw material in odor.
It blends excellently with coumarin and its derivatives, with cyclamal, linalool, terpineol, anisaldehyde, ylang-ylang, jasmin bases, ionones and methylionones, etc., etc. The spicy note is derived from cinnamic alcohol and its esters, and from traces of cinnamal formed by oxidation of the cinnamic alcohol.