Published On:

June 1, 2022

Updated On:

June 29, 2022


What Does Frankincense Smell Like? And 6 Perfumes To Love

What Does Frankincense Smell Like - The frankincense smell can vary, depending on species as well as soil and weather conditions. Frankincense smell aromatic, woody with notes of citrus and spice. It’s an earthy scent and some say that frankincense smells like rosemary.

The distilled essential oils tend to have a sweeter and brighter distinct smell than resins, and this is what is typically used in incense and perfumery.

What is Frankincense?

Frankincense, also called Olibanum, is the aromatic, congealed, natural aromatic resin from a specific variety of Boswellia trees. There are five main species of trees that produce frankincense in different qualities and scents. Boswellia Sacra is the primary tree in this genus from which frankincense is harvested. These trees require an arid climate where the only moisture is provided by morning mist. The few ideal environments in the world for this small precious tree are found in Southern Arabia, India (Boswellia Serrata), and Northern Africa.

What Does Frankincense Smell Like? smell the oil produced from the resin of  frankincense trees and you will know!

Boswellia Sacra trees

From about 8 to 10 years old, the trees are slashed to produce an aromatic resin. Collecting the resin can only take place twice a year - once in the spring (March to May) and then again in the fall (September to October). The longer the natural resin is left on the frankincense tree, the harder it gets. It takes about a week for the resin to harden up enough to be cut it off as a resin crystal, and another week for harvesters to collect the crystal resin.

This process produces different types and grades of frankincense resins. Quality is based on color, purity, aroma, and age. The most common grade of frankincense is a brownish resin that has a great deal of bark particles in it. The crystal resin goes to a distillery where it is crushed into powder, put into an oil bath, ready for steam distillation process to extract the frankincense essential oil.

Due to over harvesting, agriculture, and the longhorn beetle, the population of frankincense trees around the world is dwindling.
frankincense resin

Frankincense resin

Frankincense Perfumes

Frankincense essential oil is often referred to as incense in perfumery, the fragrance oil can be found in candles as well. It’s used as a woody base and pairs well with sweeter scents like citrus.

 La Liturgie des Heures EDP 

La Liturgie des Heures by Jovoy

The very best frankincense perfume for men and women is La Liturgie des Heures by Jovoy. It is an oriental woody fragrance with a strong incense note. La Liturgie des Heures is a very beautiful fragrance, slightly sweet and somewhat evocative of a Gothic cathedral.

This frankincense perfume opens with a burst of pine, incense and green peppery smell, followed by traces of a sweet, almost nutty myrrh, slightly leathered labdanum, and musk.

The scent of crushed pine needles is juxtaposed to the leather undertones and the very cold, dry, vaguely dusty tones of High Church incense. As time passes, the undertones of frankincense, myrrh and leather come to the fore.

After thirty minutes, the base notes rise fully to the surface and the perfume becomes sweeter, more layered, and the pine recedes. The myrrh turns the frankincense smell, while the leather adds touches of a darker note. The clean musky smell opens up.

As the hours pass, La Liturgie des Heures is primarily centered around nutty myrrh, ambered labdanum, and the sweet church incense infused with clean, white musk. The fragrance finally dries down to a musky, clean and sweet frankincense smell.

The longevity of La Liturgie des Heures is moderate to long at around 6 hours, and the sillage is not too big.

Although it can be worn by both sexes, this earthy scent leans slightly masculine.

This warm but slightly formal fragrance is best suited to colder fall and winter evenings.

Top Notes: Cypress, Green notes. Middle Notes: Incense, Olibanum, French labdanum. Base Notes: Musk

 In Timbuktu EDP frankincense smells peppery

Timbuktu Eau de Parfum by L’Artisan Parfumeur

Timbuktu by L’Artisan Parfumeur is primarily a composition of woodsy scents, vetiver and incense. This fragrance has lovely radiant and effervescent qualities. These qualities shine through from the soaring top notes of ripe mango, the spicy warmth of pink pepper and citrus, to the earthy dry down of patchouli and musk.

Timbuktu perfume was created by master perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour in 2004 as part of the  L’Artisan’s Voyage collection, inspired by his travels in Mali, Africa. This frankincense fragrance is a classical composition of dry woods, with vetiver, sandalwood and patchouli. It evolves beautifully with pepper and grapefruit giving it an appealing freshness. It is the brightness of wood sap and sweet pine trees resin that lingers. As Timbuktu changes on the skin from spicy incense to smoky woods, the freshness of the frankincense smell takes on a beguiling and sensual character.

The longevity of this frankincense aroma is 6 to 7 hours, and the sillage is moderate.

Timbuktu is a unique fragrance with a dark, dramatic, moody beauty about it. It can be worn by both sexes, but it does lean slightly more masculine.

This very special fragrance can be worn all year round, however, its woody character makes it best suited to fall days.

Notes - Top: Mango, Pink pepper, Cardamom. Middle: Incense, Papyrus, Karo Karounde. Base: Vetiver, Myrrh, Patchouli,Benzoin.

The Notes Of France - Encens Chembur EDP

Encens Chembur Eau de Parfum by Byredo

The opening is a fresh combination of bergamot and elemi, with touches of lemon, ginger and nutmeg leading to a bright start that is soon toned down by the elemi.

The gentle dry down follows through this direction by adding the incense note that is unusual in its brightness and the lack of any ceremonial heaviness. Slightly musky and ambery notes are present.

By now the core concept of this creation is evident: combining freshness with a slimmed-down incense.The base sees the incense gradually develop with an impression of pleasant and light white musk, which is given smoothness by a labdamun undertone. The smell ends where it began - brightness and darker richness combined.

This warm scent smell combines refreshing notes with incense. Encens Chembur Eau de Parfum is an original fragrance without the heavy and ceremonial incense note.

The longevity of Encens Chembur fragrance is moderate to long at around 7 hours, but the sillage is not very big.

Encens Chembur perfume can be worn by both sexes, but it does smell slightly more masculine.

This fragrance can be worn all year round, however, it best suited to fall and spring days.

Notes - Top: Bergamot. Amalfi lemon, Elemi natural resin. Middle: Ginger, Nutmeg, Incense. Base: Amber, French labdamun, White musk.

Interlude Man EDP

Interlude Man Eau de Parfum by Amouage

“Inspired by chaos and disorder, this spicy and woody fragrance masquerades an interlude moment of harmony in its heart.”
– Amouage’s description of Interlude.

Interlude Man Eau de Parfum is not a subtle scent. It is powerful and quite complex. It opens with exotic spice and zest. Oregano is front and center, backed by bergamot and pimento.

The fragrance has a strong smoky backbone which is dominated by frankincense smell, with opoponax resin which provides the smoke accord. Additionally present are an amber accord which lends some smoothness to the fragrance. There is also a slight hint of floral notes

You may notice so far that these ingredients are quite a contradiction. Hence the description in the beginning of chaos and disorder – yet the harmony in its heart could be said to be the smoothing heart notes of amber and opoponax.

Despite the deliberate contradictions, everything in this blend works quite well together and exist in harmony.

Interlude Man has excellent longevity and medium to large sillage. It is better suited to casual wear rather than the office.

Being a strong warm fragrance, it is great for cold winter nights or cool fall evenings.

Notes - Top: Bergamot, Oregano, Pimento. Middle: Amber, Opoponax, Incense, Labdanum. Base: Leather, Oud, Patchouli, Sandalwood.

Portrait of a Lady EDP

Portrait of a Lady, a good answer to What Does Frankincense Smell Like

This fragrance is all about luxury, magic and quality. Wear Portrait of a Lady Eau de Parfum when you want to make a statement and stand out from the crowd.

The opening blast is a voluptuous rich rose with a hint of sandalwood. The rose becomes jammy and fruity and then quite soapy. There is also a green element.

As the raspberry and blackcurrant fades, the rose comes through stronger, closely followed by the incense.  

Deep, rich, smoky, sensual, fruity, dry, sweet, creamy, soft - Portrait of a Lady covers all the bases. The combination of rose and patchouli is enriched by glowing incense, creamy sandalwood, and autumnal spices. It is intoxicating, full-bodied, exotic, and powerful.

Simply put, one of the best rose and incense fragrances ever made. The longevity is excellent at up to 12 hours, and the sillage is quite big.

Portrait of a Lady perfume is marketed for women, but it is totally unisex. This magical warm fragrance is best worn in fall and winter.

Notes - Top: Clove, Raspberry, Rose, Blackcurrant, Cinnamon. Middle: Patchouli, Sandalwood, Frankincense scent. Base::Amber, Benzoin, Musk.

L'Artisan Parfumeur Passage D'Enfer EDT

L'Artisan Parfumeur Passage D'Enfer Eau De Toilette

Passage D'Enfer Eau de Parfum is an amber woody fragrance for women and men, but it leans more feminine.

This fragrance is very strong as it opens with incense. It's got all the accords that create the effect of a cathedral style incense: myrrh, olibanum, benzoin and incense. Smoky, dark, strong, almost overpowering. The musk is also clearly there from the start to further add some warmth and depth to the incense notes. This is a musk based incense fragrance and really does smell like the inside of a cathedral.

After a while, as the fragrance begins to dry down, the white flowers come to the fore. There's lots of white lilies and perhaps even soft little jasmine flowers. It's sweet and innocent and very powdery.

A complex fragrance, Passage D'Enfer can be worn all year round, but it is particularly suited to cooler fall days. The longevity is moderate to strong, and the sillage is intimate.

Main Notes: Incense, Lily, Woody notes, Musk

What Does Frankincense Smell Like? - FAQ 

What are the benefits of Frankincense?

Aside from religious rituals and spiritual applications, in aromatherapy frankincense essential oil is believed to reduce anxiety as well as stimulate the immune and respiratory systems.

Frankincense essential oil:

  • Helps to calm the mind
  • Has anti-inflammatory properties
  • Eases anxiety
  • Aides sleep
  • Boosts immunity
  • Stimulate the respiratory system.

What is the difference between Frankincense and Myrrh?

Frankincense and myrrh are both resins extracted from trees in the Burseraceae family. Frankincense comes from the dried sap of Boswellia trees, while myrrh comes from the sap of the Commiphora trees.

Does Frankincense smells better than Myrrh?

They are quite different: frankincense smells sweet, warm, and woodsy, while myrrh smells more earthy with slight licorice tones.

Is it OK to smell Frankincense Essential oil?

Yes, but if the frankincense oil smell is different from what you are used,   or you see a big change in the way an essential oil looks, or feels, you should throw it away, because it is probably spoiled. If essential oils are spoiled they may irritate your skin or cause an allergic reaction.

Why is Frankincense oil the King?

Frankincense essential oil has earned its title as “The King of Oils” because it is so versatile. For example, frankincense oil has powerful anti-aging properties. It promotes cellular function and the appearance of healthy-looking skin, evening out skin tone and minimizing blemishes.

How do you describe frankincense smell?

Frankincense is best known for its role in the Christmas story and its use in religious ceremonies, but it has been used for therapeutic purposes for thousands of years. The scent is attributed to the presence of one of its main components, incensole acetate, which has interesting properties. In tests conducted on mice, incensole acetate alleviated depression. It also has anti-inflammatory properties.

There are more than 300 molecules present in frankincense, with boswellic acid proving to be the most popular. Archaeologists often use mass spectra to identify ancient artifacts and scents. Boswellic acids are also thought to have anti-inflammatory properties and a potential role in cancer therapy. In 2016, researchers in Italy and France identified two molecules similar to boswellic acid, a compound responsible for the smell of frankincense.

The scent of frankincense can vary depending on the tree from which it is harvested. It has a woody, earthy scent, but it is not as strong as vetiver or sandalwood. Its distinct aroma is reminiscent of a blend of citrus, woody, and citrus and can be found in incense and candles. It pairs well with citrus scents, such as lemon and lime, while slightly sweet.

What smells similar to frankincense?

If you've ever wanted to know what smells similar to Frankincense, then you've come to the right place. This essential oil is a member of the oriental fragrance family, and it smells just like burning incense. But unlike some other scents, Frankincense isn't overpowering or austere. It's a lively, woody aroma that has citrus and pine undertones.

The name Frankincense is derived from the Old French word for "high-quality incense." It has a spicy, lemony scent. It is also known as one of the three gifts Jesus received from the Magi when he was born. It is often used to anoint newborn infants and is one of the most popular scents in many Christian churches. Here are some common fragrances that smell similar to Frankincense:

In aromatherapy, Frankincense is often used as an antidepressant. It has been known for thousands of years to reduce anxiety. Modern research has revealed that it also has psychoactive properties, which provide effects similar to antidepressants. You can diffuse frankincense oil to improve concentration, reduce stress, and promote relaxation. What smells similar to Frankincense? Read on to find out more!

Is frankincense a nice smell?

What is frankincense? Frankincense is a natural resin that comes from the Boswellia tree. The scent varies depending on the season, climate, and soil conditions. The aroma is typically woody and aromatic, with a hint of citrus. Because it is also used as an ingredient in candles and incense, it has an earthy base and pairs well with citrus scents.

Frankincense contains about 300 different molecules, including olibanic acid. Archaeologists also use this compound to identify ancient artifacts. Scientists are now working on recreating the fragrance and are trying to isolate specific compounds. Several of these compounds have therapeutic properties and have even been separated from the oil itself. Researchers can identify what makes a frankincense smell so good using mass spectra.

Aside from frankincense's odor-relieving and antiseptic properties, it has many other uses. Frankincense oil is used for several purposes, including battling bad breath, stress, and oral cavities. It is also a natural antiseptic that helps eliminate bacteria and viruses. When burned in a candle, frankincense gives a clean, fresh smell to a room.

In Conclusion

In ancient times Frankincense has been used in religious ceremonies and in perfumes. We are indeed privileged to still have access to this magical scent today. 

Frankincense smell is earthy, aromatic, woody with notes of citrus and spice. Frankincense is no longer confined to being a dark, cold and somewhat austere fragrance reminiscent of the frankincense scent in Gothic cathedrals. It has evolved in a number of different directions as is evidenced by the modern perfumes featured here - frankincense is perfect for 2022! 

Unusual as they may be, these perfumes all offer a glimpse of the true and varied nature of frankincense smell.