The frankincense trail…an aromatic journey
When the intrepid Kate Humble of BBC decided to take the journey across the ancient frankincense trade route and rediscover a world that’s long gone, I was taken. Her quest, steeped in history, searing with desert heat, and full of characters and adventure, made me feel as if I myself have been transported to another place and time and a deep desire to share about this deeply evocative, warming, soothing ‘pearl of the desert’ called Frankincense took over me.
The usage and application of Frankincense dates backs to thousands of years during the time of ancient Egyptians who used it during embalming of bodies, while the bible mentions it in divine light, as a symbol of worship and prayer.
However I am keen to discover the aromatic qualities of Frankincense in perfumery.
In Coco Noir by Chanel the inclusion of Frankincense (Olibanum) modifies the sweet citruses and adds smokiness to florals, whereas it makes its deep smoky, thick presence felt throughout in Amber Absolute by Tom Ford. Frankincense is also known to enrich the ambery and woody notes in orientals, by providing a beautiful trail in a scent.
These white tears that are shed using a specialized knife from the bark of a specific variety of trees in the genus Boswellia, can be regarded as the very first natural aromatic, with therapeutic, healing and calming properties. Southern Arabia (Oman and Yemen), India, and Northern Africa (Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Kenya) are regions that provide ideal climate for harvest of the Frankincense trees., from where it travels to perfumery houses across the globe and into our nostrils.
Thanks to Kate, now my personal quest for the richest and most precious Frankincense has begun and I shall rest once I have succeeded. Watch this space!
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I am Avantika Bedi.
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