Saturday, July 23, 2016


I've had this big bottle (32 oz?) of elemi oil in my shop refrigerator for a couple of years now and rarely ever used it. It may have gone by drizzles into soap at one point, but I honestly can't remember using it in anything else because I thought perhaps it had gone 'off'. One of the hallmarks of an 'off' or adulterated sandalwood oil (in my opinion) is an ever so slight pickly note, so I related this off mark with elemi. Except there is a problem with that assessment -- elemi essential oil DOES have a slight pickly note by nature. Most sources describe the essential oil as 'fresh, lemony, peppery, etc. . .' which is in fact in there, but it's dominated by this strange hot dill pickle smell. So I dug around some more and finally found a couple of sources that do claim that there is a pickle note to the oil. I adore elemi resin -- can't get enough of the stuff, and I think too that I was comparing the scent of the resin with the oil and came up perplexed. The resin does not smell like the oil . . . much. Lemony? Yes. Peppery? Definitely. Pickly? Not so much.

Elemi is an oil that is often used to give a little lift a formulated scent, and it has that attribute in a spiritual sense as well. The scent leans more toward a really fresh, lemony, piney boswellia serrata rather than, say, a warm, sweet Siam benzoin. I could see elemi essential oil in a lovely fresh citrus perfume formulation, or something herby, like a rosemary/lavender/cilantro accord.

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