What Does Frankincense Oil Smell Like?

What Does Frankincense Oil Smell Like
Written by Lucas M. Hall

Frankincense, known for its historical significance and various uses, is a resin derived from the Boswellia tree. One of the most intriguing aspects of frankincense is its aromatic essence, captured in the form of essential oil. The scent of frankincense is not only captivating but also holds a unique place in the world of fragrances. In this article, we delve into the intriguing question: What does frankincense oil smell like?

The Aromatic Alchemy of Frankincense:

Frankincense essential oil boasts a distinctive and complex fragrance profile. Its aroma is often described as a harmonious blend of various olfactory notes, making it one of the most sought-after scents in perfumery and aromatherapy. Let’s break down the key components of frankincense’s fragrance:

  1. Earthy Base Notes: Frankincense is anchored by deep, earthy base notes that lend it a grounding quality. This foundational element evokes a sense of tranquillity and stability, making it a favourite for meditation and relaxation.

  2. Balsamic and Resinous Undertones: The resinous and balsamic nuances in frankincense contribute to its rich, warm character. This quality is often associated with the scent of dried tree sap, which is, in essence, what frankincense is.

  3. Woodsy and Woody Accents: Frankincense carries subtle woody notes, reminiscent of cedar or sandalwood. These elements add depth and complexity to its aroma.

  4. Citrusy and Light High Notes: A hint of citrusy brightness uplifts the overall scent of frankincense. This delicate touch of lemon or orange-like notes balances the heavier aspects of the fragrance, providing a refreshing quality.

The Interplay of Olfactory Layers:

The beauty of frankincense’s aroma lies in the interplay of these olfactory layers. Its complexity is such that it can be simultaneously grounding and uplifting, making it a versatile choice for a wide range of applications. Depending on the quality and origin of the frankincense, you may find variations in its scent. The most common types of frankincense are Boswellia carterii, Boswellia serrata, and Boswellia frereana, each with its own unique olfactory profile.

Uses of Frankincense Oil:

  1. Aromatherapy: Frankincense essential oil is a beloved choice for aromatherapists. Its soothing and calming scent makes it an ideal companion for meditation and relaxation sessions.

  2. Perfumery: Frankincense is a prized ingredient in many high-end perfumes and colognes. Its complexity allows perfumers to create sophisticated, multi-dimensional fragrances.

  3. Skincare: Frankincense oil is known for its potential skincare benefits. Its pleasant scent is often used in natural skincare products and can enhance the overall sensory experience.

  4. Holistic Healing: In traditional medicine and holistic healing practices, frankincense’s aroma is believed to have spiritual and healing qualities. It has been used for centuries in various rituals and ceremonies.


Frankincense oil is a fragrant treasure that captivates the senses with its intricate, multifaceted aroma. Its unique combination of earthy, balsamic, woody, and citrusy notes creates an olfactory experience that is both grounding and uplifting. This ancient resin-derived essential oil has found its place in various applications, from aromatherapy and perfumery to holistic healing. If you’ve never experienced the scent of frankincense oil, it’s a journey worth embarking on, as its aroma is truly a testament to the wonders of nature’s fragrant gifts.

About the author

Lucas M. Hall

Lucas describes himself as a “certified fragrance expert”, having worked with some of the world’s top perfumeries as a perfume consultant. His love for fragrances has allowed him to help companies create scents that continue to sell out to this day. When he isn’t choosing notes, he helps clients find the perfect fragrance that complements their style and personality. Many high-profile clients have found their signature scent through his advice. During his downtime, Lucas likes to fill his home with the mouth-watering smell of s’mores, scones, and other delectable desserts.

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