What is that?

What is that?

Since I just started teachung myself about odor types and “educating my olfactory palate,” it’s hard not to fall into the trap of overthinking things. My system now is picking an oil at random, not looking at the name of it as I add of couple of drops to my smelling strip, and then free associating what it smells like to me. Today I picked Atlas Cedarwood (Cedrus atlantica), or maybe it picked me...


My initial thoughts were: sweet, tingly but not minty but maybe spicy, and woodsy. I read through how others have described it, and I think what I was trying to describe is what others call balsamic. I went and took a whiff of my balsamic vinegar in the fridge, and except for the vinegar, it smelled similar. After a couple of hours it turned less sweet, and a little medicinal.


I’d classify it as: woodsy, balsamic, slightly spicy, slightly medicinal.


Now I’m wondering whether each of these characteristics correspond with a chemical compound. For example, the primary compound of Atlas Cedarwood is Alpha-Pinene (14.9%-79.4%). Does this give AC its woodsy or balsamic aroma? One way to hone in on what aroma it is responsible for would be to compare it to Frankincense (B. sacra) which is 5.3%-78.5% Alpha-Pinene. I’ll keep this in mind as i take notes, but for now, I’m still in the recognizing odor types phase.


One thing to keep in mind, AC is endangered so let’s use Himalayan Cedarwood (Cedrus deodara) instead.

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