What Does Frankincense Smell Like? [9 Fragrances To Spice Up Your Life]

Frankincense smells like sacred smoke and worship.

What does frankincense smell like? Oh, what a great question you ask!

Frankincense smells like tradition. It smells like sacred smoke and woodsy richness. 

Anytime our ancestors smelled frankincense, they were witnessing something important.

There is a sense of tranquility that emanates from this scent.  Frankincense is more than just a smell; this aromatic resin tells the story of humanity.

In the scholarly journal Economic Botany –Arthur O. Tucker – explains this plants’ unique smells come from their oleo-gum-resins, a complex cocktail of sesquiterpenes, which are like the life and soul of a really good party – you can’t see them, but you sure as hell can smell them!

Let’s get our noses ready and learn more about this beautiful tree resin.

Stay with me, and I’ll tell you what the best frankincense perfumes are.

What Does Frankincense Smell Like

What Is Frankincense?

Frankincense is an aromatic spice. It was once more valuable than gold. Yemen became wealthy as a result of its woody scent.

Incense has always been part of our social life. Since Moses, Frankincense has been part of the burning rituals.

On special occasions, smoke, and its smell, signify something big is going on. When frankincense oil makes its appearance, time stops. It’s time to listen and revere.

Boswellia sacra comprise the main tree in the genus Boswellia where frankincense is extracted. The tree is native to Oman and Somalia.

Boswellia is a big family. Boswellia carterii, Boswellia papyrifera, and Boswellia serrata are other Boswellia species that are used to harvest frankincense.

Oman’s frankincense has been the best for 2300 years. Boswellia sacra. Sacred.

It’s a stretch to say so, but it’s true. Yemen is prosperous because of one smell. The woodsy scent of frankincense.

What are the benefits of frankincense?

Our sense of smell affects our mood. This was always known to our ancestors. Science didn’t have to tell them that the Boswellia tree smells like peace.

Modern aromatherapy uses frankincense essential oil to reduce anxiety. [1]

Perfumery has always tapped into its earthy scent for its beauty. What a treasure the Boswellia sacra tree is.

What is the difference between frankincense and myrrh?

Myrrh is a close relative of the frankincense tree. They both belong to the same tree family. Myrrh is obtained from the Commiphora Myrrha tree. It is a resin similar to frankincense.

Commiphora trees are among the trees that are burned for their sweet scent. Myrrh smell compliments perfectly with frankincense. They’ve always been burned together.

Their destinies were permanently sealed by their inclusion, along with gold, in the gifts to Baby Jesus.

What’s The Relationship Between Frankinsence And Egypt?

Historically, frankincense proved so coveted that Hatshepsut, the second woman pharaoh, led expeditions to Punt to import its tree. These expeditions, recorded on temple stones, according to the Smithsonian Magazine, highlight frankincense’s significant role in ancient society.

Frankincense’s potent scent has been cherished since the era of King Tut. This scent, captured in the comforting glow of scented candles or on an incense stick, exudes a rich history steeped in tradition.

Today, you can benefit from this historically prized aroma, whether in soap for a luxuriating bath or other fragrant forms, offering a timeless, sensory connection to a bygone era.

So, What Does Frankincense Smell Like?

Frankincense smells like people. Smells like us. The burning of incense resin is a global phenomenon. It is a part of every culture.

Our religious ceremonies burn frankincense resin to show their respect. 

In “The Picture of Dorian Gray,” Wilde wondered what there was in frankincense that made one mystical.

Since perfume means “through smoke,” burning frankincense was likely the origin of perfumery.

Nowadays, we can find many fragrances that contain this heavenly aroma. Let’s take full advantage of this pleasure.

What Does Frankincense Smell Like

Best Frankincense Perfumes

Tuscan Leather By Tom Ford Review

Not a typical frankincense scent. As the name suggests, leather is the protagonist.

Tom Ford Tuscan Leather Description

Don’t get confused, though. In the middle, when the citrus has gone to sleep, the smoke appears. A cloud of gum resin smell mingles with the scent of a new leather wallet.

Probably the ideal fragrance for a manager in a corporation with no soul. Beautiful.

Encens Flamboyant By Annick Goutal

I remember making bonfires as a child when I smell this fragrance. The smell of burnt wood lends itself to the telling of scary stories.

Annick Goutal Encens Flamboyant Description

However, this scent does not inspire fear. This is a frankincense perfume for everyone.

Not much sweetness, not much smokiness. Perfect for any weather or mood.

Fille en Aiguilles By Serge Lutens

Pine, earthy vetiver, and tons of sacred smoke. When I smell it, I picture myself performing steam distillation to an enchanted forest.

Serge Lutens Fille en Aiguilles Description

Not for everyone, but still a woodsy treasure.

Portrait of a Lady By Frederic Malle

An excellent combination of incense and cinnamon.

Frederic Malle Portrait of a Lady Description

Frederic Malle never disappoints my nose.

Patchouli and sandalwood go well together and sing on your skin for a beautiful evening when you want to feel classy.  Portrait of a Lady on Fire, in my opinion.

Sahara Noir Tom Ford

Its name does it justice. It smells like a desert. It has the scent of Cleopatra and maybe a wise man.

Tom Ford Sahara Noir Description

A smell with religious overtones. As holy smoke. I find that mysticism makes it even more delicious.

Loud and proud.

Aqva Amara Bvlgari

A fresh fragrance with an unexpected twist. Beautiful citrus with smoke and darkness.

Juicy, almost edible mandarin with frankincense and patchouli. Genius and challenging.

Bvlgari Aqva Amara Description

More potent than sweeter scents, I believe this to be one of the best colognes today.

I feel taller when I wear it.

Jubilation XXV Amouage Man

It is the fragrance that makes me act like a better person. When I use it, I feel important. 

Amouage Jubilation XXV Man Description

It reminds me of authentic Middle Eastern fragrance oil. Miraculous and luxurious.

To enjoy the fragrances of Amouage, you must use them sparingly.

Interlude Woman By Amouage: Best Frankincense and Myrrh Perfume

It definitely has a religious vibe to it. It’s the result of myrrh and frankincense.

Don’t worry, though; you don’t have to be a Catholic to enjoy this fragrance.

Amouage Interlude Woman Description

Sandalwood and citrus oils tame this incense wild beast.

The result? An aroma like no other for powerful women in charge of everything. As usual.

Interlude Man Amouage

Amouage Interlude Man Description

This scent has more notes than needed, so I will try to help everyone by simplifying it.

It smells good. Like patchouli jam with smoke. Or patchouli oil with cinnamon.

A perfume that changes with the weather, like most of us.

You could probably hate it and tell me that it smells like jojoba oil.

You would be correct. But it also smells like Yemen and pure incense. Lovely.

Serg V

I've been obsessed with fragrances for over a decade. I have sold fragrances for a living and written about them in places like Fragrantica and Scentbird. Here I recommend my favorites to make the world a better-smelling place.