It is a plant product best described as an aromatic gum resin that derives from certain umbelliferous Persian plant species found in the genus Ferula in several of its variants.
The plants responsible for producing Galbanum grow plentifully on the slopes of certain mountainous ranges in Iran. Even when these products do not always look the same –they come in several shapes and presentations- they share certain aspects.
Despite its unpleasant bitter taste, the Galbanum possesses a unique and distinctive musky odor and a strong green scent, thus making it eligible for the fragrance production.
Other uses of this substance include medical, especially balsamic and healing properties, with which it was associated for many centuries.
Galbanum Oil: Where the Perfume Begins
Several methods can be used to generate the essential oil from which many other products can be made. In the case of Galbanum, the oil comes from the distillation of the resin-like parts of the plant, generally trunks and roots.
The resin in these plants is produced naturally as a response to any damage done. What is curious about this species though is that even within the same plant, variations can be found that have come to be known as the Levant and the Persian. Whereas the first one is strong, the second one is softer and resembles more the turpentine scent.
In its original state, the essential oil may turn out to be too strong to the untrained nose, even acrid. Nonetheless, with time, those who become accustomed to the scent reveal a series of secondary sensations triggered by this strong fragrance.
Among the many adjectives used to describe the scent, we should list “green” and “earthy” as being the most relevant. Furthermore, as time goes by, the oil becomes even muskier and resinous, thus mutating from its original strong scent.
Perfume is Born
Once diluted in alcohol, the oil reveals even further scents, all reminiscent of natural processes. Wet pine needles, pea pods with citric overtones and traces of lemon are some of the most frequently-used words to describe the smell.
This absolute is perhaps one of the most powerful-smelling substances found in the world of perfume-making. However, it has been known to be adulterated with pine oil. This explains why some alleged Galbanum perfumes smell so strongly of pine trees.
Galbanum in Perfume-making
It is only natural for such a strong scent to be used to make a wide range of commercial perfumes these days. In fact, the inclusion of Galbanum in the perfume industry was quite a breakthrough, almost like a revolution that took some time to get used to.
Belonging to the family of greens and fougeres, perfumes with Galbanum content have become highly popular in recent years. So much so, that many top brand names have created a product with this content.
Some of the best possible combinations involve the inclusion of flowery scents, such as hyacinth, lilies or narcissus, which add a sweet tone to the original musky fragrance.