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Labdanum is a common note in perfumery. I am sure you have seen it when reading fragrance reviews online or when purchasing your fav perfume or cologne. Let me confess- Labdanum is my favorite note at the moment. So, what does Labdanum smell like?

Labdanum smells like amber but with a leathery and animalic undertone. Its rich, warm, and grounding aroma has been used in perfumery for centuries. It is a resin from the rockrose plant (Cistus ladanifer). As a base note, Labdanum in perfumery has a longevity of over 12 hours. With a very impressive performance, expect a scent that is not irritating and overpowering.

In terms of sillage and longevity, Labdanum is a top performer . So, in this blog post, you will get to understand why Labdanum is often described as having a sweet, woody, and slightly smoky scent, its origin and how it is extracted. Let’s get to it !

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Labdanum is a resinous and balsamic note commonly used in perfumery as a base or middle note.

With its sweet, woody, and amber-like aroma, you will feel warmth and a deep connection.

If you want to smell like a wealthy billionaire, fragrances with Labdanum notes is what you should be looking at. I’d say it is a prized ingredient in perfumery.

It is also known to bring back lovely and deep memories of places, people and situations.

What is the Origin of  Labdanum?

Item  Labdanum Description
OriginDates back to 1500 BC and is got from the resinous gum of the rockrose bush (Cistus ladanifer) which is native to the Mediterranean region( Source).
FunctionUsed in perfumery as a base note, fixative, and as a component in amber and oriental fragrances. Can also be used in aromatherapy and as incense.
Scent ProfileWarm, resinous, sweet, balsamic, slightly animalic, with hints of amber
Ingredient TypeNatural resin obtained from the rockrose bush.
Longevity on Skin10-15 Hours on Skin

Well, the origin of Labdanum, also known as “ladanum, ladan, or ladanon”, can be traced back to ancient times.

It was first used by the ancient civilizations of the Mediterranean, particularly in Crete and Cyprus, dating back to around 1500 BC( Source).

The resin was obtained from the rockrose plant and was primarily used for its aromatic and medicinal properties.

The invention of Labdanum is attributed to the ancient Phoenicians, who are believed to have discovered and utilized its fragrance and healing properties.

Over time, the use of Labdanum spread to regions around the Mediterranean, including Greece and Egypt, where it found its way into perfumes, incense, and medicinal preparations.

You see, the Phoenicians were renowned traders and navigators, and it is through their extensive trade networks that Labdanum’s use and popularity expanded.

Today, the resin was highly prized for its rich, warm, and resinous scent, making it a valuable commodity in the ancient world.

As the demand for fragrant substances grew, Labdanum became an essential component in the production of perfumes and incense, captivating the curious senses of people across different cultures and civilizations.

Wow, it’s fascinating to think how a substance discovered millennia ago still holds a significant place in the world of perfumery today. Just wow.

How Is Labdanum Made and Extracted?

Image Source: Gardenia

Labdanum is obtained from the leaves and twigs of certain species of rockrose plants.

The raw resin is usually extracted by boiling the leaves and twigs, resulting in a sticky, dark brown substance.

An absolute is also obtained by solvent extraction, where the raw resin is mixed with a solvent to yield a highly concentrated and fragrant form of labdanum.

Additionally, an essential oil can be produced through steam distillation. All these are variations which I explain deeply below;

In perfumery, labdanum is utilized in several variations, each offering unique properties and fragrance profiles.

  • The Labdanum Absolute: This is a concentrated and highly fragrant form obtained through solvent extraction. It can be used as an ideal fragrance ingredient in perfumes and personal care products due to its intense thick consistent aroma.
  • Concrete: Concrete, another variation, is a waxy substance created by mixing labdanum resin with alcohol. It also smells good.
  • Essential oil: Got from labdanum resin through steam distillation. It is slightly sweet and warm. Just the right balance without being irritating.
  • Resinoid: Resinoid, a resin dissolved in a solvent. Resinoid is used to give fragrance products that intense scent . It helps in creation of a wide range of fragrances with diverse scent profiles, intensities, and longevity.

Note:The use of labdanum in perfumery is not limited to its variations; it also finds application in the creation of niche fragrances, blending with other natural ingredients to produce both feminine and mascaptivating scents.

What Fragrance Family Is Labdanum In?

Labdanum belongs to the amber fragrance family. It is used as a base note in perfumery.

Labdanum has been used in fragrances for ages . Personally, I love the aura, warmth, and sophistication it brings.

Its versatility allows it to be incorporated into a wide range of perfume compositions, from oriental and woody to floral and gourmand.

Where is Labdanum Used ?

You will be happy to know that Labdanum can be used in a couple of ways due to its versatility. This aromatic substance can be used in;

  • Perfumery: Labdanum is a popular ingredient in perfumery, valued for its warm, sweet, and resinous aroma. It is often used as a base note in oriental and amber perfumes.
  • Aromatherapy: In aromatherapy, labdanum is used for its grounding and calming properties. It is believed to promote relaxation and emotional balance.
  • Incense: Labdanum resin is used in the production of incense, contributing to the rich, woody scent of many types of incense.
  • Traditional Medicine:Labdanum is also used in traditional medicine for its purported healing properties, such as its potential as an antiseptic and its use in treating respiratory conditions. Additionally, it has historical significance and has been used in religious ceremonies and rituals in various cultures.

In a nutshell, labdanum is a versatile natural ingredient with a wide range of applications, from perfumery and aromatherapy to medicinal and religious uses. Its rich, resinous scent and potential therapeutic benefits make it a valuable substance in various industries and practices.

What Notes  Blends Well With Labdanum?

Labdanum can be blended with patchouli, vanilla, benzoin, sandalwood, and citrus notes such as bergamot or orange.

Patchouli enhances the earthy and woody aspects of labdanum, while vanilla and benzoin can add a sweet and creamy richness.

Sandalwood provides a soft and creamy base, while citrus notes can brighten and uplift the overall composition. When combined with these notes, labdanum can create luxurious and alluring fragrances for both genders.

What Is Another Name for Labdanum?

Another name for labdanum is ladanum, ladan, or ladanon. Some people like to call it rockrose.

This is because it is extracted from resin obtained from the rockrose bush, specifically from the species Cistus ladanifer and Cistus creticus.

What i find fascinating is that this scent has been used for centuries in perfumery, incense, and traditional medicine.

In perfumery, it is often used as a fixative and to add depth and a little warmth to fragrances.

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10 Perfumes that have Labdanum 

Now, if this wonderful note has got your attention .I am happy to introduce to you the best 10 fragrances that have Labdanum  in them. So if you have ever wanted to switch up your cologne or perfume or maybe even upgrade, I recommend the following;

Tom Ford Amber Absolute( Unisex)

  • Unisex
  • launched in 2007

Dior Homme Intense 2011 Dior

  • Elegant
  • Last Longer
  • Smells Great

Le Labo Labdanum 18( Unisex)

  • Spicy
  • Sexy Scent
  • Woody
  • Unisex

Christian Dior – Mitzah

  • Impressive Longevity
  • Good Sillage
  • Smells Absolutely Great
  • Perfect for all Seasons

Back to Black By Kilian- Aphrodisiac( Unisex)

  • launched in 2009
  • Notes of fruit, wood, amber
  • Last Long
  • Smells Good

Final Thoughts

There you have it guys. if you have ever used any fragrance with Labdanum in it, let me know how it smelt. Cheers!

By Raphaël John

Raphaël John is a highly skilled fragrance writer who resides in the bustling city of New York. Born and raised in the city, Raphaël has always been fascinated by the art of scent and how it can be used to evoke emotions, memories, and experiences. As a fragrance writer, Raphaël possesses a unique ability to capture the essence of a scent and transform it into captivating and evocative prose.

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