Elemi (Canarium luzonicum) is a product of a tree that grows in the Philippines. It is a type of resin from the same family to which myrrh, opoponax, and incense also belong. Its essential oil is a valued perfume material and one of the cheaper materials from this group. Its fragrant note is somewhat different from other resins, spicy with hints of pine and lemon.


Elemi wood releases its resin in drops – tears that become hard in contact with the air and acquire its characteristic smell and shape. Then, by steam distillation of the resin, Elemi’s essential oil is obtained and used in the perfume industry. Unlike incense, elemi surprises with its exotic and refreshing fresh lemon aroma. Resinous perfume materials usually have depth and fullness, but Elemi differs from its relatives here as well. It is translucent, bright, and fresh, and even the product in the form of oil is less dense and more translucent than other resin-derived oils.

In the perfume dictionary, Elemi is often presented as terpenic because of its fragrant tones similar to pine and lemon’s freshness.

Elemi was also used in ancient Egypt, and according to the preserved remains, with pleasure. Elemi, which was most probably used for embalming, was also found in the sarcophagus buried in Egypt a long time ago. The ancient Egyptians advocated the use of Elemi, which had the role of keeping the pharaohs’ bodies fresh and dry.

The story has been told that Elemi’s name comes from the ancient African god, whose name translates as “guardian of the spirit”, which we assume is not accidental. Wherever there are traces of the use of elements that go back to the distant past, it has just such or a similar purpose in preserving the spirit. Its connection to the spirit world can be found in many myths and legends circulating the globe.

Apart from the perfume industry, Elemi is also used in cosmetics and medicine against stress, cough, and even malaria treatment. Elemi resinoid is most often used in the perfumery, while elemi essential oil is used for cosmetic purposes, especially for rejuvenation. The same is true for massage, and its effect on the psyche is terrific. It calms, brings the body and spirit into perfect balance and harmony, relieves stress, and inspires optimism in a person.

Elemi, especially the high-quality one from the Philippines, is most often used in combination with incense or aromatic herbs such as lavender and rosemary. It gives an exciting variety and excellent citrus aspects with intense, spicy moments combined with pepper, patchouli, vetiver, or hay. Elemi is also used to add freshness to woody, intense and spicy perfumes. It perfectly balances between strong and deep notes with its light yet characteristic fragrant note. Having in mind that its strength and intensity are at some middle level, it is most often used as a base or middle note of a perfume.

Therefore, if you are looking for a fragrance that will bring you peace, serenity, and the feeling of walking on clouds, look for one that contains this fantastic resinous note:

  • Amouage Beloved Men
  • Amouage Portrayal Woman
  • Andrea Maack Craft
  • Chanel Allure Homme Sport
  • Dior Eau Sauvage Parfum
  • Dior Homme Sport
  • Dior Sauvage
  • Diptyque Eau Duelle
  • Galimard Bois
  • Guerlain L’Instant
  • Guerlain L’Instant Pour Homme Eau Extreme
  • Hermes Bel Ami Vetiver
  • Histoires de Parfums 1740 Marquis de Sade
  • Histoires de Parfums Irreverent
  • Jil Sander Pure Man
  • Kenzo Homme Sport Extreme
  • Lalique Encre Noire Extreme
  • Le Galion Cuir
  • Lolita Lempicka Si Lolita
  • Lubin Akkad
  • Lush The Bug
  • Maison Crivelli Papyrus Moleculaire
  • Maison Francis Kurkdjian Oud
  • Montale Full Incense
  • Pascal Morabito Red Amber
  • Thameen Imperial Crown
  • Viktor&Rolf Spicebomb
  • Xerjoff Aubres