Essential Oil Apothecary

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Gurjun Balsam Essential Oil


Gurjun Balsam (Dipterocarpus tuberculatus) essential oil from our small producer in Indonesia. Also known as  Keruing, Timber Tree, Gurjun balsam is an oleoresin and is a good fixative in natural perfumery.

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I liked this oil as much as I liked the resin when they landed at our apothecary (after much insistence). There was something familiar about it that took some time and fancy perfume evaluation to figure out. I placed a fat drop of each – Gurjun Light and Gurjun Dark (I imported both) on perfume blotters and let them sit to evaluate later. I then set up my Monclin which is both my newest thrift store find and newest useful scent evaluation tool. I waited five minutes and lifted the Monclin: I knew these notes. Yes, dark Gurjun smells like Patchouli and a quick read in Guenther’s “The Essential Oils” Volume V confirmed of its use in patchouli adulteration both historically and present day. This doesn’t smell like regular stainless steel still distilled Patchouli. I smell wine notes that are in our Java Patchouli and Bali coffee I sell in my roastery. It takes me on a mini journey into our patchouli oil collection which has grown considerably in the last number of years. I realize that dark Gurjun Balsam smells like a coveted sample of Green Patchouli absolute – an aromatic that I’m working hard to import. Light Gurjun is a lighter version and may be more useful in a multitude of applications such as soap making and skin care due to it’s ability to maintain uniformity. I’m astounded and doubt my notes but a second assessment yields the same results with both oils. There’s a gentle sweetness and underlying intensity in Gurjun Balsam which I often find in oleoresins perhaps due to the distillation process that makes it an evenly yolked oil.

This is an oil I’ve mistakenly kept on the back burner, perhaps because I was waiting to find a small producer of it which we have. It is useful in aromatherapy for skin infections, inflammation and calming anxiety but in natural perfumery, this oil is more that a fixative. It is a sweet musky oil that would be that fougere note the perfumer didn’t know was missing before its addition.

Suggested use: Blend with citrus essential oils, agarwood, lavender and the woods such as sandalwood and amyris essential oils. Please indicate preference for either dark or light Gurjun Balsam oil when placing an order.


5ml, 15ml, 30ml


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