Let’s chat about benzoin.

Benzoin gum/essential oil comes from Styrax Benzoin. I often use what is sold as “Benzoin Essential Oil” or “Benzoin Resinoid” in products for it’s wonderful, warm, vanilla-like scent. The resinoid I get is sold by New Directions Aromatics, and its production technique is listed as “Solvent Extraction with benzyl benzoate”. You can also purchase benzoin gum, which is solid, but so far I’ve yet to include that in a recipe.

To use benzoin as I do, start by looking for something sold in a bottle, with a consistency described as thick and viscous, but still pourable. It should also be oil soluble (check the MSDS sheet).

When it arrives, the first thing you’ll want to do is take a whiff—mmmm! Then, pry out the little plastic orifice reducer/dropper and get rid of it—you’ll never get any benzoin out through that thing.

To use your benzoin, put the sealed bottle in a mug of just-boiled water for about 10 minutes before trying to pour it out—this will make your life far easier.

You’ll notice I often measure benzoin in “blobs” rather than “drops”. This is because benzoin is far too thick to form anything close to a drop… it’s more of a blob. Imagine pouring loose taffy for an idea of what I mean 🙂 It is a fairly mild “essential oil”, though, so a little bit extra won’t result in an overwhelmingly fragrant final product. There’s a bit of a margin of error there.

Posted in: Ingredients

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