Myrrh Perfume Ingredient: What is It? What Does It Smell Like?

Myrrh is a gum resin renowned for its oriental, resinous smell that ranges from woody to medicinal. Depending on the distillation process, myrrh can occasionally emit a citrus perfume with smokey hints.

This uniquely scented compound has been utilized in medicine, spirituality, and some of the most iconic perfumes, including Eau Sauvage by Christian Dior.

What is Myrrh?

Myrrh is a gum resin obtained from the Commiphora tree genus. Although many tree subspecies are used to extract myrrh essential oil, the most intense variety comes from the Commiphora Myrrha species.

Commiphora trees have been used in traditional medicine, as well as religious rites and aromatherapy, for centuries. The tree species are native to the African regions of Ethiopia and Yemen, and also the Arabian peninsula.

As tear-shaped droplets of resin emerge from beneath the tree bark, harvesters can already smell the deep oriental hints of myrrh. Those who have smelled and tasted its distilled varieties claim it has a bitter flavor.

The first evidence of using myrrh in religious ceremonies dates back to Ancient Egypt. However, centuries later, the Three Wise Men in the Bible offered myrrh as a gift to baby Jesus, along with frankincense and gold. 

Such biblical history has transformed myrrh perfumes into an essential part of today’s religious rites.

What Does Myrrh Smell Like?

Perfumers mainly claim that myrrh smells like incense with deep hints of oriental wood. Its oil has a slight medicinal hint due to the distillation process, while resinous materials are deeper, with hints of smoke. 

The perfume industry has been embracing both sweet myrrh and its astringent, bitter myrrh alternative, for their spice-scented aroma. Myrrh fragrances can even emit exotic, yet sweet, soft hints, much like their close relatives, frankincense and amber.

The warm incense perfume of myrrh inspires mystery and sensuality. However, its sweet varieties are often mixed with cinnamon for a calming, yet intense fragrance.

Much like pine, the perfume of myrrh is also associated with Christmas traditions due to its religious rite involvement.

What Scent Family is Myrrh?

Myrrh is undoubtedly among the most popular perfume ingredients from the oriental fragrance family. This scent category includes exotic, rich scents with predominant hints of spice and resin, such as patchouli and sandalwood.

This perfume is also a key component of the woody oriental scent subfamily. Therefore, its warm smell is considered to be opulent, inspiring timeless elegance with seductive hints of incense.

Perfumers often combine the myrrh smell with a sweeter oriental perfume, such as vanilla or amber, for an unforgettable touch of romance and relaxation.

What are the Benefits of Myrrh?

Aromatic myrrh has been used in medicine since ancient times due to its natural health benefits. These include: 

  • Anti-inflammatory Properties. Essential oils with myrrh resin extract impact transmitters sending pain signals to your brain, thus reducing unpleasant symptoms associated with pain and swelling.
  • Treating Skin Conditions. The unique perfume of myrrh has been traditionally used for treating external wounds and infections. Multiple test-tube studies proved that applying myrrh extracts from pure resins can heal body wounds and even protect them from microbes.
  • Improving Oral Health. The FDA is supporting the use of myrrh as an aromatic ingredient in toothpaste and mouthwash products. Test-tube research confirmed that this perfume ingredient can surprisingly treat gingivitis, and reduce mouth sores.

Is Myrrh a Feminine or Masculine Scent?

The deep, mystical perfume of myrrh has been inspiring masculinity, strength, and elegance for not just a few years, but decades, so much so that the world’s top perfume creators, including Yves Saint Laurent, have been influenced by these unquestionably seductive traits.

It should come as little surprise, then, that this incense-scented perfume has been utilized as a base note in many masculine fragrances.

That said, myrrh perfume is also encountered in several feminine fragrances, along with other oriental compounds like spices and benzoin. 

The deep, rich smells of this fragrance are often used as a base note to add a touch of mystery and elegance that matches a lighter perfume (like lavender or cinnamon).

Best Perfumes with Myrrh Notes

A good quality myrrh perfume is particularly prized for its longevity, sometimes lasting up to 10 hours. Today, the most popular options are:

1. Christian Dior Eau Sauvage

Released in 1966, the first male perfume by the House of Dior is a timeless classic. Its exotic top citron perfume is softened by lavender for a fresh, yet intense smell. 

The base perfume of myrrh and oakmoss also turns this fragrance into an ideal mix of masculinity and elegance.

2. Gucci Pour Homme II by Gucci

Much like its predecessor, this second perfume of Gucci Pour Homme features delicious, spicy tones of black tea and, surprisingly, red hot chili pepper. The base notes of musk, tobacco leaves, and myrrh inspire masculinity.

They’re then topped with an unforgettable aroma of bergamot and violet, allowing for a versatile perfume that is perfect for most occasions.

3. Yves Saint Laurent Opium Legendes de Chine

This olfactory masterpiece proves that myrrh can also be perfectly integrated into feminine fragrances. 

Inspired by mythical experiences, the bold perfume features oriental scents, including benzoin and spices. This outstanding perfume opens with fresh, mandarine scents, which are only emphasized by the deep myrrh base perfume.

The Bottom Line

Myrrh is a natural gum resin that originated from Commiphora trees. It’s been utilized as a natural treatment, as well as a component in spiritual rites and aromatherapy, for centuries. 

Today, myrrh perfume is still commonly used in religious ceremonies worldwide, while also being a renowned perfume ingredient. Its oriental perfume scent is deep and exotic, inspiring both masculinity and elegance in long-lasting, luxury perfumes.