Benzoin is the resin from the styrax tonkinesis tree. Benzoin can be translucent or darker in color, but this one is opaque and looks like dried caramel—and it kind of smells like it, too. Benzoin absolute always reminds me of Coca Cola with its vanilla sweetness, a bit syrupy, but with a fizzy quality that gives the scent some lift and keeps it from being overly heavy. Its scent can be described as “balsamic”—not as in balsamic vinegar, but as in balsams; tree resins. Benzoin absolute smells warm, rich, resinous, with hints of cinnamon and wood. It’s a core component of classic “amber” accords, along with vanilla and labdanum.