Opoponax is a herb that grows in Somalia and produces a consumable resin, extracted by cutting the base of a stem and drying the juice that flows out in the sun. These form small crystals or "tears", that can be burned as an incense. Steam distillation produces an essential oil, but an absolute can also be created through CO2 extraction.
How does it smell?
Opoponax is sweet, slightly animalic and 'vegetal' (or green), when compared to other resins. It has a similar vanilla ice cream aroma to benzoin.
Why is it used in a perfume?
Opoponax lends sweet, balsamic notes to a perfume, and also extends the longevity of the fragrance on skin. It can also be used to bring warming, rich and balsamic tones to oriental fragrances. You can find a very generous dose of Opoponax in the drydown of Tralala, where it is combined with other resins to produce a rich, powdery, vanilla-like texture, reminiscent of velvet.