balsam peru

Albert Vieille has contracted with a Salvadoran company to ensure the Balsam Peru supply chain's long-term survival, to protect and promote this raw material. Why such a commitment? The Balsam of Peru industry is now threatened by balsam tree deforestation in favor of coffee crops, and the disinterest of local disadvantaged populations preferring to grow food crops. Our intention is to provide better remuneration to local communities to make collecting the resin more attractive.


Balsam of Peru harvests, a traditional activity in El Salvador, take place January to May in the dry season and May to September in the rainy season. To harvest the resin, collectors climb more than twenty meters up the tree to make an incision in the trunk, from which flows the precious, fragrant fluid. It is an extremely perilous and acrobatic practice, particularly during the rainy season. The resin is then absorbed by pieces of cloth stuffed into the cuts. To increase the resin flow, the tree trunk is burned around the incisions. After a few weeks, the resin-soaked cloths and crushed bark undergo an extraction process to recover the aromatic raw material. Impurities are removed through specific purification.

Aromatic raw materials from Balsam of Peru

Balsam of Peru has sweet, mellow notes and takes the form of two natural aromatic raw materials, the essential oil (distillation) and the resinoid (ethanol extraction), which have very similar olfactory characteristics. Benzyl benzoate and benzyl cinnamate are responsible for the balsamic, sweet, and floral notes typical of Balsam of Peru. The vanilla, caramel, and chocolate facets are due to the presence of vanillin. The essential oil is unusually tenacious, making it an effective fixative in perfumes. The warm notes of Balsam of Peru blend very well with floral, balsamic, spicy, and woody notes, especially with Neocallitropsis and sandalwood.


Balsam of Peru is harvested from a tree of the Leguminosae family, Myroxylon balsamum var. pereirae (Royle) Harms. This slender tree is found primarily in El Salvador, more specifically in the mountain range in the southwest of the country, which is thus aptly named the Cordillera del Balsamo, or Balsam Cordillera.


The substance's common name of "Balsam of Peru" stems from colonial times, when the balsam was exported from Peru to Europe to be used for medicinal purposes. American Indian legend has it that the tree sprung up from the blood of a Nahuatl princess that was spilled upon the ground. Thus, the resin of this miraculous tree is the color of her noble blood and thereby has the power to heal wounds. Therefore, the balsam is traditionally used for its antiseptic, antibacterial, and healing properties.