Genus name: Myroxylon balsamum pereirae and is the source for both Peru and Tolu Balsam
Main chemical compounds found in Tolu Balsam: Benzoates and Cinnamate esters including: Benzoic acid, Cinnamic acid, Benzyl Benzoate, Benzyle Cinnamate and Vanillin, etc.
“Its name comes from Tolú (singular); Tolúes (plural), the name of the native precolumbian people that used to be the inhabitants at the same place where now is located Tolú, a small town and municipality in Sucre Department, northern Colombia (South America) by the Caribbean sea. Tolúes were the first reported to be using this resin in early Spanish chronicles.” — Wikipedia
“This material gives excellent effects in hyacinth, tuberose, gardenia, honeysuckle, stephanotis and other sweet floral fragrances…it is, in general, an interesting item for use in all types of fantasy perfumes, ‘tabac’, ‘leather’, aldehydic perfume, etc.” — Steffen Arctander-Perfume and Flavor Materials of Natural Origin
Here’s how my nose interprets Tolu:
Immediately I get a sweet, vanilla, heaviness but in a happy, non-cloying sort of way, I really like it.
1 hour later it’s still sweet and vanilla-like but now with the alcohol evaporated I just smell the Tolu effect and it’s cleaner, purer, more authentic.
3 hours into the dry-down and the impression is uncompromisingly vanilla, ah, and I can smell cinnamon in there too!
1 day later: what a beautiful, sweet dry down! I am blown away. Definitely a base note and the sweet effect is less intense after a day.