The Scent Guide: What Does Balsam Smell Like?

a subalpine fir balsam branch

Source: Jesse Seniunas/

If you’ve ever visited a tree farm or decorated a Christmas tree, the smell of balsam is all too familiar. Balsam fir trees, part of the evergreen tree family, have a tapered conical shape with thick dark green needles. When crushed in your palm, these needles are what give off a unique scent. So, what does balsam smell like exactly? Let’s explore this woodsy scent a bit more in-depth and offer a few suggestions for Homesick candles and reed diffusers with a balsam-inspired fragrance.  

What Does Balsam Smell Like?

What does balsam smell like? Crushing fir needles creates a balsam sap or resin, which gives off a strong camphorous smell, very much like a medicinal balm with benzoic acid. Hence, the name. Some would even say it’s a bit terpenic like a sweet and rich balsamic vinegar with a grounding woodsy fragrance that balances it all out. Notes of cinnamon, which is derived from bark, also come through in balsam. 

Balsam trees have a distinct scent, but it’s not too far off from many other freshly scented evergreen trees, such as cedarwood, juniper or even spruce. However, spruce and pine woodsy scents can be richer and deeper like a tannin-infused fine wine. Sandalwood is another scent that pairs nicely and mimics balsam in many ways. So what does sandalwood smell like? Woodsy and warm with exotic and sweet notes, sandalwood is a unique fragrance that makes a great base for more complex scents like balsam. 

Benefits of Balsam and Evergreen Scents

Balsam scents offer lots of benefits. Used in many household cleaners and medicines, balsam acts as a natural antiseptic and decongestant. In addition, balsam oil has been found to be an effective natural disinfectant, killing bacteria like listeria and salmonella. 

However, when it comes to a balsam scent itself, the aroma can be used to energize and stimulate, boosting your mood and more. With a balsam or evergreen-scented bedside candle or reed diffuser, you can reduce your anxiety and fall asleep easier. 

Been Looking for Your Sign? Find a Scorpio Candle Here!

4 Balsam-Scented Candles and Reed Diffusers

a wooden tray on a bed with a homesick taurus candle and cups of tea

Love a deep woodsy scent or even the smell of sandalwood, pine trees or other evergreens? Explore this list of four balsam-scented candles and reed diffusers to make your home smell amazing.  

#1 Scorpio Candle

With top notes of Balsam and Fir Needle, the Scorpio candle is one of our favorite balsam candles. Paired with mids notes of Evergreen Forest, Willow and base notes of Eucalyptus and Patchouli, this enchanting candle makes you feel like you’re forest bathing in mystical woods to gain insight on your next adventure. As part of our Horoscope candle collection, the Scorpio candle is perfect for resting on a home office bookcase and igniting when you need some extra perseverance. Give the Scorpio candle to someone celebrating an October or November birthday. 

#2 Taurus Candle

Celebrating a birthday somewhere from the end of April to mid-May? Then you need to get yourself the Taurus candle, infused with a sophisticated blend of earthy oakmoss and agave that brings forth the mid notes of Balsam and Blue Cypress evergreens. Sandalwood and Musk ground this woodsy sensory fragrance. Present the Taurus candle to a special someone who, like many Earth Signs, would prefer to spend their time in pastoral fields like their bull spirit animal for a bit of relaxation. 

#3 Book Club Candle

With base notes of Balsam and Amber, this book scented candle will beckon you to curl up with a favorite paperback novel for a rainy day read. Orange and Nutmeg top off the mid-notes of Cinnamon and Sandalwood to make this candle smell like wood bookcases lined with old leather-bound books. And remember –– we also carry the Book Club Reed Diffuser if you prefer a flameless scent near your library collection. 

Enjoy the Smell of Balsam? Then You’ll Love a Book Scented Candle

#4 Four Twenty Reed Diffuser

a homesick four twenty reed diffuser

If you love the scent of balsam, then be sure to check out our Four Twenty Reed Diffuser. With mid notes of Cedarwood and underlying base notes of Sandalwood and Moss, this cannabis-inspired scent will take you back to long nights of listening to your favorite albums as you laugh with good friends over snacks. So flip these reeds and don’t worry about a thing. 

If balsam is a scent that brings back holiday memories of decorating the tree or walking through the woods, then be sure to check out our Holiday candle collection too. With candles like Holiday Mantel, Gone Hiking and more, there’s a woodsy scent you are sure to enjoy.