First off, how to pronounce it: gwy-ack. But how does it smell? A little bit birch tar-y, even tarmac-y. A little bit rubbery, sometimes. Hints of tobacco, too, or the whiff of burning leaves in winter. There’s nothing light and airy about guaiac wood, that’s for sure. From the striped heartwood of a small tree called Palo Santo (Bulnesia sarmienti) – which translates as ‘tree of life’ – it’s not as down-and-dirty as agarwood (oud), but is nevertheless used to give depth and intrigue to scents. It has a medicinal as well as a fragrant use, meanwhile: since at least the 16th Century, Native Americans have turned to guaiac wood to treat really serious ailments (hence the ‘life’ in the name). It’s also used for making charcoal, for posts and for engraving. Personally, we prefer to wear our guaiac wood, for an air of mystery.
Smell Guaiac Wood in: