Araucaria Essential Oil

Virtual Map of New Caledonia Islands

Description of New Caledonia Islands where Araucaria/Neocallitropis pancheri trees grow

The islands of New Caledonia contain some of the most distinctive plants in the world, with a large number of species, endemics, and an ancient character to much of the flora. The New Caledonia Rain Forests [AA0113] are the richest part of the French territory, but they have suffered large losses of native habitat.
New Caledonia is located in the southwest Pacific Ocean about 1,200 km east of Australia and 1,500 km northeast of New Zealand. The main island of Grande Terre runs in a north-south orientation and is 16,372 km2. Unlike the much smaller neighboring islands, which are volcanic and relatively recent in origin, Grand Terre is an original piece of Gondwanaland. It separated from Australia 85 million years ago and has maintained its current isolation from other landmasses for more than 55 million years (Kroenke 1996). Isolation and an ancient source of plant life are major factors leading to its diverse flora, but they are not the only factors. Grand Terre has an extremely diverse soil substrate, with ultramafics forming about one-third of the island. It is also diverse topographically and climatically. Grand Terre is the only high island of New Caledonia, with a mountain chain running down the center of the island and five peaks exceeding 1,500 m. Many smaller ranges and valleys run counter to the island's north-south orientation. The soils of the Loyalty Islands to the east and Iles des Pines to the south of Grand Terre are largely from limestone substrates that resulted from the volcanic uplifting of corals when the islands were formed (Mueller-Dombois 1998).

Description of Tree

Neocallitropsis pancheri is a plant species of the family Cupressaceae and the sole species of the genus Neocallitropsis. It is endemic to New Caledonia, where it occurs in small, scattered population along rivers.

It is an evergreen coniferous tree growing to 2-10 m tall. The leaves are awl-shaped, 1 cm long, arranged in eight rows in alternating whorls of four; in overall appearance, the foliage is superficially similar to some species of Araucaria, though they are only very distantly related. Neocallitropsis is dioecious, with separate male and female trees; the seed cones are 1.5-2 cm long, with eight woody scales arranged in two whorls of four.


The heartwood which is distilled for the essential oil is procured from legally harvested mature trees the sale of which is controlled by the New Caledonia forest department.

Distillaton of the oil from heartwood-

The essential oil of Araucaria essential oil is distilled from the heartwood of Neocallitropsis pancheri which also bears other botanical synonyms of Callitropsis auracariodes. It is important to note that become of the unique configuration of aromatic molecules the oil contains that it is a solid waxy mass at room temperature much like one might find with orris root essential oil, guaicwood essential oil and galangal oil(Kaempferia galanga).

Olfactory evaluation of the oil-

The most volatile of the aromatic molecules contained in the oil are slow to release their fragrance in the atmosphere due to the thick consistency of the essential oil After about 15 seconds one begins to be aware of a very subtle, suave, sweet balsmic, precious woods odor arrising from the AromaStone. Even after 15 minutes the aura of the oil remains very close to the AromaStone but one does begin to detect a distinct
balsamic-resinous note which bears some similarity to notes found in Elemi absolute. This combined with the suave precious woods and the slow rate of evaporation are a good preliminary indication that this oil should have very good fixative properties as well as have almost universal application in fine perfumery for that purpose as the notes it displays are quiet and subtle and of a type that blend well with most materials. My feeling is that it might be used in situations similar to sandalwood abs, essential oil and absolute.
It requires almost 60 minutes for the aroma of Araucaria to fully disperse into the small room which is the aromatic exploration lab in which these evaluations are being made. At that point the atmosphere is fully redolent with the soft, suave, soothing sweet balsamic/resinous, precious woods bouquet. At this point one can also detect a very delicate floral note arising out of the heart of the bouquet, giving a gentle lift to the oil.
This evaluation has been a unique one to participate in because of the length of time it has required for the surrounding atmosphere to fully register its aromatic presence. Once established though, one experiences its unique, staying power. It is a true "foundation" upon which some very elegant compostions could come up. It would be like the soil in which aromatic plants might root, grow and come into full fragrant fruition.
The difference between the initial notes one detected on first smelling the oil and
its fully matured presence are very slight-the difference being in that with the passage of time the atmosphere in which it distributes its aromatic wealth becomes increasingly charged with its odor and once established goes on giving off its soft radiation for many hours as evidenced by the fact that when I re-entered the room the following morning for the second exploration, the room was fully alive with its presence.

Blends well with a wide range of materials including amyris eo; copaiba balsam eo; guaicwood eo; gurjun balsam eo; bois de rose eo; ho wood eo; cabreuva eo; sanalwood eo; siamwood eo, cedarwood atlas eo, cedarwood himalaya eo; muhuhu eo; cedarwood virginia eo. With the above mentioned oils it can be blended to create a very stable base note with slightly different accents which can act as a excellent fixative for high class floral absolutes

In perfumery it can be used in chypres, fougeres, precious woods bases, incense bouquets, high class floral perfumes, spicy accords, etc

Additional perfumery notes

When engaging in the olfactory exploration of any one essence, I feel it might prove valuable to note the year one obtained it, the country of origin, the place one purchased etc and along with the notes save a small sample out for re-examining down the line. Each oil has it own unique aromatic evolution and they do change albeit subtly from day-to-day, week-to-week, month-to-month and year-to-year. The life span of each is different but often longer than one might expect if properly stored in dark glass bottles, in a cool place and with minimum air-space between the lid of the bottle and the level of the oil in the bottle.
Some oils absolutely thrive on aging and after 5, 10 and 15 years become ever more mellow and delectable as one discovers with myrrh, sandalwood, vetiver, cabreuva, patchouli etc. Many heartnote oils and absolutes become noticeably more delightful in the 3-5 year range. Even citrus oils which are purported to maintain there vitality from 1-2 years may still display wonderful fragrant virtues after that period of time if well stored.
In short keeping small samples of oils that one is sniffing with notes on its origin, year procured etc may be of great value to the aspiring perfumer or fragrance enthusiast. It should also be noted that aside from the evolution of the oil, the person involved in olfactory analysis also evolves as his sense of smell becomes more developed. One is able to progressly enjoy the subtle dimensions of an oil as the power of focused concentration on the each essence increases.

Chemical composition of Neo callitropsis pancheri

The chemical composition of the heartwood oil of Neocallitropsis pancheri (Cupressaceae) obtained by steam distillation, has been established using GC/MS, GC/FTIR, Kovats indices and NMR data. The major components were found to be alpha-eudesmol (13.26%), beta-eudesmol (25.92%), gamma-eudesmol (19.04%), guaiol (3.02%) elemol (4.99%), beta-bisabolenol (4.93%) and bulnesol (3.69%). Almost 40 compounds have been identified, 32 of which, including three new sesquiterpenoids (beta-bisabolenal, beta-bisabolenol and beta-acoradienol), are reported for the first time in this oil. Isolation of a concentrate of the volatiles from N. pancheri using different solvents, and steam distillation produced concentrates of different yields (6.96-12.9%) and chemical composition. Some components were found to be subject to quantitative variation in the different wood concretes;US9447738


Description and Range of Araucaria in New Caledonia
Images of Araucaria

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