Black Copal-Bursera heteresthes-Guatemala.
As I have mentioned elsewhere, the name “Copal” is generic and applied across the board to all aromatic resins used for incense in central and south America. This also means that each region has its own resins that are called Copal and one comes across a wide variety of resins from different trees that are called Copal, White Copal and Black Copal.
The resin of Bursera heteresthes is difficult to source and generally not available on the international market. This is a fresh and very aromatic resin. Black Copal Guatemala opens to the nose with beautiful soft sweet notes that lead into hints of exotic fruit, soft citrus notes and gentle wafts of mint and camphor.
It is a lovely resin on the incense heater and coal where the citrus notes are more noticeable and quite uplifting.
Like most other tree resins, Guatemala Black Copal has an affinity with the skin and since it is a pure resin it will dissolve easily in warm oils and waxes for the preparation of therapeutic and cosmetic products serums, medicated oils, balms, cremes and salves. It can also make an elegant base for male grooming products such as Beard oils, balms and Moustache waxes.
I am told this resin is collected from the tree without harming the tree. However, with the growing populatity of sustainably harvested wild products, suppliers may tell you what they think you want to know to make a sale. I need to research the collection methods further before I can ascertain this resin’s true level of sustainability.
If used in skincare, cosmetics or therapeutic products, the resin can be dissolved in a warm carrier oil in a water-bath. Once it has given itself to the oil, the infusion can be sedimented and filtered to provide a healing aromatic base for cremes, salves, lotions, ointments and medicated oils. This resin can be dissolved in warm liquid waxes to create solid perfumes.
Black Copal Guatemala dissolves in alcohol and can be used to impregnate incense papers. The paper is first dipped in a solution of Salpeter and water, left to dry completely, then impregnated with a solution of resin and alcohol. When dry, the paper will burn evenly through due to the Salpeter and it will release the scent of the Copal as it burns. Recipes for incense papers can be found online. Many different resins and aromatic materials can be incorporated in incense papers.