Golden Dammar is a hard coniferous resin obtained from the Agathis genus. It appears in various form, notably Almaciga from Sumatra and Pontianak exported from Manila in the Philippines. High quality resin is generally a semi-transparent gold, though lesser grades may contain a varied amount of debris and sometimes have a brown or cloudy appearance. Pontianak generally appears a darker shade of orange when compared the the golden appearance of Almaciga. Dammar resin incense makes an excellent air purifier during hot summers and in tropical climates. This resin is one of our personal favorite incense botanicals for home use.
Golden Dammar produces a smooth smoke when placed upon hot charcoal. The resin melts and almost completely evaporates, which makes it an excellent candidate for the charcoal method. The aroma of Almaciga is light & creamy with a resinous touch of citrus and works well as a stand alone incense. Pontianak generally has the same scent, however the sweet notes are more subdued with slightly more turpentine notes. Indirect heating of works decently, however the resin readily melts and may become messy if not contained.
The conifers Agathis dammara are some of the largest trees in the rain forests of Malaysia. The resin is known as dammar (often "copal" in the west) and may appear in various stages of hardness and in a variety of colors ranging from pale yellow to a darker orange. Most resin specimens seem to be transparent for the most part, though lesser grades may have a darker quality containing a varying level of debris. Surprisingly, our tests comparing the aromatic properties of beautiful clear yellow resin with the unappealing darker resin yielded almost no noticeable difference.
Outside of incense production, the resin mainly finds use in varnish and paint production. The timber is also widely popular for various softwood construction purposes. It is thought that the bark of Agathis helps deter mosquitoes when burned. Medicinally, smoke from the burning resin is thought to relieve bronchial asthma in the Cordillera region.
Abies dammara Agathis alba Agathis celebica Agathis hamii Agathis orientalis Agathis philippensis Agathis regia Dammara alba Dammara celebica Dammara loranthifolia Dammara orientalis
Note: There is much confusion between Agathis dammara with the species Agathis borneensis & Agathis philippinensis. While some data may be up to date, various information may pertain to another incorrectly identified species. We will keep an eye out for more information as it becomes available.
Agathis dammara if found throughout the Indonesian and Philippine islands. The trees thrive in rainforests and are likely to be found on mountainous ridges at higher elevations and in water-logged swampy areas at lower elevations.
The species is especially present on the island of Sulawesi and The Maluku Islands.
Cultivation also occurs in Fujian & Guangdong, China.
Common English: Amboyna Pine, Amboina Pitch Tree, Borneo Kauri, Celebes Kauri, Dammar Kauri, Dammar Pine, East Indian Kauri, Gum Dammar, Indian Agathis, Indonesian Kauri, Malayan Kauri, Mountain Agathis, Sarawak Kauri
Unverified & trade names: Agathis Gunun, Sumatran Gold Copal, Sumatran Dammar, Temple of the Sun
NOTE: The research on Agathis dammara is ongoing. We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. Please expect the above information to be revised as more information becomes available. If you have further information about this species or if you wish to submit a correction to this page, please feel free to contact us here
As of 2016, we have decided to majorly simplify the taxonomic structures of the species collection. Due to the numerous systems available, and many species being disputed and in a state of flux, we feel that most of our audience will be better served with a easier to understand condensed listing.
Print material: • Farjon, Aljos. A Handbook of the World's Conifers. Leiden: Brill Academic, 2010. • Pennacchio, Marchello, and Lara Jefferson, and Kayri Havens. Uses and Abuses of Plant-Derived Smoke. New York: Oxford University Press, 2010.