This is an aromatic balsam obtained from Styrax benzoin. The commercial product comes mainly from Siam and Sumatra. Siam benzoin is the finest variety, and is composed almost entirely of benzoic esters. It occurs either in flattened milk white tears or in agglomerations of white masses distributed through an amber-colored, rather translucent matrix. It is brittle, and has a strong, characteristic vanilla like odor. It is readily softened by heat, becoming quite soft at 75° C. and fluid at 100° C. The dust is somewhat irritating to the nose. Sumatra benzoin is rather redder in color. Its odor is not so agreeable as that of Siam benzoin, and it does not melt so easily. It differs from the Siam product in composition, containing about 30 per cent of cinnamic acid. Benzoin is used chiefly for its fragrant odor. It is readily soluble in alcohol, but sparingly in turpentine and other hydrocarbons. It is used in making spirit varnishes and also for making a spirit glaze for french polishing.