Majestic cedars once dominated the mountains of the Mediterranean Sea, including areas of Lebanon, Turkey and Syria. This “true” cedar of the family Pinaceae, species Cedrus libani, was known locally as “The Tree of The Lord.”
Specimens could grow to over 100 feet with a girth of 8 feet, and have a lifespan that could exceed 1,000 years. Its narrative of use stands as a testament to how the history of this tree is interwoven with that of human development.
The tree is mentioned several times throughout many different religious texts, including the Bible, the Talmud and the Koran. It is even claimed that the antediluvian patriarch Noah prepared an offering of cedarwood and myrtle in thanks to God for allowing him to survive the great flood.
The wood of these cedars was used by the Phoenicians for ships and by the Egyptians for sarcophagi, as well as the temples of King David and King Solomon; the latter king also used them to construct the House of the Forest of Lebanon, or so the story goes. Darius the Great also used the wood to build Persepolis in 500 BCE, in what is now Iran. It is not hard to imagine entire bloodlines of hungry builders from each generation lining up to take full advantage of this versatile and seemingly endless resource.
For the full article, please check out Perfumer & Flavorist's January 2021 issue.