Best Smelling Firewood

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What is the best smelling firewood for your pit?

Enjoying your time around a campfire is more than just watching the flames.

It’s a full-body experience, including what you smell.

Whether your nose prefers classic smoky, nutty, fruity, or absolutely no smell, there’s an option for you.

The Best Smelling Firewood Choices

Apple, cedar, hickory and pine are four of the best smelling firewood choices available to burn during your next campfire.

Each firewood brings a unique twist to your fire pit that is sure to surprise and pleasure yourself and your guests.

Not surprisingly, great-smelling firewood is also great for smoking meats and cheeses.

So, while you have your fire pit roaring with these options, throw on dinner as well!

Apple Firewood  

A favorite among aromatic firewood, apple will smell exactly how you would imagine.

Apples most common use is for smoking bacon and other meat since the smell of apple wood is mild and sweet.

Other than its apple pie-like smell, apple is excellent firewood and considered one of the longest burning choices available.

Cedar Firewood

Extremely popular in the Midwest United States, cedar is one of the best smelling firewood choices around.

If you think of cedar cleaning products for your home, cedar will provide you with a similar experience; light, sweet, and fresh smelling.

Hickory And Pecan Firewood

Possibly the most classic aroma of “smoke” on our list.

When smelling hickory, you will instantly know its profound rich and deep smoke smell.

Condensed hickory smoke is what makes liquid smoke, often found in restaurants or high-end cocktail bars.

Hickory makes it to the top of the list because of its heat production.

Hickory will produce 28.6 million BTUs of heat from one cord. 

Pine Firewood 

Pine firewood will remind you of bonfires on a chilly fall night.

Just like cedar’s fresh smell, pine is crisp and sweet.

This festive-smelling firewood does burn fast and relatively quick, so use pine when it’s a pleasant temperature out, and you’re not relying on it for heat.

Other Fragrant Firewood Choices

Of course, there are more than four types of firewood that have a wonderful, pleasant smell to them.

Picking the best smelling firewood is like picking a favorite food.

You will need to try different types, and personal preferences will decide your taste.

Picking the suitable firewood for your fire pit is essential, along with having lots of options.

Alder Firewood

Alder can be compared to oak in that it has a mild smoky scent to it.

Alder is excellent firewood for your outside fire pit as it burns fast, not keeping you up all night waiting for it to go out.

Beech Firewood

Beech firewood smells nutty but barely has a smell at all.

Some people sensitive to wood smoke may prefer beech firewood because of this.

Black Locust Firewood

Much like beech, black locust does not have much of a smell.

If you are a person who can’t stand smelling like firewood smoke after a bonfire, consider beech or black locust for your next fire.

Cherry Firewood

Some would argue that cherry wood should be on the top of the list as the best smelling firewood.

Cherry’s sweet-smelling aroma is unique in that it lasts.

Burning cherry inside can keep your house smelling nice for up to two weeks.

However, for outdoor fire pits, this won’t matter as much.

Eucalyptus Firewood

Eucalyptus has a medicinal scent that may not be pleasant to everyone.

Eucalyptus can smell like a powerful mint or it may have a Vicks-like scent to it.

Just like how each person tastes the herb cilantro differently, each person will smell eucalyptus wood differently as well.

Pear Firewood

Similar to apple, pear firewood is mild and sweet.

But, instead of smelling slightly of apples, this wood will smell of pears.

Apple and pear firewood burn similarly, but apple is more accessible and easier to find, making its use more frequent.

Mesquite Firewood 

Typically, your nose will associate mesquite with the smell of barbecue.

Mesquite burns nicely, being an already relatively dry wood even before seasoning.

Great for cooking over the fire if you want a smoky BBQ taste to your meal, mesquite trees have a rich history of being the Southwest’s “Tree of Life.”

Red Oak Firewood

Similar to hickory, oak has a classic smoke smell that will bring back memories of campfires from your childhood.

Oak may sometimes be preferred over hickory because it tends to be a bit milder.

However, be careful because unseasoned red oak smells like vinegar when burned.

Bad Smelling Firewood Choices To Avoid

With so many unique options, it may feel like all wood smells incredible.

But, watch out!

This list has the reputation of the worst smelling firewood around.

Buckeye Firewood

Found in the Midwestern US, buckeye has created a terrible name for itself in firewood.

Its smell is anywhere between skunk-like to roadkill.

Ailanthus Firewood

An invasive species from Asia, ailanthus smells similar to buckeye when burned.

Elm Firewood

Elm trees have a unique ability to soak up any surrounding smells while growing.

So, if you cut an elm tree that is near sulfuric water, your wood will end up smelling like sulfur when it’s burned.

If your elm tree is not near anything smelly, it shouldn’t smell bad when burned.

Silver Maple Firewood

While maple makes decent firewood, it has the same unique ability that elm does.

Check the surroundings of your silver maple before felling, seasoning, and burning the wood.

Walnut Firewood

Walnut has a bitter smell and should be mixed with other hardwoods if you choose to burn it.

History Of Scented Firewood

Using fragrant wood has been in all forms of history.

Most notably, fragrant woods past and present use are for incense.

Incense’s uses include spiritual purposes, health benefits, and overall ambiance boosters.

Scented wood has also been historically used for smoking, cologne, and perfume.

Perfume makers experimented with different ways to extract these fragrances.

These processes lead to advancements in the fields of botany, chemistry, distillation and glassmaking.

Best Smelling Firewood - Overall

Personal preference is critical here when choosing the best smelling firewood for you and your firepit.

The options are endless, with fruity, nutty, and smoky smells.

Great-smelling firewood affects the ambiance, taste (if cooking), mood, and overall experience of your fire.

Mix and match different firewood types for a custom smell, or find your one and only favorite!