On a fragrance from a tree we say the blessing borei atzei b’samim.
On herbs: borei isvei b’samim.
A person cannot fulfill his obligation to recite a blessing on a fragrance
from a tree by reciting the blessing for fragrant herbs. Nor can he
fulfill his obligation to recite a blessing on fragrant herbs by reciting
the blessing for a fragrance from a tree. But if a person recites the
blessing borei minei b’samim on either one of them, he has fulfilled his
obligation to recite a blessing. In doubtful cases, it is the blessing
which should be recited.
If several kinds of fragrant objects (wood, herbs, etc)
are mixed together or combined in such a way that they cannot be smelled
separately, the blessing borei minei b’samim should be recited.
Even when myrtle branches, upon which we would
ordinarily recite the blessing borei atzei b’samim are used in havdalah, we recite the blessing borei minei b’samim because not everyone is familiar with the blessings and this blessing is
suitable for all kinds of fragrance. Whenever the blessing borei atzei
b’samim is recited, the branches should be held as they grow.
We do not recite a blessing for a fragrance unless the
source of the fragrance is present. Therefore, we do not recite a blessing
over the residual fragrance of an empty spice box.
Since we are forbidden to derive benefit from fruits
that are orlah, we do not recite a blessing over them even if they have
been cultivated for their fragrance.
When reciting a blessing over fragrance, the source of
the fragrance should be held in the right hand so that the blessing will
be said with more focus and concentration. Nevertheless, b’dieved a
blessing that is said when the object isn’t held at all is also valid.
If a person takes a fragrant object, recites a blessing
and smells it and then puts it down without any intention of smelling it
again, he recites a blessing again if he decides to smell it. But if he
had in mind to smell it again, he does not recite an additional blessing,
even if he left his house, so long as he left with the idea of returning
If a person is about to eat something and to smell a
fragrant object, he should recite the blessing before eating (and taste
the food) before reciting the blessing for fragrance. Food is considered
more important than fragrance because it enters the body.