Wood That Smells Good- What’s the Best-Smelling Firewood?

Burning firewood isn’t solely meant to keep you warm and cozy.

Some sweet-smelling wood types help incorporate great smells, flavors, and fragrances into your home.

Check out this best-smelling firewood guide. 

Firewood with a Classic Smoke Smell


A bird perching on a Hickory tree branch.

A bird perching on a Hickory tree branch.

Hickory is one of the most popular hardwoods available. It burns with a sweet, earthy, and spicy smell and a heat output of 28 million BTU/cord.

Besides heating your home, hickory is also great for cooking on a BBQ grill and outdoor cooking. 

Alongside its great smell and high production, hickory also burns slowly (lasts longer) with minimal smoke.

Furthermore, it’s cheap, making it an excellent choice for quality, affordable, and best-smelling wood.

The scent of freshly baked ham is the smell that closest resembles that of hickory wood. 


A giant Oak Tree.

A giant Oak Tree.

Oak is an excellent alternative to hickory for anyone looking for high-quality, sweet-smelling wood. It burns with a subtle mild and earthy scent, low smoke, and a heat output of between 26 and 30 million BTU/cord. 

Moreover, it is also easy to light and produces amazing cooking coals. Oak is your best choice if you plan a campfire to smoke your meat. Also, it is among the best woodworking trees. 


A mesquite tree.

A mesquite tree.

Mesquite is a popular smoking wood, perfect for your BBQ and outdoor cooking days.

The sweet-smelling feature of the wood leads some to put mesquite smoking chips into their smokers. 

Mesquite wood burns with a strong and tangy smell and moderate smoke levels.

However, the wood carries a more powerful scent and produces more smoke than most other options.

Hence, to ensure you don’t overpower your space with BBQ, use one log at a time until you realize the desired smoke levels.


Branch of alder in the spring.

Branch of alder in the spring.

Alder is a hardwood but softer than hickory, oak, and mesquite. It burns with a light and sweet smell similar to that of burning oak wood but at a faster rate.

It produces moderate smoke, but the heat is slightly lower (17.5 million BTU/cord) compared to other options on this list. 

Also, it produces a lot of scent and smoke but in a short time. Hence, one of the ideal uses of alder wood includes aromatic campfires that require you to put out quickly.

The subtle smoke makes alder an excellent choice for smoking fish and lighter meats.

Firewood with a Sweet, Fruity Smell


Apple trees with red apples.

Apple trees with red apples.

Applewood burns with a sweet, light smell and minimal smoke and produces 27 million BTU/cord heat. Its sweet and light flavor makes it perfect for cooking and smoking meat. 

Also, the smoke from burning apple wood is similar to apple pie, cooking, and stewing apples. 

Despite carrying a subtler scent than cherry, applewood remains one of the longest-burning woods.

Cherry wood

Gorgeous cherry trees in full blossom.

Gorgeous cherry trees in full blossom.

Cherry burns with a rich, unique, and pleasant scent stronger than burning apple wood. 

However, Cherry wood can be slightly costly compared to other sweet-smelling options.

Hence, if you’re concerned about the cost, consider using neutral-smelling firewood and adding some pieces of cherry firewood to the batch. 


Pear trees are laden with fruit.

Pear trees are laden with fruit.

Pearwood burns with a mildly sweet and light smell,  similar to burning applewood. However, burning pear wood has a more fruity scent than applewood. 

But apple wood is more popular for cooking and smoking as it is easier to find than pear wood. Fortunately, you can always achieve the pearwood sweet and fruity scent with apple wood.

Firewood with a Rich, Nutty Smell


A walnut farm.

A walnut farm.

Walnut burns with a sweet, earthy, and more subtle scent than hickory. The wood produces low smoke and decent 22 million BTU/cord heat.

Besides its amazing flavor and fragrance, walnut firewood is a popular option among woodworkers. 


Pecan's nut on the tree.

Pecan’s nut on the tree.

Pecan (a type of hickory) burns with a more decadent smell, making it unique. Its other characteristics include low smoke and high heat production levels – 28 million BTU/ cord. 

Pecan is perfect for smoking meats as it incorporates more flavor into the meat compared to other firewood.

Moreover, similar to hickory, pecan produces lots of heat and great cooking coals. 

The most significant distinction between pecan and hickory wood is that Pecan wood carries a more intense sweet flavor. However, hickory has a classic scent. 


Birch trees.

Birch trees.

The Birch burns with a delightful but subtle scent making it a perfect addition to your fireplace or campfire without dominating the space.

The wood burns at a 21 million BTU/cord heat rate and produces moderate smoke. 

Some people refer to birch smoke as ‘nature’s incense.’ 

Firewood with a Crisp, Fresh Smell


A sunny cedar forest.

A sunny cedar forest.

Cedar burns with a rich, sweet, and light scent, leaving you refreshed after the campfire. Moreover, it was previously used for building and woodworking, creating some currently sweet-smelling vintage furniture.


Forest with tall pine textured trees in rows.

Forest with tall pine textured trees in rows.

Pine burns with a sweet, crisp aroma that reminds you of the Christmas festivities.

Like cedar and alder, this light softwood burns quickly, making it perfect for aromatic campfires during the summer and spring.

Bad Smelling Firewood


Spring leaf of Horse chestnut tree in Poland.

Spring leaf of Horse chestnut tree in Poland.

Despite being a relatively common and attractive tree in the Midwestern U.S., with interesting seeds, the buckeye burns with an atrocious smell. The buckeye smell is closest to that of roadkill.


Ailanthus altissima leaves. 

Ailanthus altissima leaves

The Ailanthus trees’ origin is in Asia, but today, they have spread to North America, among other parts.

The wood is terrible for firewood and burns with a similar smell to buckeye – unpleasant like a skunk or a rotting animal.


An alley of old elm trees in spring.

An alley of old elm trees in spring.

While it doesn’t inherently burn with a bad smell, elmwood absorbs the scent of whatever grows around it. For instance, burning elm wood that grew near a septic tank translates to a crappy smell.

The trick lies in keeping track of where the elmwood grew before burning it.

Silver Maple

Tapping maple trees for their sap in the Spring.

Tapping maple trees for their sap in the Spring.

Like elm, silver maple may not smell foul, but it picks up the smell of its environs. Hence, it can make decent firewood as long as it grows in places with neutral or sweet-smelling surroundings. 


Firewood isn’t exclusively for keeping you warm and cozy. You can also enhance the smell of your space using the sweet-smelling wood discussed above.

That’s all for now but contact us for more insights on firewood.