The laws of Besamim:
A. General Laws:
Must one search for spices if it is not readily available? One is only obligated to smell Besamim if they are readily available. If however one does not have any Besamim readily available he is not obligated to search for them, [or to go buy them], as is required by other Mitzvos. In such a situation one is to say Havdala and skip the blessing of Besamim. [Nevertheless based on Kabala some write it is proper to always say the blessing over Besamim in Havdala even if he is required to search for Besamim.]
If one does not have a sense of smell: One who does not have the sense of smell [whether due to being born this way or due to a cold or stuffed nose] may not say the blessing of Besamim in Havdala even if there are other adults fulfilling their obligation with hearing his Havdala. If however there are also children who have reached the age of Chinuch fulfilling their obligation with hearing his Havdala, then he may say the blessing on their behalf and have them smell it. [Some write that even when one does not have a sense of smell it is proper for him to try smelling the Besamim after the blessing is said by others, or on behalf of children, as perhaps his soul feels the smell.]
Is the blessing recited if one is repeating Havdala for one who did not yet hear? In the event that one is repeating Havdala for a person who did not yet hear Havdala and is unable to say it himself, one may only say the blessing of Besamim if he also smells the spices. [If however there are children above the age of Chinuch listening to the Havdala one may repeat the blessings of Besamim on their behalf even if he does not smell the spices.]
Should the listeners say their own blessing of Besamim : Those listening to Havdala are to fulfill their blessing with the person saying Havdala, and are not to say the blessing over [Besamim or] fire on their own.
If one will not be saying Havdala on Motzei Shabbos: In the event that one does not have any Halachicly valid beverages available for Havdala, and will thus not be saying Havdala on Motzei Shabbos, he is to nevertheless to say on Motzei Shabbos the blessing over fire as soon as he sees it and the blessing of Besamim if he has spices. [If however one will be able to say Havdala later on at night, it is better to delay these blessings of Besamim and Haeish until Havdala.]
If one is saying Havdala on Sunday or onwards: In the event that one is saying Havdala on Sunday or onwards, he does not recite the blessings of Besamim [irrelevant of whether or not he said these blessings on Motzei Shabbos]. Thus immediately after the blessing of Hagafen he is to begin the blessing of Hamavdil.
If one is unsure if he is able to smell may he say the blessing of Besamim in Havdala?
If there are other people fulfilling Havdala with him then he may say the blessing of Besamim in Havdala even if he is unsure if he retains a sense of smell. If however he is saying Havdala alone then he may not say the blessing of Besamim if he is unsure of his ability to smell. He may however try to smell the Besamim before Havdala without saying a blessing and if he has a sense of smell then he is to say the blessing in Havdala.
How strong must one’s sense of smell be in order to be allowed to say the blessing?
As long as he can smell even a slight scent he may say the Bracha.
If one said the blessing of Besamim and then realized he does not have a sense of smell must he repeat the blessing of Hagafen?
No. However there are Poskim which rule it is considered an interval and he must thus repeat the blessing of Hagafen. Certainly if there was another person listening to Havdala there is no need to repeat the blessing.
Until when on Motzei Shabbos may the blessing over Besamim be recited?
The blessing over Besamim may be recited until Alos Hashachar.
If there are many people listening to Havdala should they all smell the Besamim?
Some write it is improper to make a long delay between the blessing of Besamim and the continuation of Havdala, and hence in a case of many listeners they should smell the Besamim after Havdala.
B. What should one use for Besamim:
Preferably one is to use a spice which its blessing is Borei Minei Besamim. Such spices include Mor [clove and cinnamon]. One may add to this spice other spices of a different blessing and say on the entire bundle the blessing of Minei Besamim. It is proper to add to this spice the Hadassim used during Sukkos in order to add another mitzvah to its use. [This however is not the widespread custom.]
If no Minei Besamim spice is available: In the event one does not have a Minei Besamim spice, he is to use a spice of another blessing. Even in such a case he is to say the blessing of Borei Minei Besamim as the custom on Motzei Shabbos is to say the blessing of Borei Minei Besamim on all spices used during Havdala even if they are
May one use a fruit for Besamim?  In the event one does not have a Minei Besamim spice to use one may even use a fruit which has a good scent as Besamim. [In such an event the custom is to still say the blessing of Minei Besamim.]
May one use ground spices for Besamim? One is not to use ground pepper and ginger [and spices of the like] for Besamim even if he enjoys their smell. [If one has no other spice to use it requires further analysis whether one may use it.] One may however use ground cinnamon and clove.
Forbidden spices: All those spices which one may not say a blessing over may not be used for Besamim. If one smelled these spices on Motzei Shabbos, he does not fulfill his obligation and is required to smell other spices with a blessing if they are available.
Spices found in wine: It is permitted to use for Besamim spices which are placed in wine to give the wine a good smell. Nevertheless if the wine is Yayin Nesech or Stam Yayin he is to avoid smelling it on Motzei Shabbos for Besamim.
One is to use for Besamim a spice which receives the blessing of Borei Minei Besamim, such as clove or cinnamon. If this is not available one may use any other spice although is nevertheless to say the blessing of Borei Minei Besamim. One may not use any spice which is forbidden to say a blessing over.
May one use an Esrog or Hadassim as Besamim on Shabbos Chol Hamoed Sukkos?
If they are being used to fulfill the Mitzvah of Lulav they may not be used.
May one use an empty container of Besamim if it has a good smell?
May one use for Besamim a cloth pocket which contains spices?
It is best to avoid doing so, if one has revealed Besamim easily available, or is able to easily open the pocket. If this is not easily possible one may use it for Besamim.
Must one open the Besamim jar to smell if the smell protrudes from its cover even while closed?
One must open the jar in order to smell the Besamim. It is invalid to smell it externally. If however the cover contains open holes, then it is valid and is not necessary to be opened.
May one use bathroom freshener or bathroom spices for Besamim?
No. If he used it he has not fulfilled his obligation and is to repeat the blessing of Besamim.
May one use perfume or cologne for Besamim?
May one say a blessing of Besamim on cigarette or tobacco? 
May one smell Besamim after Shabbos prior to Havdala?
If one smelled Besamim after Shabbos prior to Havdala may he still say the blessing in Havdala?
If one is saying Havdala on behalf of others as well, it is permitted for him to repeat the blessing of Besamim in Havdala as usual.
If everyone who is hearing Havdala has already smelled Besamim prior to it, or one is saying Havdala only for himself, some Poskim rule one is to nevertheless say the blessing of Besamim in Havdala as usual. Others however rule one is to say the blessing of Besamim prior to saying the blessing of Hagafen, or after drinking the wine.
If one forgot to say the blessing on Besamim or Haeish before the blessing of Havdala, should he say it after the blessing of Havdala prior to drinking, or after drinking?
One is to do so prior to drinking.
Is one to designate a special vessel to hold the Besamim used during Havdala?
It is customary to designate a nice vessel to hold the Besamim which are used during Havdala.
Is a mourner to say the blessing over Besamim in Havdala?
When smelling Besamim on Motzei Shabbos outside of Havdala is the blessing of Minei Besamim to be recited even over spices that are Atzei or Asvei Besamim?
In a case that one was unable to say the blessing of Besamim during Havdala, and is thus saying the blessing after Havdala, some Poskim question whether one is to still say the blessing of Minei Besamim on the spice irrelevant of its species or is to say the proper blessing that its species is to receive, either Asvei, or Atzei, or Minei. Others write one is to recite the spices proper blessing.
 Chapter 297
 Thus smelling Besamim was originally enacted as a custom and not as a decree, and so writes Admur in Kuntrus Achron 297/2. Nevertheless in relevance to fulfilling this custom, if spices are available, it is an obligation to fulfill the custom.
 This includes even if one fasted on Shabbos, as nevertheless the extra soul which entered on the night of Shabbos does not leave until after Shabbos. [297/2]
 See Lekutei Sichos 31 Ki Sisa for a analysis on the meaning of “an extra soul”
In short: According to Nigleh it refers to a state of mood, that on Shabbos one is more relaxed. However according to Kabala it is literally an extra soul. Admur in Lekutei Torah Vayakhel explains it refers to the revelation of the essence of one’s soul, the Yechida. This level is revealed on Shabbos and hence gives a person a love and fear which is above intellect.
 On Shabbos one receives an extra soul and after Shabbos when this soul leaves the regular soul is saddened. Thus we comfort and rejoice her with a good scent. [ibid]
Other Reasons: The Bach 297 records the reason for the sadness of the soul is both due to the loss of the extra soul and also due to the continuation of the fire of Gehenim which restarts every Motzei Shabbos. Both of these reasons together affect the sadness of the soul. Based on this second reason if Rosh Chodesh falls on Motzei Shabbos there is room to say one is not obligated in Besamim, as also on Rosh Chodesh Gehenim is inactive. [Peri Megadim M”Z 297] Practically however one is obligated even in such a case as the main reason is, as records Admur, due to the loss of the extra soul. [Ketzos Hashulchan 98 footnote 1]
Rabbeinu Bechayeh writes the reason for smelling Besamim is because on Sunday there is always a certain weakness felt being that it is the third day of creation of man, and on the third day one always feels extra weakness.
The Aruch Hashulchan 297/1 concludes that although the above mentioned reasons are all spiritual, nevertheless it is visibly felt every Motzei Shabbos, as is seen from the fact that every person feels different on Motzei Shabbos. As although he may not feel the reason for the change the root of his soul does feel it.
 “At all” so adds Admur in 491/1. This follows the ruling of Tosafus Pesachim 102a; Rashba 3/290; Radbaz 2/620 that there is no extra soul on Yom Tov. However the Rashbam Pesachim 102b rules there is an extra soul on Yom Tov, and so is the ruling of the Zohar. Vetzaruch Iyun how the above Poskim can go against the Zohar. Perhaps then in truth there are many levels of an extra soul, and on Shabbos one receives a higher level than on Yom Tov. However Tzaruch Iyun from Admur which states “on Yom Tov there is no extra soul at all”. In truth in the source of Admur from the Magen Avraham and Levush these words “at all” are omitted. Furthermore in certain prints of the Shulchan Aruch of Admur this entire Halacha is missing. It most probably is the case then that Admur did not write this word and it was written by the copier. [Shaar Hakolel 17/22; Lekutei Sichos 31 Ki Sisa] However the Rebbe in Lekutei Sichos 31 Ki Sisa footnote 15 explains that based on Nigleh there is no extra soul at all on Yom Tov, and it is only based on Kabala that there is an extra soul, hence Admur wrote in his Shulchan Aruch which follows the rulings of Nigleh that there is no extra soul “at all”.
Regarding the second reason mentioned by the Bach for smelling Besamim due to the return of the fire of Gihenim, the Mordechaiy [Pesachim 105] rules that on Yom Tov Gihenim is not subdued, and thus there is no need for Besamim on Motzei Yom Tov. However Tosafus [Beitza 33b] rules that Gihenim is subdued on Yom Tov and hence the reason for the omission of Besamim is because there is no extra soul.
 The reason for this is because the entire purpose of smelling Besamim on Motzei Shabbos is to comfort the soul which is saddened due to the leave of the extra soul it received on Shabbos. On Yom Tov the soul is automatically comforted due to the pleasure and joy of Yom Tov, and hence the smelling of spices is unnecessary. [ibid]
 The reason for this is because the Besamim are only required in order to comfort the soul [and not due to an innate Shabbos obligation]. [ibid]
 Kaf Hachaim 297/13 They write that through the smelling of Besamim one resides upon himself the holiness of Shabbos into the weekday.
 See Kaf Hachaim 297/34; Halachos Ketanos 2/183
 This applies even if the adults do not know how to say the blessings themselves, as all blessings of Birchas Hanehnin may only be said for another person if the person who is saying the blessing is also benefiting from it, and the blessing of Besamim on Motzei Shabbos is included within the blessings of Birchas Hanehnin.
This is thus not similar to the blessing of Hagafen said by Kiddush of which we allow one to say this blessing for another person even if he himself will not be drinking the wine, as the wine of Kiddush is not being brought because of one’s benefit from it but rather due to the institution of the Sages to say Kiddush over wine. [Hence it is similar to Birchas Hamitzvos which one can say for another person even if he himself has already done the Mitzvah.] However Besamim on Motzei Shabbos, despite it also being accustomed due to the Sages, it was only accustomed in order to benefit the person to comfort his soul which is saddened due to the leave of Shabbos, and hence its blessing is similar to any other blessing over foods and the like. [Admur ibid based on Taz 8]
Other Opinions: Rama 297/5 rules one may say the blessing of Besamim or those adults which do not know to say it themselves.
 Kaf Hachaim 297/36
 See Halacha 15
 It does not suffice for only the listener to smell the spices as one may not say a blessing of Birchas Hanehnin for another unless he too is benefiting. [ibid; M”A 297/5]
Other Opinions: Some rule one is not to repeat the blessing of Besamim in Havdala if he already heard it. Amongst the reasons is because it is considered a Hefsek. [Kaf Hachaim 297/20] Others rule there is no need for the person saying the blessing to smell it himself. [Rama 297/5]
 One is not required to smell the Besamim when repeating it for children which have reached the age of Chinuch as explained in 297/7 regarding one who cannot smell. [See 178/23 and 297/7 that one say all the blessings of Birchas Hanehnin for a child in order to educate them in Mitzvos.
 Now, although the listeners stand for Havdala, and by Birchas Hanehnin one never fulfills his obligation of hearing a blessing while standing, nevertheless this only applies by foods and drinks and not by other blessings. Furthermore these blessings are similar to an obligation and are thus not viewed within the same rules as Birchas Hanehnin. [213/5]
 As Berov Am Hadras Melech. [298/10] M”B 297/13
 Ketzos Hashulchan 99 footnote 2
 As the Sages only required blessing on the Besamim close to the leave of Shabbos [in order to comfort the soul]. Thus he may not say the blessing now in Havdala, as since it is no longer connected to Havdala it is considered an interval between the blessing over wine and its being drunk. [ibid]
 Kaf Hachaim 297/35
As in most cases one does have the sense of smell, and even if he doesn’t there are Poskim which rule one may always repeat the blessing for others in Havdala even if he does not smell the spices afterwards. [ibid]
 Birchas Habayis 26/36
 Birchas Habayis 26/36; Piskeiy Teshuvos 297/7
 So is proven from the fact Admur in 297/3 never required one to repeat the blessing of Hagafen if he said a blessing on an invalid spice. See Piskeiy Teshuvos 297 footnote 60; SSH”K 47 footnote 201
 Rav Akiva Eiger brought in Biur Halacha 298/5 “Ein”
 As brought above from Kaf Hachaim 297/35
 Ashel Avraham Butchacher 299 brought in Piskeiy Teshuvos 297/2
 SSH”K 61/7; Piskeiy Teshuvos 297/2
 As today the custom is to always say Minei Besamim on all spices by Havdala. Hence in order to say this blessing on its proper spice, it is best to initially use a spice which receives this blessing. [ibid]
Based on Kabala one is to take three bundles of Besamim for the blessing. [Kaf Hachaim 297/2]
 Seder 11/3
There is a dispute as whether the blessing for clove and cinnamon is Asher Nasan Reich Tov Bapeiros, or Borei Atzei Besamim. We therefore say Borei Minei Besamim on these spices to fulfill the obligation according to all. [ibid]
 See Kaf Hachaim 297/2 and 28 [based on Eitz Chaim] that one should use the Hadassim used on Friday night based on Kabala.
Some opinions rule it is a Mitzvah to say a blessing on Motzei Shabbos over the Hadassim used for the Mitzvah [of Lulav], as since one used it for one Mitzvah it is to be used for another Mitzvah. Now although the Hadas by now is dry and hence does not smell very much, nevertheless it still retains some smell.
Others however rule it is better to use other spices which contain strong smell, rather than to use a Hadas which its smell is fading. Practically the custom in these countries is like the latter opinion. Nevertheless it is proper to also place the Hadassim near the other spices of which one says on them Minei Besamim or Atzei Besamim and hence is to smell both of them, fulfilling his duties according to both opinions. [ibid]
Seemingly based on this wording Admur does not hold that these Hadassim lose their Atzei Besamim status, as rules M”A 297/3, Vetzaruch Iyun.
Based on Kabala there is mystical meaning behind using a Hadas for Besamim on Motzei Shabbos. [Brought in Beis Yosef 297] The Hadassim are to be held the way that they grew from bottom to top. [M”A 297]
 See Peri Megadim 297 A”A 3 which says not to place the Hadas with the other spices as one is to initially say a designated blessing on each spice.
 From the letter of the law even during Havdala one is to recite a designated blessing for the spice that he uses. For example, those spices which grow on the ground, if they are from a tree one says Borei Atzei Besamim. If they are herbs, one says Bore Isveiy Besamim. If one smells a fruit he is to say Hanosein Reich Tov Bapeiros [ibid] or Asher Nasan reich Tov Bapeiros [Seder 11/3]. Nevertheless the custom is to say the blessing of Minei Besamim on all spices on Motzei Shabbos. The reason for this is because not all people are expertise in the particular blessings of different spices, and hence it became accustomed to say a blessing which is Bedieved valid for all spices. [ibid] Vetzaruch Iyun if one may go against the custom and recite the designated blessing on the spice if he so chooses. From 297/6 there is implication that one may do so
Other Opinions: The Sefaradi custom is to say over each spice its designated blessing. [Kaf Hachaim 297/31] So was also the custom of the Munkatcher. [Darkei Chaim Veshalom 617] So also rule other Poskim. [See Toras Shabbos 297/6; Siddur Yaavetz]
 Kaf Hachaim 297/31
See Piskeiy Teshuvos 216 footnote 28 and 297 footnote 38 which tries to learn in Admur in the Seder 11/9 that all fruits which are meant only for eating one is not to say a Bracha over smelling them. However it is very difficult to enter such an interpretation into Admur in Seder 11/3.
 As explained above.
 297/4; Seder 11/9
Admur records a dispute in this matter. The first opinion [Shach 108 Yoreh Deah in Nekudos Hakesef] rules one may not say a blessing on ground pepper and ginger even if he enjoys their smell as they are not designated for smelling but rather for spicing food. Others [Taz 297/5; Yoreh Deah 108/10] however rule one may say a blessing over them if he benefits from their smell. Practically Admur rules one is to refrain from smelling them. [ibid] Even the Taz [297/5] agrees one is to refrain from using pepper for Havdala if he has better spices available.
Other Opinions: P”M 297 A”A Hakdama rules one is to say “Hanosein Reich Tov” on pepper.
 This refers to all spices which are not commonly smelled for enjoyment.
 As Admur rules it is best not to smell them, seemingly leaving room for the opinion which allows smelling them, and hence in a time of need one may be lenient. Nevertheless perhaps the novelty in Admur’s words is that one is to avoid even smelling them without a blessing, however to say a blessing is certainly forbidden due to the rule of Safek Brachos Lehakel. See Kitzur Halachos p. 116 for an analysis on this subject. Vetzaruch Iyun on some of his logics.
Other Opinions: Sdei Chemed Mareches Hei 13; Machazikei Bracha 297/5 rule in a time of need one may use pepper for Besamim.
 Seder 11/3
 Whether due to a prohibition, such as spices of idolatry or spices of an Erva; or whether due to the spices not being meant for smelling. [ibid]
 297/5; Michaber Yoreh Deah 108/6 Shach 26
 As although it is permitted to smell such spices being one has no intent to benefit from the smell of the wine, nevertheless doing so for the Mitzvah of Besamim is repulsive to G-d. [ibid]
 It is forbidden to smell Hadassim which are being used for the Mitzvah during Sukkos. Likewise Mitzvah Esrogim are not blessed over when smelled during Sukkos as rules Admur in Seder Birchas Hanehnin 11/8.
 Machazikei Bracha 297/4;
 Seder Birchas Hanehnin 11/11; Kaf Hachaim 197/7; M”B 297/7 in name of Taz
The reason for this is because one had no intent to place the spices in the container in order for the container to absorb a good smell. [ibid]
 See Ashel Avraham Butchacher 297; Kaf Hachaim 297/7
 See Ashel Avraham Butchacher 297
 As it is considered like a smell that has no source of which one is not allowed to say a blessing over.
 Michaber 297/2; Seder Birchas Hanehnin 11/8; Vetzaruch Iyun why Admur omitted this ruling of the Michaber here but does mention the law of Besamim of an Erva which the Michaber omits. See Kaf Hachaim 297/15.
 Piskeiy Teshuvos 297/4
 They are invalid for a number of reasons: Being that they are mainly made of synthetic material and thus have no essential smell; perfume of an Erva is invalid.
 Piskeiy Teshuvos 297/4
 As they do not essentially contain a good scent.
 Piskeiy Teshuvos 296/3
 As doing so enters into question whether one may say the blessing of Besamim later on when he says Havdala. As perhaps it is considered that he has already fulfilled his obligation and hence cannot make another blessing of Besamim in Havadala due to the prohibition of making an unnecessary interval between the blessing and the drinking of the wine. [Rav SZ”A in SSH”K 61 footnote 17] Others hold one has certainly already fulfilled his obligation, as the reason behind smelling Besamim is to comfort the soul, and what difference does it make if one smelled it before or after. This applies even if one did not have intent to fulfill the Mitzvah. [Mishpitei Tzedek 38 and so is implied from Admur 297/1] Therefore one should not smell Besamim prior to Havdala in order to fulfill his obligation as per the institution of the Sages, which is to do so within Havdala. [296/1]
 Based on the second reason mentioned above, seemingly even if one is saying Havdala on behalf of others, although it is permitted for him to repeat the blessing of Besamim in Havdala on their behalf, [so long as he also smells it 297/7], nevertheless it is still proper for him to avoid smelling Besamim prior to Havdala in order to fulfill his obligation of Besamim within the order of Havdala as the Sages established.
This is unlike the ruling of Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid which rules in such a case it is initially permitted to smell Besamim prior to Havdala, since he is allowed to repeat the blessing for others. In any event in such a case the listeners may not say a blessing on the Besamim on their own, even if they are normally accustomed to do so. They are rather to fulfill their obligation with his blessing. Likewise the person saying Havdala must also smell the Besamim.
 However in such a case the listeners are not say a blessing on the Besamim on their own, even if they are normally accustomed to do so. They are rather to fulfill their obligation with his blessing. Likewise the person saying Havdala must also smell the Besamim.
 Mishpiteiy Tzedek 39; brought in Yabia Omer 4/24
 SSH”K 61 footnote 17 in name of Rav SZ”A
 Piskeiy Teshuvos 296/3
 Shraga Meir 5/51, SSH”K 60/32 in name of Rav SZ”A
 Kaf Hachaim 297/32 in name of Elya Raba and Taz 297/7; Brought also in Ketzos Hashulchan 98 footnote 4.
 Kneses Hagedola
 As a mourner does not merit an extra soul on Shabbos due to his state of sadness. [Peri Megadim A”A 297/5]
 see Bircheiy Yosef 297/2; P”M 297/5 explains there is no prohibition involved for the mourner to smell it, it is just that he is not obligated to do so.
 Piskeiy Teshuvos 297/1
 SSH”K 61 footnote 27
 Piskeiy Teshuvos 297 footnote 32