Incense is a kind of supplies that adjustments its character relying on what else is current within the system. It may be vibrant and peppery or darkish and smoky. It may possibly even evoke the verdancy of spring buds. Incense is without doubt one of the most unbelievable elements utilized in perfumery. Earlier than I describe a couple of fragrances for instance how incense is used as a contemporary be aware, first a couple of phrases on what we imply by incense. Usually, perfumery incense is frankincense or olibanum. It’s sourced from the Boswellia species, mostly present in international locations like Sudan or Ethiopia. In its uncooked kind incense comes as opaque lumps of resin which might be known as frankincense tears, and the tears should be additional processed into essence.
The scent of uncooked frankincense is peppery and vivid, and one of many best methods to take pleasure in it’s to place one tear right into a glass of water and go away it to infuse. The style of such incense water is refreshing and vibrant, with a spicy edge. The closest equal in perfume is Serge Lutens’s appropriately named L’Eau Froide, which explores the brilliant nuances of frankincense.
Aedes de Venustas Copal Azur is equally effervescent proper initially, the place cardamom and salty notes are allayed with incense to create a stunning impact. It’s nearly icy chilly and crisp, however because the perfume develops, a hotter layer of incense seems. Perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour created this sensation by pairing incense with amber and myrrh, and the play of contrasts is beguiling.
For me, a dialogue of incense fragrances has to incorporate a perfume from Comme des Garçons’s incense sequence, and this time I’ll choose Zagorsk. This city in Russia dates to the fifteenth century when it developed across the Trinity Lavra established by St. Sergius of Radonezh. Zagorsk is the Soviet-era identify of the city now known as Sergiyev Posad, however the Trinity Lavra nonetheless stays one of many largest and most necessary monasteries in Russia and it’s related to the usage of sweet-smelling incense. This varieties the inspiration for the perfume. Cool pine resin and iris full the etude. Incense retains its brightness, turning into hotter because the composition develops.
One other perfume that breaks incense stereotypes is Hermès Jardin sur le Nil. It’s not an incense-dominated perfume like my different decisions, however a contact of frankincense woven by an accord of inexperienced mango and blond woods provides a gorgeous twist, amplifying the crisp sensation. A fragile contact of heat is likewise current, coloring the shadows of the composition deeper, and the distinction stays apparent because the perfume dries down.
Lastly, I made a decision to search out an incense perfume that was a traditional and provided a darkish however luminous interpretation of frankincense. My selection fell upon Narcisse Noir, a 1911 creation by the venerable French home of Caron. Incense is used liberally to set into reduction the softness of petals and blossoms in addition to to focus on the sensuality of the composition. It’s a fin de siècle perfume fantasy, lavishly evoking brocade and candlelight. Incense shimmers and dances all through, revealing its contemporary and languorously heat sides. As with all Carons, the extrait de parfum is marvelous, however the fashionable model of the Eau de Toilette remains to be lovely. You solely should be affected person to attend for the interaction of incense to seem.
What are your favourite incense perfumes?
P.S. In my video, I discuss incense as a perfume be aware and produce up the sustainability points round this materials.