40 Days and 40 Nights of Fragrance Notes: Incense
Frankincense, also called olibanum, is an aromatic gum resin from trees of the burseraceous genus Boswellia, which occur in Asia and Africa.
Myrrh is a resin from a small spiny tree.
Labdanum is a dark resinous juice that exudes from various rockroses of the genus Cistus.
Opopanax, also called sweet myrrh, is an herb that produces a a yellow flower. A resin can "be extracted by cutting the plant at the base of a stem and sun-drying the juice that flows out". Very lavender-like.
Tolu Balsam is a resinous secretion that is known for its warm, mellow yet somewhat spicy scent.
Galbanum is an "aromatic gum resin, the product of certain umbelliferous Persian plant species. It occurs usually in hard or soft, irregular, more or less translucent and shining lumps, or occasionally in separate tears, of a light-brown, yellowish or greenish-yellow colour, and has a disagreeable, bitter taste, a peculiar, somewhat musky odour, an intense green scent".
Other incenses are:
Hyssop (spicy mint)
Storax (slightly grassy)
Picking the best of the incense genre is a difficult task. I would have to say that Armani's Bois d'Encens is the most exquisite. It is dry like a crisp fall leaf with this incredible sweetness. I wish a church smelled this good!
Etro's Messe de Minuit is the most realistic church fragrance. It smells exactly like the catacombs in the Canterbury Cathedral. There is a slightly damp basement/mausoleum vibe. It is interesting but hard to wear. L'Occitane's Labdanum is all kinds of sunlight and peppery incense smoke.
Of course, no incense post would be complete without a nod to the incense series from Comme des Garcons.
The notes for Kyoto are incense, cypress oil, coffee, teak wood, vetiver, patchouli, amber, everlasting flower and Virginia cedar. I have gone through two bottles of this fragrance. There is something very delicate about it.
Avignon's notes are Roman chamomile, cistus oil, elemi, incense, vanilla, patchouli, palisander, and ambrette seeds. I have a great love for the smell of ambrette. I get a musky concrete cloud.
Zagorsk notes are white incense, pine, pimento berries, hinoki wood, violet, cedar, iris and birch wood. This smells like forest floors with pencil shavings.
Jaisalmer's notes are cedar, vetiver, cardamom, incense, cinnamon, amber, benzoin, pimento berries, guaiac wood and pink pepper. This incense is very dry and crisp.
Ouarzazate's notes are incense, pepper, nutmeg, clary sage, wenge, musk, vanilla, labdanum absolut and kashmir wood. This is the only fume in the series that I do not own.
Some Incense Fragrances:
Guerlain Bois d'Armenie
Czech &Speake Frankincence & Myrrh
Tauer Perfumes L'Air du Desert Marocain
Armani Prive Bois d'Encens
Ormonde Jayne Tolu
Serge Lutens La Myrrhe
Mathhew Williamson Collection: Incense
By Kilian Incense Oud
Comme des Garcons Avignon
Comme des Garcons Kyoto
Comme des Garcons Jaisalmer
Comme des Garcons Ouarzazate
Comme des Garcons Zagorsk
Comme des Garcons 2 EDP
Comme des Garcons x Monocle Hinoki
Parfums de Nicolai Sacrebleu
Estee Lauder Youth Dew
Donna Karan Black Cashmere: So damn good!!!!
Donna Karan Chaos
Serge Lutens Gris Clair
Keiko Mecheri Oliban
Miller et Bertaux Om
Frederic Malle Bois d'Orange
Regina Harris Frankincense & Myrrh Rose Maroc
10 Corso Como
Atelier Cologne Bois Blonds
CB I Hate Perfumes Fire from Heaven
Etro Messe de Minuit
Tauer Perfumes Incense Extreme
Norma Kamali Incense
Gucci Pout Homme
Amouage Tribute Attar
Amouage Epic Man
What are your favorite incense fragrances? Let us know in the comments.
Graphic Credit: Melanie Parker
Disclosure: All products were sniffed and purchased by the reviewer.
Quotes straight from Wikipedia.