A totally respectful and honest British-Oriental classy cologne. Vibrant, dense, resinous and balsamic olibanum, rich and aromatic, with nuances ranging from woody (sandalwood) to spicy (cumin) to zesty (citrus) and to ambery. I also detect a light but warm and tasty floral accord, perhaps comprising lavender and carnation. The name (I do love those self-explanatory names!) quite fits the scent, you can imagine how it can smell like, and Czech & Speake as usual won't disappoint you, with their classic sense of elegance and their rigorous care for quality. On the very base lies a subtle, warm accord of amber and oak moss, gentle and restrained, providing just the right amount of Oriental earthiness. Among nowadays incense scents, which are sadly too often just an overdose of Iso E, this one makes some remarkable efforts to "elaborate" the theme, delivering a mystical, dense, colourful and multi-faceted olibanum-resinous accord (not implying it does not contain aromachemicals, but at least it does not smell like something any of us can make at home with a starter's kit from Perfumer's Apprentice). Honest, cozy, fascinating and refined!
Edit: my review is based on the current version, which is the pale shadow of the spicy lavender-myrrh bomb Frankincense & Myrrh once was (you can still find the vintage bottles here and there).
25th June, 2014 (last edited: 21st August, 2015)
Frankincense is the staple note in most of the "incense" fragrances I've tried. That other biblical luxury, myrrh, is something I come across much less often. It appears perhaps most famously in Serge Lutens's excellent La Myrrhe, where it is set in the context of a bright, crisp, aldehydic floral-oriental. Czech & Speake's Frankincense & Myrrh casts it's two leads in a much simpler bubbly-sweet citrus eau de Cologne formula. As a result, the incense ingredients throw aside their accustomed gothic austerity and take on lively supporting roles in a fundamentally sunny, cheerful composition. The idea woks well in that the myrrh's inherent astringency adds a layer of nuance to the citrus accord, while the frankincense extends the life of the scent far beyond that of the traditional eau de Cologne formula.
If there's a downside to all the resultant good cheer, it's that the scent comes off as a bit simplistic. When the incense sheds its goth trappings it leaves its mystery behind as well, and smelling Frankincense & Myrrh reminds me that it's the air of awe and remoteness that makes other incense fragrances like Dzongkha, Jubilation XXV, and Zagorsk so compelling to me. So while it's unquestionably well-made and attractive, Frankincense & Myrrh also winds up being just a little bit dull.
East meets West, before the oud craze
This is as much about minty lavender as the headline notes, which makes it fresher than you might expect; quite clean and a little soapy. It's relatively light and dry for an oriental, making it wearable in warm weather. It stays close to skin but longevity is good. An ideal office-safe slightly exotic choice.
The C&S bottles have unusual sprayers, giving a short, sharp burst, of low volume. 8 sprays last 8 hours. A total pleasure from start to finish and, unlike many a niche incense, a very easy wear.
Cons: May not meet outlandish expectations based on the name and box imagery"
There is an unfussy style of singing often adopted by singers with plain voices that is referred to as 'artless'. It allows the audience to overlook their rather limited gift and concentrate on the song itself. Doesn't always work.
C&S seem to adopt this approach to this pretty unadorned frankincense and myrrh (well, it *did* say that on the tin, I will concede) combo. There's citrus and herbs to keep it light and counter the warmth of the two main players, and there's cedar which gives a medicine chest vibe, but all in all this is too close to essential oil territory for me to take seriously as perfume. Others may enjoy its naturalness.
I was quite unprepared for the menthol/detergent attack to my senses on the opening, I have not smelled anything like this before in a cologne. I can see what they were trying to do as I have smelled real Frankincense & Myrrh incense resin before. And I can smell a little of that in this though done much lighter.
Unless you re tune your olfactory senses and have a base line for what the real stuff smells like this will come across like a sweet smelling cleaning detergent. I luckily can get past that association to get the Frankincense And Myrrh experience with this scent. But only just.