Perfume Directory

Incense Pure (2010)
by Sonoma Scent Studio


Incense Pure information

Year of Launch2010
GenderShared / Unisex
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 56 votes)

People and companies

HouseSonoma Scent Studio
PerfumerLaurie Erickson

About Incense Pure

Incense Pure is a shared / unisex perfume by Sonoma Scent Studio. The scent was launched in 2010 and the fragrance was created by perfumer Laurie Erickson, who says:

I didn't experience incense in church while growing up, so I didn't discover my love for incense notes until I began to sample essential oils. I loved frankincense (olibanum) from the first sniff, which was interesting since I had no prior association with it as so many people do. I wanted Incense Pure to be a very natural-smelling scent that highlighted olibanum, enhanced by resinous notes, sandalwood, and labdanum/cistus. Many people find it to be a dry and outdoorsy type of incense but with some fresh and airy aspects as well.

Reviews of Incense Pure

To me it's a linear, dense, syrupy sweet amber, with noticeable resins and frankincense. A choke-out risk for its sweetness, I use it like an attar.
03rd February, 2019
A beautiful resins and woody fresh incense. Just enough sweetness for my taste. Evocative of a beautiful outdoor setting with giant lush trees and clean air. Not smoky to my nose. The frankincense and myrrh are fresh and very present. Not a church incense. Has a soothing, meditative quality. I love it and it layers well with amber, vanilla, and some floral fragrances.
26th April, 2015
Fantastic! If you love resins, you have to try this. As the name indicates it is "pure" - pure joy. Sillage and longevity are great.
23rd January, 2015

As fans of what is one of the more saturated genres of perfumery already know, there are a handful of incense perfumes generally heralded as being the top of their game. Norma Kamali’s infamous Incense from 1982 is probably the most sought after, and Comme des Garcons’s entire Incense series put the genre back on the map with Avignon (2002) serving as the perhaps the most referential liturgical incense to this day. Others have followed suit with varying degrees of success, but I’d like to suggest that Incense Pure should be considered on the same level, perched close to these forerunners while successfully holding its own between them.

This is indeed a benchmark incense perfume, but it’s less liturgical than the Kamali or the CdG; instead, the focus is as much on woods and sappy resins. Consequently, it feels transitional; more meditative and sacred than austerely religious, yet it still manages to conjure up the impression of a kind of ecclesiastical sanctuary. In contrast to the “pure” of the name, it’s actually an elaborate, complicated scent that sidesteps the paradoxical chill of Avignon and the linear force of Kamali, instead veering more toward a more dynamic and multivalent experience. It’s smoky, yet it doesn’t catch your throat; it’s dry, but still manages to feel warm and heartening; it traces the outline of more liturgical fragrances by relying on a text-book combination of frankincense, myrhh, labdanum, and cistus, yet it takes an entirely surprisingly turn. While those four notes are in perfect harmony, functioning more as the heart of the scent, they leave space for the slightly botanical and woody notes that set Incense Pure apart from its brethren. A patchouli note and a hint of orris lend the scent a earthy, herbal texture alongside cedar and ambergris that unite for a cagey musk, bearing resemblance to the “furry” accord that gives Parfumerie Générale’s L’Ombre Fauve it’s bestial name. Incense Pure isn’t nearly as pure as it claims to be.

The base appears to be the house favorite of oakmoss and sandalwood, but here it’s layered with some vaguely lactonic vanilla and elemi to add weight and fullness beneath the resins, producing an elegant amber effect that hums along throughout the scent’s life. And this scent has a long life, so the base doesn’t really emerge for several hours although the creaminess of the sandalwood is there all along. It’s an intricate and involved bouquet, but one that yields central conceit effectively.

But here’s the kicker: something about it doesn’t quite work for me. Although this is indeed still on my list of scents to purchase from the line (it’s fascinating more than anything), there’s something about the direction the genre is being spun that feels a tad off-kilter to me—but that’s just a personal taste issue as Incense Pure is as impeccably crafted as anything else from the line. Between the syrupy labdanum, the heady patchouli, the toasty cistus, and the slightly acrid tinge of orris, the composition strikes me as a tad too rich in a manner that I find destabilizing for a genre that has generally plays by the rules of dry and crisp. Therefore, my concerns seem to be more the result of my own cognitive dissonance. Picture L’Ombre Fauve’s “furriness,” crossed with some smoldering wood notes, and a muscular incense on top, and you’ll get a rough idea of what this is doing. I’d consider it to be a benchmark incense because it’s so articulate, but also because it veers enough from the other benchmarks without leaving the genre altogether. And that’s what makes this essential for incense fans: it’s touchstone in of itself.
10th May, 2014
Clean, cedar wood incense evocative of nature. It's hard to believe that this was composed in a laboratory of sorts as it basically smells like an outdoors experience captured in a bottle. I don't find Incense Pure dark at all. Although it opens a little on the dank, musty side (like an old cedar chest or the inside of an abandoned cabin deep in the woods), it transitions pretty quickly into a crisp woody scent with a heart of myrrh. What results is a fresh, open-air appeal with a slight contemplative tone dissipating throughout. I think the elemi resin plays a significant role in this fragrance as there is a marked lemony quality to it as well. Overall, it's very nice and seems well-composed. I enjoy the levity of its structure, generally bright mood, and complete naturalness. I think the thing to consider when buying Incense Pure is whether or not you are the type who will wear this kind of scent. As I mentioned earlier, it's so natural you don't feel as if you're wearing fragrance, but rather some kind of place or experience. Then again, maybe that's what fragrances are truly meant to convey.
23rd April, 2014 (last edited: 22nd April, 2014)
This is pretty much straight-up frankincense all the way. The opening has the lemony aspect very much to the fore, along with a woody note, but it settles quickly into a deep & contemplative incense with an ambery undertone, & stays there. Eight hours in it's very close to the skin, & there's something sweet in the base; not vanilla-sweet, but perhaps a hint of sweet tobacco.
This one is certainly a quality incense, & definitely lives up to its name. As others have said though, it evokes the great outdoors rather than the inside of a church. This becomes apparent when comparing it side-by-side with lncense Extreme. ln comparison, IE is more ethereal, with a "cold flagstone" vibe, & more lemony. Next to it, IP is strikingly thicker, warmer, woodier, more ambery-sweet. ln their different ways, lMO, both have their place on the list of must-try incense fragrances.
04th April, 2014

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