Originally Posted by hoschhti
Well, frankincense oil and the burned incense (in churches) smell totally different. I have not encountered a perfume that mimics the smoke-part perfectly yet. The closest thing is I guess "Incense" by Norma Kamali. The oil has a lighter, more citrusy smell and of course no smoke! Here I can recommend Profumo's Frankincense single note which has a very clean, citrusy and kind of mineralic smell or Enfleurage's Frankincense from Oman which has a more buttery and flowery smell.
I'm going to piggy back on this thread and beg the pardon of the OP.
That's a very interesting distinction to make. I've also been looking for a frankincense fragrance but am very dissatisfied with the ones I've tried so far - Avignon, Cardinal and Tauer's incense rose. I'm looking for something much more sheer, vertical, light, lemony (not citrus). This to me is frankincense and my image seems to match with your view of the essential oil rather than burned resin.
But my experience of frankincense comes not from the oil but from incence burned in a non-church setting. What I'm looking for is what I've smelled in Ethiopian incense and in some Indian incense sticks whose origin I can't trace as I smelled them late at night in a Bangladeshi market.
I actually think the "churchy" references that perfumers and reviewers (amateur and professional) use can be a bit confusing and are, obviously, very culturally specific. Avignon, for example does not remind me of a lofty cathedral. More of a modern-build Anglican church, the prominent notes being damp carpet, musty prayer cushion and beeswax. It's not a particularly romantic association. Avignon for me is padded out with too many other soft, warm, sweet, spicy notes - and that beeswax. Cardinal is similar, though closer to what I'm looking for.
So I think I'm looking for a burned incense smell, but my own experience of burned incense isn't actually that smoky - it's very transparent, thin, even, a touch lemony and very ethereal.
Any help gratefully received, and hopefully it also illuminates the questin of the OP.