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  1. #1

    Default Incense fragrances

    Ok, so it seems like everywhere we turn these days, people in the fragrance world are talking about incense. I'm relying on my friends here at basenotes to help me with something... I went through a phase of Nag Champa loving in my early/mid twenties and loved Nag Champa by Satya Sai Baba (the blue box with white lettering) and their spinoff, superhit... which is definitely a super hit... sweet and delicious. But when I smell it in fragrances I often think of black pepper and burning wood. Am I missing something or is it that I need to rethink my idea of what incense should smell like? From Armani's Bois d'Incense to Silver Factory to Avignon, the note I think might be incense reminds me of pepper... any thoughts, ideas, insights would be welcome.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Incense fragrances

    Nag Champa is a very distinct form of incense; although I used to like a lot of incense of the jasmine/sandalwood school, Nag Champa to me was cloying and suffocating (sorry, just my reaction.)

    Avignon, I am told by friends who were raised Catholic, smells like Catholic Mass (think frankincense.)

    Silver Factory, to me, smells mostly like patchouli, which is again a different incense "compound" altogether.

    Bottom line is that Nag Champa, while popular and a massive scent sensation, is not all there is to incense; I would go so far as to say it is a school unto itself.
    Last edited by zatarain; 9th January 2008 at 02:58 AM. Reason: clarity
    Behemoth cut a slice of pineapple, salted it, peppered it, ate it, and then tossed off a second glass of alcohol so dashingly that everyone applauded.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Incense fragrances

    To me, incense - referred to alone, without context or as a note - means frankincense, which bears practically no resemblance to Nag Champa.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Incense fragrances

    check out cardinal by heeley, its a clean myhrr type frag that i think is absolutely beautiful...i think i will ask for it for my birthday.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Incense fragrances

    Quote Originally Posted by zatarain View Post
    Silver Factory, to me, smells mostly like patchouli, which is again a different incense "compound" altogether.
    chyeah
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    L'Artisan - l'eau de l'artisan and bois farine
    Hermès - Elixir des Merveilles, Jardin sur Nil, and Hermessence Confret.


  6. #6

    Default Re: Incense fragrances

    Kenzo Oriental. It should be a unisex label...try it. Good stuff

  7. #7

    Default Re: Incense fragrances

    Quote Originally Posted by KimChi View Post
    Kenzo Oriental. It should be a unisex label...try it. Good stuff
    Which one is that? Never heard of Kenzo Oriental.

  8. #8

  9. #9

    Default Re: Incense fragrances

    Here are two that are great on a budget:

    Black Cashmere by Donna Karan (Yum! Dark and smoky. This is incense for a Black Mass.)

    Photo by Lagerfeld (Tons of benzoin -- very incense-like in nature, as benzoin's a key ingredient in many Western and Byzantine incenses. Get the vintage/pre-reformulation stuff if you can -- look for the tall, black bottle that looks like Lagerfeld Classic in shape. The new stuff is a pallid reflection of the vintage. The vintage is still readily available, though -- get it while you can. Chicago Overstock has some on eBay almost all the time.)

    JHL and Cinnabar both have what I consider incense-like notes, but they're not really incense frags per se.

    ******

    Here's one that's a little pricier, granted, but still affordable ($60 for a lg. bottle at luckyscent): Impérial Opoponax by Les Néréides.
    Lovely notes of sweet myrrh -- very liturgical, very Byzantine, very sensual.
    Last edited by tvlampboy; 9th January 2008 at 02:04 PM.

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  10. #10
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    Default Re: Incense fragrances

    Anthony - you are probably just smelling the similarities of frankincense and pepper. I think I can relate to this. They both are dry, slightly resinous and pungent. To me the biggest difference is that pepper (I'm assuming you're talking about black pepper) tickles my nose slightly. A perfumer's skillful use of pepper (like in Rose Poivree by The Different Company and Polo Sport Extreme by Ralph Lauren) is so realistic to the smell of pepper to my nose, that I literally sneeze when I apply it. It's a olfactory trick.

    As some have already stated, Nag Champa is really only one type of incense. It does NOT contain frankincense, if I remember correctly. Therefore most incense scents that you hear us go crazy here on BN (The CdG Incese Series, Black Tourmaline, Cardinal, etc) are mostly frankincense prominent scents. The goal for you, is to try and smell the DIFFERENCE between pepper and frankincense.

    Here's some homework for you: Spray on a frankincense prominent incense fragrance on your arm. Let it settle. Now go over and smell some pepper (perhaps take the lid off of your pepper shaker in the kitchen and give it a good whiff). I'm pretty certain you'll be able to detect the difference. This is how I train my nose.
    "One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple"

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  11. #11

    Default Re: Incense fragrances

    If you are looking for an incense fragrance, I would recomend:

    Passage D'Enfer
    Avignon and the rest of the incense line from CdG
    Lavande Incense (Serge Lutens)
    Heeley Cardinal

    But I think you are asking what particular note makes a fragrance and incense fragrance. In the case of the latter, I would say that there is no specific note. There are a multitude if incense notes, just like there are a multitude of citrus notes, each with their own particular character. I personaly favor frankinsence and Myhrr.

  12. #12

    Wink Re: Incense fragrances

    Villoresi's INCENSI and I Profumi's MIRRA are excellent incense scents (try saying that three times fast).

  13. #13

    Default Re: Incense fragrances

    Quote Originally Posted by jdnba View Post
    check out cardinal by heeley, its a clean myhrr type frag that i think is absolutely beautiful...i think i will ask for it for my birthday.
    Ditto, that's exactly as I would describe Cardinal, sort of a clean, green almost soapy incense. Very nice.

    I also like FM French Lover / Bois d'Orage - it has a strong incense note. I find cedar and incense can overlap, as here and also in Tumulte.

    Body Kouros, with all its benzoin, has a sweeter take on the theme.

    And yes, they do remind me of mass, which for me is a good thing, Cardinal and Avignon especially. Of course those names carry a power of suggestion.

    One out of Cardinal or Bois d'Orage is my next buy.
    Top 10 (not in order): Dunhill 1934, Dunhill Edition, Terre d'Hermes, Rive Gauche, Habit Rouge, Guerlain Vetiver, Knize Ten, Bois du Portugal, Vintage Tabarome, Green Irish Tweed

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  14. #14

    Default Re: Incense fragrances

    I've appreciated reading all of the suggestions here... I guess the point is that I *do* have to rethink my idea of incense. These suggestions should help me be able do wrap my head around it and not just smell pepper all the time... Thanks

  15. #15

    Default Re: Incense fragrances

    CDG 2
    Christian Lacroix Tumulte

  16. #16

    Default Re: Incense fragrances

    Cardinal is a great take on church incense. Eau des Baux is also a great--and affordable--incense fragrance. Have you run the gamut of the Comme des Garcons range yet?

  17. #17

    Default Re: Incense fragrances

    yes, i've experienced the CdG's and those are the ones, including Bois d'Incense Prive and Silver Factory and Etro Messe de Minuit, which made me question my knowledge of incense in fragrances I'm going to start by revisiting those and adding some of the suggestions I've received here, giving them all more time on the skin, to really understand the note(s) better. Thanks
    Last edited by nthny; 10th January 2008 at 06:04 PM.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Incense fragrances

    Michael Storers Monk
    Christian LaCroix Tumulte
    Serge Lutens La Myrrhe
    Creed Angélique Encens
    Serge Lutens Encens et Lavande

    each worth a try
    Last edited by fredricktoo; 10th January 2008 at 07:35 PM.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Incense fragrances

    Personally, I find Avignon and Cardinal to be a little too church-y for me.

    My favorite frag with incense is Balenciaga Pour Homme. Really, it's one of my all-time favorites. There's a great incense accord in the base here that makes this incredibly worthwhile. Kouros is another with a great incense presence in the base.
    Christian Dior VetiverPatou Pour HommeChristian Dior Leather OudOrmonde Jayne Ormonde ManSerge Lutens Chene

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