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  1. #1

    Default Real Incense vs Burned Incense

    I recently bought a Madini oil called Incense. To my surprise, the fragrance was completely different from the incense in another perfume that I have, Avignon by CdG. Madini's has a resinous, sweet smell that is quite pleasant, but remarkably different from the dark, smoky, dense smell of Avignon. If I understood correctly, Madini's Incense is not burned. It probably has more frankincense (tree resin) in it. Avignon is the smell of burned incense, such as you find in a cathedral. It seems to be much more complex in terms of ingredients.

    Did any of you had a similar experience with Avignon and other incense fragrances?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Real Incense vs Burned Incense

    "Incense" as a note or theme or name for fragrances is about as descriptive as the word "wood" or "musk" or "fruity" or "leather".

  3. #3

    Default Re: Real Incense vs Burned Incense

    Lucius, I am pretty sure the "burned incense" smell is a synthetic accord. Mostly when I smell this note, it is as you say--like the aromatic smoke from burning frankincense and myrrh resins.

    The resins themselves are quite beautiful (I prefer the "unburned" resin scent). However, I would not say the presence of resins makes a fragrance an incense scent. In fact, one form of amber is a combination of gums and resins, and a traditional composition tends to be sweet and a little bit woody smelling. MPG Ambre Precieux is one really good example of this. Another resin scent, Les Nereides Imperial Opoponax, is a myrrh-heavy fragrance without a hint of smoke.

    My guess is that Madini took some liberties with their naming. Having said that, the scent of blended frankincense and myrrh natural essential oils does have some of the same qualities of the burning incense accord. Has a sort of "holy oil" smell to it

  4. #4

    Default Re: Real Incense vs Burned Incense

    Olivier Durbano's Black Tourmaline is an excellent example of a "burnt" Incense fragrance with its smoky frankincense.
    Last edited by Amit; 8th August 2008 at 06:36 AM. Reason: typo


    PVC and Leather. A Chain and a feather




  5. #5

    Default Re: Real Incense vs Burned Incense

    When you say 'real incense', you mean olibanum oil, don't you, Lucius? I bought solid olibanum (hard, dry resin gravel) and tried to burn it. The fumes smelled so different from the oil that I almost didn't recognise it. I suppose, the Roman-Catholic/French tradition maybe uses other (solid) resins as an additive. We all know that warm smell which hangs on the walls of many catholic churches, big and small. I also am curious what the secret really is. Comme des Garcons have translated that into perfumes, and Avignon is almost perfect. But I do not know what's in it either..
    Last edited by narcus; 8th August 2008 at 07:23 AM.
    'Il mondo dei profumi č un universo senza limiti: una fraganza puo rievocare sensazioni, luoghi, persone o ancora condurre in uno spazio di nuove dimensioni emozionali' L. V.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Real Incense vs Burned Incense

    Quote Originally Posted by narcus View Post
    When you say 'real incense', you mean olibanum oil, don't you, Lucius? ..

    Yes, I mean the original resin, not burned.

    .

  7. #7

    Default Re: Real Incense vs Burned Incense

    [QUOTE=narcus;1278043 We all know that warm smell which hangs on the walls of many catholic churches, big and small. I also am curious what the secret really is. Comme des Garcons have translated that into perfumes, and Avignon is almost perfect. But I do not know what's in it either..[/QUOTE]

    This is meant with no disrespect, but my best olfactory memory of growing up Catholic is an intermingling of incense, communion bread and the boozy fumes radiatiating from our beloved, late, alcoholic, red-faced, Irish priest ( I didn't really know what that smell was-- only later in life when I became a bartender and found myself in the constant company of drunks, did I realize why our priest smelled like he did).

    Someday I'm going to find a way to bottle that. I'm going to do a series called "Lapsed Catholic"

    joking about that of course

  8. #8

    Default Re: Real Incense vs Burned Incense

    Quote Originally Posted by Indie_Guy View Post
    This is meant with no disrespect, but my best olfactory memory of growing up Catholic is an intermingling of incense, communion bread and the boozy fumes radiatiating from our beloved, late, alcoholic, red-faced, Irish priest ( I didn't really know what that smell was-- only later in life when I became a bartender and found myself in the constant company of drunks, did I realize why our priest smelled like he did).Someday I'm going to find a way to bottle that. I'm going to do a series called "Lapsed Catholic" joking about that of course
    Very funny! I love your sense of humor as much as your known talent for telling interesting little stories !
    btw, I am not a religious person, but I have a certain respect for 'tradition & cultural heritage', and I happen to love the smell of subject incense.

    @LuciusVorenus: too bad I don't know what Madini incense really contains. I am quite familiar with olibanum oils, and although there are slight differences according to provenance, they smell more or less the same: fresh and inspiring, like clearing Einsteins brain from yesterdays formulas and a thousand numbers! It doesn't smell like mass! Solid incense has almost no smell, until it melts. And then I get something camphoric first, again not what we are looking for. Only in the aftermath, the cold smell in the air is at least slightly similar to the mix(?) we call frankincense.

    As lunarpanic says, the word incense comprises all kinds of things and smells, just think of the countless different Asian incensense sticks.
    Last edited by narcus; 8th August 2008 at 11:25 AM.
    'Il mondo dei profumi č un universo senza limiti: una fraganza puo rievocare sensazioni, luoghi, persone o ancora condurre in uno spazio di nuove dimensioni emozionali' L. V.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Real Incense vs Burned Incense

    narcus, frankincense is a single resin (although as you say, could come from different sources). I agree it is sort of lemony in its oil form.

    Myrrh, benzoin and copal are more sweet. The combination of frankincense and myrrh is unmistakable.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Real Incense vs Burned Incense

    I came to this same conclusion myself here at Basenotes. I guess when I read 'incense' I always thought of the smell of burning incense (like Avignon). I think it was encountering the scents by Andy Tauer that I first realized incense (non burning) smelled quite different.

    A good example of this is the two lavender/incense scents from Serge Lutens. Gris Clair is burning (almost like a warm ash). Encens et Lavande is not.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Real Incense vs Burned Incense

    Michael, I went to Andy's introduction to the incense series (his first, without rose), and he had about four or five different sorts of olibanum on display and to sniff at (various origins, different methods of refinement). They were all similar enough to recognize them as olibanum, as I had known it from before. None reminded me of solid shape incense burning.

    I once watched a TV special on Santiago de Compostela Jacob's path and Cathedral) where they have this huge (solid) incense burner in action (flying through the church on a chain). Reporters said, that solid incense ( resin from the olibanum tree) is used in the burner. This is why I am next to certain, that incense oil and solid incense are essentially the same thing chemically. Various sources seem to confirm that. So it must be one or more unknown additives, like myrrh, which make the smoke smell 'catholic'. (Protestant churches don't use incense at all.). Ashas comment seems to confirm that. I don't know what benzoin and copal smell like. Must investigate what they are. Can one get them as oils?

    I once spent a longer period in our main Hospital. That included the holiday period at year's end, and I sat in the wheel chair through the protestant ceremony followed by the catholic one. As soon as the second started there was the most wonderful smell of ' frankincense' filling the room, and I suppose they either used some spray or a couple of oil burners in the background. I wish I had been more energetic and asked the assistants as I was driven out. But I couldn't lift the secret of this instant incense effect. So I went once more last Christmas in the spirit of a moment. Bad luck: they had scheduled protestant service only for the 25th of December.
    Last edited by narcus; 9th August 2008 at 07:25 AM.
    'Il mondo dei profumi č un universo senza limiti: una fraganza puo rievocare sensazioni, luoghi, persone o ancora condurre in uno spazio di nuove dimensioni emozionali' L. V.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Real Incense vs Burned Incense

    Narcus, typically frankincense and myrrh solid resin "tears" are burned on heated charcoal. So, in addition to the burning resin, there is a faint odor of charcoal in the mix. This gives a bit of a smoky mineral scent. Resins have low melting points, so when they are placed on the hot charcoal, they melt, and out-gas their aroma. They are not burned in a flame--it is more akin to putting some butter in a hot pan.

    I have seen frankincense, myrrh and benzoin oils. I am not sure I have seen copal oil, but I think an internet search would turn up a supplier. Most of the very popular oils are sold in retail stores. The more expensive and specialty oils are better found online.
    Last edited by Asha; 9th August 2008 at 03:44 PM.

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