Who doesn’t love incense in fragrance? Well, lots of people, I suppose, including those for whom it triggers less-than-happy religious associations. I was spared all that in my innocent Lutheran childhood, where incense at church would have been (like an actual crucifix) a giant, uncomfortable leap away from Luther and lutefisk, in the general direction of the Catholics. As a child I wanted desperately to be Catholic because in my less-than-perfect understanding of the nuances of various faiths, being Catholic would have guaranteed me four or eight siblings, pierced ears, and a wardrobe of much frillier dresses than my mother would ever tolerate. But I digress.
For those of us who love our incense, Full Incense by Montale has been greeted with shouts of joy. Montale isn’t exactly the house o’subtle, and if someone’s really going to blow your perfumed socks off, in terms of sheer volume, Montale’s a good bet. Their Jasmin Full should come in a dabber bottle. Anyhoodle, I’ve been toying with Full Incense for awhile, and here’s my review. According to LuckyScent, the notes are very simple: cedar, labdanum, patchouli, elemi, and Somali incense.
It’s still January, and will be January for several more months, I’m sure of it, and January’s a fine time to enjoy the cold smell of incense, infused as it often is with the feeling of a cold blast of the outdoors, maybe while cross-country skiing through the woods. And like any interesting incense, Montale Full Incense sets its own distinctive course. From its Pine-Sol top through its acrid-ammoniac middle, moving on to the bit that smells like chlorinated pool water, to the drydown that reminds me of peppered dirt, Full Incense is an epic fail on me. I’ve worked through samples from three different sources, and the results are oddly (almost pleasingly!) consistent. Naturally enough, since it smells hideous on me (and it’s Montale), it has the half-life of plutonium.
How perverse are the desires of the human heart? I’ve enjoyed this experience — its consistent awfulness. Is Full Incense terrible? Of course not. It’s probably great stuff. It’s just terrible on me. It’s lovely on Louise, for instance. I laugh and shrug, content to let this one get away. I’ll stick with the Armani Bois d’Encens or CdG Avignon when I want my “straightest” incense, and Lutens’ Fille en Aiguilles for something a bit more outdoorsy, or Via del Profumo’s Mecca Balsam when it’s time for more sweet resin….
… what about you?