Old bidness: These are the folks who won the Miriam giveaway, selected via random.org – send a message to “contact us” and congrats, Patty will send them to you: Pam, Meg, Ms Christian, Samberg, Maureen, Gisela, Joanna, Nozknoz.
Okay, onward. For some reason I – the original incense freak – am not really feeling the incense right now. My bottles and decants of incense frags sit on my shelves, neglected. Sadface. But then… as usual… someone (let’s blame Louise) comes along with a taste of something new and different to love – Kilian Incense Oud.
It took me awhile to come around to the Kilian line, partly because their fancy-cask branding annoys me irrationally, and partly because I hate many of the fragrance names, all of which sound something like Stairway to Heaven, so I can’t ever remember which scent is which. The tuberose one is pretty freaking great (Straight to Heaven? Taste of Heaven?), and if I were being gifted a bottle I’d want the delicious honey-tobacco of Back in Black, unless it’s Back to Black. But as usual I digress.
What do I like about the Kilians? They smell expensive. Fancy bottles and marketing spew aside, their scents (even the ones I loathe, like that marshmallow one) don’t smell like a million other things, they don’t smell like laundry musk, and they don’t smell like the perfumer’s brief said: your budget is sixty cents a bottle for the juice.
Oud is the new pink pepper, apparently – how many ouds have we seen in the last year? When Jo Malone’s doing an oud, we’ve reached saturation point. Who’s next, Beyonce? Anyhoodle, Kilian did a rose oud which I hear is great and I’ll take your word for it, because I’d rather stick a firecracker up my nose. According to LuckyScent, notes for Incense Oud are Guatemala cardamom, pink pepper, Turkish rose, Egyptian geranium, grapefruit, Virginia cedarwood, Indonesian patchouli, Indian papyrus, Somalia incense (oil and absolute), sandalwood, Macedonian oakmoss, Spanish cistus labdanum, musks.
I’m guessing oud fans aren’t feeling the love, because that weird, raspy oud note in Incense Oud is undetectable. The LuckyScent blurb points out that “the fragrance boasts no actual oud in its list of materials. If Incense Oud lives up to the second half of its name” it’s through the interplay of half the list of notes, blah blah blah, and … well, it kind of doesn’t. So if you’re looking for oud, look somewhere else – like Montale – or you’re destined for disappointment.
If you love incense, though, this is definitely worth a sniff. The first impression was oooh, Chaos! …. No, wait, something more like that Uncle Serge that smells like pine forest … no, wait …. one of those CDGs….
I love its kaleidoscopic nature. Incense frags can be pretty static, but Incense Oud shifts constantly among the adjectives. Sweet. Smoky. Spicy (hellooo, cardamom!) Earthy. Resiny. Did you notice rose listed in the notes? On my skin it registers as honeyed sweetness in the background, and since I’m almost as much a honey freak as I am an incense freak, I couldn’t be happier. There’s something cozy about it – like the Bottega Veneta, it seems like it belongs in a room, along with the smell of furniture polish and old papers, indoors rather than outdoors, and not a bit churchy. My only gripe is I found its lasting power kind of average, and given that I’m the scent-sponge, I wonder if longevity is an issue for normal people. Incense is one of those smells that tends to cling in perfumery. But it was very much worth the ride.
We could play the what’s-you-favorite-incense game, but that’s almost like picking your favorite kid. I love ’em all. Feel free to name some of your favorites, though.