Wazamba by Parfum d’Empire

Hi there Posse! Wazamba by Parfum d’Empire is a fragrance I bought a few years ago and then it sat in the wardrobe wishing for attention while I wore the CdG Incense series, L’Heure Mysterieuse XII by Cartier and Exultat by Maria Candida Gentile. While looking through my collection for a downsizing sale I retried it. O M G! It’s freaking amazing. How did I leave this lovely incense rich beauty sitting forlorn? Consequently you are getting this post!

Patty also loved some Perfume d’Empire scents when they launched.

Wazamba by Parfum d’Empire 2009

Wazamba by Parfum d'Empire 2009

Parfumo gives these featured accords:
Top: Aldehydes, Apple, Frankincense, Cypress
Heart: Myrrh, Plum, Frankincense
Base: Fern, Opoponax, Sandalwood, Frankincense

Parfum d’Empire does not get enough attention. Their fragrances are not all exactly my style but al of them are so beautifully crafted with what feels like real thought and intention. I’m so surprised the Creed and Parfum de Marley peeps haven’t discovered them. Maybe because the prices aren’t stupidly aspirational.

Wazamba is a perfect case in point. Incense is a tough and competitive market. Some of the biggest hype trains in the niche collecting world have been centred around incense heavy fragrance. Amouage and Serge Lutens have used it extensively. CdG did the whole Incense series. Sancti by Liquids Imaginaires and many of the DSH Perfumes are heavily incense oriented. I think Wazamba has been created in a different enough vein to be a must try for incense lovers.

How does Wazamba smell? The opening is a crisp incense. It’s cold and unburnt yet. I only notice the apple because it’s in the note list. It adds a little Japanese bent to the incense. The heart adds a little warmth and smoke to the mix but not a huge amount. We hit a beautiful stasis that lasts up to an hour before my nose starts really detecting the creamy smoothness of sandalwood and the dry down smells like being in an old, beautifully kept, wooden temple. Still the smell of incense but so much more. Resins, woods, cream, humanity and the dry whisper of dusty and prayers.

Excitingly, Surrender To Chance has Wazumba samples.

Do you have a favourite incense and will you share in the comments?
Portia xx

  • rosarita313 says:

    I love Wazamba! Partly because it’s fun to say. PdE has a few I love, from early in my fall down the rabbit hole, especially Ambre Russe, but Wazamba is my favorite. Sadly I don’t have any right now but I do have a bottle of Imaginary Authors Slow Explosions, which smells quite similar to Wazamba to my nose. Thanks for reminding me of some lovely perfumes from my early journey, Portia.

    • Portia says:

      Hi there Rosarita313,
      HA! Wazamba is fun to say when asked what your fragrance is.
      Ambre Russe is so freaking ENORMOUS! I only need two sprays to last all day. So good.
      Portia xx

  • Musette says:

    Hi, honeypie! P d’E is a trip down Memory Lane for me. My first P d’Empire was Cuir Ottoman, which I really enjoyed. I went from there to the Napoleon one which I think is Eau de Gloire… then Yuzu Fou. To be honest, I don’t remember much other than the leather one . Now I’mo have to revisit! xoxoxo

    • Musette says:

      my first attraction was the bottles – there’s something about a ‘series’ wherein the bottle shape remains the same while having different colored labels/liquids/(gawdhelpme)CORDS!!! omg. I. Want. Them. ALL!


    • Portia says:

      Hey Musette,
      We have really similar tastes sometimes. All three of this PdEs are in my collection. Eau de Gloire is a completely unsung hero of fragrance, beautiful structure and scent.
      You should try Equistrius, iris but not as you know it.
      Portia xx

  • March says:

    I can’t believe these are still around and I think they’re just a bit over $100, which these days is pretty inexpensive for niche. I love Wazamba. I agree the whole line deserves more attention; thanks for the lovely reminder.

    • Portia says:

      Heya March,
      Yeah, they were never extremely expensive. Considering how good, wearable and still boundary pushing they all are it’s a wonder they haven’t reached exalted status among the perfumista ranks.
      Portia xx

  • Eldarwen22 says:

    I mainly wear CdG Kyoto and Zagorsk and plenty of the Amouage older offerings. I know I have Andy Tauer’s Incense Flash but have to dig that out.

    • Portia says:

      Hey Eldarwen22,
      Isn’t Zagorsk fabulous. I’m going to try and remember to wear it tomorrow. It’s in the cupboard directly behind me, I can see its box waving at me.
      Portia xx

  • Dina C. says:

    I used up a sample of this a couple years ago and remember enjoying it. I’m glad to read someone else’s impressions of it. I wore SL Fille en Aiguilles yesterday, which is incense + piney woods + fruits, and loved it. It’s definitely on the favorites list. Love your description of Wazamba Portia, thanks!

    • Portia says:

      Hey DinaC,
      Fille en Aiguilles is freaking excellent. When they were selling the now old 50ml export bottles for a song on the discounters I grabbed a few and gave them as birthday and Xmas gifts. Everyone fell in love. Me too.
      Portia xx

  • Carolyn says:

    I love PdE. I think the only one I have a bottle of is Aziyade. It was one of my first niche perfumes. The owner of MinNY helped me pick it out ohhhh so many years ago. You’ve reminded me that it’s been at least 15 years and I still need bottles of Equistrius and Cuir Ottoman. Incense is a favorite note in perfume for me. I love CB I Hate Perfumes 7 Billion Hearts, which is an amazing incensed vanilla. I’m headed over to STC now to see what PdEs are there for sampling.

    • Portia says:

      Hi Carolyn,
      That is such a cool story. I never got to MinNY. Is it still there?
      Portia xx

      • Carolyn says:

        I’m not sure if MiN New York still has a bricks and mortar store in SoHo. From their website it appears that they might. I worked around the corner from them for 15 years and the owner taught me sooo much about niche perfumes when I was starting out on this journey. I will be forever grateful for her tutelage. They now only sell their own line of scents. I was given samples of the first scents they were releasing including Long Board and Shaman. Quite lovely. I bet I still have them somewhere in my bins.

        • Portia says:

          Ahhhhhh. Maybe that’s why I don’t hear about them so much anymore. If they’re only doing their own stuff then none of the other crews will be talking about them anymore. Makes sense.
          Portia x

  • SamanthaL says:

    I’ve never smelled Wazamba but if it smells as good as you’ve made it sound then I definitely need to!!! I wore Cuir Ottoman yesterday for the first time in years and I forgot how much I like it…it smells like inflatable pool toys to me at first but then lovely iris leather. Heading to STC to grab some Wazamba….

    • Portia says:

      Hi there SamanthaL.
      OOOOH! Cuir Ottoman! I love it too. that opening is a fireball! So full on. The comfy heart and dry down are so beautiful. Very vintage inspired in its trajectory for me.
      Portia xx

  • Tara C says:

    I love Wazamba! In fact it was one of the scents I immediately bought a backup bottle of in case it was discontinued. Since then, I have also fallen in love with so many of the PdE lineup: Ambre Russe, Cuir Ottoman, Aziyadé, Equistrius, Corsica Furiosa, Musc Tonkin, Tabac Tabou. And I love that their prices are not ridiculous.

    • Portia says:

      Hey there TaraC,
      So happy to see another fan. Did you ever try Eau de Gloire? It’s another of my faves.
      Portia xx

  • Ellen says:

    I love that you have mentioned Wazamba and also Parfum d’Empire.