Unum Reliqvia

Unum Reliqvia was the perfume I’ve been waiting for since I first read about it.  I finally found it at a little shop in Italy, and it was right during all the protests happening there, and it had to fight its way out of the Milan postal shop to me!  Finally!  Sorcinelli seems to have it in stock in his shop, so it seems to be getting stocked up at the regular perfume shops.

I love incense scents, and the only way I know how to talk about them is either in over the top language I find embarrassing years later or to try and just do a comparison with more well-known incenses to help you know where this falls.

Having no shame, I’ll do both – goopy love, then compare and contrast.  I admire Socinelli’s incense work – from my first sniff of Lavs and my love for Vox Humaine, which seems to have all but disappeared, he gets the big H’s in humanity and hope exactly right when he does incense.  And I really love Reliqvia, just need to say that before we get into the compare and contrast section. It’s the scent I walk by, grab and spritz on because it makes me feel better, warmer, hopey-er.

Notes of patchouli, incense, cashmere wood, guaiac wood, sandalwood, orange blossom, scots pine, cloves, lentisk, amyris, elemi sweet orange, black currant, nutmeg, smoke and tobacco.  Lavs is much more straight up churchy woody incense, while Reliqvia has some deep, pounding bit of skank that rolls around on the open. Cedar and gaiac?  There is a peppery quality, along with the patchouli that drags Reliqvia into darker, smokier, more worn places than Unum.  Unum stays pretty linear and defined from the start as exactly what it is.  Reliqvia shapes and reshapes inside of its woody smoked incensed framework. It is less churchy and cerebrally meditative than Lavs, more personal.

Armani Prive Bois d’Encens is a much chillier incense.  Reliqvia is so much warmer.  Instead of pushing you out and upward, it draws you into a smoky little hug.  CdG Avignon fits somewhere between BdE and Lavs, warmer than both.  Reliqvia is even warmer than Avignon.

Reliqvia is a deeply personal kind of incense, warm and welcoming, shot through with peppered pine and smoke. It takes its inspiration from the relics.  In long ago times, people revered the remains of their holy people – their martyrs and saints –  of the things they touched, that they left something of themselves behind in those objects.  Reliqvia is that place in between the high church incense and the human struggle of being better than our base desires.  There is a phrase in the Bible somewhere that always stays with me, “I will sift you like wheat.”  This is that – the grinding of flesh against spirit sifted fine. It is what remains.

Speaking of sifting, my bread baking continues. I’m now doing rye sourdoughs and did this honey rye miche last week that wasn’t as good as it should have been because, welp, I have no lager in this house, and no one would run get me some. So now I have a six pack of Guinness in my fridge and I’m trying again!  To accompany this, I’m going back and watching old season of British Baking Contest.  I think I’ve just seen on season of this because it makes me hungry!  But they have bread week every season, so I’m keen to watch that episode.

Now that we have pricked the crust of freezing here, it is definitely bread baking season!  My started kind of lives on my countertop, getting fed, divided, made up into another loaf for me or someone else. Now that I have my timing worked out, with very little effort, I can easily crank out a loaf every 3 days or so. I never really eat a whole loaf of bread in a week, so I have to give it away!  Luckily I have  my sister and her family of 6 and soon 7 that love sourdough bread.

How are you getting ready for winter, those of you that are heading into it? I need a chimney sweep since I didn’t get the gas conversion done yet for my fireplace, so I need it cleaned out if I’m going to have a bit of a fire.  I’ll give away three samples of the Unum Reliqvia, just drop a comment to be entered!

  • Koyel says:

    A very kind perfume friend sent me an “incense pack” of samples earlier in the year–a group of maybe eight different and wonderful incense scents. I’m a bad perfumista and don’t remember which ones I loved best, but it was fun to see the varying treatments of the same note.

    I began my starter at the beginning of the pandemic, and it still lives and breathes, but I no longer make so much sourdough. My last bread was a sourdough focaccia I made a couple weeks ago (very tasty!). Most of the time, though, I keep it miniature (~10g fresh flour per day, so a very tiny starter indeed!), so I really need to plan ahead if I want to make sourdough so I can grow my starter!

  • grizzlesnort says:

    Ooooohhh! Is this my holy grail incense? Enter me in your draw.

  • AnnaEgeria says:

    I’m picking the last of my herbs and planting spring bulbs to get ready for winter. I love enveloping myself in an incense fragrance in late fall and winter. I hope that Reliqvia will become available on STC.

  • Portia says:

    WOW! Having Exultat, the whole CdG Incense series, Sancti, Oliban (Phaedon & Keiko Mecheri), Theo Fennell Scent and a few others I feel like my incense area is well enough stocked.
    You do make a VERY good lunge at giving me a lemming though Patty.
    Portia xx

  • Maggiecat says:

    I’m ready for a good incense scent! Just in the middle of our first serious cold snap here in Dallas, and am ready to burrow in for the winter. I had major spine surgery a few weeks ago and have emerged taller, and weirdly sensitive to cold, in an uncomfortable sort of way, so we’ll see how that goes. Also, sourdough, yay! My husband has been baking it for more than five years, and we’ve kept our original starter going that long, amazingly enough. I’m intrigued by your rye – we’ve tried rye but it wasn’t exceptional. Advice?

    • Patty says:

      Oh, wow, hope recovery is going okay! I’m still playing with rye, so I don’t know! I can update you after tomorrow, I’ve got two different ryes going for the next two days. I don’t put a lot of rye in with the starter initial mix, just enough to give it flavor.

      Five-year starter? Yowzah! I would not have believed that possible until now, but I can see how you can just keep them rolling indefinitely! I know I need to start discarding, but I’m not sure exactly how that works and why! If i always take my starter down so I have more room to run with it?

  • Tara Mc says:

    Love some incense, would love this! My problem with bread baking is I will eat. it. all. So my starter languishes in the fridge until I decide to feed it and make pizza.

    • Patty says:

      LOL. I only love bread fresh from the oven. I know, I know, not supposed to cut into it for like an hour, but I get my nice sharp bread knife and oven mitts and whack that heel off right after I dump it out of the pan, slather it in butter and eat it. After that, I just eat it if I’m needing it for a sandwich.

  • Irina says:

    Oh, Lavs is wonderful
    I would really love to try Reliqvia

  • SamanthaL says:

    I’d love to try Reliqvia …I’m a huge fan of incense, although sadly I can no longer wear Avignon because it reminds me of my ex husband who basically bathed in it!!

  • Jennifer S says:

    Love the British baking show and oh yeah, makes me start drooling all right! The only bread I make is banana bread. Real bread is beyond me!
    Have a fireplace but it’s rarely used unfortunately…actually it’s been unused for some years now….too fussy, too much work, although I do enjoy a nice fire! Incensed perfume and a nice fire sound like the perfect combo though!

    • Patty says:

      Such a fun show, and it doesn’t require a lot of thinking, just a lot of tut-tutting when you know someone is going to get it all wrong! I really love my fireplace, but hauling up firewood and cleaning it out is just annoying. And my fireplace is huge and burns really hot. So it is super toasty, but I can go through a LOT of firewood in just one day. I try to get a good blaze going on holidays and really cold days to cut down on the heating bill, but I’m pretty alarmed at how much wood that uses. Gas would be so lovely.

  • Eldarwen22 says:

    I am a minor incense fan. I have CdG Zagorsk and Kyoto along with Andy Tauer’s Incense Flash. Since the cold weather hit, I have been seriously been decluttering. Just threw out 70% of my makeup.

    • Patty says:

      I’m a fan of Zagorsk and Kyoto. As long as the CdG incense series has been out, they never get old and just hold up with different facets of incense. throw out makeup? Is that an option? I just keep stuffing it in more drawers!

  • March says:

    Just had my chimney swept so I got to have my first fire in my wee kiva fireplace yesterday, woohoo! TBH I miss my gas fireplace, it was SO easy and less of an energy waste, although fires ARE charming. I would happily eat all of your bread, it sounds delicious… and so does that incense scent, I bet I would LOVE IT.

    • Patty says:

      The Wee kiva sounds so lovely! I mean, I like a good wood blaze, except after there is that vague stale ash smell that seems to last forever! Unless you get very dedicated to sweeping it out. But Louis goes nuts over brooms and all the chimney tools, so I have to clear him out for a while to do a proper job.
      I’ll be anxious to hear what you think of those things you’re trying! If we ever do another Camp Patty, we will have lots of fresh bread. Promise.

  • Dina C. says:

    I’ve got a couple packs of bulbs and seeds that I need to get planted into the ground before we have a deep freeze so they can over-winter and then bloom next spring. I’ve done a lot of deep cleaning inside lately, so I’m feeling ready for whatever storms may come. I’ve read contradictory things about what this winter will bring: either colder and snowier OR milder than usual. Farmer’s Almanac vs. Accu-weather forecast!

    • Patty says:

      Yeah, I’m not sure what to expect this year. We don’t seem to have very rough winters here, except maybe one or two cold snaps. Last year’s sub zero was the worst for everyone! So being in the midwest isn’t that bad where I am, there are so many lakes and rivers around, it seems to protect us from the worst of winter. Now watch, this year will be a monster!

  • cinnamon says:

    I’ve been thinking about incense recently, but mostly as regards candles. I have the Tauer L’Air candle which is going to have to suffice. One day I’ll get to London (or even Paris) and visit Cire Trudon and smell some stuff there. As to incense perfumes: Etro Messe de Minuit. We have weird autumn into winter weather because the village is located on an estuary and has a micro climate. Right now, we’re cold and dry which is good (as long as not too cold) but the main road into the village has already flooded twice. I had the wood stove refurbed when the house was done as well as the chimney swept (they took away 4 bags of ‘stuff’) and lined. In the past couple of weeks I’ve used it most days to take the edge off and try not to turn on the heat that much.

    • Patty says:

      So do you burn wood? I’ve thought about getting those wood chip thingies, I think I can burn those. I just need to bite the bullet and go to the little fireplace store and see what a gas stove would run. I already have a gas line running into the fireplace, they used it as a starter, but then capped it off when they didn’t burn much in the fireplace, I think.

  • Kathleen says:

    The only Unum I have sniffed is Opus 1144 and it was gorgeous. We’ve had our first overnight freeze in Denver and some cold and damp days after a long warm fall. I’ve brought out my winter-wear for dog walks, and am enjoying our brisker walks.

    • Patty says:

      We still haven’t frozen yet, so the trees are hugging their leaves pretty close and green, but I think this week we are due, and then we get deluged! I do miss Denver this time of year, even though it felt like falls were reeeeeeallly fast some years.

  • Alityke says:

    I’m a weekly sourdough baker. Two or three of whatever I feel like making. Nothing too fancy as DH likes his bread tin shaped for sandwiches & thinks chewing is overrated.
    I’m not big on incense scents, too coolly austere. I do have Bd’E & Avignon but rarely reach for them, cos we’ll, headache material.
    This might be more my kind of incense if it’s warmer, more cuddly

    • Patty says:

      I tried doing the fancy artisan loaves, and I just don’t like trying to figure out where to cut into them. Loaf pans give me clear direction on where to cut to get my heel hot from the oven, I have two choices, and either works!

  • Unko says:

    I love incense fragrances! I enjoy Lavs but find it a bit austere, I’d say CDG Kyoto and Avignon are my favorites. Reliqvia sounds intriguing.
    I’m long overdue to start baking bread again, you’ve inspired me!

    • Patty says:

      Good word for Lavs. Kyoto is pretty amazing, as well. Avignon was my favorite in that series for the longest time. I still like it, but I wear all the others more. Bread time! 🙂

  • Christina says:

    I am crazy about incense as you are. It answers the precious primeval in us, as well as sanctifying the senses. I just ordered a set of incense for my novice perfumery experiments. I think I would enjoy Reliqvia because of the “precious pine and smoke” and it’s warmth you alluded to. Would love to sample. Good luck also with the bread. Guinness is marvelous for cooking.

  • Tara C says:

    I ordered this based on your previous comments, so DNEM. My bottle shipped today, so still haven’t sniffed. I am an incense fiend though, so I’m not worried about liking it. I was happy to see they are now stocking it at First in Fragrance in Germany, so I won’t have to pay Unum’s 28€ shipping fee next time.

    • Patty says:

      They were doing some free shipping thing this week. I was looking at FIF, but they are now requiring a minimum $500 order AND 80 pounds for shipping. Yikes! I mean, I get it, international shipping has turned into a nightmare and expensive. Hope you love your bottle like I do mine!

      • Tara C says:

        Of course I ordered a week before they offered free shipping. FiF no longer has free shipping? Wail. That was my favorite place to order from when they had their coupon codes. Of course it’s still a savings but not nearly as good. Wah.

        So I’m smelling Reliqvia right now, and I’m not enthralled. It has some strange warm note I’m not sure about, maybe the pine combined with clove? Will have to wear it more to decide but the jury is definitely out. And I hate the bottle, especially that bent nail in the cap. I may leave it in the box.

  • Taxi says:

    It sounds yummy. I wear Avignon but haven’t tried other incenses.