Perfume Posse Scent Club – Incense

I don’t frequent perfume forums (fora?) as much as I used to, but I know that, alongside the ‘What (never Which…) colognes do chicks really dig?’ style questions, another frequent one, sometimes in poll form, is ‘Who do you wear scents for?’

The question puzzles me, for its starting point seems slightly wonky. Perhaps it’s age, self-absorption, or some other fault of mine, but I can’t imagine wearing scent for anyone. I wear them purely for personal pleasure. I think it was commenter Elle who recently wrote about scents transporting her from the real to the unreal, or out of the quotidian and into the quixotic. And that’s what they are for me. A profoundly personal and often private ritual, a personal journey into a fantastic elsewhere. In fact, I’m easily embarrassed by people – acquaintances rather than friends – asking me what I’m wearing, as daft as that seems. I’d rather be thought of as nude, scentwise, than be asked by one of the uninitiated what my scent is, which makes me feel nude clotheswise (as nice as it also is to be complimented of course). As though my private place, my solace, has been invaded.

Oh, ain’t I being precious today? But this private pleasure, that I’m happy to share somewhat anonymously over the internet, is both trivial consumption and profound experience. Scents are the closest I often get to awe and wonder. Baby, they’re my religious experience – a world outside of words, a world of marvels.

In case you didn’t spot it, that’s my segueway into incense scents. Burnt material used to cover the stench of the huddled masses at worship, now transformed in the modern age to personal perfumes. Wondrous really, isn’t it? I have mixed feelings about them and until recently, thought I had gone off most of them completely. I was wrong.

Incense scents often appear have a narrow colour palette, and they’re easily seen as monotone and ascetic in nature. Two benchmarks at this end are Armani’s Bois d’Encens and Comme des Garcons’ Avignon.

Of the four incenses I’m reviewing, the Armani is probably the simplest. Cedar – tick. Frankincense – tick. Pepper – tick. Vetiver – tick. It’s fairly diffuse too and surrounds the wearer like an aura. However, it’s more an aura of chilly minimalism than high mass, though that peppery kick sometimes reminds me of similar masculine accords in scents like Gucci pour Homme and CDG 2 Man. If this is a church, it’s way too styled for the huddled masses. I think that have a strict door policy – only black outfits, perhaps a touch of grey here and there. Next!

I used to own Avignon but I shipped it to a dear friend who loves it more than me. It’s a remarkable fragrance – the closest it’s possible to get to the cathedral at Santiago de Compostela without visiting. It’s not pure frankincense, but close enough to seem like it might be, and I’m sure I detect some cinnamon in there. But it is being in that cathedral, queuing up with the devout and the curious to touch the foot of the Trinity, the lingering aroma of the botafumeiro – a huge, swinging censer – and the damp of the stones from the humid Atlantic weather of north western Spain. I’ve been to the cathedral at Avignon, though I have no real memories associated with it. Santiago will have to suffice.

For the next two, ostensibly incense scents, my words’ll be limited. Because, though they dilute the purity of of smoke and faith, their beauty is essentially ineffable. The first, because it’s glamorous, sparkling, colourful incense and the best thing I bought in 2007. I’ve hinted here how much I love Amouage’s Jubilation XXV – and oh, I do, I do, I do. It has depth, richness, vibrancy and symphonic range in its harmonising of ingredients. It opens with a fruity, tart-sour accord, a signature motif in many of Bertrand Duchaufour’s compositions
(though not in Avignon or Kyoto, it has to be said). However, it doesn’t stay there for long, instead using a whole orchestra of colour around frankincense to brighten the familiar note. And yet it’s restrained, never brash, and makes you smell goooood, rather than feel like the perfume’s wearing you. In fact, it transforms me into the epitome of chic and debonair, and that’s some feat I tell you.

The last incense from me is one of my holy grail scents, Serge Lutens’s Encens et Lavande. I first smelled this early on in my journey into niche. Who’d’ve thunk that incense, lavender and a smidgeon of sage (or a whole heap of aromachemicals and naturals masquerading as a trinity) could smell so good? Though I would guess there’s a touch of immortelle there too – at least this perfume started my love affair with that accord. And maybe some amber? It’s the ultimate transporter for me. I can be stressed out of my nut, doolally, off my rocker, flying with the birds; a sniff of this will bring me both back into who I am and away from all the small stuff that we all, too often, sweat over unnecessarily. It’s calm captured, or the last thing to fly out of Pandora’s box bottled by that necromancer of molecules, Sheldrake. If you’ve never sniffed it, please remedy this serious fault (sin?) now. I said NOW.

Of these four (or three or two…), which is your favourite and why? And don’t forget to tune in tomorrow where March reviews two incenses I’ve failed to sniff, and one I hope to avoid sniffing for the rest of my mortal existence. I’ll sniff it enough afterwards…

Image of the Botafumeiro courtesy of wikimedia.

  • Scott says:

    This has been the best post and string of commentary I have read in a long time, and the timing could not have been better as I am deep into incense fragrances right now. Jubilation XXV the pinnacle for me: all shining silver and gold (vermeil?), with what must be high concentrations of the highest quality frankincense and other Oriental wood resins. I always get compliments when I wear it, but I wear it really for my own enjoyment. I also am in love with Bois d’Ombrie. The warm cognac opening yields to honeyed tobacco, burning autumn leaves, leather and incense. To me it is the quintessence of Fall. Heeley Cardinal is also very nice; a lighter, more transparent incense, shot through with rays of sunlight. There is not a speck of earth in it; it’s all air and light. And it has a touch of white lily without any of its usual indolic qualities.
    For me, perfume is a way to return to the present moment. I can be multitasking myself into a fury, but if I stop and inhale, and have a mindful moment and remind myself of where I am and the beauty and abundance of life, then I am able to settle down and be more peaceful. And isn’t that why incense has traditionally been used in meditation practices? It’s amazing to me how perfume can be transporting, transformative, and centering, all at the same time.
    Thank you for your wonderful blog. SL Encens et Lavande in now on my short “to try” list.

  • Cheri says:

    Love the Armani one. Plus JS, too. Also, what about Zagorsk? My hydrologist/forester/scientist husband says Zagorsk smells very close to an Incense Cedar tree. That’s one of the best compliments a fragrance can get!
    I like all the CdG incense scents. I am looking forward to the new Hinoki one, too.
    I am treasuring my decant of SL Encens et Lavande. It reminds me of cross between a Tuscan garden and a church. Beautiful!

  • Lee says:

    Patty, March – are you listening? Do you think we should start a tour?:d

    Thanks for your lovely words Devon.

  • Devon says:

    I love CdG Avignon and am very attracted to the incense group in general. Incense has more of an emotional effect on me than some other types. Poetry without words maybe, or dreams without sleep. However I often wear a scent to bed for various reasons!

    I didn’t order this CdG but one of you slipped it in with an order of mine as a surprise and it was a huge hit.

    I have much less experience as so many of you but am pleased with what I have learned and tried so far.

    Each of you who write here are very talented. Did you ever think of (or do you now) offer live seminars – lectures w/sampling etc.?

  • dinazad says:

    I tried and tried, but I can’t resist adding my two cents…..

    Great post, Lee, and I love your description of the Armani incense. I always thought it smelled like a large, cavernous church which is only used two or three times a year for big events with lots of incense – the way it would smell when the attendants come in after six months to prepare for the next big thing: large space and cold incense….

    Encens et Lavande is lovely, I agree – on me it smells like stumbling into the embrace of a freshly-showered lover in the early morning. Doesn’t get much better than that, wouldn’t you agree?

    The others I either don’t know, or, like the CdGs, they haven’t made a lasting impression (oh, I just know I’m going to get hit or growled at by all the aficionados. Better duck and disappear quickly!).

    • Lee says:

      That’s exactly how Matt views EetL – freshly-showered hunk. Interesting. And I agree – it doesn’t get much better than this.

  • KevinS says:

    Hi Lee: interesting idea about feeling violated when people ask about your perfume. I used not to CARE and even WANT people to comment…now, when they do, it’s as if they are asking: “Briefs or boxers…or nothin’ at all?” Horrible. And PERSONAL questions. I guess I feel I’ve put on too much scent when strangers ask about my fragrance. Ah…I love Iquitos!…but since I’m the only one I’ve ever known to wear it, I don’t think “yuppie” when I smell it but I think MOI…and all the good things that implies! HA! Kevin

  • I love the solemnity and true-ness to black orthodox incense of Avignon ~I also love the historical reference.:d
    (although Jubilation is still not within my reach, so I might change my mind?).
    The easiest to actually wear and not attract strange stares from people around however still remains Passage d’Enfer.
    Frankincense is near and dear to my heart: there is nary one fragrance built around it that doesn’t capture my interest. [-o<

    • Lee says:

      You’re well suited to being a frankincense fan, I think. And I’d love it if people I came into contact with wafted Passage d’Enfer passed me. Heaven!

  • Lee says:

    I can imagine that BdE’s simplicty is best when it burns. I’ll have to try that. Dry heat – that’d be a miracle here…

    I thought you were praying pre-Vatican 2 with all that ex, ex hubera stuff…:d

  • Patty says:

    Love all four of these for different reasons. Et el L is truly a marvel. Clean, clear, concise and absolute heaven.

    The Armani works a LOT better on me than most people, it sounds like. The first time I wore it, i was in Arizona in August, hot, hot, hot, and that thing just baked me in all the best ways. I think it truly blooms in the heat. On me, it has a hang time of hours, which can be a problem because sometimes I’m just over it!

    Avignon is perfection and churchy and pure and wholesome and beautiful.

    The Amouage is just exhhuber — exhubera — ex — over the top, but I appreciate that very much about it.

    Great post, as always, my dear!

  • Carol says:

    Love this post and all the comments…. maybe if I read again later without so many interruptions (don’t my co-workers understand how important finding the right incense scent is?!!), I can figure out what might be best for me to try next, but…. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the drydown of Encens et Lavande, but find the beginning pretty unappealing which is so disappointing. And I tried Jubiliation 25 again yesterday, and it started out wonderful and then got fruity or something and I’m ready to put that aside for good. Will retry Silver Factory again before March’s post tomorrow, but liked that quite a bit the first time around and like Perfect Night very much. I feel like a patient asking a doctor for a diagnosis and recommendation…

    • Lee says:

      I know, work DOES get in the way. Here I am, trying to read comments and reply (as well as mail Patty and March about this, that and the other), and I’m expected to finish the dreary curriculum mapping document by the end of the day. Fortunately, I just about completed it before writing (to) you. Hurrah.

      I’m sorry you’re unappealed (?) by the opening of EetL… What’s wrong with you woman?!:-w 😉

  • grizzlesnort says:

    Let’s not forget C&Speake Frankincense and Myrrh. Cool, resiny not smokey at all. But I love NK Incense for lots!of smoke. I put it on and I can be at a Mayan Temple or just as easily sitting around a campfire in the mountains–very comforting–(except when it woke me up in the middle of the night and I thought the smoke alarm was about to go off not realizing it was the Kamali rather than the roof). No church, there. I go to a church that uses incense so Avignon is just redundant–too literal. Though I’ve never been to Russia, Zagorsk does take me to what I imagine an orthodox church in a snowy wood must smell like. How can one be nostalgic for a past one never had, a place one has never been? Sigh. Interestingly Kyoto doesn’t do that for me and, while long-lasting, it’s light and fresh and I’m not really into light and fresh. Ditto Passage D’Enfer. Eagerly awating my Tauer samples and now it looks like I’ll have to hock something to get the XXV. Love the post; can’t wait for tomorrow’s. Thanks.

    • Lee says:

      I was chuckling with the thought of a panicky you in the middle of the night, when the irrational sleepybrain has taken over. Poor thing.

      I’d offer to give up a kidney for you to help with the XXV but I’m down to a half. And I’ve the merest sliver of liver left.

      • grizzlesnort says:

        BTW, how could I forget the gateway drug that got me onto sites such as this one to begin with: Dzongkha! Now there’s some interesting incense for you.

        • Lee says:

          And by that genius Bertrand Duchaufour too – the master of incense, I reckon (and strange sour accords – try Bois d’Ombrie for measure – dark as dark, but with a little speck of pickle…)

  • BitterGrace says:

    Of your list, I only know Avignon and E et L–of those two I much prefer the Lutens as a scent to wear. But really, I am not wild about incense frags on me, though I often enjoy them on other people. The smell of incense has such powerful associations for me, and I’ve used it so much to put myself in a certain space mentally, that I find it sort of overwhelming and distracting in other contexts.

    I completely understand your feelings about perfume being a private, intimate pleasure. I never really like to be asked what I’m wearing, either–which I suppose means I should quit asking other people! That said, I do wear perfume for people close to me, esp. my husband and my mother. I’ll make a point of putting on something I know they like, and I have worn things at Dave’s request, though I wouldn’t actually submit to dousing myself in something I hated just to please him.

    • Lee says:

      Those 80s powerhouse fragrances have the strongest associations for me. I tell you, one spritz of Iquitos and I could happily go on a yuppy killing spree…

      *sprays on more EetL to calm down*

      I wish Matt noticed my scents. This might be part of the reason for my private pleasure thing. He only wears them to please me and the women in his office.

      give the dogs a big hug from me, especially Nio. Love his daft grin.

  • donanicola says:

    I’m a sinner! As in I have yet to sample SL E&L (and many other ways too but who’s counting). Will remedy the situation as pronto as poss. Of the 3 remaining,and in abtract, I love Avignon the best though not to wear. To wear and I’m talking Amouage XXV – just stupendously lovely and not chilly which is my main gripe with the note. I’m so looking forward to the Andy Tauers.

  • Anthony says:

    Another great post, Lee… I don’t know if you’ve noticed but there seems to be something in the air about incense… Though I’m noticing a great amount of attention toward amber and patchouli lately as well, incense seems to be the star these days, and although I have a closet full of bottles, I sit around contemplating which incense fragrance I could squeeze in there. I’ve tried the CdG’s and own 2MAN, and have tried Bois d’Encense, but all have been too peppery for my taste, besides Silver Factory, which I kind of liked because it’s sweet, too… Anyway, after your description of Encense et Lavande I can’t wait to get my hands on it. Incense and lavender… could be a cold experience… is it? And the Amouage as well, would you describe them as warm or more austere and cold?

    • Anthony says:

      I’m also very very curious about Heeley Cardinal…

    • Lee says:

      The Heeley is a churchy incense though not as cold as Avignon, I don’t think. EetL and Jub both have warmth to them, though most people mightn’t think that EetL is a comfort scent, though it is my ultimate comfort scent…

  • Malena says:

    my favourites incense scents? about a year ago i would have said i don´t like incense at all – but now that has changed quite a bit 🙂
    today i received a sample of andy tauer´s incense extrême & i´m wearing it right now. it´s a rather heavy incense, but much deeper & more powdery then avignon (a scent i don´t like, i can go to church if i wanted to smell like pure incense *yikes*). there´s something cool, almost lemony, in it as well. it´s complex & quite lovely, i could see myself wearing that one pretty often.
    the first incense frag i purchased was juozas statkevicius – chocolaty incense, absolutely gorgeous. but, though i really, really like it, it´s not my favourite…
    the first place goes to amouage jubilation XXV for men. when i receidve the sample, i immediately put a drop on my skin &…love! it rarely happens to me that i fell for a scent so quickly, usually i don´t trust my first impression, but this time it was for real LOL can´t wait to order my bottle.
    AG encens flamboyant is another favourite. it´s not as woody-warm as jubilation, but it´s cozy nevertheless & surrounds you like a comforting, grey blanket.

    • Lee says:

      It’s amazing when incense can become a comfort scent, isn’t it? I share your loves, it seems. You-owes-us is a very good incense scent but in the chilly like Avignon category for me. The AG seems to take some elements of EetL and splice them with Chene, don’t you think
      ?

      • Malena says:

        yes, you´re absolutely right, i also get the chêne association when i smell AG encens -> chêne plus warmth, but haven´t thought about EetL, yet!
        i see EetL as rather cold & chilly – have you ever tried to layer it with chêne? (chêne with rahät loukoum was awful b-( LOL )

        • Lee says:

          I tend not to layer things much because of the very reason you describe. Any layering I do is entirely accidental! EetL probably is, by any objective measure, cold. But I find it very warming for some obscure reason, so I’m going to continue claiming it *IS* warm!:d

  • Vasily says:

    Of the CdG incenses, Avignon is my favorite with Kyoto a close second. Avignon seems more piney-churchey, Kyoto has a clean, soapy quality. Since I’m Orthodox, I wanted to like Zagorsk, but there’s an oily midnote I find difficult to take and (unlike the other two) its longevity was poor on me. Haven’t tried the Ouarzazate yet.

    I’ll have to try Encens et Lavande again; it seemed pleasant enough, but didn’t seem particularly impressive. On my list of frags to try is Lorenzo Villoresi Incensi; has anyone tried that one?

    • Lee says:

      Ouarzazate is quite different from the rest, as is Jaisalmer. Both are spicier. It’s a long time since I’ve sniffed them though.

      I can see how EetL can seem underwhelming – it’s quiet, not orgasmic. But oh I love it, and I’ll challenge anyone to a duel* who disagrees. OTOH, I hate Incensi – a vile muddled concoction of notes that clash and bash and give the wearer no peace. But I’m not a LV fan, for some reason. I’m yet to sniff one that has moved me beyond meh.

      • Lee says:

        I mean, of course AG’s Duel, the mate scent. I don’t mean violence of any kind.

      • Vasily says:

        “A vile muddled concoction.” Yikes. Maybe I’ll pass on Incensi. 🙂 I’ve tried two LVs, Uomo and Piper Nigrum. Uomo reminded me of Caswell-Massey No. 6, with something hot at the heart. Left me cold. Piper Nigrum, well, pencil shavings and pepper, also left me cold. So I don’t have a lot of hope for Incensi.

        • Lee says:

          Well, you sahould try it – don’t take my word for it. Lots of people I respect love it; I just don’t understand why…:-? :-&

  • Dain says:

    I wish I could wear incense better than I do. They fall into appreciation, but I am disinclined to buy. The only one that seemed to like my skin was Angelique Encens, but it is really an incense-laced amber perfume, if that makes any sense. It is a strange idea to me, because incenses have different perfumes themselves, so is it just resinous notes and smoke, mixed any way they please? But your post has inspired me to give it another try.

    I’d agree with you that perfume is personal, for oneself–only, what if you want to feel sexually empowered? I’d say two SLs make the perfect erotics: Vetiver Oriental for men (though I wear it myself), and Tubereuse Criminelle for women.

    And I do believe both “forums” and “fora” are correct.

    • Lee says:

      Lots of incense scents = frankincense I think, though there are other accords that are different. I read somewhere that EetL is Somalian incense, whatever that means – it certainly isn’t frankincensy. I imagine lots of what we think of as notes are aromachemicals that smell like different types of burning stuff. (Frankincense smells very different when it isn’t burning to when it is, unsurprisingly. As does wood…:d ).

      You go on the erotica. I think my erotica days are in the past now. I do like to live vicariously though. 😉

      and thanks for the plural reassurance!

  • Louise says:

    I wear perfume mostly for me. But also: for friends,colleagues, fellow metro riders. As date bait, personal ritual, fantasy mechanism, occasional repellant. It all depends on the day and circumstance. Mostly, it completes me 🙂

    I join the commenters in their incense love. My first incense was MdM (won’t speak of ’til tomorrow). Now, most of my favorites are not on your picks: NK Ceremony, NK Incense, Heeley Cardinal. From the picks-Avignon is nice but I prefer it layered with a touch of sweet, the Prive disappears in 2 seconds after sprayed (Hi Maria-miss you!), and I must re-try the E and L. And I really need to smell the Jubilation on you and yours who vow it smells great (I believe you!)-it’s just flat on me.

    Also-it’s the incense blends that really grab me-the Black Cashmere, Perfect Night, Vanille Tonka.

    • Lee says:

      You’re lovely to blend with. And thanks for staying quiet on the murderous Messe. Shame about the Jub and I wonder why EetL didn’t sing to you straight off the bat.

  • March says:

    Wow, thoughtful, well-organized post, you are raising the bar for tomorrow.

    :-w 😉

    Armani I smelled for the first time in winter and thought, wow, that is *chilly.* It took me awhile to come around, although now I love it. Your description was hilariously apt. Yes, Avignon is pretty much the gold standard of modern ancient church perfumery!

    EetL. Now therre’s Serge Lutens at its best. It *sounds* so simple, and you smell it and think, how can it be so beautiful?!?

    • Lee says:

      Says the writer of Monday’s post.^:)^ . Seriously. And you better believe it!

      Those Serge haters are happy to forget that for every overdose over-the-top full on oriental cacophany (love you Arabie, but I’m looking you straight in the face here, bud), there’s also a quiet, minimal masterpiece – ISM, EetL, Un Lys, Chene.

      • sweetlife says:

        OK, Lee. That’s it. I’m off to you-know-where to order samples of those minimalist masterpieces. I have been totally unable to imagine lavender+incense but with so many raves here I’m going to just have to smell it for myself.

  • Marina says:

    I love Avignon, but find it too intimidating (to me) for actual wear. It’s too…pure and…solemn. 8-|

  • sariah says:

    Hi Lee. That Jubilation is amazing, it’s the first scent I put on that I wished I were a guy so it would smell right on me – OK, I don’t really want to be a guy, but I loved it though I don’t want to wear it. I found it firmly on the masculine side. Ditto for the Armani.

    I also love Avignon, but that is another one I don’t want to wear. It smells great – but just sits there on me – I feel that it is more of a room spray than a perfume. My favorite of the CdG’s is Zagorsk.

    • Lee says:

      I feel the same way about Avignon on me, though funnily enough not on others. It turns me into sombre architecture.:d

      Zagorsk is beautiful in a totally austere, chilly outdoors way. It makes me want to head off snow shoeing. But we’re unlikely to get that opportunity in temperate Suffolk, UK.

  • Elle says:

    Am not sure it’s my comment you’re remembering. That certainly does reflect exactly how I feel, but I’m certain I didn’t phrase it that eloquently. I also agree with you about wearing perfume *only* for myself. I’m eternally grateful that DH is close to anosmic and utterly indifferent to my choice of scents.
    My favorite incense of the ones you’ve reviewed has to be Jubilation XXV – hard to imagine an incense scent could be celebratory and joyful, but this one definitely is. EeL, however, is a very close second. For me, it’s the scent of a Russian church. Heaven.

    • Lee says:

      I think it was you Elle who talked about applying in minute amounts for personal pleasure – I just added my own florid touches. Eloquence schmeloquence.

      I’m with you on favourites, just the other way round…

  • Anne says:

    Of all the days to wake up late and need to go to work early. I could sit all day and read all the wonderful comments and share in the joy all of us seem to have for these scents.

    I would love to own a FB of any one of these scents but there is one that is special. When my DH wears Avignon I cannot be pried from his side or at the least, downwind in his sillage wake. Transported? Wherever my harried brain is, when I breathe Avignon everything slows and settles into a peaceful calmness. It never gets old.

    :)>- y’all

    • Lee says:

      I hope the workday went quickly and that you don’t have to be pried from your DH’s arms the nest time he incenses himself!

  • Judith says:

    Encens et Lavande is a miracle. When I opened a (now sadly depleted) bell jar, DH asked in wonder, “What IS that smell?” He was captivated–and so am I. Armani is a staple, but I was very disappointed when I bought their candle: beautiful looking but no throw (I’m sure there’s a joke in here somewhere, but I’m too sleepy to find it):) Avignon is great, but a bit too churchy for me (Kyoto is my favorite CdG Incense). And I need to give the Amouage another try: it started out really good on me, but then got a bit shaving-cream wonky; but it may win me over on a second try.

    • Lee says:

      Very few things can compete with the dusty warm thrum of calming beauty that is EetL. I seem to be getting a myrrh note today as a little bonus. Will have to investigate further.

      And let us know on the Jub!:x

  • MattS says:

    I’m in agreement with Maria on the Armani incense; I loved it for the three minutes it hung around on my skin. I used half of a good sized decant just to make it last until I made it through the front door. I finally said to hell with it and threw on a couple of spritzes of Angelique Encens just so I could smell something later on in the day. Now there’s a lovely incense…

    Still waiting for my decant of E et L to arrive and still on the fence about the Jubilation XV. I like it but haven’t yet heard the angels sing on that one. The women’s version, however, has totally charmed me. It seems both classic and modern as if it could have been worn in any particular point in history and I love that.

    And then there’s Avignon, lovely, lovely Avignon. My first incense, my first niche scent, and my gateway drug into this lovely, wonderful world of perfume obsession. I managed to tear a sleeve from a shirt thrown by Morrissey into a crowd at a concert and apart from being overwhelmed by everything else, noticed the most beautiful scent coming from the fabric. After a week of online research, I learned he wears Avignon, thus discovering LuckyScent, the whole CdG Incense Series, Perfume Smellin’ Things, then Perfume Posse, followed by the Perfumed Court. My credit card will never be the same. So I owe this obsession, among many others, along with getting to know you wonderful people, to Morrissey. God bless him, there IS a light that never goes out.

    Wonderful post, Lee, as always, but, what, no Messe de Minuit???

    • Lee says:

      AE is lovely – it’s my favourite Creed I think, and one of those smells that’s timeless, classic, but seems to transform every which way that’s possible. A mystery in a large and expensive bottle.

      I think you nail the women’s Jub exactly right. And Avignon is a great gateway.

      Thank you for commenting – the pleasure, the privilege is mine.;)

      • MattS says:

        Oh my. He quotes the Smiths too. I may swoon…:”>

        • Lee says:

          lol – I was a teenager in England in the 80s. It’s de rigueur really.

          • MattS says:

            My favorite band of all time; I just never seem to grow up enough to outgrow them. Seeing Morrissey live this summer was an adolescent dream come true and I felt like one of those crying, screaming teenagers who saw Elvis in the fifties. God help me, I’m a 14 year old trapped in a thirty-six year old body.

  • rosarita says:

    I have a sample of Encens et Lavande which I need to hunt down and try, yes, Sir! *smart salute* I am rather swamped by scents at the moment, due to a mad spell of swapping, but I’m enjoying the incense wave. Kyoto remains my favorite of the CdG series, love my decant of Silver Factory, and I have just received a bottle of Passage d’Enfer. Didn’t care for it much in sample form, it definitely needs to be sprayed, and March is right (of course) – it is an all purpose fragrance enhancer, fun to play with. Lovely post, and despite your words to the contrary, I’m sure you can conjure up suave & debonair at will, given the proper circumstances! 😉

    • Lee says:

      Why thank you! And did you get to it with EetL? Aaah…

      PdE – that’s something I don’t own and I had a decant that’s now dried up. Such a gentle, wet incense. Lovely, in a quiet melancholy way.

      • rosarita says:

        I commented before work, about 4:30 this morning. Now, many hours and one really spectacularly awful workday behind me, I have dug out my EeL sample. My heavens, you are right, it is wonderful; bracing and calming at the same time. Exactly what I need for this particular moment. I may just sit here, deep breathing my wrists, and let the badness of the day subside,|-)

  • Maria says:

    Lee, thanks to you I found my holy grail churchy incense, Avignon. Whenever K or I wear it, I think of you. You’ve been to Santiago de Compostela? I never have, though my surname comes from that fogbound, chilly Atlantic coast. (Not unlike my current climate.)

    I ROFLMAO when I read your description of the Armani congregation. Such a perfect characterization. The Armani lasts on my skin hardly at all.

    Encens et Lavande is gorgeous. I’m with you there.

    Now…for Jubilation XV. Last week when I had a flulike virus, K tried it on, and I couldn’t wait for him to wash it off. Thank heavens for showers! It was much too strong for me that day. Something in it was shrieking at me. I haven’t dared try it myself. I know I was sick and very sensitive to fragrances. But I’m still skeered.

    • Lee says:

      Oh, I hope you get over the Jubilation horror, I really do!

      I had a flash of Gianni Versace’s funeral when I first thought of the Armani church, and toned down the Miami colour to a monotone setting…

      I love Santiago de Compostela, even though it’s wetter than Britain. Imagine! So, there’s some Galician blood in you somewhere, is there?

  • Gina says:

    Love this post, Lee. Incense perfumes are my favorite, pretty much hands down. I’m confused though – I’m thinking I’ve never tried Jubilation XXV, though I thought I tried it and hated it. I think I’m getting it confused with something else. I must try it. I love Encens and Lavande, too. Like tmp00, I’m eagerly awaiting Andy Tauer’s incense, I’ve got it on pre-order at Luckyscent, had to. It’s like my hand went for my credit card before I really knew what was happening. Avignon was the first incense perfume I owned, I still adore it. Love Annick Goutal’s incense, too. Ok. Have you noticed I love them all? There’s another one, Let Me Play the Lion, which I tend to go on about on this blog a lot. Have you tried it? Do I need to send you some;)? And of course there’s Passage d’Enfer, so lovely…

    • Lee says:

      I love your enthusiasm – so infectious. I really enjoyed a decant I had of Let Me Play…, but it ran out October 06. So long ago, so quickly. I need to get a bottle sometime.

    • sweetlife says:

      Gina — chiming in with another vote for Let Me Play the Lion! Especially in the heat…

      • Gina says:

        I’m so glad you like it – I think it’s so beautiful, and yes, in the heat it bakes up nicely!

      • Lee says:

        And it’s such a bargain Stateside. $75 @ Luckyscent. 80 euros @FiF. There are some advantages to that weak dollar it seems after all…

        (I’m in Europe but my laptop is American,. Hence no euro sign. That’s what you get for working for an Amreican subsidiary I guess…Took me an age to find £ as it’s not on the keyboard.)

        I think I’ll splurge soonish.

  • tmp00 says:

    Well, I am all over Incense et Lavande. Would that the exchange rate was like it was a few years ago, I’d be forcing you to ship me a bell jar. I am interested to smell Andy Tauer’s take on incense and was especially pleased by the new Annick Goutal one. Avignon I have to smell some day soon..

    • Lee says:

      I’m spraying on Encens et Lavande as I type, Tommo, and thinking of you. Any time you want me to facilitate, just say…:d

    • Vasily says:

      I don’t know if anyone mentioned it, but Andy’s got two incense frags coming out, I think on January 23rd (which happens to be my birthday!)… Incense Extreme, and Incense Rose. At least Incense Rose is coming out on the 23rd, the Extreme may be another date.

      BTW, on an unrelated topic Serena Ava Franco is returning soon to the world of perfumery with a reduced inventory and a new website … read about it on her blog here: