Scent Club — Incense (Part II)

Today´s the Scent Club, Part 2 — this month we looked at incense scents. Be sure to check out yesterday´s post on incense scents with Lee.

Etro Messe de Minuit – I have a soft spot in my head heart for MdM, because as some of you may know, that´s how I met Patty. I´d ordered a sample from her eBay store, it got lost in the mail, I emailed her, she emailed me back, and the rest, as they say, is history. Losing that stupid sample of MdM turned out to be one of the best things that ever happened to me.

I´m sure some of you would agree with that statement based solely on the way Messe de Minuit smells. Of the huge number of love-it-or-hate-it scents I can randomly think of, MdeM has got to be one of the original freak classics at this point. It´s essentially an incense scent (the name translated is Midnight Mass), with additional notes of cinnamon, myrrh, vanilla, and (depending where you´re reading) things like orange, amber and patchouli.

Messe de Minuit smells to me like the inside of a church at Christmas mass – there is incense, some woody notes, resin and myrrh. I can smell the crypt-keeper part everyone objects to – the part like mildew that in my opinion is a trick of the patchouli/myrrh combination – but somehow I just don´t find it objectionable. This scent has an online perfume rep as being this goth scent, and here I´d like to interject one of my favorite stories about preconceived notions and perfume. Because if you take someone – in this case my sister-in-law Kate, who has no interest in or knowledge of fragrance, beyond what she sniffs occasionally in my perfume closet – and you spray some of this randomly on her, she´ll surprise you by announcing it smells like spicy roses, and demand that you hook her up with some more. She´s now on her second (third?) bottle, which she has shipped to her from Bergdorf, having declared all that goth stuff a bunch of b.s. And you know what´s weird? On her it does smell like roses – spicy roses and incense. Go figure.

Next up, Bond No. 9 Andy Warhol Silver Factory. I reviewed this recently, and I maintain my enthusiasm. Easily my favorite of the Bond line, a variation on the theme of incense, this one being fun and lighthearted and blingy and glam. I hear there is going to be a whole series of Warhol scents, and I can´t imagine what the others will smell like (tomato soup?) This one smells like frankincense, violets and some funny metallic/synthetic note (notes are: bergamot, grapefruit, lavender, violet, incense, jasmine, iris, amber, woods.)

The Bond is IMHO probably the most commercial of all the scents we did – it´s fun, pretty (but not too pretty), unisex, wearable assuming you like incense even a little bit. I was wondering whether I´d been brainwashed by the good reviews, but I dug it up again for this session and I´m still impressed. Good work, Bond.

Finally, the biehl.parfumkunstwerke mb03. Notes are chamomile, red pepper, elemi, cistus, cashmere wood, styrax, amber, incense, sandalwood, patchouli. Hey, anybody remember these? Anybody? I mean, this is the volume issue we perfume nuts complain about. How many of these were there – 13? 14? – released at the same time. In some ways I like the concept – I like knowing who the perfumer is, in this case Mark Buxton, the alchemist behind several CdG gems. But the biehls all had those non-fragrance-names, and try typing biehl.parfumkunstwerke a few times without rolling your eyes (or accidentally typing A Very Dirty Word)… uh, where were we? To me this scent is a nice idea, a short story rather than a deep novel. My favorite bits are the first fifteen minutes, when I get the spices, and the sweet woods, and the whole deal reminds me vaguely of a summer version of the Warhol. It´s a very playful scent, and I can´t help but feel that this disappeared into the abyss because of the way it was released. Having said that, this is remarkably short-lived on me, and that´s not a frequent problem.

So – let´s have some conversation. Does Messe de Minuit really smell that bad? Or did it grow on you (and not like mildew?) Do you think the Biehl is underrated, and/or do you have another favorite from that line? Did the Silver Factory live up to your expectations? Does Andy Warhol cult irritate you even a teeny bit? Oh, wait, that´s off topic… and any of you newbies, how did you feel about all these incense fragrances? Thumbs up? Down?

Next month´s scent club: I Heart Perfume! Just in time for Valentine´s Day. This is a bit of an odd lot, scents we chose because they go together in terms of their feel and also happen to be either current or enduring favorites. They are: Isabela Capeto, Serge Lutens Rousse, Dior Homme and Chanel No. 22. There´s a spicy theme running in there, but in a hopeful, spring-is-around-the-corner way, not the winter-solstice way. We hope you join us next month to discuss these.

  • stantoine says:

    I realize I’m at least a couple weeks late to the party here, but I just have to chime in and give some love to the biehl mb03. I would have never found this if Nasrin at the Perfume Shoppe in Vancouver hadn’t singled it out from the white wall of biehl numbers and spritzed me with it. I wasn’t even sure about it in the shop, but it has really become one of my very favorite scents. I’ve heard it compared to CdG’s Avignon and Sequoia, (decants of which I have on order so we’ll see), but as it stands, mb03 is far and away my favorite incense. It just rings all my olfactory pleasure bells the right way, I guess. Btw, while I have ongoing issues with scent persistance on my skin, mb03 lasts considerably longer than most. Go figure.

    I’ve also been playing with AT’s Incense’s Extreme and Rose, and while I really am intrigued by Andy’s singular approach to perfumery, I didn’t understand these two at first… But, and this includes Lonestar Memories as well, I’m really starting to appreciate his work a LOT. I have to add that I was utterly in LOVE with L’Air du Desert Marocain from the first time I wore it.

    • March says:

      It sounds like it works well for you — any recommendation by Nasrin gets my attention. And I think the whole line deserved more attention, probably, but they sort of get buried in their own mass release.

      Andy Tauer is fabulous. I was surprised I liked Rose better.

  • Cheri says:

    I forgot to write that I really love the Hinoki Wood products by BURN. I have the candle and the lotion. They really need to branch out into perfume. The Balinese Woods one is nice, too, but I’d recommend the Hinoki Wood to any incense junkie (like me).

  • Cheri says:

    I like Silver Factory. The combo of the incense and floral works well for me. That’s why I am looking forward to Andy Tauer’s Incense Rose. His Incense Extreme is a little too much for me most days, although I enjoy it. I have a sample of Ava Luxe’s Incense Rose. That one is a beautiful spicy dark rose. @};-
    I never got the mildew in MdM but I like Frankincense. I haven’t had the chance to try the Biehl yet. 🙁 Perhaps soon!
    My other favorites are NK Incense and Profumum Olibanum, as well as Guerlain Bois D’Armenie (when I looking for a very mild incense).

    • March says:

      I wish I could get what everyone else is getting out of Armenie. I think I must be anosmic to part of it.

      Andy’s Incense Rose is lovely, isn’t it?

  • missy aka chloefpuff says:

    I’m the president of the local chapter of the Warhol cult: you find us irritating? (wink, wink)

    Okay, I was disappointed in Silver Factory. On me it’s too sweet and syrupy. I appreciate it from an aesthetic point of view and look forward to the remaining releases. I keep revisiting because you never know, it may grow on me, like Jicky did.

    • March says:

      Hey, Missy, how did I miss your comment? Weird … sorry. And also sorry that the Factory is too sweet on you. I hear there are going to be a whole series, wonder what the others will be like?

  • Vasily says:

    For those who enjoy the burnable sort of incense as well as the wearable sort, here are some bookmarks from my collection you might find useful:

    Scents of Earth is relocating their site, so they’re temporarily out of commission (until end of February). These links provide a wide variety of incenses from many traditions & cultures. Smoke ’em if you got ’em. 🙂

    • March says:

      Vasily, that was very interesting, thanks. It’s nice to have some online recommendations for where to start.

  • chayaruchama says:

    I love so many mentioned- each in its own way.
    only, I’ve not yet gone to Biehlland…
    It just overwhelms me a bit, right now.
    So much choice- where to begin ?

    Nice memories, Ellen-
    I share them.

    • pitbull friend says:

      Ah, yes, Chaya, and I have the matching china cabinet in my house. That’s the one where the box of Barton’s kosher chocolates used to be. Which makes me remember that I appreciated sweets so much more back when I was a skinny little kid who only got sweets on special occasions. Hmmm, suppose there’s a lesson in that? :-\” –Ellen

    • March says:

      Hi, honey. Are you okay? I need to email you.

      By the way, I gave Parfum d’Ida a test drive yesterday!!! Yummmm!!!! It was scrumptious. That and the other winter-fir one were my favorites (I forget the name.)

  • pitbull friend says:

    I remember making everyone all interested by mentioning that I had tried something recently that reminded me of havdalah spices (the metal box of cinnamon/clove, etc. one uses at the end of the Jewish Sabbath). I rechecked my notes & it was MdM (universality of religions!), which y’all already knew about. But I realize that part of that smell was the inside of an ancient wooden cupboard at my grandparents house, which came over with them on the boat from Germany and was only opened once a week.

    So, I guess it’s mildew, but y’all could call it “old wooden cupboard” if ya wanna.

    As for Passage d’Enfer, is there such a thing as TOO beautiful? I find it distracting in its austere beauty. –Ellen

    • Maria says:

      Ellen, you’re back!!!!!!!!!! I’ve been thinking about you a lot lately, wondering how you were doing. Have you been lurking all along? It’s so nice to hear from you. 😡

      • pitbull friend says:

        Hey, doll: Intermittent lurking. Decided to break off for a while because I was getting a little too dependent on both the Posse & perfumes. It’s so easy to get into a cyber-habit, you know? So, I resolved to go back to sending cards to people. Last week, I sent two birthday cards, one to someone I fallen out of touch with for 5 years. Return mail brought me one from someone I’d fallen out of touch with for 12 years! What are the odds? :d Thanks for asking. 😡 –Ellen

        • March says:

          Passage d’Enfer IS distracting in its beauty. I did a post on PdE awhile back, and I remember saying it’s one of those wonders where I totally forget how gorgeous it is. It’s like a brand new day every time I put it on.

          I know you need to focus on your life there, and at the same time, we are always happy to see you.:)<:-p

  • Carol says:

    I’m a newbie and really enjoyed reading the posts and comments about these…

    Silver Factory – I liked the best, hands down…
    Ed Lavande – so frustrated. Smells like an icky men’s cologne for an hour and then finally gets wonderful. How can I get just the wonderful? And, why is the opening a problem when Jicky is my #1… (lots of lavender, right?) makes no sense..

    Jubiliation – started out well and then ick. Must find home for small sample.

    Had a grand time last night spending all kinds of time playing on TPC, Luckyscent, Aedes, etc., deciding and redeciding what to try next…. AND even waited til Blue Mercury opened this morning to try Passage d’Enfer – thought that would be a big winner and despite a few large squirts, the barest smell and 5 minutes later, nada.

    Guess it’s time to place my sample order for MdM, Angelique Encens, the new AG Encens Flamboyant…. and the comment about the Guerlain Bois d’Armenie made me curious.

    • March says:

      Heh heh. I’ll warn you now that small samples reproduce on your countertops and in your cabinets while you are sleeping, like tribbles, and then one morning you wake up and you have hundreds or even thousands of them. :-\” Not that I speak from personal experience here. I have heard stories.

      Isn’t it fun to drop that stuff into your shopping cart? Sorry about PdEnfer… FWIW that’s essentially my experience with Bois d’Armenie. People think I am crazeee. I can’t smell it, really, just very faint. Some sort of anosmia on my part.

  • Robin says:

    What you said about the Biehls really resonates with me. There was something really disorienting about working through so many at once, and with non-meaningful names that do nothing to help you distinguish one from the other. While I like the idea behind the line, I think it ends up doing a disservice to the perfumers — even if the scents weren’t dashed off, they end up feeling dashed off, and as you say, they sink into the abyss: ok, I’ve sampled 13 more niche scents, next?

    Would think it would have been nicer to have released these in sets, by perfumer, one perfumer at a time, and let the perfumers pick names for them. Then wait a few months and release another perfumer.

    • March says:

      Can I confess? Patty graciously sent me the entire set and … it was totally overwhelming. I didn’t even smell all of them, they sat there for awhile. I had nothing to work with. all their little alphanumeric names. I think your approach would have been much better, and would have garnered more attention. And while I am sympathetic to how difficult it must be to come up with usable fragrance names, taking the “untitled” approach doesn’t seem like much of a solution.

  • KevinS says:

    M: I’ve worn MdM three times…on icy cold rainy days and I loved it UNTIL a co-worker/friend, teary eyed, said it reminded her of her grandmother’s funeral and the funeral home that housed her body! Since I sat right next to my friend at work I never bought a bottle of MdM. That was years ago, I need to smell it again.

    • March says:

      Oh, that’s terrible! That would pretty much kill the joy off for me as well. I would definitely never wear it to work again.

      I wonder how you’d feel about it now?

  • Judith says:

    I absolutely love MdM–and I get the mildew, cellar vibe, goth feel and all. No roses here. Also, as I’m sure you know, it’s great for layering.

    Really like MB03, though I agree it’s not the world’s most innovative scent. I have a decant, and I think that’s about right.

    I also have a decant of Silver Factory, thanks to a very kind MUAer, and I have sprayed it frequently. And I do really enjoy it now–although I still don’t love it. BUT–I have received several compliments from other women on it, so my nose is clearly missing something (as is DH’s–his reaction is about the same as mine). I am very glad to have the decant but feel no need for me.

    • March says:

      I think “decant level” is applicable to 90 percent of the fragrances I sniff and love. Bottle needs are few and far between…

      You know what’s like that for me? That silly Armani Prive Cuir Amethyste. I get more compliments from people when wearing that thing. I don’t even think I can fully smell it.

  • Kelly says:

    My .02

    Some of these were ‘meh’- no distinct impressions.
    Amouage – Sorry Lee, couldn’t find the love. Not for lack of wanting.
    Messe di Minuit – Mess in a Minute. All mold.
    Silver Factory – Goldie Hawn in a nun’s habit. Dry down is snuggly. LOVE it. HATE Andy Warhol.
    MB03 – I own a decant of this, and look to be in the minority who actually love it. Pity.


    • March says:

      Kelly, I think I’d have been more in the mb camp if it LASTED. I’m so unused to complaining about longevity that when it happens I’m sorta shocked.

      • Kelly says:

        And I guess I’m so used to stuff NOT lasting, I’m really not that surprised and/or disappointed. It’s actually kind of a blessing, I think – commitment schimitment!

  • March says:

    I know, I know!!! The Cheese is lurking in the background, tail lashing back and forth, he needs me to work on something and here I am on the blog … hey, I have TOLD him my blog days are Mon and Thurs! Also it is snowing like the dickens here which I love, since I don’t have to do anything but look at it.

    Have a safe trip! Are you all well and better I hope?

  • Divalano says:

    Not having time to mince words yes, Messe smelled really bad to me. But then, so did Avignon & a couple of others. As I realized after your post the other day, I can’t do cold, stark incense. I don’t even like smelling it on others. The church/mass/cathedral association doesn’t conjure any sense memory, I’m a Jewish girl & have no memories of mass. I’ve been certainly, Xmas Eve, Easter, etc but … it’s not a place in my heart. I need my incense to be blended with pretty things & warmed before I can stand it. Then I sometimes I really do love it. I adore Barbara Bui & have had an on again off again affair with Josef Statkus. And now that I know that I’m excited about resuming my exploration of incense scents.

    So ok, I’d promised myself no posting today. I have to shower & pack & run errands (including scheduled argument w evil photo lab) before my flight this afternoon. Eeeeeeep.

  • Malena says:

    MdM reminds me of an old, clammy cellar – i really loved it for a while & always wanted to buy a bottle, but somehow never managed. now, i don´t like it all that much anymore, but i must confess i didn´t smell it for a while, perhaps i still like it more than i think. it´s definitely unique & very worthy sampling – i never found another scent that comes even close.
    i´m still waiting for my silver factory sample to arrive: the TPC package seems to travel around the world without thinking about me *i´m waiting for you – can you hear me?! please, come home!* :(( that´s why i still cannot comment on that one & yes, it annoys me! but i haven´t given up hope, yet – someday i´ll smell it, too 😉
    biehl.parfumkunstwerke: why couldn´t they give them names?! i´m not good when it comes to numbers…:”> that´s why i´m never sure which scent i actually liked & which not. none of them is really bad, but i couldn´t find one that i like enough to consider buying a bottle. the buxton incense is nicely done, i agree with you about the beginning (i get an orris note, i think) being the best part. staying power really isn´t the best – & that from someone how usually doesn´t have any problems at all with lack of staying power…

    • March says:

      Aha, so I wasn’t wrong about the staying power on the biehl! And they can’t expect everyone to memorize their nomenclature. I understand finding a non-copyrighted name is increasingly difficult, but … tough. :d

      Funny you said that about the Etro. I hadn’t worn it in awhile, I gave my last decant to my SIL. So when I retried it for this post I had this great re-acquaintance with the scent. If anything it’s better than I remembered.

  • aelily says:

    As a newbie, I think this month’s scents were a little too complex for my amateur nose. I wore one a day for a week to try them all! I started with the Bond, which I like. I think it was a good intro to incense. Having worn the others all week, I have to agree that Silver Factory is more light-hearted and fun, maybe not as intense as the rest? The only other one which stood out was Serge Lutens’s Encens et Lavande, which made me think of the coming Spring (obviously the lavender), wet and rainy, but with new growth. All the other scents this month just made me think of too many years of Catholic mass. On my skin at least, I couldn’t get the nuances of them, just the basic, heavy frankincense.

    • March says:

      Aelily, well there you go. I was curious about that. See, when I read criticisms of incense scents, or people say, well I just don’t do incense, frequently what emerges is that incense reminds them (unhappily) of something, most often Catholic school, or being dragooned into going to mass. If I had a scent association like that (e.g., pencil shaving smell takes me back to the school where I was bullied or whatever) I’d probably dislike the smell too. I’m really grateful that the only real association I make with incense is directly in terms of my love affair with perfume, if that makes sense. It’s just a cool smell, kind of new to me, vaguely associated with pleasant visits to empty cathedrals in Europe, in my imagination…

      You get the ginormous gold star for your perceptive reaction to Encens et Lavande. Extraordinary scent.

  • donanicola says:

    I am going to try MdM again. Its at Libs and I’m going there on saturday so we’ll see. First time I tried it I’m afraid I got the crypt and not in a good way. I really wanted to like it as Marina at PST talked about layering it with Yatagan (which I LOVE) but I didn’t want to put MdM near the Yat. Rosarita mentioned Nu – I love Nu! Don’t wear it often but enjoy sniffing it. Very womanly incense that one. I was so-so with the Silver Factory but have yet to properly connect with Bond so maybe I’m just not getting the whole line.

    • March says:

      See, I love this blog. I love that you wrote “I got the crypt AND NOT IN A GOOD WAY.” Seriously. Wine blogging must be the soul of shnooze compared to this. Where’s Robert Parker going, this stuff has notes of bilge water and iodine, and NOT IN A GOOD WAY?!?

      Huh? I ask you.

      Now I feel like it will be a matter of minutes until the readership provides me with just such a link. or something.

  • dinazad says:

    MdM is gorgeous to me, heat and herbs and cool respite in a shady place (could possibly be a church). No mildew. No goth. I wear it in summer, it makes me feel tanned (HA! I never tan. Must have vampire blood somewhere) and relaxed, as if I had a month of vacation before me.

    I have a soft spot for Villoresi’s Incensi: incense of all kinds, including headshop stuff, Japanese floral incense, joss sticks and the entire scale of little bags of incense called “Gloria”, “Angelus”, “Three Kings”, “Ecclesiastica” etc. etc. you get in the shops just beside any largish church which gets a lot of pilgrim traffic due to some miraculous madonna or saint. It (Incensi, not the little bags) was the first incense scent which really registered as such. And I haven’t looked back since.

    But Passage d’Enfer? Can’t smell that. Well maybe a little whiff which says: something here smells, but before you can be sure it has disappeared. I can’t believe there’s incense in that!

    As for the biehl: haven’t smelled that and don’t intend to. The name is so highfalutin’ and pretentious that it puts me off entirely. The Warhol sounds much more interesting anyway!

    • March says:

      I think the PdE is one of those anosmia specials? It is relatively strong to/on me (for what it is) but I have been out with any number of people who go … nope, can’t smell it. not sure what that’s about.

      Your cool respite in a shady place is an excellent description.

      • March says:

        PS I should retry Incensi, since you’re recommending it. I think I tried a bunch of the LVs early on, and I wasn’t up for it. In fact … I may have that stashed up there somewhere… 😕

        • dinazad says:

          Frankly, after a few years of being a perfume junkie, I don’t find Incensi nearly as much of the incense overkill I felt when I first smelled it. Quite nice, but not earth-shaking. Still, it opened a world for me back then, so I’m happy to have some of it around. I’m a sentimental and loyal girl, I am….

  • Catherine says:

    Too funny! I see that the story is a common one–MdM was part of my first purchase from Fripperies. The scent, however, would never settle on my skin. Sometimes, it would be gorgeous–all about light pouring through windows. Other times, it would disappear. Then, about the fourth or fifth time I tried it, it just turned moldy. I never put it on again. I couldn’t.

    • March says:

      Every now and again (leaning in to whisper) MdeM goes a little crypt-keeper even for me. But I can usually throw something on there to work things out. I think the Marina Special is Yatagan? Heh heh. Think about THAT. Generally though I use Passage d’Enfer, that seems to get me back out of the grave.

  • Patty says:

    Yeah, I think MB phoned it in on 03. It’s nice, but he’s done that before and better. There are a couple of other Biehls I like pretty well, but the naming/numbering has hurt them. I hope they all pay attention in the future and NEVER do that again, it’s annoying.

    MdM, the first time I wore it — magic. Every time between now and then, like I pulled my clothes out of the washer wthout drying them, and they’d been in there for four days.

    Okay, I NEED some of the incense rose!

    • March says:

      Babe, do I need to send you my atomizer? I’m not sure it’s the ultimate version, I got it awhile ago (didn’t you get one? I swear I thought you got a set too.)

      I’ll always treasure our bonding experience over MdM.:)>-

  • Vida says:

    MdM reminds me of being a little girl in church, and sneaking in one of those chocolate oranges, you know,the one that’s shaped like an orange, and comes apart in slices? All that incense and chocolate and orange all at once. Not a drop of mustiness on me! Wow!

    • Vida says:

      (oops, the gourmand note I’m detecting is actually the lingering remains of L’aromarine Vanille that I wore to bed last night…What a nice layering!)

      • March says:

        Okay, you win for the first laff of the day. Occupational hazard of perfume addiction. I’ll sniff something, think, whoa! what is THAT extra note? And realize it’s a completely different scent. Some of my best layering combos have been mistakes like that.;)

  • Anne says:

    I stopped reading the post when I came to the spicy roses part so I could retry MdM and search for them. Can’t find the roses anywhere but the mold comes and goes and I remain fascinated by MdM, don’t find it wearable but I spritz sometimes just to be amazed. I am so so about Silver Factory but I just don’t find it incense-y, too fizzy to fit into how my brain/nose defines incense. Must expand my brain/nose horizons so I will keep going back.


    • March says:

      “Fizzy” is a good descriptor of the Warhol. And going back is always worthwhile, I am amazed over time how my feelings have changed about a particular scent.

  • rosarita says:

    I, too, have a soft spot for MdM; it was my first decant purchase from the Frip. I don’t get mold or crypt from MdM, just coolness w/a hint of spice. It was nice and chilly in the summer when I bought it, and reminds me a bit of YSL Nu without the orchids. I have a small decant of Silver Factory and have received more compliments on it than anything else I’ve worn lately, love it! I find it very fun to wear, and it makes me happy to smell it. I’m with Louise about eagerly anticipating AT’s Incense Rose, which sounds right up my street, and of course I want to smell the IE as well. So the *need to smell* list continues to grow…

    • March says:

      YSL Nu!!! Where the heck is my bottle! I probably put it away because it’s so ugly, I should totally dig that out and wear it today. TAlk about a completely overlooked scent.

      Yeah, I can see getting compliments on the Silver Factory. IT’s got that accessible vibe, and I don’t mean that in a snotty way.

      BTW the Incense Rose smelled amazing on Louise, we tried it on her yesterday. I see a bottle in her future.

  • Elle says:

    I quite like MdM, but I’m w/ your SIL…where the hell’s the Goth? The mildew? The dark cathedral? It’s a lovely, sweet incense scent on my skin, but dark it is not. I ordered three samples of this before I was finally convinced it was just my skin chemistry and not mislabeled samples. On DH the mildew actually does make a showing, but since he refuses to wear it, I can’t enjoy it that way.
    I adore so much of what Mark Buxton has done that I had *extremely* high hopes for the Biehl. Big mistake. I’ve been imagining that he took the fact that he’d be number three and decided that was the number of hours he’d put into creating it. OK, maybe three (slow, lazy)days. It’s a nice enough scent, but doesn’t strike me as being inspired. At all. All those numbers for the Biehl scents make my eyes sort of glaze over and give me the impression of rather characterless, factory style products. Have tried multiple scents from that line and none are making me jump up and buy a full bottle or even a decant. Not bad scents, just not wonderfully original or having that certain spark of magic.
    Oh, but speaking of factory – Silver Factory is brilliant. Am w/ you in still feeling the love for it.

    • March says:

      And ANOTHER person who says, where’s the goth!!! See, it’s all that brainwashing stuff that happens before we smell it. And I sort of see your point on the Mark Buxton. If that’s the only incense scent you’d ever smelled, it would be pretty nice. But compared to the others … plus what he did at CdG (didn’t he do White and 2 Man?) it’s a little tame. Which doesn’t even bother me that much but man it is short-lived. I was more irritated by the mass release. Who could dig anything out of that? And I remember thinking the $150 price point was stretching it. What a difference time makes.

  • MattS says:

    Well, March, you know how much I love the Silver Factory stuff. Quite possibly my favorite purchase of the last year. Like Louise’s son, it may just bloom on my skin because I get compliments on it all the time, from individuals who generally wouldn’t even notice.

    Still waiting for my sample of the Biehl, but it is a line I’ve paid no attention to simply because their names aren’t remotely intriguing. Also stoked about a sample of Josef Stakus, which people seem to rave about. Everyone also seems to love Passage d’Enfer, but do you think it might be a little mild for my taste? You know I don’t always do subtle.

    And Messe de Minuit. Jesus, I love it. I don’t really get the mildew note that everyone seems to hate and honestly I wouldn’t mind getting some of that out of it. If I layer it with CBMusk, then sometimes the moldy aspect is amplified and it’s straight-up catacombs and I love it. Otherwise, it’s very luminous on me, sunlight through a stained glass window, rather than a dank cathedral cellar.

    • March says:

      Dude! I am stoked for you too! Only here is the thing, I am wondering whether we need to come to your quiet burg and stage a Perfume Intervention. Because you are getting into the hardcore stuff pretty quick, there, my young friend. Layering your CB Musk with your MdM. If you keep that naughty stuff up, you may find yourself scaring people on Main Street. Do you need to maybe do a little Detox with some Kenzo Air or something?;) That Issey thing that smells, essentially, like water, only with less smell?

      Passage is a trickster. I think the sillage (say Passage sillage three times fast) is pretty extraordinary. You could always layer it with the musk.

      • MattS says:

        Heheheh…I like to rock it hardcore. >:) I love layering CBMusk with MdM or Avignon or any really churchy incense to get that whole pagan-dragged-into-a-church-by-outraged-priests-kinda vibe. Doesn’t everyone do that? Light, clean subtle scents? I wouldn’t even waste my time drinking them. When I’m feeling really naughty, there’s always MKK with CBMusk to turn the skank dial to eleven. And I haven’t even really begun to experiment with that Arabian Oud Black Musk yet…good Lord, the villagers may stone me yet…

  • Lee says:

    I bought a bottle of MdM once, after convincing myself I liked it in the store and was ready for the challenge. I wasn’t. I got it home, sprayed again, and was reminded of how the strange dark cupboard under the basement stairs smells. It gets very little air and has a deadbolt across it. I tell visitng children that the Gruffalo lives in there and he’s a little too frisky to let out in their company.

    Suffice it to say, to my nose it’s only mould and mildew now. It makes me shudder.

  • Maria says:

    Hi, so I’m sitting here with black hair. I acquired this color accidentally this afternoon. I meant for it to be brown. I have never before had such dark hair contrasting against my fair skin. (Because of the Galician past, Lee, absolutely.) My DH thinks my hairdresser may be insane, but he sees some promise in my adopting the Goth look.

    Okay, enough about my accidental hair. I never smelled the dampness in MdM until I read a lot about it on the blogs. Now I can’t help smelling damp crypt. I still like it though.

    I agree with you about the silliness of the biel.thingamabob.withnumbers nomenclature. Who the hell can remember that? Still, I like the incense. It’s a nice one though it’s not going to rock my world after Avignon.

    Silver Factor is just pleasant and okay. However, Bond as a company is neither. So I’m boycotting them henceforth. And I look scary enough to make them take me seriously. Call me Morticia.

    • Maria says:

      Actually, a colleague who saw me tonight suggested Snow White.

      And I meant Silver Factory, natch, though when I typed this the first time it came out Slivery Factor, which may be better.

    • March says:

      Snow White! Or Morticia? Which one feels more right? Did you go with raccoon eyes and crucifix this a.m.? Hmmmmm….

      are you talking about the Scent of Peace thing? I’m so out of the loop I didn’t even know about that until yesterday. I think it makes Bond look bad (let’s hope they don’t do a frag with the word Love in it) but Bond doesn’t care, really, so far as I can tell.

      That’s okay, I typed Montale Sandalsilver the first 20 times before I read it correctly. And I agree that Avignon raises the incense bar pretty high.

      • Maria says:

        Unfortunately, Snow White feels more me. I’m still in my jammies, but will at least wear my bat earrings this evening.

        Bond didn’t just act as if it could own the name “Peace.” They also think they own “Riverside” because of “Riverside Drive”–as if that street in New York (where I lived for a couple of years) were the only place that could be described as being on a riverside. The Hudson is the only river, you know.

        • March says:

          Your comment makes me think of that famous New Yorker cartoon where Manhattan is shown as this giant continent, and the rest of the U.S. is sort of appended on there as this smaller blob. I think the Hamptons are on there, but not much else.

  • Louise says:

    I have a certain tenderness for MdM as well, though I didn’t discover a treasure such as Patty. But about 3 years ago I tried MdM, and found my way to niche perfume. So-my gateway. And I don’t get the mildew, or my Oregonian nose just finds that a normal background odor. This morning it’s a bit sweet, a little vanillic (sp?) and just perfect.

    Silver Factory was just OK on me, fairly flat, even sprayed-not-dabbed as many have suggested. But, oy! On my son it bloomed up and filled the room. His skin sweetened the brew beautifully. So-he finished off my sample, and I’ll likely need a decant for him.

    The Biehl, once I could sort out the numbering, was also a bit meh. What I can’t wait for now is the Tauers…I think I may really like the Rose Incense’ :d

    • Maria says:

      Louise, you’ll like the Tauers, I predict.

      • March says:

        She snurfled it yesterday with me! BTW we made the man next to us in Starbucks gag. What, they don’t want to smell the Tauers and Dior Collection PArticulare at 9 am? Sigh. We need a more well-ventilated spot to meet.

    • March says:

      Oregon — normal background odor, I agree./:)

      Yeah, babe, you need the Rose. I think they’re releasing any day now.

      If the biehl was that light on me, I’d have expected almost nothing happening on you.

      • Louise says:

        Yah saying moldy is the normal background odor of Oregoniennes as well?>:p

      • Vasily says:

        I think the AT incense frags are available on January 23rd.

        • March says:


          • Louise says:

            I checked with Andy-the Extreme is due out the 23rd, the Rose at the end of March. I hate to wait :((

          • Vasily says:

            Bummer. I’m still looking for a rose frag that will work on me without making me smell like my grandmother. Oh well, the 23d is soon enough & that will tide us over until March … BTW, Andy’s blog says he’s also working on a rose chypre thing … and I hope he brings back his L’eau d’Epices which I was privileged to try and which I liked very much …

          • March says:

            I think men really “man” up rose frags. That being said … have you tried the Rosine Twill Rose? Or my fave, Rose de Homme or Pour Homme or whatever it’s called?

            Or you could go the skanky route, what about SL Rose de Nuit, or TDC Rose Poivre? Apologies if I spelled those wrong, I am tired and my French is nonexistent.

          • Vasily says:

            Rose notes do something strange on my skin, and end up smelling rather chemical after a while. Might be the ones I’ve tried, or just my skin chemistry. Haven’t given up on finding my perfect manly rose, though, so thanx for the recommendations. 😉

  • Gina says:

    I love MdM, I love the dirty, mildewy, old churchy-ness…I have to admit, I do prefer my incense on the darker side, like MdM. I don’t wear MdM much, which I might have to remedy. I actually wear Shaal Nur more. I like Silver Factory, but it’s a little too lighthearted for me. And I haven’t yet tried the Biehl. I LMAO at the “Very Dirty Word” part of your post, yes, I have made that mistake. I think I asked for a sample when I pre-ordered Andy Tauer’s incense (I really can’t wait to try that!). And I’m having a slight moment of panic right now wondering if I actually made the “Very Bad Word” mistake when I asked for the sample. Crap. Ha. oh well.

    • March says:

      Hunny, they have *got* to be used to non-German-speakers typing it that way by now. Also, it’s hard to even see the mistake, IMHO. Don’t sweat it. Probably makes ’em laugh.

      Darker incense, yummy. I have what I think was still a mod of the Tauers, so I am looking forward to the final version.

  • Cathy says:

    I’m a newbie, and not having tried any incense based scents at all, had no feeling about it one way or another. Then I tried a sample of Any Tauer’s Incense Extreme, and got quite the rush. It’s the first time a perfume has taken me back to an old, old memory. I was back in muggy Atlanta as a child, playing in some ancient brick house’s basement, smelling the mildew and dankness of the “cellar”. So this is incense, I thought. Hmmmm…not like I supposed incense should smell. And then I read the description of EMM with the same mildewy smell. But AT’s Incense Extreme has neither patchouli nor myrrh as far as I know, only frankincense, so don’t know if a connection can be made. I find the mildew note intriguing, and can see myself buying a bottle of IE just for the experience of the mildew (although the drydown is exquisite, sans mildew.) I’m also vowing to treat myself to many more incense samples.

    Thanks for expanding my world!

    • March says:

      We were just playing in the Tauers yesterday! I think my playmate and I have decided we like the Incense Rose better, but the Extreme is mighty fine. It smells very Andy Tauer to me.

      I didn’t recall a mildew note, but having read your lovely description I’ll go look for it.

  • Kim says:

    I concur with Anthony – I am more attracted to “incense in it” rather than as the star factor. Messe de Minuet is totally mildew on me – a real scrubber! This week’s club all seemed very masculine on my skin and while it was interesting to sniff them, I wouldn’t buy any of them. I love the Armani line but sometimes they are a too masculine/austere for me.

    I prefer Lutens La Myrrhe and Chanel 22, both of which have a very strong incense note on my skin. Also, love the Guerlain L’Art et la Matiere (thanks March for the hint to try them) which all seem to have incense in there on my skin, especially Bois d’Armenie and Angelique Noire. Gorgeous 😡

    • March says:

      As much as I love incense as a smell (and I didn’t grow up with it having some religious connotation for me), frankly it took me awhile to decide that I’d want to *wear* some of those things.

      Even now I tend to be more careful where I wear them; along with the muskiest musks, I get the weirdest looks from strangers when I’m wearing some giant incense.

      Well, there’s your 22 right there for next time! And I so wish I got what you all get from Armenie, I have decided I must be anosmic to some significant part of the scent.

      • March says:

        Okay, and I used up my daily allotment of “some” right there in my response to you. Lord. I extinguish one annoying word (“actually”) and something pops up in its place. It’s like crabgrass. Or playing Whack-a-Mole.

  • Tigs says:

    I am just not getting the Silver Factory love – but I dabbing pathetic little dribs on, and I understand I must spray. I will try again. Really. (I am getting depressed by my disconnect lately. You and I must be the only ones in the known universe with our skirts firmly down around our knees about that Amouage Jubilation for Men thingie.)

    • March says:

      You Must Spray. Do you have an atomizer you can dump it into?

      Yeah, join me on the naughty spot on that Jubilation. Even the women’s, lovely though it is, is basically Nine Tons of Cumin and a Dab of Dior. I can get that from Rochas Femme for like $12 online.

      Are you taking new medications? They can affect smell. Or do you need a whole new outlook?

  • Anthony says:

    LOL! I can always count on this page to offer great info about fragrances as well as make me laugh out loud (the dirty word part LOL!!!)… The first incense fragrance I’d ever smelled was the Bond, and it really impressed me… it, to me, was a rich incense, and I really appreciated that… it wasn’t austere and too peppery. And I’m so glad to hear that Messe de Minuit smelled rosy on someone else because I sniffed it at Aedes, and maybe it’s because I had about 8 other fragrances on my arms, but I thought it reminded me of incense with rose water, and I’m a guy! Hmmm… I want to give it another try without anything else confusing the situation. I’m still trying to find “the one” incense but I’m still more attracted to fragrances “with incense in it” like Pomegranate Noir and Tom Ford’s Amber Absolute. Thanks for the great post 🙂

    • March says:

      Apparently that is The Same Dirty Word in German. We tend to misspell it while typing and get corrected by giggling German-speakers.

      Hey, glad to hear the MdM thing has happened to someone else! I told Louise yesterday, it smells like a high-end version of L’Occitane’s 4 Roses thing (or whatever it’s called) on my SIL, which fascinates me.

      There are a lot of great fragrances with incense in them — please do try Chanel 22 for next month (seriously), the drydown of the EdT has gorgeous incense, I would love to smell that on a man.

      • March says:

        PS – and if you haven’t, please consider trying L’Artisan’s Passage d’Enfer as “the one incense.” It’s niche-y rather than churchy. Luminous. Lovely. My incense gateway drug.

        • Anthony says:

          I totally will try it! By the way a good friend made me realize (I haven’t worn it since my nose was introduced to pure incense fragrances) that I DO own an incense… Comme des Garcons 2 MAN!! Would you consider that incense heavy? Can I calm my fragrance nerves and tell myself I do own an incense fragrance? Maybe?

  • tmp00 says:

    another one that I haven’t smelled- MdeM. Gotta fix that..

    • March says:

      Tom, MdeM is definitely a burrito of weirdness. You like burritos (and weirdness), I could see you liking it. I don’t think you’ll be bored, anyway.