Incense (but no peppermints)

By Ann

 Hope you guys don’t mind, but it seems of late I’ve been on one-note kicks (see last week’s rainy-day ambers post). This week, I’m on to incense-based fragrances. There really is something so peaceful and meditative about them, don’t you think?

 I’ve wandered around all weekend with a variety of scents wafting up and down my arms.  Let’s see: Armani Prive Bois d’Encens (one of my faves); CdG’s Avignon; By Kilian’s Incense Oud; Memoire Liquide’s Encens; Cartier L’Heure 12 (Le Mysterieuse), YSL’s Nu, and Le Labo’s Vanille 44 (I know, lots of vanilla, but enough incense on my skin to count). I’ve tried the others in the CdG Incense series and like them but didn’t feel like getting samples of them again to try, as Avignon was floating my boat just fine.

  I know I need to try Norma Kamali’s Incense, Matthew Williamson’s and others, so I’d love to hear from you about your favorites.

  • killerrabbit says:

    I am a bit late to the incense party here but I have just acquired a small fb of Byredo Chembur and it is a beautiful gorgeous evocative scent. I’m not sure why it doesn’t get much love in the blogosphere.

    • Ann says:

      Thanks for stopping by! I, too, love Chember, and also their Gypsy Water. I’d bathe in them if I could …

  • Tara C says:

    Major incense fiend here – I think the only one I really love that hasnt been mentioned yet is Biehl Parfumkunstwerke MB02. I also love the dearly departed Antoine et Lili Holy Champa. Both were done by Mark Buxton, a great incense perfumer. I am also hoarding a bottle of Matthew Williamson Incense (the original, good one).

  • Gina says:

    Also, the original (black cap) Armani Mania. It has a dry elegance that I really like.

  • Gina says:

    Josef Statkus – seriously beautiful stuff. Incense and library books. Incense is, by far, one of my favorite notes in perfumery. More favorites of mine – Passage D’enfer, Shaal Nur,Incense Rose by Andy Tauer…damn, there’s so many. Sometimes I think there is no exactly perfect one – I’m still searching. But the Statkus comes close.

    • Ann says:

      Hi, Gina. Think you’re the first one to mention the Statkus on here. I’ve heard of it, but only just. But you’ve made me want to try it.

      • Gina says:

        Please let me know what you think. I’ve gotten so many compliments on it, a lovely, complicated scent.

    • Gina says:

      I have a bottle of the Statkus, also; it’s been one of my faves for a couple of years. Glad to see some love for it.

  • hongkongmom says:

    nobody mentioned tumulte pour homme, christian lacroix….one of my favs!!!

  • Jennifer says:

    What! Nobody has mentioned Barbara Bui yet?
    I like Hiroko Koshino (coconut& incense)and the original Armani
    Mania for softer incenses.
    Avignon and Nu edp are great too .
    I’m wearing vintage Opium edt today which has incense in there amongst a whole lotta spices!

    • Ann says:

      Oh, man, Jennifer, can’t believe I forgot the Barbara Bui! And that one is just so nice and wearable, too. Thanks! Glad to see you rockin’ the Opium as well …

  • Musette says:

    Hi, doll!

    I’ve been reading these comments and realize that nearly NONE of these ring my bell. Not even Pasage d’Enfer, which I like a lot (but don’t love)….I’m a very limited incense lover, I fear. :((
    xo >-)

  • Aparatchick says:

    I love incense – it’s one of my favorite notes and I wear several incense-prominent perfumes year-round. PdE Wazamba is particularly good for year-round wear, but I also like several Tauers (Incense Rose – one of the only roses that works for me – and L’air du Desert Marocain), CdG Zagorsk, SSS Incense Pure, Crazy Libellule Encens Mystic (sadly, sadly discontinued), Demeter Holy Smoke, and Ava Luxe Incense. I love the smell of Avignon, but not to wear.

    • Ann says:

      Hi, so glad you mentioned the Crazy Libellule (I always read that as Lilybelle for some reason) incense — was that a stick or am I thinking of something else? Too bad it’s gone though. I plan to try the Demeter and the Ava Luxe soon, so thanks …

  • Jayne58 says:

    Don’t forget Passage D’Enfer! I’ve gone somewhat off the heavy duty incenses, like PDE and Avignon, there is something in them that makes me feel queasy. I can handle a mild dose, as in the Amouages, but I’ve found something rather pretty, with light incense that I can bear – Miller Harris Fleur Oriental.

    When I want real incense smell, that’s exactly what I turn to. There is a wonderful shop near my house that sells resins and weird pastilles of aud and other mysterious stuff for burning over charcoal blocks.

    • Ann says:

      I can see that in the wrong circumstances, a heavy incense could be unsettling. Thanks for mentioning Passage d’Enfer. I think I must’ve gotten a bad sample of it long ago, ’cause it just smelled out and out weird. Will give it another shot. That shop sounds very cool …

  • Gwenyth says:

    When I first discovered the online world of Perfumistas I read voraciously and had many new discoveries. I had never experienced incense, other than what I considered “weird incense” during my teen years in the ’70s.
    While visiting newly found sites and a great forum or two, I began my journey of perfume sampling and collecting. I kept reading about “church incense” and had no idea what that meant. I sampled and sampled and eventually I found out that I adore incense notes!

    Many of my favorites have already been listed: Etro Shaal Nur, Donna Karan Chaos and Black Cashmere, CdG Kyoto, Annick Goutal Encens Flamboyant, YSL Nu, and SonomaScentStudios Incense Pure(!)

    Subtle incense (in the background) is also very nice — I find the note and enjoy it very much in Chanel No. 22,and in Caron Parfum Sacré.

    • Ann says:

      Gwenyth, isn’t it just amazing, once you fall down the perfume rabbit hole, to find out how much great stuff is out there? A few years ago I never would have imagined it. Thanks for mentioning Parfum Sacre, too; that one is oh-so-nice.

  • Julie says:

    Incense often gives me headaches, in real life or in fragrances so I don’t wear it often. The only one I have is Pacifica Tibetan Mountain Temple. Very nice and very cheap!

  • Lisa D says:

    dinazad, I wholeheartedly agree with you – Messe de Minuit is pure bliss. It must be incense weather, because I’ve been wearing MdM for the last three days. I don’t get the mildew, or the chilly mustiness – on my skin it smells full on gorgeous (hopefully that’s not just to my nose, and I’m not walking smelling to others like a well preserved zombie just out of the crypt).

    Other incense favorites are Serge Noire (another polarizer) and L’Air du Desert Marocain (which I think most of us agree is. simply. fabulous.)

    • Ann says:

      Ah, Lisa, another MdM fan! I’m sure you smell amazing in it. I like the LADDM, but the Serge Noire had a little too much cumin (I think) for my skin.

  • dinazad says:

    Thirding or fourthing Tauer Incense extreme and Incense rose. Also L’Air du Desert Marocain. Czech&Speake Frankincense and Myrrh. DK Black Cashmere. Annayake Miyako. Etro Messe de Minuit (*blissful sigh*). Annick Goutal Encens Flamboyant. Sonoma Scent Studios Winter Woods. All of them soooo beautiful (and I’m sure I forgot some)! Can you tell I love incense?

  • ElizabethW says:

    I have a few of the ones already mentioned. I hardly ever see Flower by Kenzo Oriental mentioned–I do wear it often, and wonder why no love for this one. I tried Sonoma Scent Studio Incense Pure, but it was too intense for me.

    • Ann says:

      I think at one point I got a little confused about the different Kenzos, and since the brand wasn’t readily available to try where I live, I kinda gave up on them. But on your rec, I’ll happily investigate the Flower. Thanks …

      • ElizabethW says:

        Their naming system is confusing. There is Kenzo Flower and Kenzo Flower Oriental (the one with the incense) but they stick “by Kenzo” in the middle of the name!

        I forgot to mention Timbuktu as a favorite incense frag.

  • Eldarwen 22 says:

    I’m not sure that I’ve had a lot of experience with incense in perfume. I remember trying Andy Tauer’s Incense Rose and not liking it very much. At the time, I didn’t know why I didn’t really care for it but know I know why. It’s a very dry perfume. I’ve sampled the Amouage line somewhat extensively and have become somewhat familiar with frankencense.

    • Ann says:

      You know, that one didn’t thrill me either (think it was the rose component — not my best note) though I love Tauer on the whole. Glad you’re liking the frankincense in Amouage, at least.

  • FragrantWitch says:

    Hey lady!
    You are a lucky soul to have some Nu- I drained a bottle years ago and really should have bought another and guarded it zealously ( and then shared the love, of course) . I literally squealed when I saw the rerelease in Boots the other week and then nearly cried when I realised it was the metallic-y floral EDT they rerelease. Helloooo? Didn’t anyone smell the 2 side by side? Sheesh.
    Anyway, I would second Black Cashmere, Neil Morris Cathedral, Avignon (of course), Costume National Homme (I don’t see incense listed in the notes but it feels in incense-y. See Kevin’s excellent review at NST and Holy Smoke. And as I mentioned above Om if I could find some! Must do more incense sniffing so I am making a list…

    • Ann says:

      Hi, M! I didn’t think about Black Cashmere, but it does feel pretty incense-y, doesn’t it? Yum. Gotta try the others you mentioned as well, especially the Cathedral. And don’t fret about the Nu, it’ll be coming around again :)

  • Aubrey says:

    Two other ideas: IUNX Eau Sento (best. thing. ever.) = dry driftwood, stone, incense. Lovely and very dry.

    Wode by Boadicca, which is a incense + a lot of stone. Also very dry.

    For reference, I also really like Kyoto, Palisander and Jaisalmer from CdG. But none of those replace Eau Sento.

    • Ann says:

      Oooh, those sound very cool — not familiar with those at all, except for the CdGs. I’m thinking that dry Sento will be right up my alley. Thanks …

  • Olfacta says:

    I wore Nu EDP (the one that comes in the silver-hockey-puck bottle) yesterday. It got me several compliments, guess I should stop hoarding it.

    • Ann says:

      Howdy! I’m enjoying the Nu as well (its floralcy makes it a bit more versatile, I think, than a straight-ahead, no-holds-barred incense). And I adore that bottle. Glad you’re liking it — wear it often and enjoy it. I need to ease up on my hoarding tendencies too. :)

  • pam says:

    I love incense, too, but I have to be in the mood. YSL Nu is definitely my favorite. Am enjoying Bois d’Encens (thanks, Ann). Another one I have tried is Gucci pour Homme. It’s in that black and white checkered box. Am saying that because it seems all the Gucci stuff is called “Gucci” and then turns out to be a different frag.

    • Ann says:

      Great to hear from you, Pam. Hope you’re doing well. Thanks for the heads-up on the Gucci (and the tip on the box, as it does get highly confusing).

  • rosarita says:

    Incense & Peppermints – was that Strawberry Alarm Clock? I think it was. And now I have an earworm. :)

    I love incense scents and many of my favorites have already been mentioned. I have to thank you, Ann, for commenting on YSL Nu last week. I dug out my bottle and have been greatly enjoying it! A few others that I don’t think have been mentioned: Donna Karan Black Cashmere, Parfums d’Empire Wazamba, Obsession, Parfums de Nicolai Vanille Tonka, Bond 9 Silver Factory, SL Encens et Lavande. Aren’t decants the best? I love having a big variety. Oh, and I have a decant of Lorenzo Villoresi Incensi that is too dry even for me, but layers well.

    • Ann says:

      Hey, lady! Sorry for the earworm, but I’ve had it, too, since I wrote this post and I’ve kind of liked it. And you’re right: Strawberry Alarm Clock, it was. Good ear/memory! Glad you’re enjoying your Nu again — me, too. I need to try several of those you mentioned. Thanks!

  • Francesca says:

    Avignon for me, too!
    And in no particular order, Kyoto, Hinoki, Annayake Miyako, and Bois d’Armenie. Of which I definitely have to get some more.

    • Ann says:

      Hi, Francesca, nice to hear from you. I’ve rediscovered Avignon in my quest to find something similar to my beloved Bois d’Encens, which is getting harder and harder to find. I’ve tried the Kyoto and Bois d’Armenie, but am not familiar with the others, so will definitely look into those. Thanks!

  • pyramus says:

    Demeter Incense is lovely, very soft.

    Oh, and Bond No. 9 Andy Warhol Silver Factory. I was obsessed with it for a while, and I’m not even really an incense person.

    Also, Gap Om, if you can find it; that was quite a while ago.

    • Ann says:

      I, too, was a big fan of the Bond, and I even had the candle, but something happened and I couldn’t bear to smell it burning so it had to go to a new home. Wish I could still love it, though. But will look around for the others you mentioned; thanks.

    • FragrantWitch says:

      Oh, I adored Om and would love to find some! Have you found yours recently?

      • Ann says:

        Hey, sweetie — I see a good bit listed on eBay. Not sure about eBay UK though. It’s worth a look …

  • Moochebo says:

    I can’t seem to get enough incense lately. My everyday, easy to wear incense is Cardinal by Healey. After that Tauer Incense Rose or Incense Extreme. Love it.

    • Ann says:

      Those do sound lovely — got to get on the sampling train for those. Can’t believe I haven’t tried those Tauers …

  • Brian says:

    SL Fille en Aiguilles!!(!!!!!!!!!!!!)(!!!!!)
    Montale Full Incense
    Kerosene Copper Skies

    • Ann says:

      Hey, Brian, thanks for stopping by. I like the Serge as well but haven’t tried the others, and hadn’t heard of the Copper Skies.

  • Joanna says:

    Frankincense – Myrrh – Rose Maroc by Regina Harris, Cathedral and Taj by Neil Morris, DSH Cardamom and Khyphi, CdG Kyoto, Ava Luxe Incense Noir, Tauer Perfumes Incense Rose, Christian Dior Mitzah, Guerlain Shalimar, Etro Shaal Nur & Messe de Minuit, Demeter Holy Water…
    I have a huge assortment of incense perfume samples, and I wear them frequently but for some reason I haven’t invested in many FBs. Maybe because I have so many samples? Not sure. I do have a FB of Etro Shaal Nur and I’ve worn it quite a bit this winter. It’s probably my favorite from my incense collection.

    • Ann says:

      Hi, Joanna. Wow! You do have quite the collection. I haven’t tried any of those you mentioned, save for the Kyoto, Mitzah and Shaal Nur (need to revisit that one in my sample box). I know what you mean about the samples — with so many to choose from, a FB might be hard to pin down.

      • Ann says:

        P.S. Joanna, I put Mitzah on this morning, after not really caring for it when it debuted, and find I am really enjoying it.

        • Joanna says:

          I think Mitzah is gorgeous. It’s on that never ending FB list. I love how the amber,(I’m surprised I didn’t add it to my list from last week’s amber discussion.) is bright but not heavy like most ambers. I get a lot of incense, vanilla and honey and with that airy amber shining through it’s just really beautiful.