Oliban by Keiko Mecheri 2004

Hello Niche Nerds,

Keiko Mecheri houses her fragrances in fabulous bottles. I love the whole enjoyment of holding them in my hand and spritzing, it adds luster to a house that for some reason I feel close to. In my collection I have the fabulous old Loukhoum bottle

Loukhoum Keiko Mecheri LuckyScentPhoto Stolen LuckyScent

  and Jour d’Ete, which was my first salty coconut and jasmine fragrance, one of my all time favourite mixtures. Keiko Mecheri is one of the houses like Guerlain and Patricia de Nicolai that I have often felt as if they are made with me in mind, even though not all the fragrances work on or for me. I just like the houses aesthetic.

Oliban by Keiko Mecheri 2004

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPhoto Stolen Libertine Parfumerie

Fragrsntica gives these featured accords in one line:
Virginia cedar, incense, olibanum, (blonde) tobacco, (Damascene) rose, palisander rosewood, tonka bean, ambergris

Sweet, jammy rose and woods surrounded by lovely incense. It all smells like a VERY expensive hotel foyer. Loads of woods and beeswax shine, I get a hint of leather too and the tobacco/honey accord is beautiful. Oliban opens so well and with such a heady religious air that I swoon every time.

While wearing and writing this article I chatted to a mate on Facebook at Australian Fragrance Network and during her ride she noticed tea, specifically the spicy Indian cooked black tea with milk and spices called chai. Now through the incense and woods, the honey and leather I get a distinct memory/feeling of chai. It’s like sitting up in Mcleodganj in the Indian Himalayas where the Dalai Lama is in exile. Sitting and watching the prayer flags fluttering outside while in a wooden tea house. The whole mountain top smells of incense and most of the tea shop/restaurants used to smell of wood, cigarettes and beeswax. Progress has smartened them up though and they are much more Westerner friendly nowadays than they were. Still some of the accommodation on the top of the hill has the old wooden beeswax smell, it’s fabulous. Taeko, my friend didn’t get the frankincense till a couple of hours in on her skin but I get it from the very first spritz, it’s warm scratchy resinous scent fueling the whole fragrance for me. Interesting how different people get dissimilar rides, even in the same temp zone.

oliban keiko mecheri  Prayer Flags Shawn Allen FlickrPhoto Stolen Flickr

From I Smell Therefore I Am (sometimes someone else gets it so right, in this case Abigail): It’s a fabulously well crafted incense fragrance with gorgeous whiffs of blond tobacco, woods, rose and honey. The initial burst of incense and cedar are refreshingly spiritual (don’t most incense frags seem rather churchy to you?). Oliban, especially at the start, seems soothing, calming, centering and cleansing. When I feel harried, rattled or just tired, Oliban serves as a meditative pick me up.

Oliban Keiko Mecheri Buddha Teaching Wonderlane  FlickrPhoto Stolen Flickr

If you are after an incense bomb then please look elsewhere. Oliban is incense, with a lovely softening rose accord and a warm honey/tobacco accord that also stop the incense and woods from being too hefty and unfeminine, anyone can and should wear Oliban. It will never be so loud as to override your own skins fragrance but will work harmoniously with it and create a patina of scent that could be worn anywhere and will be particularly good for very up close and intimate encounters. Soft enough for work, different enough to set you apart from the crowd. I think it is a tad too soft for it to be a fb in my collection; too tasteful, sophisticated and too suavely elegant to really fit with my bigness. I could buy this for almost any of my friends though and know that they would be incredibly happy with my choice for them, and that it could be a signature for quite a few of them too.

Further reading: Katie Puckrik Smells and I Smell Therefore I Am
Libertine Parfumerie has $195/75ml including Australian postage
First In Fragrance has €145/75ml and €5/4ml Samples

Oliban is worth a try.

Portia xx



16 thoughts on “Oliban by Keiko Mecheri 2004

  1. Oh, how I envy you about the old Loukhoum bottle…!
    Oliban is one of the lightest and safest incense I sniffed. Pitty, my sample is finished and I can only smell the drydown and the memories of it…


  2. This sounds just lovely. One of the few things I liked about my Catholic upbringing was the clouds of incense at Mass and sitting in the pews, eyes closed, inhaling the olibanum and myrrh. My mum used to help clean our church and I loved going along and helping – I can still see my small hand clutching the yellow duster and rubbing in the orange beeswax polish from the big round tin. At Mass, when I knelt down on the cushions I felt enveloped in the woody/honey smell. Most incense perfumes don’t bring that back for me but this sounds like it might with the evocative way you have described it. I’m adding it to my To Try List. Thanks Portia!


    • Hey SallyM,
      WOW! Mum helped clean the church. Our Mum sometimes did the flowers for the Church when we were kids. I think all the Mums had to at the school. It’s a wonderful smell, incense and guilt.
      Portia xx


  3. I have one bottle and a couple of samples from Keiko Mecheri line and I have a good feeling about the brand but no direct access. So with the sheer amount of the offerings in the line I give up. If I’m in NY (or other places that carry it) I’ll give it a try but otherwise…


    • Yes Undina,
      I can completely hear you. It is an overwhelming line and I just don’t understand how that can work in a frag houses favour. There are a couple of other crews like that, Montale springs to mind.
      Portia xx


  4. Mmmmm…incense. I think I might have a sample of this that I haven’t tried yet. I need to dig it out now. A girl can never have too much incense.


  5. Hi Portia,
    We burn incense almost daily. Usually a pleasant chandon or kalimantan/kyara type and on darker days a heavy bon tibetan incense. I love incense in perfumes. Also prayer flags. Today we placed another 50 feet of prayer flags across the upper perimeter of the property. They are happily wafting good vibes to the new building that replaced the forest. We have yet to replace another 100 feet of worn out flags. This time I am finishing the edges to prevent too much fraying. A lot of sewing! And Oh yes, I love the KM bottles.
    Azar xx


    • Azar,
      I think if you burn incense regularly or an incense bomb fan then Oliban will be WAY too quiet and restrained for you.
      Go you with the prayer flags. I love them too and have 3 packets of them awaiting a pole or anchor point from our large tree in the back yard. One day.
      Portia xx


  6. After reading this review, I added it to my sample cart. It should be here in a week or so. I look forward to trying Oliban. I have a soft spot for incense. Thank You!!!


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