Hello friends, Narth here enjoying the Holiday season. Like many of you I plan my holiday fragrances with great glee, though Nuit de Noel in 40c weather was definitely a mistake! This year I was thinking about the Magi gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. I have Comme de Garcon’s 888 for the gold, many frankincense choices and I’m sure I have a BPAL somewhere heavy on myrrh. Maybe I’ll try layering them! Today however I am on a frankincense kick. I have three very fine examples of what a treasure frankincense can be when it’s the dominant note in the fragrance.
You may notice that Frankincense pebbles are in the bowl beneath the perfumes! Just in case you’d never seen them before.
But what is frankincense? Also known as olibanum frankincense is a resin from trees in the genus Boswellia, mainly found in Northern Africa. It has been used for its fragrance for 5000 years. When I adorn myself with these perfumes the long relationship of humans to frankincense is always with me for it is truly an ancient scent.
Les Liquides Imaginaires Sancti 2011
Top:Bergamot, Tangerine, Pomelo, Cypress
Middle: Balsam Fir, Lavender, Rosemary, Pink Pepper, Cardamom, Coriander, Nutmeg
Base: Cedar, Ambergris, Patchouli, Olibanum, Myrrh, Benzoin, Labdanum
If you’re looking to festively fragrance for the season in the Northern Hemisphere sense then Sancti is the most Christmassy of these three. It is a beautiful frankincense nestled on a bed of fir. If you’ve ever buried your face in an evergreen in the cold air you’ll know what I mean when I say the fir note here is true, with a lively resinous greenery. I am in a forest! The pomelo and bergamot illuminate the frankincense top notes. There’s a tasty citrus bitterness of the pomelo pith which I found quite special. Sancti is more happy to me than solemn. The cheerful holiday season is alive!
Comme des Garcons Avignon 2002
Notes: Roman Camomile, Cistus Oil, Elemi, Incense, Vanilla, Patchouli, Palisander
Comme des Garcons Incense series made quite an impression on the fragrance world back in 2002. Incense nearly became as ubiquitous as oud is today and everyone wanted to create an incense or include it in their orientals. Comme des Garcons Incense series was a reference point to incense that evoked its namesake rather than being a bit player in an oriental orchestra. I remember when I first smelled Avignon. It absolutely blew me away with its frankincense that smelled like hot stones and timelessness. It’s sweeter than Heeley Cardinal and there is a definite touch of smoke. Overall the lower pitch of these three. If you’re looking for Gothic this is the one. A complex, fascinating frankincense
Heeley Cardinal 2006
Top: White Linen, Bay Rose, Black Pepper
Middle: Labdanum, Frankincense, Myrrh
Base: Vetiver, Ambergris, Patchouli
I’ve heard people say that if you have Cardinal you don’t need Sancti. To my nose they have some serious differences. Heeley Cardinal is much brighter and more minimalist than Sancti. It has none of the bitterness that adds a richness to Sancti. It is a simple and perfect incense. The hot stones of Avignon are in full effect. If you’ve hankered for a pure frankincense this one is stunning. Cardinal has a beautiful airy quality, not airy as in ephemeral, airy as in the scent of the wind. It’s exactly the sort of fragrance you might get a whiff of in the wild and think “if only they could bottle this”. And they have. Of these three I find myself reaching for Cardinal the most.
I hope you all have a fun and scented holidays! What did you wear for your special occasions?
Bye for now, Narth xx