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Incense in perfumery

Frankincense, the king of oriental perfumes

Frankincense has a strong, but beautiful, camphoric, waxy, spicy and even peppery smell. Its smell can be reminiscent of the bark of woods, or of dusty wood that has just been waxed and even inside a church. Incense has a psychic, even spiritual, approach. In perfumery, it is integrated into very large perfumes, essentially oriental perfumes. We no longer cite the mythical Shalimar by Guerlain, the famous Opium by Yves Saint-Laurent or the perfume by Lancôme Nuit Trésor… In all these perfumes, incense is king! In oriental or gourmet perfumes, frankincense is often associated with vanilla or cinnamon, which gives it a sweet and feminine note. Incense brings to all these perfumes, its spicy flavor from elsewhere,a mysterious side but also a strong character and a powerful power of seduction.

Incense, difficult to marry

Even if incense is one of very great known and loved perfumes, few perfumers have dared to include incense as a heart note. Even if fashions change, an incense composition remains difficult to imagine. An exception to the rule is La Religieuse by Serge Lutens. This lover and unconditional of the East dared to place incense as a heart note! Here, the contrast is put between the white of the jasmine flower and the black of the incense… Result, a real contrast between holiness and blasphemy, between good and evil… In base notes, incense is often associated with a flower positioned in heart notes. This is the case with the Acqua di gio perfume for men by Gorgio Armani. Here, the geranium-incense mixture gives a scent of character, but with a very fresh side, a scent of incredible virility!

Associated with life, antiquity, religion, incense is rich in symbols. He has a deep story behind which he cannot free himself. Its bark has a strong, powerful character. Frankincense smells of camphor and is often thought of inside a church. In perfumery, it has been the inspiration of very great designers. Today it is associated with great oriental feminine perfumes. Often associated with cinnamon or vanilla, the incense becomes sweet and feminine at will… Small flat in this success, hardly anyone dares to position the incense in heart notes. Too powerful ? Too imposing? Attached to too many symbols? Maybe all of these at once, because incense is unique and unlike any other, but it doesn't make any concessions.

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