Incense, for any Catholic, is first and foremost associated with a church service (Comme des Garcons Avignon or Heeley Cardinal). But that is not the only possible incarnation of the note, some incense pefumes do not evoke holy halls, but the great outdoors.
Andy Tauer’s Incense Extreme is my go to outdoors incense, as is Armani Privé Bois d’Encens, but it looks like I found something, I like even more.
Laurie Erickson’s Incense Pure, a 2010 release that replaced the earlier Encens Tranquille.
Notes include frankincense CO2, myrrh EO, labdanum absolute, cistus oil, natural oakmoss absolute, aged Indian patchouli heartnote fraction, sandalwood, cedar, ambergris, orris, angelica root absolute, elemi EO and vanilla absolute.
There are two things that make this incense perfume special to me. One is the intense feeling of freedom and exhilaration I get from inhaling deeply. Relaxing and invigorating a the same time, Incense Pure feels almost like a medication, rather than a perfume.
The second reason I love Incense Pure is the underlying ambery base. Sweet, dense, treacly almost but not heavy, this amber is truly swoon-worthy.
What is bewitching almost, is the sense of space that Incense Pure creates. It is a simultaneous evocation of the very small and dense and the very large and wide. Micro- and macrocosmos, the big and the small, up as well as below, in Incense Pure I find both.
I am not a spiritual person, in fact I roll my eyes at most non-scientific things, I am a hardened skeptic and sarcasm is very dear to me, but nonetheless, Incense Pure gets to me in ways that allow me to suspend disbelief for a while and just open myself to whatever is out there.
For some time at least, Incense Pure helps to open my view of the world a little wider. Not too bad for a perfume, isn’t it?
Other SSS reviews: To Dream :: Champagne de Bois :: Tabac Aurea :: Sienna Musc
Ahh, Incense Pure is a dear friend of mine too! It was recommended to me by dearest Daisy after I participated in a split of Balsamo della Mecca, as a “smoother, more complex” take on the same theme. And she was spot on (as she usually is)!
I’m such a Sonoma Scent Studio ho. I want a bottle of every single scent! 🙂
A smoother Balsamo della Mecca – yes, absolutely! I didn’t think of it, but that fits so perfectly.
Birgit, you found perfect words to describe this perfume: “Relaxing and invigorating a the same time, Incense Pure feels almost like a medication, rather than a perfume.” – that’s exactly how I feel. I enjoy smelling it, I put it on before going to bed sometimes but I do not wear it as a perfume.
This is an excellent medication, no side effects whatsoever, except possibly addiction. 😉
I thought I would buy Ambre Noir for a church like atmosphere (aka Avignon), but your beautiful review makes me crave for this too…
I have to re-smell Ambre Noir, it has been a while… All SSS scents are very seductive, aren’t they?
I have yet to find an incense perfume that I like, it seems to bring a headache on for me so I tend to stay away from it but as I have learnt with Amber and Oud I should keep on trying things until I find one I like. This may be the incense perfume that I like. 🙂
andrea, if Birgit will excuse me butting in, I had a hard time finding a nice smooth incense until I came across Comme des Garcons Incense Series 3: Kyoto at Space NK. B does a great review of it here –
Incense Pure sounds very similar in mood so hopefully one or the other will be right for you.
This is exactly what I would have told Andrea! Thanks for “butting in”! 🙂
Also Annick Goutal’s Incense Flamboyante may be one you might want to try; it’s not very flamboyant, very soft and warm.
I was surprised when you said you had found an outdoorsy incense to surpass Incense Extreme and the wonderful Bois d’Encens but when I read that Incense Pure has a swoon-worthy amber base, I completely understood why!
Lol, what can I say? Amber gets me every time… 😉
Sounds like its up my street if it’s got a touch of amber and incense 🙂
It contains the best of both worlds! 😉
This is my favorite by Laurie- she uses lots of frankincense and labdanum, both are strong anxiolytics, but with no side effects like Valium or other anxiety-decreasing drugs. And it’s a proper perfume with a lot going on, not an aromatherapeutic balm. So not only does it smell good, it’s good medicine! Can’t beat that.
Exactly, can’t beat that! Thanks for scientifically backing up my medication theory, Marla! 🙂
I have more cons than pros with incense frags… I know some of the referencial scents, Heeley Cardinal, Etro Messe de Minuit, L’Artisan Passage D’Enfer, Lorenzo Villoresi, Shalimar (I don’t know why to me is pure incense), Opium… et al. They usually turn my stomach and make me feel dizzy… But I’ve realized that has to be only with a very and concrete and strong and full-bodied ‘INCENSE’ character…
On the other hand I really love a certain sandalwood accord (which is often associated to the incense sticks) in scent compositions drydowns. F.i.: LouLou, L’Heure Bleue, Samsara, Feminité du Bois……
so I really don’t understand myself sometimes…!
Incense is not for everyone. As stated by Tara above, a very good smooth and light incense is CdG Kyoto. Maybe you like this style better.
I have a hard time with the SSS scents, I think Laurie uses a particular note that doesn’t work for me… From all the scents that I tried from her line, it was only Fig Tree and Champagne de Bois that were “ok”. But Incense Pure was totally different right from the start. I was captivated from its non-churchy smell, this slightly warm base combinded with the dark, smokey and somehow fresh incense.
However, I gave the sample to my mother who loves it. I am no incense fan (even the CdG fragrances were not my style) but I am more than happy that I have found an incense scent in Incense Pure that I “get”. Finally, I can understand why some people are so fond of this note 🙂
Maybe you are having the same issues with a certain musc in the base of most SSS scents, as Tara has.
Lovely that at least Incense Pure worked for you!
I cannot wait to try this one – I have a few SSS samples to post about! Thanks for the nudge, Birgit!
You are very welcome! 🙂
Sounds great! I haven’t tried it, but I love SSS Ambre Noir.
I guess I have the same issue as Tara does — lots of SSS florals I cannot do (Cameo, Lieu de Reves, etc.) because of heavy note that makes me think of a pastry made from plastic and playdoh, ugh. But I am glad that there are many other SSS fragrances for me to love — Ambre Noir, JE, CdB…
I am making a test list of fragrances, which will include Tabac Aurea and now because of your review Incense Pure! Ta-da!
Hi Warum! Long time, no see! 🙂 I’m glad this review inspired you to add it to your list.
I read all the time, but could not comment because of work issues lately.
But I always do read 🙂
That is nice to hear! I appreciate it! 🙂
Better than Bois D’Encens? I have to get it. Thanks for the beautiful review and the notes sound to die for. I am ashamed to say that I haven’t tried any of the SSS yet, but every time I go to the SSS sales page, I realise that I REALLY want to try them all, and then I hesitate. This must be where New Years resolutions come in:-)
Asali, I’m butting in here to say that I’ll send you samples of this one as well as SSS Jour Ensoleille (because I didn’t get to the post office yesterday as I said I would, but will be mailing today instead. With Incense Pure in the package, I’ll feel like I have properly wished you a Merry Christmas, and this way you’ll get a little preview of the line.)
Oh, that is so kind of you Suzanne, lucky me, I shall really be looking forward to that. I got Lab 18 away a few days ago, so hopefully it’ll reach you soon.
I know that feeling and it is why I didn’t try SSS for the longest time myself. But I’m glad I finally did… P.S. I still love my Bois d’Encens too! 😉
Glad to hear about Bois d’Encens:-)
This is my very favorite incense perfume, Birgit, and I loved your review. Funny that you say you aren’t a spiritual person, because you very much strike me as one. I will have to take your word that you’re a “hardened skeptic” with a love of sarcasm. 🙂
Well, I’ll only say this: I am an enigma. 🙂
I see the sceptic in you, and have a lot of time for enigmas! Never a dull moment with an enigma…. : – )
Will you be taking this medication to the country, by any chance? I could do with a good swoon with people on hand to revive me as necessary… : – )
Argh, too late! I’m already at the little house on the prairie! If I had only known… But I brought enough other stuff to swoon, hopefully. See you soon! 😀
This one sounds pretty good! That said, I’ve learned that most things by Sonoma Scent Studio are. On to the sample list it goes, thanks for the recommendation.
Nobody gets away with only a short sample list at SSS, it seems 😉 But they are very much worth it.
Big fan of SSS here. Incense Pure reminds me of the moment when the singer holds that magical note and shatters the crystal goblet: high and pure, but with a rock-steadiness that stays with you.
What a beautiful comparison. It fits Incense Pure so well, Julie.
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