Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.
I’ve had all the best of intentions and even loads of ideas, but it seems my head has been too crowded to get any of those down on virtual paper.
To get a sense of calm and focus there is nothing quite like the scent of incense. After I worked out that I am actually allergic to the smoked version of frankincense, I’ve kept a little distance from incense perfumes, but of course incense perfume need not smell smoky at all. In fact incense has that wonderful cool, clean property and can be anything but smoky and indeed very soothing.
As today is Three Kings Day (Epiphany) it gives me another good reason to get out my incense perfumes; Frankincense, gold and myrrh, and gives me the chance to share one of my favourite perfume picture captions.
Before Christmas I did some rehearsals out in a somewhat alternative space, meant for independent theatres as rehearsal space. Now, of all places where I might encounter perfumes I did not think to do so there, least of all perfumes of quality which I hadn’t even heard about; Pure Essence Eau de Parfum No.1 Frankincense by a company which I only knew for its skin care, Neal’s Yard Remedies.
Obviously, I had to test it.
The perfume is natural and 97% organic, and it struck me that a lot of the (soli-) incense perfumes that agree with me are natural. I already wrote about the cosy Winter Kitty and the enlightened Calling all Angels, and I’m sure there are many more which I have forgotten at the moment. In the mixed category I especially admire the ascetic Armani Privé Bois d’Encense and the swirly smoke of IUNX’s L’Ether, however I feel that in natural perfumery incense tends to smell less smoky and have a more zen-like quality.
On to Pure Essence Eau de Parfum No.1 Frankincense* which opens on notes of neroli, bergamot and pepper. It’s a pleasant, albeit familiar, start which quickly gives way to the crisp incense. Incense with its dry tartness should perhaps come across as distant or overly sharp, but something about it here is mild and forgiving. Perhaps it’s the lavender which makes it so, even if I wasn’t overly aware of the lavender in the fragrance itself. Reading the notes I was surprise to find a simple recipe yielding a graceful composition. The base notes are patchouli, vetiver, myrrh and balsam copaiba, but neither patch nor vetiver are very pronounced. Rather, the base is a mild soapy myrrh reminding me a little of the soapiness of Serge Lutens’ La Myrrhe. The resins are balmy enough to give the base depth, warmth and perhaps even a golden hue to the lightness of the myrrh. Overall there is a perfumeness and light which incense perfumes often lack. I was not only surprised at finding this little gem, but even more so at how it found its way into my perfume heart; Frankincense, Myrrh and Gold all in one modest little perfume.
As it is the last day of Christmas you can listen to the recitative about the presents from the Three Magi and the following Choral from Bach’s Christmas Oratorio here.
Happy New Year!
*My review is based on the bottle in the picture found in the bath room at the studio. I don’t know if it has changed over time, or of course when the bottle was bought and donated to the light and humidity exposed bath room ;-). I do think I will get myself a bottle sometime in the future, and will update if the new bottle is in any way different.
As always feature picture and photo by me.