Currently I am approaching incense. A note that is difficult for me. I often find incense in perfumes as dominant, distracting or even (dis-)destroying. Monothematic fragrances with it are quite difficult, depending on which aspects of the incense resin are brought out: balsamic, resinous, camphoric, sticky, coniferous, smoky, sweet, tarry, citric...
Long preface, short sense: I like incense only "bright". Unsweet, woody, green or in a hesperidic context. With reservation also with floral accompaniments like rose, lavender or jasmine. What overstrains me is the combination with vanilla or (too much) amber, leather, oud or if it simply smells cute, too resinous or sticky.
When it comes to the raw material, it is said that the best quality is the so-called olibanum. A light incense variety from the Arabian Peninsula, harvested in "late harvest" and sold in thick light yellow "tears". It covers virtually the entire above-mentioned aroma profile and has the deepest radiance.
There is probably no other fragrance that is so necessarily associated with spirituality and religiosity as incense. One reason why there are some fragrances with religiously inspired titles: Cardinal, Encens Flamboyant, Messe de Minuit, Avignon, Zagorsk, Passage d' Enfer, Mea Culpa etc.
A perfumer cannot disregard the reference to the holy incense at all. The only way to confirm these prejudices or counteract them is to do something that nobody expects... I'm thinking of the abstract incense in Prada's Infusion d'Homme or Serge Lutens' L'Eau froide.
Lorenzo Villoresi must have taken the quote from Thomas Aquinas in the title as a model for his creation. His pleasure is that of seduction, deception and a tendency to punch lines à la "The Emperor's New Clothes"! And his incentive - attention plural: incense! - is rather between tables and chairs concerning my previous experiences with incense. Maybe the Villoresi is smiling himself into his face
A potent incense is perceptible during the entire fragrance process. I think that different raw materials were used, possibly also the related elemi-resin. It appears fresh, hardly resinous, not even smoky and is more of the citric-conifer type. It is interesting how Villoresi further develops the fragrance. The gourmand, fruity opening with apple, cinnamon, acidified with a little lemon or bergamot, seems almost absurd in this context. Funfair? Christmas? Epiphany? Pot Pourri? Apple sauce with cinnamon? Holy Moly!
Although Incensi never gets really sweet during its entire course, it has a certain fruit volume from the beginning. Pear syrup instead of sugar. Cinnamon is always perceptible, you have to like that, I think a nasty portion of styrax resin was used here, which can smell very cinnamony. Incensi changes very little, there is no talk of a classic 3 phase scent. You can quickly perceive sandalwood, melted, even a bit salty (almost sausagey fleshy) soft balsamic notes, which are the cornerstones of the perfume and carry the incense with them like in a palanquin. It's actually only the very last thing that it disappears into nirvana, while a few sweet-balsamic notes have to remain here to manage its apotheosis.
A coordinated and yet very individual composition. The projection should not be underestimated with this perfume and the durability is very good. I'm just not sure if I should find Incensi really successful or if it's a nasty joke by the perfumer, as feared. And further, whether one is often in the mood for such a fruity and luscious scent. I immediately think of the Fall of Man in paradise and how Hieronymus Bosch's obscene hidden object images stage this story with relish. Devil, woman (or guy), lust, temptation and seduction are eternally tempting... A huge uprising, by humans, angels and demons!
But in Villoresi, man is not the victim of a punishing, angry God as in the Old Testament, but the plaything of a whole pantheon. A piece of flesh, a vessel to seduce, to lose oneself in, to fill, to influence and to pass around. In the sexual as well as the spiritual sense. The ancient story of gods, priests and men. But the last question is: Who is the perpetrator here, who is the victim?
Sweet dreams are made of this
Who am I to disagree
I travel the world and the seven seas
Everybody's looking for something
Some of them want to use you
Some of them want to get used by you
Some of them want to abuse you
Some of them want to be abused