Favorite Things: Frankincense

Many of the perfumes I love contain frankincense: Memoir Woman, Opus IV, Rêverie au Jardin, and more. It’s a note that resin-ates with me (too much?), and that I can never seem to get enough of.

As I sit here, wafting Tunisian Frankincense oil from Attar Bazaar (setting me back less than $8), I’m struck by the perfection of frankincense as a single note. Is there a more complexly beautiful smell than frankincense? I think not. I feel so contented, so complete, that a part of my brain is saying, “That’s it. I’m done. There is nothing that can top this, so why bother looking?”

One tiny little vial, inspiring profound blasphemy…

The Attar Bazaar webpage doesn’t offer much info regarding the notes/actual smell of their attars, but they do claim that frankincense “dispels malevolent, evil and distressing psychic forces.”

I’m a believer.

Other personal favorites containing frankincense:
Balsamo della Mecca/ Mecca Balsam, AbdesSalaam Attar
Baume du Doge, Eau d’Italie
Epic Woman, Amouage
Incense Pure, Sonoma Scent Studio
Lyric Woman, Amouage
Mitzah, Dior
Opus I, II, & III, Amouage Library Collection
Timbuktu, L’Artisan Parfumeur

For your further reading pleasure, check out Victoria’s informative entry at Bois de Jasmin.

22 thoughts on “Favorite Things: Frankincense

  1. Love frankincense essential oil and love that quote “dispels malevolent, evil and distressing psychic forces.”

    Nice selection of perfumes dee, from a cheap attar to the Opus collection. Would you include Ambre Fetiche too?

    1. Of course, Ambre Fetiche! One of my most favorite, all time, loves! How could I have forgotten it? How embarrassing, lol!

      It’s hard to believe something so beautiful is less than ten-bucks, especially in the company above— Sonoma Scent Studio fragrances are quite affordable, but almost everything else is well-upwards of $100. Perhaps that’s what’s inspiring my subversive attitude at the moment, haha 🙂

  2. I love frankincense oil as well as perfumes containing them too! The Amouage perfumes use it so beautifully don’t they? Thanks to you and Sheila, I totally NEED to try Memoir on my skin (I briefly sniffed it among a million other perfumes at the scent bar. I liked it- it reminded me of Jubilation for Men which I love. but I was very confused and kept switching the Amouage tester bottles. so not sure anymore, which was which). And Lyric Woman, which I sprayed on paper at the last minute and thought it was soapy (blasphemy?). I have sample of Incense Pure- will wear it this week sometime.

    1. Oh no! I wish I had read this before I shipped your package this morning! Well, I’ll make a note to send some Memoir with the next package 🙂

      Amouage is pretty much worth it’s weight in gold. Even the fragrances I don’t like are beautiful! It’s true, they use frankincense most beautifully… I would love to try their attars (Homage is at the top of that list), but they’re pretty firmly outside my budget— something to aspire to!

      Incense Pure is lovely, in fact, I think I’ll wear some before bed tonight— it should layer nicely with the frankincense attar 😉

  3. Frankincense was troublesome for me not long ago. I found it intoxicating, but in a smothering way, not in a “roll my eyes back into my head and fall to my knees” way.

    Less than a year later, I have developed quite an affection for it. Burning frankincense at home helped me get past the scent association (church) so I could enjoy the note in perfumes.

    “Resin-nates” – proof you are a perfume nerd!! a totally adorable perfume nerd!

    1. Smothering? Wow! It reads as bright and fuzzy to my sniffer! But I suppose it could very easily dominate other notes, and create a smothering sensation— not good!

      I’ll bet it smells wonderful burned as incense, but with my luck, I’d burn the place down…

      LOL! Perfume nerds unite!!


  4. That sounds almost capable of exorcism! I could really use that! 🙂

    Your post inspired me to take out SSS Incense Pure, it’ll be my SotD, I think.
    Aside from the Amouages, which are so much more than frankincense, my favorite incenses are Tauer’s Incense Extreme and CdG Kyoto.

    1. B, I think it is! It layered beautifully with Incense Pure last night (why don’t I own a bottle of that? Must remedy this.), and I’m going to try some more layering with it today— I can’t get enough!

      I haven’t sent your package yet (hangs head in shame), so I’ll pick one up for you to send along! You can research if it calms little boys too 😉

  5. Aaahh, I’m so glad to see you give Attar Bazaar’s TF amention! I’ve been wearing this for more years than a lady should name, and have always found to be very fine for something so blessedly cheap. Hooray for affordable quality, I say. 🙂

    1. Olenska! Of course you would already have this magical potion in your arsenal…

      I only quickly sniffed the others that were in display at the local natural foods market, but it seemed like a pretty solid line— are there others that you love?

      1. Their Jannat al-Ferdous, Sharif, & Shafayat blended attars are favorites of mine. I adore their Sumatran Vetivert – bonfire in a bottle! – and their Connoisseur series of specialty attars/pure oils includes “first pressing” Mysore Sandalwood. I’m not sure how ecologically kind their version is, but I have smelled a tiny sample of it, and its beauty leaves me speechless. I only wish I could be 100% certain it came from a responsible harvest, you know?

        Curious to know what others on the AB display stood out to you, Miss Dee! 🙂

        1. The local shop doesn’t carry the whole line, but I’m going to make a list and see if they carry the one’s you recommend; I’ve been curious about them for some time—especially in that Connoisseur Sandalwood! The sourcing raises red flags for me too, but I wonder if the reason larger lines can’t use it is that the quantities they need are simply unattainable? Maybe because AB is such a small line, the limited quantities available fulfill their demands… I think I’ll see what I can find out from them, and report back!

          At the display, I only tested three: the frankincense, the Tunisian sandalwood, and a blended attar… I think it was actually Shafayat! Which was really nice, but was totally blown out of the water (and my shopping basket) by the frankincense 😉

  6. I have a sample of frankincense EO that I really should go do some serious sniffin’ on.

    I like incense as a background note, but am often overwhelmed by it as a focus, especially when it is very smoky. Incense Pure was a big ol’ forest far for me (okay, okay, waft of smoke while eating caramels). But I love Lyric Woman and PdN Vanille Tonka, which has a big slug of frankincense in it along with those rum-drunken carnations.

    1. Incense Pure really is powerful. Have you ever had a pet bird? Growing up, I always had birds: canaries, parakeets, and even a wonderful parrot— and when it was time to quiet them down, or put them to bed for the evening, we’d drape a blanket over the cage. Incense Pure is like that for me! It instantly drapes peace and calm, and for a neurotic, that is quite a gift! 🙂

      It sounds like I need to fish out my sample of Vanille Tonka!

  7. I want to sniff every perfume on this list!! Frankincense is just magical — it has such a euphoric and calming effect. By the way, thank you SO MUCH for adding me to your perfumer’s list on the sidebar — I just noticed it, and I am really quite honored 😉
    And thank you for the wonderful work you do to promote indie/niche/natural perfumes.

    1. Hi Tara,

      “Magical” is a perfect way to describe frankincense— each of those perfumes is stunning, and I’m looking forward to discovering more frankincense laden favorites 🙂

      Thank you for reading!

  8. I didn’t think of frankincense as of a favorite note (or scent). But then I looked through your list… All Amouages, Mitzah, Insense Pure, Ambre Fetiche… Then I looked at my own collection: Coromandel, Cuir de Russie, Infusion d’Iris, Pomegranate Noir (Jo Malone), PoaL, Rose 31, To Dream (SSS). I do like frankincense after all.

    1. That’s exactly what happened to me! I was going on about my love of Opus IV, when someone pointed out the frankincense to me (can’t remember who at this time— someone on FB, maybe?), and I started poking around and realized that it’s in almost all of my favorite perfumes! So when I was picking up a bottle of castor oil at the natural foods store, I swung around and was confronted by the Attar Bazaar display, it seemed like divine intervention 😉 I snatched up the frankincense so fast, I left burning skid-marks in the aisle!


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