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Incensi – Green Incense – July 4, 2014 New Fragrance Listing.

Image - Lorenzo Villoresi in his atelier - from whatmenshouldsmelllike blog

I have to tell you that even though I'm an insider at perfumeniche, I really look forward to reading Esther's posts, Sniffing out News, every other Wednesday when they pop up on my desktop. Because we know her so well and trust her professionalism, Gwen and I don't get a preview or edit her posts, we read them at the same time you do, which is fun for us. She is one of us, a perfumista. Curious, focused, determined, articulate, perhaps obsessive, and above all, passionate about perfumes, Esther tracks down information that I don’t have the time to, or can't find on my own, and she inspires many " Yes!" moments that send me off on my own intrepid searches for the next new, or old, Holy Grail scent.

On her most recent post this week, she wrote about the meaning of “vintage” and the Vintage Collection just launched by the Italian perfumer, Lorenzo Villoresi…”the collection is a reissue of six scents that were Villoresi’s original fragrances under his own name, but which have since fallen out of production. The scents—Vetiver, Tropicana, Incensi, Garofano, Ambra and Ylang Ylang—have now been reissued, available through Villoresi’s shop in Florence and First in Fragrance online....”

One of those scents set the bells ringing in my addled brain - Incensi. The name sounds so familiar, I can almost smell it as I picture a dark blue hexagonal bottle with a silver cap. Of course, I say, as I scan my perfume shelves - there it is, my bottle of the original Incensi sitting right there behind its siblings, Piper Nigrum, Oumo, and Teint de Neige. Why haven’t I written about it? Timing is everything, and the time for Incensi is right now.

Incensi is a green incense, not smoky, or dark, or ethereal, or other-worldly, but green and different. Villoresi uses as many pure essences as possible, and right out of the bottle I detect his signature herbal accord that opens many of his scents. This time it’s the drama of leafy notes and galbanum, a green/sour sappiness mixed with the tart sweetness of apple and lemon, the balsamic note of elemi, the lime citrus of bergamot, and incense – what a strong and heady mix!

The accord smells nearly medicinal, then begins to sweeten and become spicy as the heart notes rise up – labdanum and mimosa add the sweet, cinnamon, ginger and pepper add the spice, and juniper rounds out the heart with its distinctive boozy resin note. The green is still floating on top, and I think I detect a hint of anise as it mixes with the spicy heart. So far Incensi is delicious, not at all gourmand, but more mouth-watering, and very different from other incense frags I know, such as CdeG Avignon, or Encens Flamboyant or Messe de Minuit.  

As the heart notes deepen, the incense evolves and becomes stronger, with touches of leather from benzoin, but is restrained by the other resins and woods - sweet smooth myrhh, tolu, opoponax, and creamy sandalwood. The long dry-down is subtle and balanced, seamless really, resiny woods with spice, with smooth and slightly powdery incense, a waft of cool calm with a gentle but firm power. From such a big opening, we end up in a quiet place.

Incensi is incense without the smoke or the dry churchy-ness typical of many incense fragrances. Because of the green accord, it’s more body than soul, more song than prayer, and feels alive on my skin. I think it works better in summer rather than winter – the heat brings out the nuances of sweet and spiced woods that make Incensi so unusual and interesting. But it’s the inspired use of green notes with incense that make Incensi such a magnificent fragrance.  

I’ve always thought that Lorenzo Villoresi is under-recognized as a perfumer, but with the re-launch of his older scents as the Vintage Collection, I hope more perfume lovers will discover his extraordinary fragrances. Brad Pitt likes them - he's even in Villoresi print ads! The new bottles may be a different colour, but the magical scents will be the same.

Kudos to Esther for sniffing out this bit of news, and reminding me it was time to talk about Incensi.

Incensi is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $5.00 for 1 ml.