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Ursa, a 2015 fragrance by niche Italian candle and perfume house Tiziana Terenzi, hits all my favourite note buttons and made me realize why I love perfume so much. Named after the Ursa Major constellation, it was inspired by the night sky reflected on Lake Como in northern Italy.

At the top is a big smooth patchouli, followed by soft leather notes sprinkled with rum, followed by dried fruit notes and spices, nutmeg and elemi, with its spicy piney citrus facets. But the fruits are subtle, the main star through the drydown is a slightly boozy leathery patchouli, which at times goes woody and smoky as oud (agarwood) sneaks in the heart, then resinous and slightly balsamic green and woody spicy from vetiver and olibanum (frankincense). Tobacco lends a grassy sweet herbal balance to the patchouli, vanilla is used with a light sweet touch in the base to round out the resins. More fine leather plus agarwood (oud) appear in the base, creating symphonic waves of the most delicious smoky resinous waft you can dream of.

Created by perfumer Paolo Terenzi and conceived by his sister, artist Tiziana Terenzi, Ursa is an Oriental in the classic sense, extremely well balanced and blended with high quality materials - the patchouli is as close to patchouli perfection as one can get - with a beautiful unique bottle designed by Tiziana. The scent is not animalic or funky but is sooth, resinous and tenacious, and it must be worn on skin to be truly appreciated. Ursa has been compared to Straight to Heaven by Kilian, which is a lighter patchouli, but Ursa is in another perfume class altogether. 

 A scent that works magic on both women and men, Ursa is one of my  Desert Island fragrances, my fragrance dreams come true.

Price: $7.00