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Copal Azur – Incense and green and not-to-be-missed - September 17, 2016

Aedes des Venustus store, Greenwich Avenue, NYC -

I looked at my perfume shelf the other day and saw five fragrances by Aedes de Venustas sitting there. That’s when I realized that I was, officially, an Aedes de Venustas fan.

One fragrance from a perfume house is a crush, two from the same house is an interest, three is a fascination, and four is a passion. Any more than that and you’ve got a serious relationship with that house. With the purchase of Copal Azur, it looks like AdV and I will be living together in the new store at 7 Greenwich Avenue in New York.

Ah, yes, the new store. It’s bigger and roomier than the one on Christopher Street, with two display windows, but has the same plush, opulent, intimate décor with objects owners Karl Bradl and Robert Gerstner gathered at antique fairs and flea markets from their travels around the world.

Travel seems to be an integral part of Bradl and Gerstner’s life. Their travels are not only reflected in the furnishings of the store but it inspires their fragrances as well, like Copal Azur, the latest addition to my AdV shelf.

The inspiration for Copal Azur was copal, a resin from the Protium tree that grows in the wet tropical forests of Mexico and Central America. The dried sap of the tree was used as an incense in ceremonies by pre-Columbian Mesoamerica cultures. It’s still used today in Mexico in sweat lodge and Sacred Mushroom ceremonies.

The AdV website says that “Karl Bradl was drawn to its scent while cycling on the coast of the Yucatán Peninsula through copal-laced air towards the natural reserve of Sian Ka’an, which translates as “Gate to Heaven”. The suave cloud of burning copal whirling over Tulum's bohemian and eco-chic outdoor locales at the foot of an ancient Maya walled city, confirmed his inspiration for Copal Azur.”

Imagine that bike ride. Really imagine it. The sights, the sounds the smell of copal-laced cliffs as you move along seaside and through tropical forest.

I’m going to pause here while you do.

Now, imagine that you commission master perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour to create an EdP based on that experience.

That is Copal Azur.

Since copal cannot be used in perfume, Duchaufour used three different extractions of frankincense and threaded it throughout the fragrance to invoke copal. It’s at the opening of Copal Azur, bracing and piney and it pulls you right into the fragrance. A lick of salt and ozonic notes filter through the resin and puts you at the seaside. As it settles into the skin, the scene changes from the seaside to the tropical forests of Sian Ka'an – a biosphere reserve in the municipality of Tulum in Mexico.

The frankincense shifts from coniferous to woody, while aromatic cardamom, resinous and minty, makes it warm and green. Patchouli, sweet and woody, and myrhh balsamy, earthy and a little anisic, complement the frankincense perfectly and help create the feel of tropical forests. At the base, the frankincense is softened, and sweetened with amber and almond, then smoothed by Tonka bean, making the drydown creamy, rich, lush and so AdV.

To me, Copal Azur is a perfect incense fragrance and there is always room on my perfume shelf for fragrances like it.

Copal Azur is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $6.00 for 1 ml.