As I wrote when I posted my five favorite incense perfumes Laurie Erickson of Sonoma Scent Studio composed one of my favorite incense perfumes ever in Incense Pure. That was a mixture of synthetic and natural ingredients. Ms. Erickson has decided to re-visit incense again; this time for her Sonoma Naturals collection.
In 2013 Ms. Erickson decided to create an all-natural botanical line of fragrances within her Sonoma Scent studio brand. She would work at high concentrations so as to enhance the beautiful natural ingredients she was using. Both of the first two releases Cocoa Sandalwood and Spiced Citrus Vetiver were extremely good. I was wondering when she would return to this line. The answer is 2015 as Ms. Erickson’s latest release is Amber Incense.
To compose an all-natural incense perfume is a significant challenge. Usually a perfumer will use one of the longer lasting woody synthetics as a way of extending the incense used over the length of the fragrance’s development. Ms. Erickson didn’t have that luxury so instead she turned to one of the longest-lasting natural woods, cedar. By co-distilling her frankincense with cedar she was able to use the longevity of the cedar as a matrix for the frankincense to permeate. It is the kind of ingenious solution common in the independent perfume community and it works. The cedar-frankincense spine of Amber Incense provides the substance necessary to add in other notes.
The cedar and frankincense are present from the first seconds to the final moments. Each phase of the development of Amber Incense uses a set of other natural notes to provide the development from top to base. The first set of complementary notes is led by Szechuan pepper. This turns the very early moments into a kind of cinnamon-like accord. It changes fairly rapidly as a natural damascenone adds that plummy rose quality and converts it into a resinous floral heart. Jasmine, heliotrope, and rose provide the floral depth for the damasceone to rest upon. The base turns a little more woody as oak and oakmoss start to pull the cedar more to the foreground. A nice touch of sweet vanilla provides a bit of sweetness in juxtaposition to the chill of the incense and the clean woodiness of the cedar.
Amber Incense has 8-10 hour longevity and very little sillage.
All three of the Sonoma Naturals are very personal fragrances for the wearer. This was by design as Ms. Erickson wanted these to be softer more intimate perfumes. Amber Incense is the epitome of this aesthetic as it feels like it is a second skin of resinous richness. i didn’t think it was possible for me to like an incense fragrance more than Incense Pure; Amber Incense is giving it a run for its money.
Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by Sonoma Scent Studio.