Back in October when I tried the first release for Chapel Factory, Heresy I liked the church incense style of it. That isn’t a unique genre within fragrance. But independent perfumer Anais Biguine designed a nice riff. Based on that I was told there were two more from the brand coming. I was interested to see how Mme Biguine would continue to explore the area of incense perfumes. The choices she made in Chapel Factory Holy Stick are nice.
The Holy Stick of the name is meant to refer to the palo santo incense used by the shamans and priests of the Americas. In the Cuban-American community I grew up in palo santo was used in various rituals. I always registered it as different than the frankincense I smelled from the censers at Sunday Mass. Both are incense but if I regularly describe frankincense as metallic, palo santo is softer and woodier. Mme Biguine uses that as part of her design for Holy Stick. The perfume is essentially a trio of different resins; elemi, palo santo, and frankincense. The palo santo represents the core but it has some help from the others.
The top accord is the slightly citrus tinted elemi resin paired with a high concentration of cardamom. I don’t usually get enough cardamom in my perfumes. In this case I get all that I could want. The citrus side of the spice blends well with the elemi. What it really does is also bring out the woodiness of cardamom which is what connects to the palo santo. This is one of the best uses of palo santo in a perfume I’ve run into. Mme Biguine uses all of the scent profile as it interacts with the cardamom and elemi. It becomes especially compelling when a judicious amount of frankincense adds a yet to be burned quality to the palo santo. The base accord is an earthy patchouli and amber.
Holy Stick has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.
I’ve said in the past I am not a candle guy. It I do get my fragrance through flame it is through burning incense. Holy Stick didn’t remind me of the act of burning it. It more brought to mind that moment I open a brand-new box with the unburned cones all lined up in the box. Mme Biguine has made an incense fragrance which comes before the burn.
Disclosure: This review is based on a sample I purchased.