One of my favorite television shows was Twin Peaks. Over two seasons in 1990 and 1991 director David Lynch introduced us to the community of Twin Peaks, Washington through the eyes of FBI agent Dale Cooper. On the surface it was a show about solving the murder of homecoming queen Laura Palmer. Underneath it was a show about the soft spots in reality. Beware what can make its way into our world. Agent Cooper as he uncovers the secrets of Laura Palmer and Twin Peaks learns about the Black Lodge; one of those interdimensional soft spots. A recent perfume release got me thinking about all of this; La Curie Incendo.
Lesli Wood Peterson (photo: Rachel Miller)
La Curie is the independent brand from Lesli Wood Peterson based in Arizona. She has been working on her line of fragrances since 2013. Incendo is her fourth release. I think Ms. Peterson also shares an affection for Twin Peaks because in the card which accompanies Incendo the first line is “fire walk with me”. Early on in Twin Peaks we hear that phrase from the one-armed man. It would come up again and again. Looking at Ms. Peterson’s website there is no mention of the television show but I couldn’t shake it from my imagination.
On the website Incendo is described as “an escape from our modern world into a residual memory of our primordial souls and archaic trappings.” Except I didn’t get archaic and primordial. Ms. Peterson had me thinking closer to mystical rituals. There are all the components of ritualistic smoke based acts infused with outré elements combining for a weirdly textured fragrance from top to base.
Incendo opens on the smell of the forest of the Pacific Northwest; pine needles and cedar. From here smoke rises up as she seemingly employs most of the smoky raw materials available to a perfumer. This is a tricky balance as there are many, many perfumes where the smoke overwhelms. A testament to Ms. Peterson’s patience in striking the right formula is the smoke swirls throughout the development of Incendo but at no time does it take over. As incense, sage, cypriol, and vetiver provide the olfactory haze there is something else playing in the back ground. Ms. Peterson describes it as “dark skies” in her note list. It has that simmering ozonic potential on the leading edge of a storm front. The crackle of the lightning and the rumble of the thunder are present. This provides an off-kilter kind of contrast to the smoke as it almost seems like we are smelling things in reverse. Which is how the man in the Black Lodge speaks; backwards.
Incendo has 12-14 hour longevity and moderate sillage.
Twin Peaks is returning to the airwaves in 2017. I am very excited for that to happen. In 1990 I probably didn’t think about associating perfume with my watching. Next year when the music comes up I am sure I will be wearing Incendo to carry me to the Black Lodge to see the next chapter.
Disclosure; this review was based on a bottle I purchased.
Editor's note: Incendo won the 2016 Art and Olfaction Award in the Artisan category.