We Three Kings: Frankincense

I left this one for the end as I still have unresolved issues with incense and it was too optimistic to think I’d be able to resolve it this week if I haven’t been able to do so in years.

Way before I got interested in perfumes (and sucked into its world), I was a practising Catholic. I went to mass each Sunday, for all Catholic holidays and pretty much did what every practising Catholic does. I don’t really remember what mass it was (and luckily for me it was only one) but incense was burned during it. That was the only smell so far that made me think I was going to get nauseous and faint. I almost did. A friend of mine can’t stand it and reacts the same way so she thinks we were witches in a past life. πŸ˜‰

Whenever I get my hands on a frankincense smell, I’m a bit wary. So far, they never made me feel nauseous or faint, but wariness remains. Especially if it smells more churchy than Cola-like. The thing is, here we have a cola type of drink called Cockta that obviously has some incense for smell in it because when I first tried Shaal Nur (my first incense perfume) I was very much taken aback that it smelled exactly like that soft drink.
So basically, incense perfumes fall into two categories for me, those that smell more church-like, more dry and austere and those that smell like Cockta, wet and sweet but both very obviously incensey.

Today, I’ll talk about Parfum d’Empire’s Wazamba. Which although seriously incensey doesn’t fall into any of the two categories I have but has one of its own. A foresty incense.

Notes: Somalian incense, Kenyan myrrh, Ethiopian opoponax, Indian sandalwood, Moroccan cypress, labdanum, apple, fir balsam

I always get surprised by how much more I am able to smell once I read the notes. The whole apple (fruity) thing would completely escape me if I wasn’t looking for it. It almost managed to escape me like that as well.
It really is a strange incense – like I said, it reminds me of forests, more probably of how I picture a rainforest (I was never even close to one, let alone in one) but that’s what this reminds me of – except for the incense part, I’m sure you can’t smell that there. But there is an underlying dark green, woody, slightly wet vibe to, and interspersed in all that, you get myrrh (I can’t believe I actually can smell myrrh in my incense choice) and the barest fruit hints (I do have a  cold, so they might not be barest to other people). Anyway, as incense goes, this one makes me always think about what I’m smelling and doesn’t fall into any of the mentioned categories.
Not that those categories are bad, they just have an existing association in my mind and that makes me not appreciate them appropriately.

So, once more, here is a list of participating blogs and I do hope you enjoyed our week of gifts of the three kings. πŸ™‚

Redolent of Spices

Scent of the Day



Bonkers about Perfume

My Perfume Life

The Perfume Chronicles

Chicken Freak’s Obsession

Notes from Josephine

Three Kings Icon Β©2010 Megan Ruisch

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18 thoughts on “We Three Kings: Frankincense

  1. ChickenFreak December 26, 2010 at 00:57 Reply

    Fruity foresty incense? That sounds very interesting.And now I really want to try that cola drink. πŸ™‚


  2. Michael December 26, 2010 at 01:02 Reply

    Happy Christmas Ines and I've enjoyed reading your We Three KIngs Series. I must admit that I adore all things incense and when I was growing up I was an altar boy who used to swing the incense censer, breathing in all those heady fumes!


  3. Ines December 26, 2010 at 01:25 Reply

    CF, it is interesting. And I wonder if someone else can get more fruit out of it? I just have a problem smelling anything around that incense.And, btw, I sometimes really wish you were more prone to receiving packages outside US but in any case, if you ever get to Croatia, I promise to take out and let you try it – I'm not much into soft (sweet) drinks, but I do like this one for its specific taste.


  4. Ines December 26, 2010 at 01:29 Reply

    Happy Christmas to you Michael as well (and CF since I forgot to write it above). :)I really admire you for being able to breathe the incense fumes (I'm sure you don't have any witch past lives). πŸ˜‰ I just don't believe I would be able to do that, and I really do wish I knew why I had such a strong reaction to it and whether that happens to other people.At least I can stand it in perfume…


  5. Anonymous December 26, 2010 at 02:41 Reply

    Belated Happy Christmas to you, Ines,Very interesting post about Frankincense and your incense experiences.I wonder if the faintness you felt during the church service was more due to being packed into the pews during a busy and long mass rather than directly due to the frankincense itself? Also, if you were fasting, planning to take communion during the mass, that could have contributed too.It occurs to me that the censer only gets used during a long and elaborate and full-church mass, at special times of the year, and the smoky incense (perhaps being swung dizzyingly close) may have simply been the last straw for a fatigued and possibly fasting person in a closely-packed pew in a densely-packed church.I hope your unhappy censer experience doesn't keep making you wary of frankincense itself – it's got a freshness to it beyond the church.And that Croatian cola does sound intriguing.cheerio, and have a great New Year,Anna in Edinburgh


  6. Bloody Frida December 26, 2010 at 04:01 Reply

    Happy Christmas! I need to try that one – thanks for the post. And Michael, I'm so envious!! I always wanted to be an altar boy (nowadays, girls can join the ranks, but back when I was a catholic-church-going-child, only boys could)


  7. EauMG December 26, 2010 at 04:57 Reply

    This sounds like something that I'd like. Sometimes I pick up cola with incense fragrances too. Why is that? I've had Cockta at a Bosnian restaurant before. It's very herbal. I wouldn't be surprised if there was a resin in there!


  8. Ines December 26, 2010 at 13:41 Reply

    Anna, I did wonder about the faintness occuring due to the reasons you mentioned, but the church where it happened was quite big and airy (although it was extremely crowded) and I wasn't such a great Catholic, I never fasted on purpose (there were days in my life when it just so happened I didn't eat but that was for an all together different reason and I don't really like to that to myself).I don't know, maybe incense is supposed to make you feel faint in order to bring you closer to spirituality…? :)At this point in my life, I'm tryint to lose all negative feelings from the past so I'm trying incense perfumes and sometimes even wear them. :)Merry Christmas and happy NY to you as well!


  9. Ines December 26, 2010 at 13:44 Reply

    Thanks BF! Happy Christmas to you and your family!You know, I used to be jealous of the altar boys as well. I just didn't know how you got to be selected. πŸ™‚


  10. Ines December 26, 2010 at 13:50 Reply

    EauMG, I just went to check who actually produces Cockta as I remembered the name of the company and realized it was Slovenian (I don't know if you know the geography of our little countries here, but Slovenia is a neighboring country on one side, while Bosnia is neighboring on the opposite side). :)Anyway, Cockta was produced by a Slovenian company but the company was recently purchased by a Croatian one, so theoretically I was correct when I called it a Croatian cola drink. πŸ™‚ There is always some good natured rubbing going on between Croatia and Slovenia (and I work for a Slovenian company).Now that I gave you the whole rundown on Cockta, I'm happy to hear you might like Wazamba. πŸ™‚ I like pretty much everything by Parfum d'Empire, they seem to me to have a slightly strange take on typical perfume families which I like.


  11. olenska December 26, 2010 at 19:02 Reply

    Ah, Wazamba's one of my favorites. Your reason for choosing it over a frankincense scent was very interesting to read– proof again that personal associations play a huge role in the scents we like/dislike….. RE: that root beer scent– I always notice this most with myrrh. Could the incense blend have contained more of it at times then frankincense?


  12. JoanElaine December 26, 2010 at 20:02 Reply

    I'm with you on the "wary of frankincense" thing. I guess it all depends on how much frankincense is in a fragrance and what it's blended with. I can't say I don't like frankincense, but when it's dominating the fragrance, I'm not it's biggest fan.I read your review of Wazamba last night, and remembered I have a sample of Wazamba. I tried it in the summer when I was craving incense and didn't mind it. I put it on this morning and all I could really smell is the frankincense! It smells antiseptic to me, which isn't necessarily a bad thing but with the fruit/fir it's reminding me of a cleaning product at the moment. I think I just need to take a break from smelling frankincense. I was burning it thinking it would help me appreciate it better but I kept getting those Good Friday flashbacks!


  13. Vanessa December 26, 2010 at 20:15 Reply

    Wazamba is a good choice for someone who is a bit wary of incense – I remember it being a very gentle scent, with all that extra wet foresty business you describe.


  14. Ines December 27, 2010 at 10:32 Reply

    Olenska, I have no idea. I never think of myrrh in regard with the cola effect but honestly, anything is possible. πŸ™‚


  15. Ines December 27, 2010 at 10:35 Reply

    πŸ˜€ JoanElaine, I like your idea of the smell of cleaning product. At least to me it seems, if frankincense is used, everything smaller than a child will be killed with its smell. It really makes me wonder how it gets too smell so intense…You really gave your best for this project – I don't think I'd be brave ebough to burn incense. *shudder*


  16. Ines December 27, 2010 at 10:40 Reply

    Vanessa, you're right when you say approaching incense through Wazamba is a relatively safe way to incense. I say relatively because it still is well, strong with it. πŸ™‚


  17. kjanicki December 30, 2010 at 18:12 Reply

    I like the idea of a forest incense, something woodsy would suit me well. Thanks for the review and for joining the project. I had a great time. Happy New Year.


  18. Ines December 31, 2010 at 01:00 Reply

    Krista, thank you for inviting me, I enjoyed it immensely (the camaraderie between participants is not something that happens usually, or at all in these projects).I hope you like Wazamba once you try it.Happy New Year! πŸ™‚


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