I live in New England and have a woodstove. The top note of this fragrance smells like my burnt firewood, not woodsmoke (not a complaint). It's not a Southwestern smell. They burn a different kind of wood there (see below).
Gradually, a generic incense takes over, which is a shame. There a brand of incense called "Incense of the Southwest," made of three types of wood they burn there. Check them out, or visit Santa Fe in the winter. Anyway, the incense smell in this perfume becomes progressively drier, which may be the contribution of the conifer. That's about it. I find the fragrance quite faint; it doesn't last long.
I spend a lot of time in Tucson, and to me, this fragrance doesn't represent it at all. Tucson is a largely low-income, low-rise, dry, sprawling collection of developments, highways, and strip malls in the blinding light, with some wealthy white gated communities north of the city. I've never smelled woodsmoke there. If I were going to create the real scent of Tucson, it would have to involve rubber and air-conditioning.
All that being said, I bought this fragrance on my last trip to Tucson, because I want to support this local perfumer, and the smell is pleasant.
An artist trains her eye by drawing from life, and a perfumer must be attuned to the smells of the real world. If you're going to do an incense fragrance, it's important to know that there are hundreds of different kinds of incense. Thus far, only Comme des Garcons has really examined, experienced, and thought about them.
I love La Curie's perfumes because of the slightly ozonic quality present in them in combination with the dry, arid woods, leather, and herbs. They seem very indicative of the southwest and the place in which they're made, and for that reason I think they're quite special, even if I don't find tremendous diversity throughout the line.
Incendo does well with their signature big sky image. It's the smell of a campfire at a distance, diluted through the cold night air–smoked sage and fir, not sweet and sticky and green but rather smoldering, dry, and crackling. It's a bit simple in the end without many material nuances, but it still plays with quite beautiful complexities of tone–light and dark, smoky and airy, warm and cold. It's streamlined, in a way, and though I may find some similarities with other fragrances in this same category (Slumberhouse's Norne, Profumum's Arso, or Hendley's Fume–all of which I love), it's the differences in Incendo that really sets it apart.
It's a joy to wear, as I've been doing frequently through the fall and into the winter. It's also a joy that La Curie's prices aren't sky-high, and that there are travel-size bottles to buy with abandon and not feel as if you've made a gigantic investment. (8.5/10)
My first try from La Curie seems to be the house's most celebrated, and winner of 2016 Art and Olfaction Award, likely it's most awarded.
Incendo puts forth the "burnt pine tree" vibe excellently, a blend of pine, fir needles, embers, incense, and sage yielding a robust blend that rivals some of the better examples of this concept that I've smelled. It has some bite but not a ton, not as much as, say, Timothy Han On the Road.
It partly embodies Imaginary Authors A City of Fire but perhaps with a little less spicy smoke, and partly embodies Profumum Arso but with a little less woods overall. To me, Incendo sits somewhere between these two.
Certainly it inherently is geared toward cold weather wearing, so I'd be reluctant to don this in the summer. Also, it's slightly more masculine than unisex but certainly it's unisex enough that many women will gravitate toward it. These are just stereotypes, anyway, and anyone can wear whatever they want.
At $95 for 50ml, this is wholly worthwhile, especially given that it performs robustly, very strong on projection and slow to diminish while also lasting a while.
An instant love, a bottle I now want, Incendo ranks among the best of I've tried in this burnt pine realm. Superb stuff!
Intensely smoky, the quintessential scent of the American Southwest: Deliciously, almost sultrily apocalyptic, like a Mike Davis essay coyly beckoning you toward a brush fire. It comes from Tucson, a city I recall Mike Davis describing as the only one in the area that knows it's in a desert, and being from California I might have some "home region" pride here against the Grasse romanticism that still pervades perfumery. Incendo is about as un-European a fragrance as I can imagine, a scent that celebrates the inevitable burning of this odd, harsh corner of the colonized world we've somehow wound up in. The main image it conjures for me is from those terrible fires in the LA area around ten years ago: The daylight was orange, everything got covered in a thin layer of ash, and there was this odd tangy-resinous-metallic flavor to the air, even indoors, which is uncannily present in Incendo. Just last week I took a photograph from my office of the smoke rising from the Calabasas fire and filling the sky. The sun shines feebly through, recognizable but not luminous - are these the "sun-kissed dark skies" mentioned among the notes? Maybe it's just the unbearable heat here lately (I can't wait to try this on in cold weather), but this is quite a beautiful "memento mori" - it's got this Tauer-like "alone in the desert" radiance with a kind of playful pessimism that emphasizes just what a fragile tinderbox we live in. Stunning.
If you've ever smelled the clothes you brought back from a camping trip where campfires were featured, you know approximately what this smells like. It's a lovely, simple, yet beautifully judged fragrance that seems quite natural and has good sillage and longevity.
I haven't tried Lonestar Memories in four years so my memory may be unreliable but I would say this has more of an incense vibe whereas in Lonestar I get more leather. They are quite similar though.
There's a part of me that feels a bit sad that campfires are such a novelty that anyone would want to recreate the smell in a fragrance and it's a bit weird for me to think of someone paying to smell like something I'm used to encountering on my way to the laundry room while unpacking from a camping trip but I can see how if you lack these associations, this would be simply beautiful.
Bonus: the fragrancephobes I'm surrounded by won't identify this as fragrance.