Incense Pure 
Sonoma Scent Studio (2010)

Average Rating:  18 User Reviews

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Incense Pure by Sonoma Scent Studio

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About Incense Pure by Sonoma Scent Studio

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Sonoma Scent Studio
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Incense Pure is a shared / unisex perfume by Sonoma Scent Studio. The scent was launched in 2010 and the fragrance was created by perfumer Laurie Erickson, who says:

I didn't experience incense in church while growing up, so I didn't discover my love for incense notes until I began to sample essential oils. I loved frankincense (olibanum) from the first sniff, which was interesting since I had no prior association with it as so many people do. I wanted Incense Pure to be a very natural-smelling scent that highlighted olibanum, enhanced by resinous notes, sandalwood, and labdanum/cistus. Many people find it to be a dry and outdoorsy type of incense but with some fresh and airy aspects as well.

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Reviews of Incense Pure by Sonoma Scent Studio

There are 18 reviews of Incense Pure by Sonoma Scent Studio.


Imagine the gothic scene of the
aftermath of a burnt abbey in a medieval bottle full of scorched earth and nature in a winter landscape, burnt wings still fuming underfoot and the cloisters bereft of life,no soft touch of humanity or greivieng maidens on the scene.and that's what this scent is about,the main act,a full blown,to the point incense,devilishly smoky,no soft openings or hidden gentleness.it is an amazing fragrance both technically and artistically. this is both shockingly dark and stunningly beautiful.

This is a very strong,breath-takingly bone dry incense that deploys minimalism to great effect.this is not an interpretation of fragrant incense like you might find in the Comme des Garcons line;instead,it's highly mimetic: tarry,waxy and deep.smoky incense that comes across as warm but also a bit crude and acrid.resinous labdanum and subtle sandalwood.it's one of the best incense baaed perfumes i have yet smelled.the sillage and staying power are huge.


Spicy, sticky incense and resinous sappiness. Decrepit, crumbling stones and dusty caverns. Dirty sweetness and woods swirl with aged, wilting flowers. Interesting and slightly pious without the choking church clouds.


To me it's a linear, dense, syrupy sweet amber, with noticeable resins and frankincense. A choke-out risk for its sweetness, I use it like an attar.


A beautiful resins and woody fresh incense. Just enough sweetness for my taste. Evocative of a beautiful outdoor setting with giant lush trees and clean air. Not smoky to my nose. The frankincense and myrrh are fresh and very present. Not a church incense. Has a soothing, meditative quality. I love it and it layers well with amber, vanilla, and some floral fragrances.


Fantastic! If you love resins, you have to try this. As the name indicates it is "pure" - pure joy. Sillage and longevity are great.



As fans of what is one of the more saturated genres of perfumery already know, there are a handful of incense perfumes generally heralded as being the top of their game. Norma Kamali's infamous Incense from 1982 is probably the most sought after, and Comme des Garcons's entire Incense series put the genre back on the map with Avignon (2002) serving as the perhaps the most referential liturgical incense to this day. Others have followed suit with varying degrees of success, but I'd like to suggest that Incense Pure should be considered on the same level, perched close to these forerunners while successfully holding its own between them.

This is indeed a benchmark incense perfume, but it's less liturgical than the Kamali or the CdG; instead, the focus is as much on woods and sappy resins. Consequently, it feels transitional; more meditative and sacred than austerely religious, yet it still manages to conjure up the impression of a kind of ecclesiastical sanctuary. In contrast to the “pure” of the name, it's actually an elaborate, complicated scent that sidesteps the paradoxical chill of Avignon and the linear force of Kamali, instead veering more toward a more dynamic and multivalent experience. It's smoky, yet it doesn't catch your throat; it's dry, but still manages to feel warm and heartening; it traces the outline of more liturgical fragrances by relying on a text-book combination of frankincense, myrhh, labdanum, and cistus, yet it takes an entirely surprisingly turn. While those four notes are in perfect harmony, functioning more as the heart of the scent, they leave space for the slightly botanical and woody notes that set Incense Pure apart from its brethren. A patchouli note and a hint of orris lend the scent a earthy, herbal texture alongside cedar and ambergris that unite for a cagey musk, bearing resemblance to the “furry” accord that gives Parfumerie Générale's L'Ombre Fauve it's bestial name. Incense Pure isn't nearly as pure as it claims to be.

The base appears to be the house favorite of oakmoss and sandalwood, but here it's layered with some vaguely lactonic vanilla and elemi to add weight and fullness beneath the resins, producing an elegant amber effect that hums along throughout the scent's life. And this scent has a long life, so the base doesn't really emerge for several hours although the creaminess of the sandalwood is there all along. It's an intricate and involved bouquet, but one that yields central conceit effectively.

But here's the kicker: something about it doesn't quite work for me. Although this is indeed still on my list of scents to purchase from the line (it's fascinating more than anything), there's something about the direction the genre is being spun that feels a tad off-kilter to me–but that's just a personal taste issue as Incense Pure is as impeccably crafted as anything else from the line. Between the syrupy labdanum, the heady patchouli, the toasty cistus, and the slightly acrid tinge of orris, the composition strikes me as a tad too rich in a manner that I find destabilizing for a genre that has generally plays by the rules of dry and crisp. Therefore, my concerns seem to be more the result of my own cognitive dissonance. Picture L'Ombre Fauve's “furriness,” crossed with some smoldering wood notes, and a muscular incense on top, and you'll get a rough idea of what this is doing. I'd consider it to be a benchmark incense because it's so articulate, but also because it veers enough from the other benchmarks without leaving the genre altogether. And that's what makes this essential for incense fans: it's touchstone in of itself.

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