La Liturgie des Heures fragrance notes

    • cypress, incense, frankincense, rock rose, myrrh, musk

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I had a long love affair with conifer essential oils early on in my perfume-making journey. I compulsively purchased any kind that I could think of: pines, spruces, firs, cypresses, junipers, I even located a larch essential oil. In my naivete, I thought I could compose remarkable perfumes using all of these oils, but they are actually rather challenging to incorporate into a composition, as without a deft hand, they can make a blend come off as a functional cleaning product rather than a forest fantasy.

With La Liturgie des Heures, I have at once found a fragrance that uses conifer oils of a sizable quantity that do impart this forest fantasy, this being one of a temple, deep within the tall trees, with snow melting off the boughs on a sunny day. Here, Jacques Flori seems to rely more so on these oils than Aldehyde C-12 MNA (a green, balsamic, pine-needle fresh aliphatic aldehyde) to exalt the frankincense accord. The C-12 MNA is here, but it is not overdosed as with Avignon or Heeley Cardinal, allowing the coniferous nuances to really sing. This is indeed a more forest green incense, perhaps more than some can handle, as some noses seem to detect a musty, mildew facet. I think I know what they mean, but I interpret this as the rawness and realness of resins that are not particularly melt-in-your-mouth sweet or classically aromatic, and in this age where "sweet depth" is not grounding a fragrance, it may be interpreted as dank and hollow. It's a shame, but I can't convince others to enjoy this, but I surely do. I am also someone who loves to get my hands dirty in nature, so take that as you will.

When the conifers and lemon-terpenic frankincense settle, what remains is more the heart of olibanum, some myrrh, and a bittersweet amber. I wonder if Robertet's Bois des Landes base was used here, as the dry down reminds me so much of it. Bois de Landes is a co-extraction of French pine resinoid with a Virginian cedarwood oil. The odor has Fir Balsam undertones; a fruity-blackcurrant top-note. It imparts a "pine trees forest headspace." It is one of my all-time favorite bases, a perfume within itself. That whole sensation is here or perhaps Flori constructed his own base. Whatever alchemy he uses does warm my heart and I am happy I allowed myself to get well-acquainted with LLdH to fully understand it and embrace it.  
21st December 2022
I'm solidly in the Thumbs Up camp. I'm having no longevity issues, nor am I experiencing any amber, much less an amber bomb. Rather, the cistus, myrrh (which I suspect has been mistaken for amber), and musk serve in different ways to render the frankincense more earthly. The cypress is not that of a forest, but rather the ancient wood in the cathedral from the pews to the rafters. Smart, that.

Going from the notes, then, there are no big surprises here—arguably a mixed blessing, as when one has enough incense fragrances, a revelatory surprise can decide in favor of a FB. I may yet buy a bottle, anyway, because this is up my alley in both theory and practice. For anyone looking to fill an incense-shaped void in their wardrobe, La Liturgie des Heures is a no-brainer.
3rd February 2022

Lovely church incense. I like the sweet amber note too. Only problem I have is the longevity; after an hour this is a skin scent on me. Not fbw imo.
1st July 2021
a church incense but not the one that comes out during the liturgy by the priest's burning-incense. but it is that wonderful smell that is felt in an empty church. smell of old church woods smell of the confessional, smell of the church benches. smell of church, this describes the perfume perfectly. 9/10 one of my next purchases. excellent performance.
1st December 2017
Messing with the Mass...

Unique? Yes. Bizarre? Absolutely. Wearable? It depends. I'm using incense sticks for a couple of decades now, but I don't like incense fragrances very much. First of all I think there's a huge vagueness in defining what an incense note is, because there are literally hundreds of different "incense" scents out there. In Christianity "incense" is mainly associated with myrrh and olibanum, while in Buddhism it's associated with more exotic substances, like sandalwood and benzoin. Not to mention the multifariousnees of incense sticks, which come in virtually every scent imagined. And as is the case with anything coming in a great variety, our subjective point of view dictates that there are specimens to love and specimens to hate. But I take it that "incense" in perfumery usually means a church-like olfactory quality, cause churches and temples are usually the places where this kind of smell is more likely to be encountered. But despite the fact that an Eastern Orthodox church and a Buddhist temple smell nothing alike, I'll take it for granted that La Liturgie des Heures is an incense fragrance the way such an one is perceived by Christians. All the more that it displays myrrh and olibanum amongst its notes.

However, there's no way I'll follow the "Why would someone want to smell like this?" cliche. Just because! As Latin wisdom has put it centuries ago, "De gustibus non est disputandum." Because the one to whom this question is addressed, could very easily reverse it and ask the one who asks it the very same thing about her/his favourite fragrance. "Why would someone want to smell like a cupcake?". And to be perfectly honest, I never liked smelling like food, thus incense fragrances have a clear lead against gourmands in my book.

Now, if Avignon or Cardinal smells like Bernardo Gui's religious habit in "The Name of the Rose", then I imagine that La Liturgie des Heures is the way Adso's of Melk robes smelled like. Pious, yes, but not yet pious enough to have every hint of mirth exiled in the purgatorial fires. It's the difference between an old, cantankerous and cold-hearted bishop, probably disappointed that the world does not understand his "rightfulness" and a young and sanguine monk, who still thinks he can make a difference. This doesn't mean that La Liturgie des Heures is a joyous and playful fragrance. God forbid! It just means that this aspiring novice enjoys equally delving profoundly into the ancient manuscripts in the monastery and quaffing a couple of pints in the local tavern. Walking the dense coniferous forests surrounding both in the meantime, and taking a nap on the ground every once in a while.

Oh, and for those who expected a Sean Connery association to be included, this emblematic Scotsman will always be beyond genres and classifications, thus Guerlain's Jicky will always do the trick for him. Monkish or not.
30th November 2015

What happens when a Messe de Minuit takes place in Avignon Cathedral? That must be the question buzzing in the head of the people at Jovoy when they started thinking about an incense fragrance for their line. And the answer is, of course, La Liturgie des Heures! It starts coniferous and rock mineral like Avignon, though it displays immediately a darker, richer, deeper and even sweeter side: more myrrh, more resins. A grapefruit- bitter, sour, mineral in a slightly urinous way- note that immediately reminds me of the Etro fragrance hovers on the whole development. The drydown is more mellow, fizzy resinous, compared to the CdG fragrance, and, most important of all for me, it seems to be lacking the woody ambers that I find so bothering in Avignon.
In short, an enjoyable take on the church incense theme, though not much original.
2nd April 2015
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