Norma Kamali Incense 
Norma Kamali (1985)

DISCONTINUED

Average Rating:  23 User Reviews

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Norma Kamali Incense by Norma Kamali

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About Norma Kamali Incense by Norma Kamali

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Norma Kamali
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Norma Kamali Incense is a women's perfume launched in 1985 by Norma Kamali

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Reviews of Norma Kamali Incense by Norma Kamali

There are 23 reviews of Norma Kamali Incense by Norma Kamali.


My ideal of a scent, and the only thing (thus far) that's been worth me tracking down via a reseller and paying an eyewatering amount for. A true and genuine incense, that lasts forever and smells as good at the end as the beginning, becoming gentler and more rounded (very much like the next-day residue of actually burning these resins, only without the smoke - this smells like the aromatics itself, and does not carry any smell of burning).

Unusually for so-called "incense" perfumes (I've burned a lot of pure resins and woods in my time, and calling something "incense" tells one almost as little as calling something "perfume") this one focuses mostly on copal and myrrh.

Despite the indisputable darkness of it, it is still somehow airy, clear, and dry, with a remote warmth, immensely spacious. It's utterly magnificent, probably actually worthy of being described as "mystical", and I've never smelled anything else at all like it in the fragrance realm.

Its one flaw - ONE flaw - is that the bottle is literally the most terrible thing I've ever seen used for fragrance storage in my life, a gigantic and very poorly balanced splash bottle with a stopper. I hate it so much, and decant the perfume I actually use.


Do you dare smell the witch's cauldron, deep within the midnight forest?


Norma Kamali Incense opens with an almost dark citrus fruit liquor-like copal, with a co-starring radiant dark, woody frankincense and myrrh tandem before transitioning to its heart. As the composition enters its early heart the fruity liquor of the copal dissipates as the radiant dark, woody frankincense and pine-like myrrh accord takes complete control, seeming to increase exponentially as it adds a cedarwood undertone. During the late dry-down, the progression remains highly linear as the dark woody incense holds throughout, losing its radiant power gradually as time passes through the finish. Projection is excellent to outstanding and longevity outstanding at nearly 24 hours on skin.

It took me many years to sample the near-legendary Norma Kamali Incense due to its "unicorn" status and sky high prices for even a small sample. One day, however, a generous discussion group member sent a sample to me along with some other rarities to get my nose on, and I am glad to finally do so... I guess now having worn the perfume a few times I can see the allure to pure dark incense lovers, as it is a *huge* rather stark, dark woody incense that projects for the first few hours like crazy, only gradually tamping down over time. To love this perfume you have to be fine with highly linear development, as apart from the interesting fruit liquor infused dark incense open, things don't change much from the relentless dark, cedarwood and pine-like incense and myrrh tandem that hammers the wearer into submission over time. In the case of this writer, I don't mind a linear progression, but the scent profile of this particular one is certainly top quality and impressive, but difficult to wear often or indeed at all. I find myself reaching for slightly less intense incense offerings like Incense Oud by Killian or even hardcore incense perfumes like Ma Nishtana by Parfum Prissana. That said, if you are looking for a "take no prisoners" dark woody incense that has legendary staying power it is hard to fault Norma Kamali Incense. The bottom line is the discontinued and extremely difficult to source on the aftermarket Norma Kamali Incense is a near-reference quality "outstanding" 4 to 4.5 stars out of 5 rated dark linear incense that is recommended to those seeking a powerhouse dark incense, but those seeking finesse may want to look elsewhere for their incense fix.


I was rummaging through my perfume graveyard this evening and decided to pull out my mini of the elusive and non-existent Norma Kamali's Incense just to blow my mind. It dawned on me that I've never given this perfume the proper review that it deserves. This mix is a labdanum bomb to the 10th degree, to the 10th power and to the extreme of how wacky and out there a perfumer can actually get.

Completely and utterly unwearable as this is probably one of the strongest perfumes I've ever sampled in my life but, that's only one of the reasons that Norma Kamali's Incense is unwearable. It's more for the simple fact that this concoction smells like heroine, or better yet, the resin left behind after smoking the stuff which is not a pleasant odor at all. It's incredibly permeating and pungent. An odor that will straight up turn your stomach inside out. If you've smelled this then you'll know exactly where I'm going. It's a super stinky, very deep smell that trails forever and sticks to stuff, you can almost taste it. An odor that you'll never forget.

Now, you're probably asking yourself right now if I'm a toker of the smack and I can assure you that I'm not, never have and never will. I 'did' however have an awesome co-worker once upon a time who couldn't make it through an 8 hour shift without smoking a little dope due to the horrible withdrawal symptoms associated with being an addicted user of heroine. Very nice guy who was unfortunately a functioning smack addict. We were both waiters at the time so he would have to hide his paraphernalia goodies in his apron. I always knew when the dude had snuck away to the loo and had gotten his fix because I could smell the deeply resinous odor from his pipe seeping through his apron and it was on his breath as well, quite nasty smelling.

The plant that labdanum comes from is in the same family as the poppy plant that heroine just happens to be manufactured from, so, labdanum in a highly concentrated state like here in Norma Kamali's Incense smells exactly like fresh unsmoked dope, I'm not even kidding. I even found a labdanum absolute to make comparisons to this perfume which was basically a thick, black paste at room temperature that needed to be warmed up in a hot water bath to become pliable, and even then at that point you only had seconds to work with it before it congealed back into an almost solid like state. Some of the strongest smelling stuff on this planet, right up there with real agarwood oil but where oud oil can be scrubbed away, labdanum absolute is literally impossible to remove from your skin.

I was extremely lucky forever ago and ran across a seller on eBay who was offering up 1ml sample vials of this. Of course I had read all about this legendary incense perfume for a long while so naturally I splurged and bought everything he had available that amounted to 5mls which was overtly expensive, the most money that I've ever paid for a measly 5mls of perfume. Got the package, dabbed some on, was instantly nauseous. That memory of my co-worker came flooding back instantly, couldn't believe it.

I'll tell ya, this stuff is so ridiculously powerful that it should be applied with the eye of a sewing needle, no joke. Earlier this year I was in between leases on apartments and couldn't find one that I fancied so I was temporarily staying at my folks place for about a month which is a decent size home. I had once removed the cap to the tiny 5ml vial to take a whiff while my parents were out running errands and when they had gotten home about a few hours later, my Mom had asked me why the whole entire house smelled of maple syrup, not even making that up.

In my opinion and from first hand experience with this otherworldly unicorn of a perfume, it's not even worth it or the hunt. Norma Kamali's Incense does not smell like incense at all, it reeks of an atom bomb of labdanum because that's what this perfume is all about... a highly concentrated labdanum with extremely small amounts of myrrh and frankincense that are virtually undetectable until the next day after numerous washings. I only wore this once and once only. It was 1 tiny drop on my sternum that I had to scrub after a few hours due to myself reeking like some kind of weird bad breath, strongly. The only redemption was that well after the ol' scrub scrub there was something that was ever so slightly pleasurable but, the overall effect coupled with that strong association of my ex co-worker's nasty habit left me feeling cold and totally turned off. I'll hold on to the sample because it's so absurdly rare, outside of this though, Norma Kamali's Incense to my nose is really disgusting and totally, unwearable.


Old Testament incense of majestic and god-like proportions. If Noah took this on the ark every animal ended up smelling of it. This is more of an experience and less of a perfume to actually wear. A black hole of a fragrance, it is utterly dark and somehow organic-smelling, like something you'd uncover in a peat bog or find buried under the floor of an abandoned warehouse. I would never wear this, but I loved having the chance to smell it, and this is lucky because it is now simply IMPOSSIBLE to find.


One of the strongest incense, myrrh and dark wood scents I ever smelled. Not to say it is a favorable smelling fragrance. If you wear this anytime but in cold weather, you will make people run. A little of this goes a long way. Great projection and longevity fragrance. If Slumberhouse would have an extreme fragrance, this would be it. 7/10

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