The zenith of cold smokes
It's remarkable that was conveyed here so well, the frozen wooded ancient picture this paints.
I live in one of the coldest places on earth and this somehow appropriately matches the smell of smoke and woods in the cold.
It's a dry smoke, austere and quiet.
Powdery without the typical old cosmetics that iris and violet can conjure in a dry down.
On my never ending quest for incense fragrance I tried the range of this series.
This won my heart for its originality.
An olfactory time machine in a bottle.
When it opens , if I put my nose up close it hits me like cold metallic ctrus...if I step back , I smell laundry musk and pencil shavings...I'm Russian , and I guess theres different variations of Russian Orthodox churches... In my church the priest would walk around swinging an incense burner that made the church look like it was just hit with the fog machine at a rock concert...that childhood envelopement in clouds of frankinsence and myrrh is what launched my love of the smells of incense...i can hardly smell any incense in this fragrance...even a tad soapy at times...kind of ghostly pine and woods in general...i do get a very good scent aura with this...i can smell it drifting around me...nice for someone looking for a light and refreshing pseudo-incense fragrance...me, I'll stick with the hardcore stuff...
This is not an incense-dominated scent, rather, it's a pine/violet/wood fougere with some incense tucked in.
The violet, as it often does in fragrances, gives this a cooling effect. This works with the white musk to give this a very cold, clean feeling that encapsulates being in a mountainous region of Siberia. It's so bright that it lightens the incense notes up to an almost soap-like quality, which is why I think this absolutely presents as a bright fougere. It then dries down to a woody base that almost smells "Christmas-y" for lack of a better word. It's an interesting fragrance, to be sure, but not one that moves me at all. It definitely smacks of something that should be worn in the colder months, but apart from that, I don't know when I would want to wear something like this. Parts of it seem cold and mysterious, and the other parts seem like the background smells at a Christmas Eve dinner at Grandma's. Longevity is good, though projection is fair.
I'm not saying that this is a bad scent, but it's certainly not a blind buy. Maybe the right fragrance for someone else, but certainly not for me, and that's why I'll give this a neutral rating.
I agree with others who state Zagorsk doesn't present as a "true" incense fragrance, certainly not the type most Westerners are accustomed to. This fragrance smells very herbal, almost harshly so (at least to my nose...certainly upon opening).
So, the opening notes are quite intense where I perceive lots of cedar, cypress, pine and some sharp berries. Zagorsk does open like many typical fougere fragrances with lots 'n lots of forest, greenery, fern & pine...small, faint elements of dry incense intermittently break through upon application and throughout the first 5 minutes or so.
Mid notes emerge within 5 minutes and absolutely morph with and change the original opening notes. I like the middle phase of this fragrance. Unlike the other CdG Incense Fragrances I've tried, (or smelled), little floral whisps of violet try breaking through the mass of pine and cedar throughout the middle phase of this fragrance. While extremely faint, the fragrant violet is a pleasant & balancing element and one of the more pleasing aspects of this fragrance, IMHO.
Finally, like many "incense" fragrances, Zagorsk settles at base with woody, birch, rather typical "wood" notes. Not at all resinous, like what one might come to expect with an incense fragrance, Zagorsk is a bit powdery and cloud like. As incense fragrances go, I think Zagorsk is a relatively "easy" fragrance to wear.
And I like this fragrance, I do. However, similar to all the CdG Incense Series fragrances I've smelled and/or sampled, Zagorsk is not something I would ever purchase, or wear on a regular basis. While on my skin, Zagorsk is the most femininely appealing, or "unisex" of all the CdG Incense fragrances, I still think Zagorsk (and all the Incense Series fragrances) is decidedly masculine.
While I love the CdG "Incense" concept and I appreciate many of the "Incense" fragrances and notes, none in this CdG series have worked for me. For me, every CdG incense fragrance I've tried has just been to "church-y" for my tastes and definitely way too masculine leaning.
And for the price point (and like the others Incense fragrances), Zagorsk has limited silage, limited longevity and minimal staying power on my skin. It's expensive stuff and I like it but it's just not my style.
In the quest for the perfect incense fragrance, Zagorsk often gets recommended.
The raw, lemony-smokey incense that most people in Western countries are used to (Avignon, Sahara Noir) is not to be found in Zagorsk. Instead, a pine-like, cold, crisp, resinous (almost powdery) accord is what Zagorsk offers, which is quite accurately described by the accompanying marketing. The scent is supposed to immitate a snow-covered Russian Monastery in the city of the same name. It remains quite linear throughout and develops little to my nose.
The Russian-style incense is totally justified in my opinion, so most Orthodox people might feel at home with this scent. But this is no 'one size fits all' incense. However, it may well be one of the most appropriate cold-weather scent in a long time: one that is zero sweet and a million miles from oriental ambers or ouds.
Comme des Garcons should be praised for their objective to create a fragrance for each of the world's largest religions, although I wouldn't associate Russian Orthodox with everything Orthodox Christian. That said, this scent is one of the closest things a fragrance can get to without actually burning anything. Therefore, it gets the thumbs up from me.
Other similar scents to check out might be Polo RL for the pine note (although quite different to Zagorsk) and Amouage Jubilation XXV and Breath of God by LUSH for incense in general.