Parfum d'Empire (2009)

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Wazamba by Parfum d'Empire

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About Wazamba by Parfum d'Empire

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Parfum d'Empire
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Wazamba is a shared scent launched in 2009 by Parfum d'Empire

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Reviews of Wazamba by Parfum d'Empire

There are 35 reviews of Wazamba by Parfum d'Empire.

Wazamba! It sounds explosive, which is strange, because it smells explosive too, especially when it tumbles out in that first, aldehyded rush of sugared pine needles, frankincense, and cinnamon-dipped red fruits. The pine ‘flavor’ in Wazamba is the connecting dot (for me) between the coniferous notes and the naturally piney facet of frankincense. As with its close relative, Filles en Anguilles by Serge Lutens, the pine notes read as something sunlit and Mediterranean, rather than snowy and Northern, a feeling cleverly underlined by a tangy cypress note.

In Wazamba, the umbrella pines are bent sideways by a Bora or a Sirocco, the soil beneath them is springy with orange-brown pine needles, and everything is warm, dry, and aromatic. It is an extremely fruity scent, if you stand back and look at it from a distance – dried plum and cranberries, I think, more than apple. But up close, the piney-coniferous freshness of the woods proves an effective bridle, slowing the roll of the fruit and sobering it up. There is also quite a lot of clove or cinnamon, which manifests as a dustiness or chalkiness of texture in the gradient of the wood rather than as a hotly-spiced standalone accent. I think Wazamba proves that, in the right hands, heavy-duty stuff like plum or myrrh and frankincense can be manipulated to take up the shape of light filtering through sea-leaning pine trees. Nice (but non-essential).

The exudates from trees are for repair, they flow around the wounded site, and harden into a seal. These resins are believed to repair our souls, to treat our wounds from trauma or grief. Their tears encourage our tears, which are themselves for repair, or they serve as a salve in times of anxiety or discord. I have much respect for what trees give to all other living beings, and I have a feeling perfumer Marc-Antoine Corticchiato does as well, from what I experience through Wazamba.

The bitter and sappy are countered with the sweet and warm, like the cool air on one's face while wearing a well-insulated coat. I experience the skin of a red apple, an undertone of spiced cider, the whiff of a plum pudding, a festive echo with pine boughs adorned with twigs of juniper and cypress, then the frankincense resin simmering above a warmer, a bit of a bubble and sizzle, thin plumes of white. Myrrh and opoponax launch soon thereafter, and all of it stirs my personal space like an incantation.

There isn't a carnal sensuality to Wazamba, and that may disappoint some, but I find relief in a fragrance that distances us from desire and brings to the here and now, without distraction, but allowing space for some wonder. It isn't conventionally sexy, but neither is it cold nor detached. It has a loving kindness to it, only hinting at cool, dry asceticism. It can't be all that serious when I can fondly recall the lush needles of trees, the sap sticking my fingers together as a kid, delighting in the aroma and watching my digits slowly separate with the resins suspended into webs.

If you are a diehard incense fragrance like me, it's worth your while to sample this.

I usually associate incense with a calm and meditative mood, but this feels uplifting and vibrant. The sweetness from the resins, plum, and apple give it a fruit-like sweetness. Now, do I want a fruity incense if I'm looking for an incense dominant fragrance? Maybe. Sometimes, I think the fruitiness steals the show and makes this incense based instead of incense-centric. It's a nice scent but I'm not impressed by it. If you have dozens of incense fragrances and want something different, then this might be it. But I don't think this is anything special.

Wazamba by Parfum d'Empire makes me think of standing in the middle of a pine forest while wearing YSL Opium. YSL opium is a dignified incense with resins, myrrh, and aldehydes. Speaking of aldehydes, I usually feel slightly nauseous or headachy after a few minutes of wear, but Wazamba isn't giving me that feeling. Maybe the heavy hit of woody notes is counter acting the aldehydes? Or maybe the combination of loud or sweet floral notes with aldehydes makes me nauseous? Anyway, Wazamba is so classy--a formal incense that will cut through the cold weather. This might work in the warm weather, but I've yet to try it in such conditions.

IMO, Wazamba does not smell like Fille en Aiguilles. I would recommend Cape Heartache by Imaginary Authors if you were looking for a sweet woody scent with a prominent balsam fir note, not Wazamba. I would recommend Wazamba if you are looking for a unique, elegant, slightly masculine-leaning incense.


A dense weave of resins throwing off enough heat to match an electric blanket. Wazamba is centred around smoky incense which comes dressed first with the sap of conifers and then gets folded into a rich brown mix of myrrh, opoponax and what seems like a multiplying hall of mirrors style panoply of resins. A running theme of dried fruits gives Wazamba a Lutensesque slant. If you like this kind of centrally heated oriental, then jump at Wazamba; like Corticchiato's other work, it is classically proportioned despite the resinous maximalism. I find this kind of thing just a tad suffocating for my taste and can't find a day cold enough in which to comfortably wear it.

Self-Portrait in Hell by Edvard Munch 1903

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