The dry resinous fragrance of incense has a very calming, soothing effect, which has been known since antiquity. In fact, both Eastern and Western religions share the use of frankincense in their ceremonies as it is believed to aid prayer and meditation. When fashion designer John Galliano approached perfumer Olivia Giacobetti (author of Hermès Hiris, L’Artisan Premier Figuier, Diptyque Philosykos) to create a home fragrance reminiscent of the Russian Orthodox church, it was the note of frankincense that Giacobetti chose to explore. The result is Essence of John Galliano, available as both a candle and room spray–a beguiling melange of smoky leather and dark woods, wrapped in a dusky glow of incense.
The first impression of Essence of John Galliano is the leather-incense accord. It alternates between smoky and woody, with the bright, peppery note of frankincense lending it an effervescent, uplifting character. The earthy twist of iris gives the fragrance a polished quality reminiscent of Chanel Cuir de Russie. The delicate sweetness of vanilla further refines the dark richness of Essence of John Galliano, rounding out the rough edges of the dry leather notes. Like most of Olivia Giacobetti’s fragrances, Essence of John Galliano has a transparent, lucid quality. As the fragrance diffuses in the air, it appears vivid, yet not at all heavy or overwhelming.
Essence of John Galliano is among my favorite candles for just about any occasion, from a romantic dinner tête-à-tête or relaxing alone with a cup of tea and a good book. Its smoky, woody fragrance is the perfect antidote to a long and stressful day. As I light the candle and watch its beige wax melt to release the rich incense notes, I feel my own tiredness melt away. The sepia tinted packaging embellished with Gothic characters is quite elegant and eye-catching which is why this candle is among my favorite choices for gifts. It has an excellent throw and a long life. The candle burns cleanly, but I recommend being vigilant about trimming the wick to avoid smoldering. The room spray is likewise excellent, and at times I even spray some on my clothes to enjoy the smoky incense notes.
Essence of John Galliano Candle and Room Spray are available at Aedes, Barney’s, Beautyhabit, Bluemercury, and Bigelow’s. $68 for a 190g candle and $60 for a 150ml bottle of room spray.