Andy on his love of incense.
If there’s one thing I smell to feel better, it’s frankincense. Whether I need a break from typing, am feeling stressed, need to be jolted awake—I often simply reach for my pouch of frankincense tears and take a deep whiff. Even if I rarely find the time to conduct an incense ceremony all my own, just a brief inhale of frankincense has come to feel like a special, private ritual to me. I mention my habit of smelling this special resin because Aedes de Venustas’s Copal Azur, created by perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour, captures every element of frankincense I love, from brisk piquancy all the way down to rich, balsamic sweetness.
Soon after Copal Azur melds into the skin, it emanates with the sparkle of citrus zest and spices, calling to mind the act of crushing peppercorns and cardamom pods together in a pestle. As this initial fiery sizzle begins to soften, the frankincense starts to shine through with a nearly pine-like, aromatic freshness. The overall effect is bracing and crisp, uplifting enough to widen one’s eyes for a moment, but devoid of any rough edges.
As Copal Azur wears on, the resins seem to heat up, the bracingly spicy impression all but faded. The frankincense loses its initial coniferous edge and becomes more dryly woody, and the perfume takes on an almost mineral, salted quality. Like fleur de sel sprinkled on a slick of smoky caramel, this saltiness works beautifully with subtly sweet amber, which starts to seep in through the warm resins. In this stage, the perfume starts to feel smoldering and dreamy, like the mesmerizing sensation of watching curls of sweetly scented smoke rise from a censer.
Later, Copal Azur reaches a marriage of frankincense’s deep, balsamic sweetness and the vanilla-labdanum duality of amber, a combination so seemingly ancient that it makes me feel that I am not merely wearing this perfume, but anointed by it. This drydown is not only beautiful, but also lasts well, and I find myself surprised by how well it lingers as I sniff my wrists many hours later.
On the whole, what makes Copal Azur so interesting is its progression from crispness in the top notes to caressing smoothness in the heart. So interesting is the interplay of bracing and soft elements that I’m drawn to Copal Azur again and again, just to experience that transformation.
On one hand, the natural, rugged quality of the frankincense in Copal Azur reminds me of Tauer Incense Extreme, on the other, the bolstering of smooth woods calls to mind another Duchaufour creation, Comme des Garçons Kyoto. Like many incense perfumes, Copal Azur does not shout, but rather envelops the wearer in a warm veil of fragrance. For all these beautiful qualities, I’m apt say that Copal Azur is just about as lovely an incense perfume one could wish for.
Aedes de Venustas Copal Azur Eau de Parfum includes notes of ozone, salt, incense, cardamom, patchouli, myrrh, amber, tonka. 100 ml/$245, a purse spray with three 10 ml refills/$195 ($110 for only the refills).
This review based on a PR sample sent by the company.