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Friday, June 19, 2009

Czech & Speake Frankincense and Myrrh: Perfume Review

During a stressful time to which perfumes does a non-believer turn for comfort? Why, it's to incense perfumes! Ironic, huh? When I do, I am not looking for them to remind me of any particular churches or associated experiences, I don't want Orthodox or Catholic incense...I just want that melancholy-uplifting, "this too shall pass" quality that few smells apart form frankincense are able to offer. (Yes, it is also ironic that a non-believer finds comfort in the fatalist words of Ecclesiastes.)

Czech & Speake's Frankincense and Myrrh is perfect for times like this. It is completely non-denominational. It is spiritual, not religious. The herbal citrusy-ness of the top notes of lemon, orange and basil is refreshing and open window into the world...without it the composition could have been too heavy in more ways than one. The fruitiness of orange brings out the sweet side of myrrh, and smooths the sharp angles of the dry, bright, resinous frankincense note. There is a certain tarry quality in the perfume that I like, something almost leathery, smoked. It gives the composition the comforting feel of solidity, stability, safety...It makes me believe that "the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, be not darkened, nor the clouds return after the rain."

Available at Apothia, Czech & Speake and Luckyscent.

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Blogger Occhineri said...

Great review--I wear this one when I want to clear my head & feel calm. There's something detoxifying about this scent to me.

12:09 AM EDT  
Blogger EileenS said...

Nice review! You've captured a lot of what this scent says to me. I have been enjoying my sample and thinking about a FB -- you're pushing me very close to the edge!

8:54 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Exactly as you said: something detoxifying about this scent!

9:02 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

If you jump, I jump :-)

9:03 AM EDT  
Blogger lilybp said...

Am I remembering this wrong? I thought there was a lot of lavender in here. Hmmm. . .I have a partial bottle somewhere; I need to try it again.

9:19 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Missed you!
Maybe, there is some. There is something cooling in there.

9:20 AM EDT  
Blogger elle said...

This really is one of the most comforting, calming scents I know of. I do pick up on the lavender that Judith mentions. I normally avoid lavender like the plague, but it works perfectly for me here - as it also does in EeL. And I second what WW said - it's once again time to laugh, relax.

10:44 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

How did I miss lavender or what did I mistake it for? :-)

10:53 AM EDT  
Blogger lilybp said...

missed you too--let's all laugh and relax together!

11:01 AM EDT  
Anonymous Elisabeth said...

Oi Marina
Belo texto.
Concordo com voce. Incenso e mirra são aromas espirituais e confortáveis.
Induzem à meditação e contemplação. Gosto muito.
Alguns perfumes com estas notas são maravilhosos.Beijocas Elisabeth

Hi Marina
Beautiful text. I agree to you. Incense and mirra are comfortable spirituals notes. They induce to the meditation and contemplation. Taste very. Some perfumes with these notes are wonderful.XOXO.Elisabeth

11:34 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Hoping you will come to NYC soon! :-(

11:42 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I totally agree about the meditation and contemplation.

11:42 AM EDT  
Blogger ScentScelf said...

Lured me in, you did. I thought, oh, good...I'll get to enjoy a Marina review, and not feel any lemming. After all, frankincense?


I am intrigued by the uplift of the orange against the meditative aspects of the frankincense, and can absolutely understand how citrus would nicely cut the thickness of myrhh. It adds to the interest that one who finds herself getting lost in contemplation would find that this scent helps show the way out.

As always, thanks for your post. :)

2:39 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...


HA :-)

Citrus really is very meaningful and functional in this blend.

2:51 PM EDT  
Blogger Unknown said...

Such a relief to read your reviews, and this time for the brilliant deconstruction of frankincense and myrrh, and the devolution of their qualities to a - let's put it this way - new beginning. Had not Old Testament and New Testament texts underline the importance of these, and ancient traditions made these fragrances dear and special, what would they offer? Once again, dear Marina, you capture la chose, the material quality of these two, and ...just in a blog, en passant, explain why they justify their trail of preciousness. And the citrus, but that is entirely different. Lovely

5:49 AM EDT  
Blogger Unknown said...

i meant 'la chose', of course...

7:24 AM EDT  
Blogger Flora said...

Very nice! I adore both frankincense and myrrh, must try this soon.

6:01 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

As always, you are very kind to my ramblings!

1:14 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Would love to hear what you think.

1:14 AM EDT  
Blogger Mark Neustadt said...

I do think the lavender is the controversial aspect of this scent. For many people it comes on overwhelmingly right at the start. But it goes away and you're left with a well-balanced long-lived incense scent. This has been a mainstay for me for a few years. It's lIght enough to wear in the daytime to work as opposed to many incense scents. To me, it is a genuine modern man's cologne.

9:19 AM EDT  
Blogger dukeofpallmall said...

This one was a beauty indeed, but the reformulation has robbed it of much of its charm and reduced a very true frankincense & myrrh note in favor of rather pedestrian wood & spice.

7:01 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

do you feel too, like dukeofpallmall, that it has changed over the years?

7:07 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

So it was even better? It's a pity I did not know it then :-(

7:08 PM EDT  
Blogger Mark Neustadt said...

Marina – I'm think my bottle is pre-reformulation. I've had it for a number of years and I'm pretty sure I got it before the company went through that big restructuring.

That's likely the reason why you didn't note the lavender in your review. In my bottle, the lavender comes on initially like a huge, cold blast. It's hard to miss.

BTW, for me F&M is totally a cold weather scent. I think about during the holiday season when its name makes most sense. I wonder if that also has to do with the reformulation.

1:34 PM EDT  

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