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Thursday, December 02, 2010

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: Montale Full Incense

By Tom

Other houses are known for keeping the volume down. They will have an incense scent that has wispy curls of smoke, like something half-remembered.

Montale isn't one of those houses. I can't think of any other that would dare put out an incense scent that is this full on: the incense in the opening is so rich, so resiny it's almost eye-watering. It's not just church services, it's the church caught fire and burned to the ground before the local fire department could come to its aid, taking with it hymnals, roof beams, flying buttresses and a ten-year stock of the eponymous ingredient. Two little dabs on my hand were strong enough to be smelled from space and lasted longer than Knots Landing did on TV.

Need I state that I adore it? Like the best of Montale, it's just so joyously over-the-top that it's impossible not to smile. Like the best of Montale it's also not so over-the-top that it's impossible to wear: just lightly dabbed and not, unless you are either attending or better yet presiding over a High Catholic Mass sprayed on clothing.

The notes from LuckyScent are cedar, labdanum, patchouli, elemi and Somali incense. $120 for 50ML, which applied judiciously (which for the sake of those around you I fervently pray you do..) should last until the second coming. Perhaps even the third. My sample was cadged from ScentBar.

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Blogger Katie Puckrik said...

Tom, why haven't I run into you at the Scent Bar yet? Specifically, at the Scent Bar having a tug of war with you over the Montale Full Incense tester?

Making it my personal crusade to investigate every incense ever to guff a puff into the air, I'd made a beeline for this one. It struck me as sharp and peppery rather than smoky. I also thought it was one of those thin, dry incenses like Micallef Shanaan. I guess it's the lack of caloric vanilla sweetening agents that make this Montale the Thin Man of incenses. People have compared it to CdG Avignon, but that feels fuller and richer to me. Incense Nerd analysis over.

Thanks for writing on this one. I now need to go try it AGAIN.

2:32 AM EST  
Blogger marsha said...

Oooh, this one sounds just right, like I would feel the cold walls of the cathedral or better yet, the monastery. Guess I'll need to visit the Lucky Scent site and get a sample, since it sounds like a sample would last for awhile.

7:43 AM EST  
Anonymous d3m0lici0n said...

I tried it and for me it smells a lot like Avignon, and if people have that one or Cardinal in their collections I don't think they need this one. because it smells like Avignon if you try it you are not going to think is that original or great.

9:25 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

lulz @ knots landing.

I prefer my incense subtle I have to say, but this one intrigues me for some reason. Why hasn't Montale release an incense before this? Seems strange...

10:49 AM EST  
Anonymous ghostranchguy said...

fantastic stuff... bought a big bottle right away

runner up to the most powerful of 'em all (norma kamali's INCENSE) but much cheaper... and not as cloyingly sweet as that avignon mess (much more venetian... as in st mark's basilica)

i'm hoping people won't buy it... i was upset to see this review

3:21 PM EST  
Anonymous Flora said...

Oh boy, I can't wait until this baby arrives in my local shop! I do adore those over-the-top Montales! Go big or go home seems to be their motto, and in this case it can't be anything but a plus.

4:21 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


It's such a teenise bottle I don't think there could be a tug-of-war over it!

5:07 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I love your description like I would feel the cold walls of the cathedral or better yet, the monastery

5:08 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


Haven't smelled Avignon that I remember so I can't way.

5:09 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


good question? It seems like such a no-brainer, right?

5:10 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


don't worry, only 6 people have commented..

5:11 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


It is "go big or go home" with them.

Luckily they're also really good!

5:11 PM EST  
Blogger Carrie Meredith said...

I've been wading through the Montale aouds lately (very hit or miss so far), and I'm interested in this one too. I'm growing tired of powderiness (and most all ambers) in perfumes, so I'm treading lightly these days. I think if you want incense, you get powdery automatically, don't you think? In any case, I'm fascinated by the way Montale does their own thing, and how even mentioning the name seems to polarize people.

8:05 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seems I finally found a christmas present for our priest! Thank you ;)

4:50 AM EST  
Anonymous Marian said...

The only incense perfume I'm familiar with is Messe de Minuit. Sounds like I should give Montale's interpretation a try!

7:00 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I don't think this is too powdery; it's very resiny.

I know some people shrink from Montale. I'm not one of them..

10:59 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


Good one!

11:00 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I think you should and let us know what you think!

11:00 AM EST  
Blogger Proximity said...

This sounds like just the kind of thing that I would love to wear tiny tiny dabs of this time of year!

10:30 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tom, I don't know if it's too late to ask but I read that this may be similar to Tauer's Incense Extreme which I own. I'm curious if you noticed any similarities.


1:09 AM EST  
Blogger Unknown said...

I ran over to Scent Bar the day after I read this post - actually, Steve emailed letting me know that they now carry Knize if anyone's interested, anywho...I tested the Montale and found it very similar to CdG's Avignon. You should give it a try, I think the price point is better!

3:35 AM EST  

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