Myrrh, frankincense and incense theme

You can order all perfumes featured in this theme as a pack of samples.

In this theme

Travel through time with two ancient perfume materials: myrrh and frankincense. The story of both starts millennia before they became part of the nativity we know today.

Egyptians used myrrh as medicine and as part of their embalming solution. If you visit the Egyptian Halls of the British museum you can still catch the myrrh aroma emanating from the exhibits. But the name ‘myrrh’ comes from the Hebrew mōr (“bitter”). Later in the Magi gifts it came to symbolize the mortality of the baby messiah (gold was a symbol of him being the king of kings and frankincense represented the divine nature of the baby). It’s quite ingenious as myrrh does smell “human”: it has a dark, almost indolic dense sweet leathery aroma.

Frankincense (aka olibanum) is now a popular perfume theme in the 21st century but for millennia has been a sacred material supposedly capable of carrying prayers to the God(s) when lit in a censer. It’s often confused with or called ‘incense’. However incense can be any aromatic resin or mix of resins, spices or wood chips rich in oils that will produce fragrant fumes when lit.

This edit includes  perfumes in which these materials have been used: from ancient incense stories to modern functional blends void of metaphysical reverence.

Anatolia PRIN Smell the air of an oriental Bazaar

Anatolia, the land in Asia Minor and at some point the heart of the Ottoman Empire that also left its legacy in perfume styles known as 'Turkish leather' - an incensey, spiced smooth leather idea with some dried fruit nuances.

Anatolia, the perfume is the finest example of that style, elegant, rich and delicious with frangrant references to the region, its cuisine, lavish incense recipies and history.

Osang Mendittorosa for a frankincense and myrrh mix try

Oliban Phaedon Paris Fantastic frankincense

In Oliban the cedarwood oil used in the formula was distilled alongside frankincense (the result is a fantastic woody material which is neither cedar nor frankincense but an amalgamation of both). An interesting fact: Olibanum in old Hebrew means frankincense and as this material mostly comes from the Middle East it even gave a name to a country in the region - Lebanon. Oliban is a very modern (even functional) take on frankincense.

Myrrhiad Pierre Guillaume Black Collection Approachable myrrh without the animalic part

Myrrhiad is as dark as a December evening and as cosy as a window radiating golden light amidst a cold night. However, the perfumer intentionally obliterated any leathery or animalic nuances of myrrh in this formula by adding a generous portion of the dry crisp woodiness of black tea. A very modern take on using myrrh.

Autoportrait Olfactive Studio for frankincense try

Camel Zoologist Smell the air of an oriental Bazaar

Myrrh had been known as a medicine, embalming agent and incense since the times of the Pharaohs. Camel offers you to travel back in time and smell myrrh as part of a Medieval story. You can imagine merchants bringing exotic treasures from Levant and a romantic smell scape of camels pacing through hot sands with their precious load … dates, myrrh, frankincense, spices and floral oils.