Incense is big news right now. In the ever-evolving world of perfumery, this one fragrance trend has caught the attention of many. Many of the recent perfume launches highlight incense notes within their composition and we recently mentioned Incense fragrances as one of the key fragrance trends for 2024 in our latest ebook. We believe incense will have a major impact on the perfumery world this year.

But what exactly is incense and why is it gaining popularity?

What is Incense?

Incense is a resinous material derived from various trees and plants, often used for ceremonial purposes throughout history. With a distinct smoky and mystical aroma, incense adds a touch of intrigue and spirituality to fragrances. It evokes a sense of ancient rituals and a connection to the divine.

The word is derived from the Latin verb ‘incendere’ meaning ‘to burn’ and has been used in a variety of different religious rituals, cultural settings and practices. Whether it’s the fragrant offering in religious ceremonies or the therapeutic purposes in ancient healing rituals, incense has played a vital role throughout history. The aromatic scent of resins, woods and floral materials has long been revered for its ability to create an atmosphere of tranquillity and serenity.

What’s the difference between Incense in Perfumery and Incense Sticks?

incense perfumes

Many will confuse incense as a perfumery material with incense sticks which, although are linked, are not the same.

In perfumery, Incense is most directly associated with Olibanum or Frankincense, however, is more commonly used as a collective term for various fragrance materials with balsamic, smoky notes.

Many of these materials are derived from the Burseraceae family of plants and trees, and are the source of Elemi, Myrrh and Oppoponax, in addition to Olibanum & Frankincense. These are commonly found in various locations in Africa, India and the Middle East.

A common extraction method called ‘Tapping’ allows us to collect the resinous gums/tears from the trees from which essential oils, resinoids and absolutes are produced and used to create a desired incense scent.

To complete an Incense aroma, these materials are often combined with various spices such as cinnamon, clove or pepper, deep woods of guaiac wood or sandalwood alongside rich, sweet balsamic notes of benzoin or vanilla. These notes work together to create a warm, exotic, smoky and mysterious scent.

Incense can be used in perfumes, candles and other fragranced products to add depth and complexity to the overall aroma.

What is the most popular incense?

Nag Champa is one of the most popular incenses in the world. It is crafted using a delightful blend of precious gums, resins, powders and the purest Mysore Sandalwood Oil. Its sacred essence encompasses qualities of stability and focus, making it an ideal companion for meditation, relaxation, as well as alleviating the burdens of stress and anxiety.

The Revival of Incense in Perfumes

In recent years, incense has experienced a notable revival within the perfume industry. Perfumers and fragrance connoisseurs have rediscovered the captivating qualities of this ancient element. Infusing their creations with the smoky, mystical nature of incense, the popularity of incense has surged.

These perfumes evoke a sense of mystery and elegance that appeals to a wide range of individuals. They transport us to ancient temples or sacred spaces, creating a connection between the wearer and a higher state of consciousness. The smoky, resinous notes envelop us in a warm embrace, instilling a sense of calm and grounding amidst the chaos of everyday life.

Spring/ Summer 2024 Fragrance Trendsspring summer fragrance trends

Looking for the freshest fragrance trends this spring and summer? Download our latest Fragrance Trend ebook

Popular Perfumes with Incense Notes

what is incenseIncense scents possess a captivating and mystical quality that invites us to explore the depths of our imagination. Perfumers have masterfully incorporated these scents into countless perfume compositions; both as a standalone note and in combination with other ingredients. Its versatility allows it to shine in various roles – as a base, a middle note, or even a subtle top note.

In some perfumes, incense will take centre stage, enveloping our senses with its smoky and resinous nature. The bold and striking presence of incense can be enhanced by notes of vanilla, amber, or spices, creating a warm and opulent fragrance experience. These compositions are perfect for those who desire a fragrance that exudes confidence and luxury.

Incense can also play a supporting role, adding depth and complexity to other fragrance ingredients. It can be expertly combined with floral notes, such as rose or jasmine, to create an intriguing contrast of softness and intensity. The result is a perfume that is both ethereal and captivating.

The World According to Arthur by Penhaligon’s

This is an Amber Spicy fragrance for women and men. This powerful and delicate fragrance has top notes of Vanilla, Incense and Grapefruit. Middle notes are Ambrette (Musk Mallow) and Clary Sage, with base notes of Incense and Tonka Bean.

Myrrhe Mystere  by Tom Ford

This fragrance does exactly what it says. It takes warm and spicy myrrh as its central note. Complemented by woodsy spices, sandalwood, and a hint of vanilla, Myrrhe Mystère embraces the rarity and exclusivity fuelled by the ingredient’s ancient heritage and expands olfactory horizons with the allure of warm, woody, and sweet notes. The composition develops with myrrh essence and myrrh resinoid absolute, wrapped up in smooth sandalwood and vanilla notes.

Myrrhe 55 by Le Labo

A Chypre fragrance for women and men, Myrrhe 55 was launched in 2023. Myrrh, a resin once considered to be so sacred that it was more valuable than gold. Myrrh, which smells of incense with a strong liquorice twist, is combined with jasmine and patchouli on a bed of oud, ambergris, and musk. Myhhre 55 is understated elegance, emanating contemporary yet creative classicism that makes it hard to ignore and forget.

Nomade Nuit D’Egypt by Chloe

A brand new release that has already garnered some popularity.  This is an Amber Floral fragrance for women with notes of Myrrh, Cinnamon and Ginger complemented by musk and amber scents.

The Future of Incense in Perfume: Predictions and Prospects

As the trend of incense in perfumes continues to grow, the future looks promising. Perfumers are always in search of new and innovative ways to captivate our senses, and the versatility of incense allows for endless possibilities.

We can expect to see more unique combinations of incense with unconventional fragrance ingredients, creating perfumes that challenge our olfactory perceptions and push the boundaries of traditional scent profiles. The demand for incense-based fragrances is likely to rise as more individuals seek scents that resonate with their desire for spirituality, grounding, and authenticity.

Looking for an Incense Fragrance Oil?

Our experienced and knowledgeable team are happy to advise on all manner of fragranced products. Click here to request samples of our latest fragrances.

About Carvansons

Carvansons is a world-leading creator and compounder of bulk fragrance oil used globally in the cosmetic, personal care, household and industrial manufacturing sectors. As a global fragrance manufacturer, we create high-quality fragrance oil compounds, aromas and perfumes with a worldwide presence.

We work with many different companies throughout the world, which include both big brand names and smaller, niche industries. Whether your product is highly functional or beautifully indulgent, we can find the perfect scent. We create fragrances that benefit and complement your product, brand and target audience. Contact us now.

*Please note:  The perfumes and products mentioned within this article are purely examples of products that contain particular fragrance notes. As a result, the products mentioned in this article are for reference only. We do not receive any commission for affiliated links/advertising.