“The solid, solid universe
Is pervious to Love;
With bandaged eyes he never errs,
Around, below, above.
His blinding light
He flingeth white
On God’s and Satan’s brood
By mystic wiles
The evil and the good.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
Bergamot, petitgrain bigarde, nutmeg, palo santo accords, cedar, hedione, incense, myrrh, musks.
The Different Company are a French brand who have been around for almost 20 years. They work with some of the big names in the business to produce scents unfettered by limits on price or the time it takes to create them. They pride themselves on using top quality ingredients and have that old-school, quality vibe about what they do and how they go about it.
The Different Company’s line is arranged into three collections: Collection Excessive, L’Esprit Cologne and Juste Chic of which Santo Incienso forms the latest release. Alexandra Monet is the nose behind the scent.
When our Editor-in-Chief was a child – a young child at that – she had a friend who used to lick slugs and snails because she thought that the sparkly trails that they left at dusk were the most beautiful things she had ever seen, and she wanted to imbibe that glittery goodness in the hope that it would make her shimmer too. Although it doesn’t sound altogether that promising – to begin by comparing a perfume to gastropods – it’s that beautiful glittery quality that we are eluding to. This is a scent that will make you feel as if your very pores are emitting a sparkly, shimmery white light. It’s both absolutely gorgeous, slightly magical-smelling, and rare in its singularity.
Santo Incienso begins with a very sparkly and bright bergamot. It has shades of citrus about it and is full of vibrancy and an almost fervent energy, leaping off the skin immediately upon application. It’s clear right from the start that this is something special, scent wise. There’s something here which is mesmeric, captivating, and it’s really hard to not fall into it.
Once the lemony ribbons have flitted away, clean white woods come through strongly and the transition between the two is flawless. The cedar is very apparent soon into the life of the scent and it is bright and crystal clear in its clarity.
One of the most beautiful things about this scent is that all the way through it feels as if it is vibrating on a slightly different frequency to the rest of the world. It’s strange but beguiling, and, quite frankly, we can’t get enough of it. It makes you feel as if you smell sparkly, like licking all those slugs and snails has finally paid off!
The heart of the scent matures into a chorus of crisp, blanched woods. This is a birch forest in Winter, it’s freshly cut cedar, it’s palo santo warming in thin sunlight. There’s the delicate hint of the nutmeg peeping through here and there which adds a spicy nuance, but it’s never overdone or heavily handled.
The heart of Santo Incienso has this really beautiful quality that we can only describe as a tenderness. All the potentially rough edges of the woods are smoothed off, the perfume embraces and envelops rather than dominating, and although this is pretty potent, you never feel like it is wearing you rather than the other way around. And yes, you could claim that this is the hedione, or the quality of the ingredients used, but we prefer to think that it is because there is a little something magical about this fragrance, something that isn’t quite the old paganism but it isn’t quite modern religion either.
In the base, a gentle smokiness creeps into the composition of Santo Incienso, but it’s a purifying, white smoke which is never acrid and doesn’t burn the back of your throat. The whole perfume becomes more complex and satisfying as it ages with resiny threads and sweeter highlights running through the scent and this whole slightly-mystical-slightly-religious feeling is supported throughout. It’s a bit like being in a church, but not as cold and stone-filled; a bit like being in a crisp wood, but not as sappy or green.
There’s something about Santo Incienso that is really attractive. It sits in the middle of woody, incense, bright scents and holds all those qualities together perfectly. It finally mellows to a musky fuzz but is never boring or staid. Instead, we found when we tested it, that it had this addictive quality that kept us going back, sniffing our wrists again and again, wondering when it was going to reveal its secrets to us.
The other stuff
The longevity of Santo Incienso is immense. It lasts all day without so much as breaking a sweat, some times we tested it we could even smell it faintly the next morning.
The sillage is powerful, with it projecting to beyond handshake distance quite easily and trailing well. You can get a good wear out of this scent without applying a lot of it, which means it makes good sense economically too!
We very much felt that Santo Incienso is wearable by all genders, but it perhaps sits slightly over towards the masculine end of the spectrum because of the prevalent woody notes within. When we tested it, we wore it all day, but because it is so special we felt that it might be work best on balmy summer evenings or to soirees taking place after dusk.
It’s also worth noting that we tested this in some pretty hot and sticky conditions and it did not wane despite the heat, so a good one to try if you want to smell nice on your tube ride home after a long day at the office.
Santo Incienso is available from The Different Company’s web boutique. One of the things we very much like about The Different Company is that they do their scents in these dinky 10ml bottles (€45) as well as regular 100ml (€195), and also the refills for those bottles (also 100ml, €126). We love the range available and also the fact that you will just be able to refill your existing bottle once it’s out, it’s a lovely touch. Santo Incienso is at extrait concentration, so extra bang for your buck too.
The Different Company gifted us a 10ml bottle of Santo Incienso at Esxence 2018, and we are really glad they did because this is one which is going into our Editor’s personal rotation.