The best thing about love at first sight is that it is unexpected.
I was struck by a bad case of love at first whiff recently — a most unforeseen affliction. Perhaps being taken off guard was what made the reaction so magical and so visceral.
I’m a big incense consumer. I’ve come to associate the familiar scent of a smoldering incense burner with my Parisian apartment, with the lion’s share of the living room and bookshelves lost in random clouds of scented smoke, along with the place that I find most welcoming—the leather armchair positioned beside the whisky tray.
Since I’m accustomed to using incense, I wasn’t expecting much from La Liturgie des Heures. The fragrance is a woody composition based on the very concept of incense itself—brimming with myrrh and olibanum …nothing different from the fumes that typically travel throughout my apartment, with remnants of the smell clinging to my overcoat as I dart outside for a quick errand.
The incense experience is, for me, something that calls for a relaxed environment and a glass of a good spirit, accompanied by a few hours to kill.
The Jovoy store
Yet, I left the shop with a 100ml bottle in tow.
At first sight of the label, you may not comprehend the meaning of the words—yet, as the name suggests, La Liturgie des Heures (the Liturgy of the Hours), also known as the Divine Office – draws inspiration from the Catholic tradition. La Liturgie des Heures is literally a set of prayers, psalms and hymns that are central to Catholic monastic life!
But La Liturgie is far from being yet another overly mystical perfume that is drenched in an incense so strong that it completely takes your head, creates a halo of circling mosquitoes, and makes your friends take two steps back whenever they encounter you. Jovoy managed to avoid these ugly pitfalls and has created what is arguably one of the most admirably restrained incense fragrances on the market today.
The opening is surprisingly fresh. Instead of a creaky old prayer room covered in dust, imagine taking a walk alongside the corridors of a cloister overlooking a mediterranean patio. There, you will find a slight touch of ethereal cypress, that is slightly balsamic and floats gently above the core notes.
Myrrh and frankincense make up the bulk of La Liturgie. The myrrh is powerful, smoky, and slightly heady – just enough to be enjoyable without being excessive.
As the perfume progresses, the myrrh becomes resinous and almost sweet. You may want to just … bite into it, and follow it down with the labdanum that seeps through the low hanging incense layer, bringing with it a few discreet, comforting, and almost medicinal vapors to the core of the scent.
La Liturgie ends on a musky note, a dash of patchouli, and dries into a bitter-sweet resin that could end up a touch sour or not, depending on the individuality of your skin.
For all its linear progression and simplicity, La Liturgie des Heures manages to impress by its understated density, that should inspire no small amount of affection from the aficionado.
With La Liturgie, Jovoy offers a coherent alternative to the classic Avignon, from the Comme des Garçons‘ incense collection – a lighter, simpler option. Whether you are in search of a good incense fragrance, or simply seek an elegant, original, and decidedly unexpected composition, you’d be well inspired to give it a fair shot.
Thank you, Jovoy, for proving that incense fragrances can be both modern and wearable.
We will likely review more of Jovoy’s offerings soon … If you ever find yourself in Paris, do yourself a favor and swing by their wonderful store; their own collection is but a fragment of the amazing swath of rare and niche brands of perfume you’ll find on display.
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++ : An ideal match for incense lovers. Original and wearable ; we appreciate the elegant simplicity of the composition that manages to be evocative without being too explicit.
— : Not as long lasting as we’d prefer. Also, serial sprayers beware : this is an EDP – spray too much, and you’ll turn into a sentient incense burner.
Wear it with : a properly fitted jacket in dark tones, with a contrasting tie. Complimenting handkerchieves work perfectly too. Hair wax and suglasses optional.
Jovoy Paris – 4 Rue de Castiglione 75001 Paris
Click here for Jovoy’s website.