Olibanum by Profumum

Notes: orange blossom, sandalwood, incense, and myrrh.

I’ve tested several scents from Profumum over the years (and even written about some here and here). I have liked each and every scent I’ve tested. There doesn’t seem to be a dud in the bunch! Olibanum is yet another winner. The only problem is that Profumum Roma is a niche brand from, you guessed it, Rome. It’s not the easiest to find here in the US. It’s fairly pricey as well. The brand now offers an 18 ml travel size for $83 which Luckyscent carries. The 100 ml size is better value for money, but that travel size might be how I acquire my first Profumum scent, and Olibanum is a potential contender.

As you can guess from the name, Olibanum is a resinous, incense-focused fragrance. Indeed, it opens with a very true-to-life incense note. It’s like walking into a yoga studio and recognizing that they’re burning the good incense. It’s not smoky or acrid. It’s not plasticky or synthetic. It’s just true incense. This is a dry, yet well-rounded composition. The other notes come through sparingly, but they do their job in supporting incense as the star of the show.

Looking at the notes, I expected to smell orange blossom first. I expected a clean white floral scent. However, this orange blossom is actually very citrus-driven and more like true petitgrain from the leaves rather than the orange blossom itself. It’s a zesty yet dry orange citrus note that blends with the incense to give a bit of life, a bit of vivacity to the composition. It’s not floral at all though. I find that this citrus note comes through more on the skin rather than testing on paper. And it comes through as you wear it, rather than as a top note.

Sandalwood is also listed, and this is not your typical creamy sandalwood. This is not Santal Blush. Again, it’s as dry as can be. My nose reads it more as cedar than sandalwood. But then, I love cedar so much, my brain could wish it into any composition! Regardless, this piece of the composition serves as a dry woody anchor for the resinous incense to play off of. Just today, I tried layering Olibanum with Jo Malone’s Wood Sage and Sea Salt, and it is delicious! The woody notes are intensified and the grapefruit note in WS&SS plays well with the bitter orange blossom of Olibanum.

Of course, you don’t need to layer Olibanum. It’s a stunning fragrance on its own. However, it’s very somber and contemplative. This is incense, after all, the scent of sitting in quiet meditation or prayer. I do get church vibes, but I grew up Catholic. I will always get Catholic mass vibes from incense. If you don’t want to project Catholic mass vibes, layering Olibanum with a more floral or fruity composition is probably a good idea. On its own, Olibanum is a stark but beautiful fragrance. It makes an impression with few notes. It’s meant for reflection, and it’s gorgeous at this time of year. It’s definitely worth testing, as are so many scents from this line.

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Profumum is available from Luckyscent in the US, which is where I ordered my sample of Olibanum.

The info on notes is from Fragrantica.

The photo is of St. Patrick’s Cathedral. I took it on a rainy morning when I was in New York in September.