I’ve tried a lot of perfumes so I don’t mind giving recomendations. I actually love giving perfume recomendations because it makes my weird obsession appear useful. One popular request is “Can you recommend a perfume that smells like church incense?” I always find this entertaining because my interaction with “church incense” is extremely limited. I’ve been to church twice in my life. Granted, both times were at an Eastern Orthodox church and there was incense but I don’t remember too much other than smoke and chanting (I was like 10 years old). My exposure to incense has always been of the headshop variety so when it comes to recommending a “church incense”, I have to go by what others tell me and use some common sense. A church incense probably has a lot of frankincense and myrrh, right?
As a whole, the Ramón Béjar line is rather simple but it’s good. When it comes to the simple theme of materials, Ramón Béjar makes sure that material is presented elegantly. So, when there’s something called Sanctum using sacred woods and resins, I expect a really great incense perfume. And Ramón Béjar delivers.
Sanctum smells like a dusty, dark library. It’s dry resins that come across like lacquered woods. It literally smells like dust mixed with sawdust. Up close, Sanctum smells like raw myrrh resin. This raw myrrh has a cool, mineral dampness to it that reminds me of garden stones or old cobblestones. From a distance, Sanctum smells more like slightly smoldering incense made from precious woods. It dries down to a sweeter, smoother benzoin incense powder with a trail of smoldering smoke.
I don’t have much experience with old churches (and this is my disclaimer) but I totally see how Sanctum could smell like an old church. It’s a classic incense with a dusty and mineral accord that comes across like lacquered woods and old stones. It’s not a church with light from stained glass. It’s an old, dark church (or even a library) filled with echoes and old texts.
Notes listed include incense, myrrh, resins, sandalwood and benzoin. Launched in 2014. PERFUMER – Ramón Béjar
Give Sanctum a try if you like literal incense or resins perfumes. Or fragrances like Sonoma Scent Studio Incense Pure, Heeley Cardinal, Comme de Garcones Avignon, Montale Full Incense and/or Norma Kamali Incense.
Projection and longevity are above average.
The 2.55 oz bottle retails for $295 at Osswald.
Victoria’s Final EauPINION – Raw myrrh and dusty pews. If you’re one of those people that can’t get enough of resins and incense in your perfumes, this is worth trying.
Want more reviews? Try…
Fragrantica – Member reviews