Sonoma Scent Studio Incense Pure EDP Perfume Review

Sonoma Scent Studio Incense Pure

If you are looking for an “authentic” smelling incense perfume that focuses more on the raw ingredients of traditional incense more than smelling like something liturgical, check out Sonoma Scent Studio Incense Pure.

Incense Pure opens as a musty frankincense and myrrh. I also get a sharp piñon. I have little apothecary jars filled with resins: frankincense, myrrh, piñon, and labdanum. And I have little apothecary jars filled with woods and plants: sandalwood, Virginian cedar, patchouli leaves and orris root. When I have all of the lids off of the jars, it smells exactly like Incense Pure. Incense Pure goes from “raw” resins to burning resins and woods. It becomes smokier but it is never “smoky”. I like that Incense Pure isn’t “churchy”. It’s all about showcasing the raw ingredients of incense vs. transporting you to a different time or place. After thinking about it, I realize that there aren’t many non-“churchy” incenses on the market. The dry-down is dry, warm woods with resins – sandalwood, cedar, elemi.

Incense Pure has tons of fans; those interested in niche perfumes seem to love incense perfumes. However, Incense Pure is too literal for me. Now if I could throw this over a block of charcoal and burn it, I would. It’s a high-quality resinous incense fragrance. I feel the difference between Incense Pure and other straightforward incense scents is that Incense Pure lacks “brightness”. It’s mustier and yes, gothier. Oh, and it won’t remind one of Mass.

Jobyna Ralston

Notes listed include frankincense, myrrh, labdanum, cistus, natural oakmoss, aged Indian patchouli, sandalwood, cedar, ambergris, orris, angelica, rose, elemi and vanilla. Launched 2010. PERFUMER – Laurie Erikson

Give Incense Pure a try if you like authentic smelling incense perfumes. Or if you like perfumes like April Aromatics Calling All Angels, Montale Full Incense, Norma Kamali Incense, Etro Messe de Minuit and/or Comme de Garcons Incense Series. Incense Pure is unisex and leans more masculine on my skin.

Projection is average and longevity is above average. Those resins like to stick around.

Incense Pure is available in a few sizes with prices ranging from $18-$80 at Sonoma Scent Studio. Samples are also available for purchase.

Victoria’s Final EauPINIONLiteral resins and raw incense ingredients. Like I said, I don’t see myself wearing this one. However, I LOVE that this perfume exists. There aren’t many perfumes in the non-liturgical incense category that actually smell sophisticated. Incense Pure smells expensive and sophisticated. And if you are a fan of the smell of raw resins and woods, you should give this a try.

Want more reviews? Try… 

Olfactoria’s Travels

Il Mondo di Odore

Bois de Jasmin

Now Smell This

Katie Puckrik Smells

I Smell Therefore I Am

*Sample obtained by me. Product pic from Sonoma Scent Studio. Jobyna Ralston pic from

11 thoughts on “Sonoma Scent Studio Incense Pure EDP Perfume Review

  1. Full Incense is actually my benchmark – it has the citrus-like “bright” notes that I smelled at the Oman pavilion at the Shanghai Expo 2010. I’ve never really picked those up from the CdG series but don’t have much experience with the others. Are you saying Incense Pure completely lacks those qualities? (If so I won’t run out and get a sample 😉

    1. The elemi in this is stunning in that it really does smell like the real stuff. Elemi is this little sticky goo ball that smells like citrus-tinged rays of light. Incense Pure does have this but it’s not all like stained glass and angels singing. It’s the natural brightness of incense ingredients without any of the churchy-ness.

      Now April Aromatics Calling All Angels has the angels singing with brightness.

  2. I love this stuff. It was the first SSS that I bought, on the strength of Katie Puckrik’s review. A love of incense is the only thing that remains of my flirtation with hippiedom in the 80s. I’ve since collected as many incense perfumes as my tiny budget will allow. I don’t have a terribly sophisticated nose, in that I can’t match perceived notes to their names most of the time. I smell different facets of a fragrance at different times but can’t seem to vocalize what I’m smelling. With that caveat I will say that Incense Pure seems to me a lot like 10 Corso Como, especially in the dry down–enough so that I’ve not needed to buy a larger decant or full bottle of the latter even though it smells lovely.

    Sadly, I discovered during the hippie phase that more than a tiny dab of heavy frankincense gives me a powerful migraine. It’s the only scent that reliably does this. I love love love frankincense so I spray one little puff of Incense Pure, very carefully, and get a 10-hour day of delight out of it.

    1. I totally see the dry-down of 10 Corso Como that you are referring to. These both have an amazingly smooth sandalwood. I don’t know which sandalwood SSS uses but it’s exactly what I like in a sandalwood. It’s also in Chamapagne de Bois, another wonderful SSS.

      Oh, that is sad. But, at least you can still enjoy it in a stronger dilution like Incense Pure. You’re not the only person that I know of that doesn’t react well to frankincense. It’s potent stuff.

      1. On your recent recommendation, Victoria, I tried and loved Kalimantan. LOVE. Big love. Santa brought me a great big ole bottle of it and it is now my incense perfume of choice. It’s rare that I apply the same perfume twice a day, every day, as I have done since the 25th. This is exactly how I want to smell. I hear it doesn’t work in summer. Won’t stop me from trying.

        1. Yeah! I take somebody was on the Nice List this year! I would love to have a bottle of it, I have a feeling if I did that I’d be reaching for it frequently.

          It’s hard to say. But, I could see it doing well with some heat. You’ll notice different elements of the perfume and nothing about it is bad. I’m betting that oud heats up more in the warm temps.

          Last summer, I wore a few amber perfumes that I usually wear only in winter (like SL Chergui) and I was very surprised how much BETTER they smelled in the summer.I know understand why that “style” of perfume sells so well in the Middle East now.

  3. Love this. My reference incense. Well this and NU by YSL, but NU is gone. Yes, I like Full Incense and the CdG series, but they seem to be lacking something for me. It’s almost as though Full Incense isn’t “full”, it’s facade. Lovely but still not rounded. Maybe because they are very much what you smell is what you get and no change. IP seems to grow, change and breathe almost. It’s wonderful in humid, warm weather where the ‘forest’ quality seems at the front. It’s equally wonderful in dry heat where the resins are forward. I love church incense. In the end though I don’t want to really smell like it so much.

    It’s great that you’ve tried some ‘winter’ fumes in the summer. I find that I really liked Chergui in the summer. I’m not a perfume season type and I like to see what plays well for me. My favorite-Chanel Coco edp and the parfum.
    Sophisticated, warming and comforting all at the same time in winter. Just plain sultry on a languid summer evening.

    1. Nu was relaunched but no clue if it’s the same. It’s not so easy to find. At this stage, I’ve forgotten what it smells like 🙁

      Chanel Coco is “my” Chanel. It’s the one that works the best for me. I love it and I could wear it any time of the year!

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