Armani Privé Encens Satin

Encens Satin is the latest fragrance from Armani Privé. It is an oriental eau de parfum that, contrary to its name, is as much about amber and woodiness as incense. It’s also simple, uncomplicated, and minimalistic. Frankly, it is a struggle not to summarize it in one small paragraph and then be on my way, because this is not a fragrance with a lot of depth or development. On the plus side, it’s enjoyable and smooth. On the negative side, you’re really paying for the Armani name more than anything distinctive or interesting.

Source: Saks Fifth Avenue.

Source: Saks Fifth Avenue.

Armani claims that Encens Satin “seduces with a softly carnal radiance.” That goes too far, in my opinion, but the fragrance has a number of appealing traits, thanks to its cozy, ambered warmth infused with spiciness, dry woodiness, and darkness. Encens Satin’s full description is available from Armani’s British website, which talks about the two types of incense aroma-chemicals used in the fragrance, as well as how Encens Satin compares to some other Armani creations:

Giorgio Armani unveils the enveloping radiance of ENCENS SATIN, the latest addition to Armani/Privé La Collection, celebrating a new vision of legendary, sensual, incense. ENCENS SATIN – a fragrance where each note is wrapped in a deep, luminous embrace – seduces with a softly carnal radiance.

The absolute attraction of incense illuminated with spices, then rounded with woods and resinous accents. Not one incense note but two: brightly solar Incense MD (Molecular Distillation for extraordinary clarity) and warmer, more ambery Incense Resinoid, for a truly vibrant incense from start to finish.

A woody ambery fragrance, ENCENS SATIN inhabits a luxuriously sophisticated olfactive territory between the spicy woodiness of Armani/Privé BOIS D’ENCENS and the opulence of ROSE D’ARABIE from “Les Milles et Une Nuits” fragrance collection. The composition is beautifully rounded, its modern refinement equally seductive for a man or for a woman.

Photo: Raoul Pop via

Photo: Raoul Pop via

Based on that description, and in conjunction with the notes given on Fragrantica, Encens Satin includes:

Incense MD, Incense Resinoid, woody notes, spices, and amber.

Encens Satin opens on my skin with amber infused with incense. It smells like a mix of ambergris and labdanum, joined together with incense that is musty, dusty, and a little bit earthy, then sprinkled with abstract, indeterminate spices. In the base, there is an aromachemical woodiness, along with what I would swear is patchouli.

Burnt Wood, via Docmattk on Flickr. (Website link embedded within photo.)

Burnt Wood, via Docmattk on Flickr. (Website link embedded within photo.)

The amber is chewy, and initially wafts ambergris’ caramel nuances, but that soon changes as the labdanum takes over. It imparts both a darker element and some honeyed overtones which are very appealing, evoking very distant, faint memories of other labdanum fragrances like Mitzah, Ambre Sultan, and the similarly incense-filled Sahara Noir. The difference, however, is that Encens Satin is much drier, woodier, mustier, and flecked with an earthy patchouli. The spices are very weak and amorphous here, while the amber as a whole feels much thinner or gauzier.

Encens Satin never takes any dramatic twists to alter from its original course, never once varies from start to finish. All that happens is that some of its notes occasionally fluctuate in terms of their strength, prominence, or nuances. For example, the musty and earthy aspects imparted by both the incense and the patchouli wax and wane, while the labdanum’s honeyed sweetness retreats to the sidelines after an hour. It generally stays there but, once in a while, pops back up in a more noticeable way.

Photo: My own.

Photo: My own.

As a whole, the amber varies in how much of a central role it plays. After 90 minutes, it lets the incense shine forth, yet returns in the perfume’s drydown to play a much larger role. In a nutshell, the amber and incense play off each other in a sort of tag-team relay, trailed by the patchouli, spices, and woodiness. Those last two notes never translate into any clearly delineated, individual notes, but always feel abstract. In its final hour, Encens Satin is a blur of amber that is simultaneously a little bit sweet, dry, smoky, and woody.

Encens Satin has generally discreet sillage and moderate longevity. Using 3 tiny spritzes from my atomizer or the equivalent of 2 very small sprays from an actual bottle, Encens Satin opened with about 3-4 inches of sillage. That number seemed to drop within minutes. In fact, the first time I tested the fragrance, I applied 2 squirts, and then felt I needed to add a 3rd one just minutes later. Encens Satin drops to about an inch above the skin by the end of the first hour, but tiny tendrils occasionally floated up into the air when I moved. Encens Satin turns into a skin scent on me at the start of the 3rd hour, though it didn’t require any great effort to detect the fragrance for a while. All in all, the perfume lasted just a hair under 8 hours on me.

I seem to be luckier than others in that regard. On Fragrantica, the votes for longevity are not outstanding: 1 for Poor (30 min-1 hr); 2 for Weak (1-2 h); 2 for Moderate (3-6 hr); and 1 for Very Long Lasting. In short, out of six votes, 50% experienced a scent that lasted under 2 hours. With regard to Sillage, the votes are: 1 for Soft; 1 for Moderate; and 2 for Heavy.



In terms of reviews, only one of the 3 comments on that Fragrantica page talk about the perfume’s actual smell. “Originaldeftom” writes, in relevant part:

Sampled it today and I can honestly say it is rather beautiful. It is somewhat sweeter and softer and most certainly more feminine than “Bois D’Incense”. [¶] I guess the older version was too masculine and is now dropping in sales, so they launch a new revised version. [¶] Very good indeed. If only the sillage and longevity was better.

I couldn’t find any blog reviews for Encens Satin to share with you, so I’ll talk about pricing instead. Encens Satin costs $260, €218, or £155 for 100 ml of eau de parfum. I always think Armani fragrances are over-priced due to the minimalistic simplicity of the actual scent in question, in conjunction with their discreet sillage and occasionally iffy longevity. Encens Satin is no exception; $260 seems a lot for such a basic, linear scent. However, price is always a very personal, subjective valuation, so it depends on you.

All I can say is that Encens Satin is the first Armani Privé that I’ve actually liked. It’s not earth-shattering, original, nuanced, or complex, but it’s a very nice, elegant scent with enjoyable smoothness and pleasant dryness. In short, I wouldn’t suggest that you rush out of your way to try it, but if you’re a fan of orientals or any of the notes in question and you happen to see Encens Satin in one of the handful of stores that carry it, then give it a sniff.

Cost & Availability: Encens Satin is an eau de parfum that come in a 100 ml/3.4 oz bottle that costs $260, €218, or £155. Armani: Encens Satin is listed but not actually available for purchase from Armani’s International website (which doesn’t seem to offer an e-store), and isn’t even shown on his U.S. or Middle Eastern pages. However, it is available on the Armani U.K. page for online purchase. In the U.S.: Encens Satin is available at Neiman Marcus, which is where I obtained my sample, as well as Bergdorf Goodman. I haven’t seen it elsewhere. Outside the U.S.: In the U.K., you can find Encens Satin at Harrods, Harvey Nichols, and Selfridges. In Ireland, it’s at Brown Thomas. In France, I found it at Le Bon Marché. In the Middle East, I assume it’s available at Harvey Nichols. For all other locations, you can rely on the Index of different geographical Armani websites, or use their store locator within the site applicable to your area. Samples: Surrender to Chance sells Encens Satin starting at $4.99 for a 1/2 ml vial.

13 thoughts on “Armani Privé Encens Satin

  1. This could certainly work for me. I like (differently) Mitzah, Sahara Noir and Ambre Sultan and well, I like amber, a lot. But the iffy longevity and the closeness to the skin of the fragrance doesn’t intrigue me. I want a bubble around me. I want a diameter that walks and moves with me. I want to feel it, experience it, live it. you know?

    • IMO, the Armani line isn’t for anyone who wants aura, projection, and a powerful bubble. His aesthetic seems to involve a more discreet approach. Much like his actual clothes, they are generally minimalistic, soft-spoken, and smooth. I found one of them to be refined to the point of claustrophobia, airlessness, and lack of life. (The Nuances iris soliflore.) In short, I don’t think the Armani style would suit your personal taste in perfume sillage or boldness.

      • I absolutely understand, although I always like to smell anything ambery if only for the sheer pleasure of amber itself (I adore the word amber too, if that makes any sense. In Spanish is ambar and I love it even more).
        I am reading your archives while wearing Tuscan Leather on my left arm and MdO’s Oud on my right one and I am enjoying both your archives and my scented limbs to death.

  2. strange that they’d put this one out, as imo, bois d’encens is the finest incense-wood known to humanity. have you tried it? the frankincense in that one really shimmers & dances all over the spectrum. this seems utterly redundant……

    • I haven’t tried Bois d’Encens yet. The chap on Fragrantica whose review I quoted said:

      “Given incense scents are still massively popular, the marketing team probably thought it was time for an update. […] I guess the older version was too masculine and is now dropping in sales, so they launch a new revised version.”

      If his guess about the sales decreasing is correct, that could be one reason. Or perhaps he’s right that Armani merely wanted a less austere, more ambered version that would appeal to women as well. I don’t know.

      • thanks for the quote; yer tops! i love the austerity and serenity of bois d’encens. it’s the only frag i spray on my pillow (sometimes). i think you’ll dig it 😉

  3. I have and enjoy Bois d’Encens, will definitely give this one a sniff when I get the chance. We have a tiny Neiman Marcus that might have it.

  4. Thank You so much for your reviews, Dear Kafka! I have come to enjoy frags like these vicariously through your detaild descriptions, and the aide of a little scent memory!!! Because of your reviews I can spend the $$$ I’d spend sampling this one (even though I could never wear it) on something I can possiply wear!!! So your reviews have become more important to me than ever! Thank You so much for sharing your insights with us!! Have a wonderful day!! 🙂

    • I’m so glad that the reviews prove helpful, my dear. There are so many scents on the market each year, it becomes hard to weed through them all. If I can point you towards things that you can skip, or others that you might prefer more, then a big part of my goal with the blog is set. I started all this in part because I wasted so much money on blind-buys myself, and thought more details would help others prevent the same mistakes I made. So I’m glad I’ve been of use, dear Anastasia. 🙂

  5. Sounds quite pretty, but more than anything, I love the Prive bottles! Maybe if I’m near Neiman Marcus I’ll go check out the line.

  6. I sniffed the whole Prive line when I was hanging at Niemen’s one afternoon. I am sure this was one of them. The SA’s were all a twitter over the line and I felt a little cheated. Perhaps I sniffed too many at one time. Perhaps I was experiencing perfume ennui, but I was very underwhelmed. The bottles are gorgeous, the liquid inside…not so much. The words “phoning it in, Georgio” came to mind.

    • Honestly, I haven’t been enthused by my past encounters with the line, but Encens Satin is better than some of those others. I think the problem for you and I is the fact that the Armani aesthetic is far from our own: streamlined, simple, minamalistic fluidity, all at a rather sotto voce level. It isn’t you, it isn’t me, but a lot of people appear to love it, because it feels like smooth refinement and elegant simplicity that is fully worth $260 a bottle. I prefer to stick to something a little more growling and bold, as do you.

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