UNUM Io Non Ho Mani Che Mi Accarezzino Il Volto

Io Non Ho Mani Che Mi Accarezzino Il Volto probably wins the award for the longest perfume name of 2017. The words translate to “there are no hands to caress my face” and come from the first lines of a poem written by Father David Maria Turoldo in 1948.  The length of the name makes it impractical for me to refer to all nine words repeatedly throughout this review, so I’m going to make my life simpler and just call the fragrance “Io Non Ho Mani.” (In my head, I mentally call it “Yo, No Mani” in a Rocky Balboa voice. “Yo, Adriennnnnnnne, Io No Mani.” It’s terrible; I know I’m a philistine and an uncouth barbarian, but I can’t seem to help it.) Name aside, “Yo, No Mani” turned out to be quite a happy, unexpected surprise. I thought it was a great spicy, woody, tobacco, incense-y, amber oriental.

Source: Shutterstock stock photos.

Io Non Ho Mani Che Mi Accarezzino Il Volto is a pure parfum that was released earlier this year. Essenza Nobile explains its inspiration, background, and notes as follows:

The title of this perfume means “There are no hands / To caress my face” and is taken from the first lines of a poem by Father David Maria Turoldo in 1948, which in turn formed the inspiration for a series of photographs taken by Italian photographer Mario Giacomelli in the 1960’s, all of which feature black-clothed priests holding hands or playing together in the snow or against a white background. It is this series of photographs that inspired this perfume, and the inspiration can be seen through the series of contrasts in notes (the black of the priests’ robes against the white of the background) and the sense of friendly, laughing conviviality that connects one priest to the other.

The tobacco is also a strong motif – some of the priests were indulging in a pipe or cigarette when the camera caught them out – so the tobacco here is rugged, sweet, but deeply ingrained with the scent of smoky church resins such as powdered benzoin and frankincense, suggestive of the happy mixing of the sacred divine with the worldly pleasures of the humble. A rich sandalwood, myrrh, and amber base suggests the velvety, cloistered silence of the priests’ halls and inner sanctum: but the bristling, bright green herbs and citrus of the top notes are suggestive of wild, sensual nature outside in the fields and meadows where the priests go to play their games.

Io Non Ho Mani bottle from different sides. Photos: Essenza Nobile. Collage: my own.

I rarely comment on bottle packaging but I must say, I’m not at all keen on the bottle’s enormous, plastic-y, black top. I also find that the black-cassocked priest on the back looks, from afar, a lot like the head of black demon ghost peering out, which is both odd and a little disconcerting. (Just look at the image from the bottom. His white hands are the demon ghost’s white eyes.) Maybe it all looks better in person, although I remain skeptical that anything could change the cap’s resemblance to a crumpled-up Hefty garbage bag.

Let’s move onto the note list. According to Luckyscent, Io Non Ho Mani has:

Petitgrain, bergamot, galbanum, myrrh, cedar, geranium, clary sage, cinnamon, styrax, ylang-ylang, incense, benzoin, tonka bean, tobacco, amber, sandalwood.

Source: bestourism.com

Io Non Ho Mani opens on my skin with a rich cloud of warm, slightly earthy, red-brown spices shot through with bright citruses, dry woods, sweet amber resins, myrrh, and custardy, spicy, sweet ylang-ylang. Cinnamon leads the jockeying horses right out of the gate, followed by a lovely clove-ish eugenol note, then a crisp bergamot and a petitgrain orange-scented woodiness. A slew of other notes appears right behind them: styrax wafts a quiet, smoky leatheriness, while cedar provides a dry, dusty woodiness which is off-set by waves of warmth and sweetness from toffee’d labdanum amber, cinnamon-scented benzoin, and slightly powdery tonka. A small pop of myrrh blossoms within minutes into a major note that imparts a sweet, earthy, resinous, and dusty aroma. To me, it smells more like sweet myrrh or opoponax than myrrh, but let’s not quibble because it works very well with everything else. Tying everything together are thin ribbons of tobacco which add a gorgeous, addictive, dry-sweet, gingerbread-scented aroma laced with a bit of a tobacco-vanille accord.

Source: 1stdibs.com

When smelled together, the result is a fantastic, rich, inviting, warm, perfectly balanced, and highly nuanced bouquet. It makes me think of an old cedar spice chest where each drawer is filled with a different spice, wood, or resin of both the ambered and incense variety, and they’re all open at once so that all their scents mingle together in the air. Initially, during the first 30 minutes, the sum-total effect very much in the same vein as Tauer‘s L’Air du Desert Marocain, except Io Non Ho Mani is never so dusty, earthy, or arid on my skin. It’s a sweeter, richer, warmer, more citrusy, and less granular in the way of desert sands. (It also lacks any intrusive, rough woody-amber aromachemicals or Tauerade tarry creosote base.)

One thing I really like is the way the citrus notes smell and how they’ve been presented here. The bergamot isn’t shrill, thin, synthetic, or lemony. Instead, it’s warm, rounded, smooth, and just a wee bit sweetened. It’s also just a light touch which works to add a subtle brightness and lift to the array of heavier, darker, or earthier notes. The petitgrain is my favourite, though. It’s much more prominent than the bergamot on my skin and exudes a gorgeous woody-orange aroma.

Source: salepepe.it & 123rf.com stock photos.

More importantly, it grows strong enough after 30 minutes to change Io Non Ho Mani’s vibe and feel, moving it away from the dry, faintly dusty, woody Chinese apothecary spice cabinet to something which is more festive and Christmas-y. The way it interacts with the warm, rich, cinnamon and amber bouquet evokes thoughts of orange-spice mulled wine, sipped by a fireplace or in golden candlelight. Yet the woody orange petitgrain is never so strong or forceful that it turns Io Non Ho Mani into something redolent of the dreaded Orange Spice Yankee Candle. Like everything else about the fragrance’s first 2.5 hours, it’s a carefully calibrated note and a delicate touch which has been integrated seamlessly into everything else.

Source: scentedcandleshop.com

In fact, I’m enormously impressed by Io Non Ho Mani’s balancing act as a whole. This is a fragrance with a number of dark, heavy, powerful raw materials and spices so the end result could have been excessively dusty, earthy, culinary, sweet, musty, or arid. Tauer’s LDDM, for example, is far too dusty and parched for me; MDCI‘s Les Indes Galantes is not only an excessively syrupy twist on the citrus-spice-resin-incense oriental but, worst of all, falls headlong into Yankee Candle Orange Spice territory on my skin; and the Fazzolari/Gardoni Cadavre Exquis is too much of an unbalanced Frankenstein hodgepodge for my tastes, transposing savory foods onto a Tauer-like, spicy, smoky, leathery, resinous amber oriental in a rather bombastic way.

Io Non Ho Mani, however, is pitch perfect in its first 2.5 hours, not only in the completely co-equal proportions of its individual notes but, perhaps more importantly, in how they all work together. After the first 2.5 hours, the balance shifts to give certain accords or notes more of the lion’s share of the limelight, but the overall integration continues to be seamless, smooth, and harmonious. It’s not easy with these sorts of materials, so kudos to the perfumer.

I find the end result to be incredibly cozy and inviting. Admittedly, spiced ambers are my “cozy comfort” category and, yes, Io Non Ho Mani is not a particularly complex scent when viewed on some levels as a whole, but it’s thoroughly enjoyable to wear. It’s one of those things which envelops you with warmth, offset by just enough darkness to keep things interesting. Plus, the types of darkness are continuously changing: sometimes, it takes the form of smoky styrax leather; sometimes, it’s woodier (dry, smoky cedar); and sometimes, it’s more incense-based, veering between resinous and warm incense smokiness (myrrh and sweet myrrh/opoponax) or the meditative, liturgical, Churchy sort (frankincense).

Myrrh oleo-gum resin dripping from a tree. Source: lacronica.net

In many ways, Io Non Ho Mani is quite a simple fragrance at its core because it consists of three accords which flesh out a central bone structure created by a fourth accord. The bones are formed out of a fully fused, seamless core of myrrh, cinnamon, and amber. That lies at the heart of everything. Woods, incense, tobacco and, to a much lesser extent, leather build upon it like flesh, sinew, and meat, or, to give another analogy, like four walls which sprout up around a house’s foundation. Petitgrain, ylang-ylang and, then later, tonka, vanilla, and sandalwood form the decorative touches of its interior design. When examined (or smelled) from a distance, one sees the overall house which looks, on the surface, to be a simple design and doesn’t appear to morph or twist into other shapes.

“Nebula” by Kush Amerasinghe on Behance.net. (Direct website link embedded within.)

One has to look below the surface, smell up close, and focus to detect the shifting nuances. Like, for example, the way that the styrax leather, the dry cedar-heavy woods, the wood smoke, and the tobacco expand after 75-90 minutes, overtaking the spice-amber-myrrh to become a lead accord and thereby ushering in Io Non Ho Mani’s second stage. The fragrance turns darker, drier, and smokier, and the amber’s sweetness is cut in half. At the same time, the petitgrain and ylang-ylang are banished to the distant periphery where they are quiet for long stretches of time and where the petitgrain dies away completely by the start third hour. The petitgrain’s virtual disappearance and the shift in the overall balance of notes not only ends the holiday, Christmas-y imagery but changes the entire scene as a whole.

Now, I’m transported to the shadowy corners of an old Russian Orthodox church that I went to in Kiev when I was a teenager, back in the days of the Soviet Union and the Iron Curtain. Much of the church was dark, almost gloomy, its shadows filled with the scent of old wood, dust, and incense, but there were two walls of light, quite literally, formed by rows of candles and gold icons. In fact, every inch of one large, floor-to-ceiling wall was taken up by icons. I tried to look for an image to show you, but was unable to find anything which looked just like the inside of that church. Nevertheless, Io Non Ho Mani brings back that day in its feel and vibe, except here, there is tobacco, the priests wear cassocks made out of blackened leather cassocks, the golden light is formed by rich amber, warm spices, and myrrh, and there is a big splash of red from cinnamon across some of the icons.

Church in Kiev. Source: Shutterstock

Greek Orthodox church with a similar atmosphere to the one that I went to in Kiev, although this one seems to have much more light in it. Source: cna.gr

Each note takes turns in the spotlight, ebbing and flowing like waves. Sometimes, there is more tobacco or smoky, blackened leather; sometimes more dry woods or wood smoke. Sometimes, the cinnamon and myrrh feel as though they’re buried deep within a smoke-covered orb of amber; sometimes, the myrrh is so forceful that it swallows up everything else. (I think this is a fragrance whose dominant notes, balance, and ratios will be heavily impacted by individual skin chemistry and, therefore, must really be tested first.)

“Javascapes 3” by Daniel G. Walczyk. Source: Behance.net (Website link embedded within.)

Io Non Ho Mani shifts when its third stage begins roughly at the end of the 4th hour and the start of the 5th. The essence of the scent remains the same, but the notes have changed in order, prominence, and nuance. Now, a myrrh-opoponax combination is the driving thrust, above and beyond all else, wafting a powerful mix of woody, spicy, smoky, lightly honeyed, and deeply balsamic aroma. Its resinousness feels almost tarry on occasion, but perhaps that is the styrax which is layered within it alongside labdanum, benzoin, and sandalwood. Cinnamon dances like red fireflies around the myrrh. A soft, light veil of powdery sweetness covers the bouquet, thanks to the arrival of tonka on the scene, while a wonderfully velvety texture run underneath it. I suspect the latter is the indirect result of the ylang-ylang whose tendrils constantly wove around the background during the 3rd and 4th hours, supplemented by a touch of creamy vanilla. Although neither is detectable in a major or distinct way at this stage, Io Non Ho Mani has a wonderful sweet creaminess in both texture and aroma underneath all that smoky, spicy myrrh.

Photo: my own.

One of the things which contributes to the impression of a very simple fragrance is Io Non Ho Mani’s linearity, the way each phase lasts for hours and hours, and how the next consists merely of a shift in emphasis or a re-ordering of the notes. For example, the 4th stage which begins roughly 7.5 hours in is essentially a simplification of the 3rd and its notes. It’s almost entirely focused on myrrh which is lightly flecked with wisps of tobacco and cinnamon, then encased in labdanum amber. The result is a scent that is spicy, dry, woody, musky, tobacco-ish, sweet, smoky, and warmly golden. It’s like a cousin to Tom Ford‘s Amber Absolute or Sahara Noir, only here the smoky myrrh is the star of the show, the labdanum is a sidekick, there is no frankincense, but there are light touches of tobacco and cinnamon instead.

Photo: my own.

I was sure that this was the drydown, but Io Non Ho Mani realigns itself one last time several hours later. Roughly 12 hours in, vanilla re-appears, smelling creamy, silky, and smooth. At the same time, the amber seems to change to benzoin, and the tobacco becomes a ghostly whisper in the background. The fragrance now smells mostly of smoky myrrh laced with vanilla, then set against a soft, increasingly amorphous golden, spicy sweetness. Everything is so soft, quiet, overlapping, and blurry that it’s becoming difficult to separate out  the individual parts. In its final hours, all that’s left is  golden, lightly spiced, creamy sweetness and warmth with an occasional whisper of myrrh-ish smokiness buried deep within.

Io Non Ho Mani had fair projection, strong sillage, monster longevity, a heavy body and weight, and great potency. With several smears equal to 2 good sprays from an actual bottle on the same patch of forearm, the fragrance opened with about 2.5 to 3 inches of projection and about 3-4 inches of sillage which grew to 7 or 8 inches after 30 minutes. It took a long time for the numbers to drop. When the 6th hour rolled around, Io Non Ho Mani’s projection hovered just above the skin, but the scent trail still extended about 3 to 4 inches. It took 8.5 hours in total for Io Non Ho Mani to become a skin scent but, even then, it was easy to detect up close if I put my nose on my arm. It only required effort after the 14th hour. That’s excellent, in my opinion. In total, Io No Ho Mani lasted just a hair over 22 hours. I think if I applied the equivalent of three sprays on my arm, this fragrance would probably last well into 36-hour territory on me.

All in all, I was impressed. Io Non Ho Mani feels like a super-rich extrait, it smells like a super-rich extrait, and it performs just like one, too — which is a lot more than I can say about the significantly more expensive Roja Dove extraits that I’ve tried this year. Given the totality of circumstances — Io Non Ho Mani’s performance, its richness, its heft, the smoothness of its seamlessly integrated notes, the clear quality of its materials, and the absence of any intrusive, jarring, harsh, or abrasive aromachemicals — I think this ends up being quite a reasonably priced fragrance as compared to other pure parfums of the same caliber. A large 100 mls of pure parfum costs $220 or €175. No, they’re obviously not giving it away but, relatively and comparatively speaking, $220 for 100 ml of pure parfum isn’t bad in today’s niche world for what you’re getting. You pay that amount for just 50 ml of a Tom Ford eau de parfum, and they’re usually quite synthetic in their materials these days. Io Non Ho Mani, however, is a smooth, rich, expensive-smelling fragrance, in my opinion, and thoroughly enjoyable to wear as well.

Yes, it’s quite linear and no, it’s not particularly complicated or complex. At the end of the day, its changes often amount to a change in the direction or make-up of the tides which lap at its shore. Does the lack of a wholesale transformation between the long stages render it boring? It might for some people. Frankly, I think the greatest potential problem or risk with Io Non Ho Mani won’t be boredom through simplicity but the way that some of the notes may manifest themselves on a person’s skin. As I said earlier, I think this is a fragrance where individual skin chemistry might be even more important than usual because of the significant number of dark, smoky, or earthy materials. The myrrh in particular has the potential go wrong, possibly turning medicinal on some people or overly smoky for their personal tastes. I also think that you pretty much have to love myrrh, cinnamon, and balsamic resins to enjoy this one.

On Fragrantica, many of the reviews for Io Non Ho Mani are positive, but two or three are either neutral or implicitly negative. For example, one person calls it medicinal, metholated, and heavy on the cinnamon; another simply says “smell of felt-tip pens from 80s” with no other explanation. On Luckyscent, most of the reviews are positive as well. I’ll let you read the comments on both sites on your own if you’re intrigued by the fragrance.

I think you should give Io No Ho Mani a test sniff if you fall into one or more of the following categories: 1) you love myrrh, cinnamon, or incense-woody tobacco-amber fragrances; 2) you wouldn’t mind a cinnamon-myrrh counterpart to Amber Absolute, Sahara Noir, Ambre Loup, or Ateliers des OrsLarmes du Desert; 3) you would enjoy a warmer, sweeter, richer, heavier, and not so arid or dusty version of Tauer’s L’Air du Desert Marocain; or 4) you would like a myrrh-driven version of Sultan Pasha’s Resine Precieux with cinnamon in lieu of any funk from asafoetida. If any of these things apply to you, then I strongly recommend giving Unum’s latest a sniff. I think you’ll be as pleasantly and happily surprised as I was.

Cost & Availability: Io Non Ho Mani Che Mi Accarezzino Il Volto is a pure parfum or extrait that comes in a 100 ml bottle for $220, €180, or €175. In the U.S.: Luckyscent and Twisted Lily sell the fragrance, offer samples, and ship worldwide. Outside of the U.S.: Although Unum lists Io Non Ho Mani on its website, it doesn’t sell it directly. You can buy it from Essenza Nobile, First in Fragrance, Italy’s Neos1911 (and a host of other Italian shops like 10 Corso Como), Paris’ Nose, Poland’s Mood Scent Bar, and Russia’s Orabel. It seems to be sold out at Russian’s SpellSmell at the time of this post. The NL’s ParfuMaria does not show Io Non Ho Mani on its Unum page. Samples: Many of the sites listed here sell samples. At Surrender to Chance, Io Non Ho Mani starts at $3.49 for a 1/2 ml vial.

31 thoughts on “UNUM Io Non Ho Mani Che Mi Accarezzino Il Volto

  1. This was a “guffaw” out loud moment. The scent sounds awesome, exactly what I like. I too like amber, incense, spices, so this is another I now have to try because of your review. Again. (An FB Oud Picante is arriving on my door in a day…sigh). But…what were they thinking with this bottle? That is absolutely the most ugly, weird, not cool, not artsy, just frightful bottle I’ve ever seen. I don’t buy perfumes for their bottles, but I do appreciate the aesthetics that go into bottling a good juice, and very few houses take that into consideration these days (everything is squat and square). But this…the horror.

    • Thank God, it’s not just me. “Frightful” “Horror” really sums it up. Upon first seeing the photos, I literally spent several minutes just staring at it, blinking, clicking back and forth between the images to try to make sense of what I was seeing. I still don’t get it.

      Plus, once I saw that demon ghost head on the back, I can’t UN-see it, if you know what I mean. Look at the photo. The priest’s white hands are the white eyes in the head popping up from the bottom of the bottle. I really hope someone else sees it too, or else I’ll feel quite bonkers. But it’s there, I tell you. A demon ghost peeping out from behind a bottle created by a company that is all about the Catholic Church, Vatican, Popes, priests, and High Mass. It’s just too weird for words.

      • The demon head was the first thing I noticed in the photo, before I read your description! Weird indeed.

  2. Well I wouldn’t mind a cinnamon-myrrh counterpart to Ambre Loup, as I’m thoroughly enjoying my Ambre Loup this evening. This would probably be a fragrance I would really like too…but where could I hide that nightmare of a bottle? Maybe the crumpled-up Hefty garbage bag is removable. My kitties might enjoy playing with it.

    • It would probably terrorize the kittehs! 😉

      I think this is one perfect fragrance to split with a friend where you do NOT keep the bottle but use a really nice decant instead. Plus, the full 100 mls of something this rich, strong, and long-lasting would probably end up lasting someone two lifetimes. 30 and 50 ml bottles would have been perfect. (Minus that dreadful, hideous, black Hefty bag cap and the “demon ghost head” peeping up on the back.)

  3. I’ve sampled this quite some time back. On my skin, it was just straight up cinnamon. I was using the dabber but I was disappointed that it went so quiet on my skin.

    I might drop by Twisted Lily in the future so I think i want to give this another try. Your review sounds really delicious!

    • Do you remember how much you may have applied, roughly? If you’re only dabbing a few light, thin smears, then perhaps you need to increase the quantity application? I find that often helps to bring out a wider range of nuances with fragrances that are loaded down with a lot of dark, heavy, typically base-oriented materials.

      And, yes, most definitely try it via a spray at Twisted Lily. Aerosolization helps but, once again, so does a generous quantity application may help.

      Let me know how you fare, Gunmetal. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that it is not straight-up cinnamon the second time around.

      • I’ve tried it again at Twisted Lily. This time I’ve gotten a more elaborate incense accord. A bit tangy, a bit of cinnamon, clove and nutmeg. I don’t know what myrrh smells like so I need to find out.

        It’s really strong and long lasting. I was trying to test other fragrances at Twisted Lily and this UNUM scent made its presence known throughout my stay there.

        Personally I didn’t like it. It has a damp incense nutmeggy smell that disturbs me. I can’t quite explain why. Sultan Pasha’s Pure Incense and House of Matriarch incense cones also have the particular damp smell.

        The presentation was really disappointing. I thought it was an artsy sculpted cap, turns out it’s some faux leather hot mess!

        • SP Attar’s Pure Incense has a massive, MASSIVE amount of myrrh in it, so that is the source of the particular “damp” aroma there.

          With the Unum, the note that you’re describing on your skin (“damp incense nutmeggy smell) is undoubtedly myrrh. It sounds as though either it doesn’t interact well on your skin, or your mind is translating what is coming through in a way that you just don’t like. And that’s perfectly fine!! We all have notes that we dislike or interpret in a way that doesn’t read as “agreeable,” so this is totally normal.

          In a way, this 2nd test was a really good thing because now you know that fragrances with a strong myrrh note are not your cup of tea. Perhaps even a weak, minor myrrh note will be too much as well. But so far, I think we’ve definitely ruled out myrrh-centric fragrances for you! 😀 🙂

          • Kafkaesque, you maybe right. I stopped by WholeFoods on the way home and did an essential oil test. Placed 2 drops of myrrh oil in 2 generous pumps of scent-free lotion and spread it all over both my arms.

            The myrrh oil by itself does not smell too bad. Its definitely the same note but rendered differently. Its fresh and has a flowery tea like aroma. But for some reason, the myrrh note in Unum and Pure Incense has a very tight and congested feel to it like wet incense. Maybe its something in the composition that brings up the facets of myrrh which I dislike.

            Overall, this has been an educational night!

          • I think those two fragrances use the absolute versions of myrrh or the more concentrated, heavier, darker version, diluted down a bit out of its stickier, thicker consistency. (The percentage and amount of dilution via perfume alcohol can vary, depending on what the perfumer wants or the effect he’s trying to convey.) I would be extremely surprised if SP used a light essential oil version. So that may be your answer. 🙂 Alas, that doesn’t end up giving you any firm, set guidelines for future myrrh-based fragrances. I guess you’ll have to take it on a case by case basis. :/

  4. Thank you for such an in-depth review. I have been meaning to try this one and now have a good reason for doing so 🙂

    • I just took a look at the bottle, and man it is ugly. The lid looks like once of those dogs from Stranger Things 😉 If i get a bottle, the lid goes to the trash if that is removable.

  5. May I suggest that the “exact” translation is “I have no hands to caress my face”. Anyway, as a perfume name, I find it ridiculous.

    • I agree, it is a ridiculous name for a fragrance, not to mention insanely long. And thank you for the correct translation. I’d been relying on Essenza Nobile, but I’m guessing you have a better grasp of Italian. 😉

      • Although my mother language is Italian, I guess this name would sound ridiculous in its English version too… but maybe I am wrong. Thank you for your comment!

  6. So wonderful your impressions of the fragrance are so close to mine! I adore this new release by UNUM and enjoy wearing this aromatic cloud through the day ❤️! This was one of the two perfumes I fell in love with at the Esxence earlier this year (the second was Vero Profumo’s Naja). Thank you for the review, dear Kafka!

  7. Thanks for the review. This sounds great. I would be totally okay with a cinnamon version of Ambre Loup 😀
    – And I looked up the photographs of Mario Giacomelli and they are really fascinating! Powerfull images – its tempting….
    But I put my sample ordering on hold for a little while. A few swaps have left me with a small ‘mountain of samples’ 🙂
    Oh and that bottle is scary weird!!!

  8. This sounds really lovely. I adore cinnamon notes in fragrances. Yes the bottle is indeed frightening, but if the juice is good I could live with it. I probably would find another top for the bottle, though…. I have tried Opus 1144 and Lavs from Unum and liked both very much. Thanks for another great review. Hope all is well with you and the hairy German.

  9. Thanks your your lovely reviews! I was wondering if you have tried House of Matriach fragrances. I got a sample pack, and I haven’t decided if I Am gonna buy or not. I am curious if the hype is true and if all the ingredients are really natural. Longevity and sillage are really bad, although, I like some fragrances, they make me feel relaxed. However, it is too expensive, I am not sure if it is worthy. Looking forward for your opinion. Best wishes, Luciana

    • Welcome to the blog, Luciana. 🙂 In answer to your question, I don’t think House of Matriarch has been 100% all-natural for a few years now. When I was sent a sample pack by the company sometime in 2014 or so, I thought that there were definite synthetics in a few of them, in addition to white musk. As a whole, I was underwhelmed by the fragrances for what they were and the prices being asked, but I know they are popular with most people. I have other readers, however, who share your feelings about them being too expensive. Ultimately, though, price is a very personal decision and one that depends on a variety of personal factors. If a few of them make you feel relaxed, perhaps you can see if anyone is selling decants in one of the perfume groups or forums? Perhaps that is a more affordable option than a full bottle?

      • Thanks so much for the reply. I appreciated that. I liked some of their fragrances, but it lasts only 30 minutes to one hour in my skin. Even though I can appreciate that as skin scent, I would have to reapply constantly, and considering the price and the fact that bottle is only 50 ml, I didn’t have the right motivation to get it yet. I have seen so many reviewers raving about this brand, but many times I blind bought based on this reviews and it was a disappointment. I live in Vancouver and the brand is based on Seattle (2 hours driving). Someday I want to go there and check the other offers and maybe get to know the concept behind it. Maybe, the ingredients are truly expensive and I am being unfair not to paying for that, but I don’t know, I still need to be convinced. For now, I am using Bois d’argent and Tsarina (expensive but long-lasting and big bottles) as comfy scents but I am still looking for something leaning towards the “mystical” side, that is why I considered this brand. Anyway, I liked your idea of searching for decants. I am going for this. Thanks again and best wishes, Luciana

  10. Oh, a myrrh centred scent, how lovely! I am in a bit of a myrrh frenzy at the moment, and was looking for an frankincense / myrrh perfume. I have only a small bottle of Goutal Myrrhe ardente left.
    So this might be it? The Amouage range I gather has increasingly succombed to aromachemicals?
    Does this scent compare in any way to the Lucas Stephane 777 (spelling?) range with a similar Arabian Peninsula orientation?

    • Sorry for the late reply, On the Wings of Saffron. To answer your question, no, I don’t think this scent compares to the original, early aesthetic of the SHL 777 line of fragrances which combined an Arabic feel with a Franco/Western perfume style. This fragrance has nothing Arabic or Middle Eastern about it at all. Purely Western, I’d say. For what it’s worth, I don’t think Annick Goutal’s Myrrhe Ardente has an Arabic element, either, and I view that as also being purely Western in aesthetic.

      By the way, I would wholeheartedly agree with your assessment of the Amouage line having succumbed to increasingly overt synthetics.

      • I‘m in Oman at the moment – hence my late reply to your kind answer – and visited the Amouage factory in Muscat. My fears with regard to synthetics, unfortunately, have been confirmed! And (as you mentioned forcefully in the past) not a single attar in sight.
        Abd in my impression, far too many new scents —

        I might however go for the Opus IV from the library line, which reminds me of dates and spices. As the date souk in the town of Nizwa was a cheerful highlight of the trip, it could just be the right souvenir! But, my, how expensive those scents are …!

        Greetings from the land of frankincense!

  11. 2 things:
    I spent a good two minutes trying to see the hands. I could only see the demon. It was only when I scrolled down to your notes that I went back up, squinted, and saw the man. Holy mother of exorcisms, Batman!
    Also, you’re doing better than me with that name. Ai, mami! (the sweet machismo flanker) Hey nonney, nonney, (the Shakespearean comedy flanker) and Yo no Ho Money (the animalic honey flanker) are just a few versions of what I’ve been calling it. . . .Sorry/Not sorry

  12. Pingback: April Aromatics Pink Wood - Kafkaesque

  13. gunmetal24 described my experience, as I, too, got that damp, nutmeggy smell. Right now it seems I’m also getting a bit of anise. I suppose my skin doesn’t interact well with this particular form of myrrh. I’ve still got a bit, so I’ll give it another try. I was generous with the application, by the way. I’m glad you enjoyed it so much. Maybe my next attempt will provide happier results. Before I close this, let me mention that I’m now smelling the cinnamon and the dampness is fading a bit.

  14. Fascinating review, as ever. I tried to follow the Resine Precieux link and have noted that all of your Sultan Pasha reviews which I have previously read with great interest have disappeared. Have they been deliberately removed (why?) or is this a website anomaly?

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