Blog post by Gwen

Copal Azur – incense-y and green and woody

I looked at my perfume shelf the other day and saw a lot of fragrances from New York-based niche line Aedes de Venustas sitting there. That’s when I realized that I was an Aedes de Venustas fan.

One fragrance from a perfume house is a crush, two from the same house is an interest, three is a fascination, and four is a passion. Any more than that, and you’ve got a serious relationship with that house. My purchase of Copal Azur made my relationship with Aedes de Venustas official.

In 1995 Karl Bradl and Robert Gerstner opened Aedes de Venustas at 15 Christopher Street in the West Village. It quickly became a mecca for perfumistas looking for hard-to-find niche fragrances. In 2012 they launched their line of fragrances, and many of them, like Copal Azure, were inspired by their travels.

The story behind Copal Azure is this: while on vacation in Mexico, Karl Bradl was cycling on the coast of the Yucatán Peninsula when he was taken by the scent of Mayan incense, copal, coming from Tulum’s ancient temples, that swirled around him. Copal is a resin from the Protium tree that grows in the wet tropical forests of Mexico and Central America. The dried sap of the tree was used as incense in ceremonies by pre-Columbian Mesoamerica cultures. It’s still used today in Mexico and is burned throughout Tulum, so much so that the scent of copal has become the signature scent of the place.

Imagine that bike ride. Really imagine it. The smell of the sea, the pristine beaches, the lush tropical jungles, mangroves and marshes are all enveloped with the scent of burning copal.

I’m going to pause here while you do.

Now, imagine you commission master perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour to create a fragrance based on that experience. That fragrance is Copal Azur.

Since copal cannot be used in perfume, Duchaufour used three different frankincense extractions and threaded them throughout the fragrance to invoke copal. The smell of copal smoke vacillates between notes of lemon and pine. It launches Copal Azur, giving it a bracing and piney start that pulls you into the fragrance. A lick of salt and ozonic notes filter through the resin and put you at the beach. The scene changes from the beach to the tropical jungle as it settles on my skin. The frankincense shifts from coniferous to woody, while aromatic cardamom, resinous and minty, makes it warm and green. Patchouli, sweet and woody, and myrrh balsamy, earthy and a little anisic, complement the frankincense perfectly and help create the feel of wet, woody marshes. The frankincense is softened at the base and sweetened with amber, which links to the almond aspect of the copal before it’s all smoothed by Tonka bean, making the drydown creamy, rich and lush.

A journey inspired by Copal Azur, but for me, it’s all about the destination.

Check out Copal Azur in our Shop.