Blog post by Gwen

Sacreste – sweet and smoky and resinous

Of all the notes in perfumery, incense is one of the most popular. It's not surprising, really, when you consider that incense plays a role in religious rituals in Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Taoism, Shinto and Buddhism, so most people are familiar with its scent. And, since these religions are ancient, incense is a scent that people have known and shared across cultures for thousands of years. It's no wonder then that 'churchy' fragrances never truly go out of fashion. I must admit that since discovering fragrances like Incense Incense: Avignon, Cardinal, Basilica and Chembur, I have developed an appreciation for church scents that borders on obsession.

This brings me to Sacrestefrom Italian niche line Laboratorio Olfattivo.

Launched in 2018 as part of Laboratorio Olfattivo's Black Collection.  At this point, I usually translate the name of the fragrance, but I can't find a translation anywhere. Roberto Drago, owner and art director for the brand, says in an interview with Fragrantica that 'The word Sacreste does not exist in the Italian language, I invented it specially for the perfume. You could see some recognizable parts like "sacre" or "crest" because it's about incense and church'.

A fragrance so unique a new word had to be created for its name. Sounds about right.

Sacreste opens rich and sweet, smoky and resinous from cistus labdanum. Elemi, a fragrant resin with its balsamy/pine and citrusy scent, is the perfect counterpoint to the labdanum and prevents Sacreste from becoming a heavy, dark church scent. Aromatic cardamon's sweet and resinous nature boosts the labdanum while adding a spicy warmth. Saffron adds its characteristic leatheriness and softness to the opening. As it blooms, the true heart of Sacreste is revealed. This fragrance is built upon two types of incense: one bright and clean and the other smoky, dark and rich.  Together they form a double helix, a pair of parallel scent strands intertwined around each other, that show different aspects of incense at different moments throughout the course of wearing it. At times, it's smoky; at other times, it's sweet; sometimes woody, earthy, or dark.  A note of black pepper, hot and bracing, gives a spicy brightness to the juice, and an unexpected note of limette sends a sweet, fresh, citrusy shot throughout the fragrance every so often. The incense stays right down to the woody base of cedarwood and guaiac wood, soft warm, woody Cashmeran, and rich, ambery, woody Ambermax. Musk is here, too, ensuring a smooth finish.

Sacreste dries down to a refined, intimate skin scent that is a siren call to anyone who comes near. What I love most about it is how the heavy aspects of incense are all there, but the experience of the fragrance isn't heavy, dark or moody.

Sacreste is the reason why 'churchy' scents never go out of fashion.

Check out Sacreste in our Shop.