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Vetiver Incenso – Woody and resinous and elegantly virile - February 8, 2016

Photo courtesy of Farmacia SS Annunziata dal 1561

Just before the holidays, we decided to renovate parts of our house, so for Christmas I was given a copy of the hot new book ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up’ by Japanese decluttering guru Marie Kondo.

In case you haven’t heard, Marie Kondo is a consultant who helps her clients declutter and organize their homes, transforming them into spaces of serenity and inspiration, and in the process, she helps them simplify their lives. The book is a runaway best seller in Germany, Japan and the UK and Kondo was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine.

The key to the success of her method is determining whether each possession you have is propelling you forward or keeping you stuck in the past  by asking yourself this question: does it spark joy? It isn’t about what you want/need/should throw away so much as it is about what you keep. The result is surrounding yourself with possessions that only please you.

I was doing, really, really well. Bags and bags of clothes and books were taken to donation boxes weekly, until I hit the perfume room. As I held each bottle in front of me and asked, “Do you spark joy?” the answer was rarely “No”. If anything this process made me go through stored boxes and re-discover fragrances that sparked a lot of joy, like Vetiver Incenso from Italian niche line Farmacia SS Annunziata dal 1561.

Located in Florence, Farmacia SS Annunziata dal 1561 is an apothecary that dates back to the 15th century when it was housed in the Benedictine monastery of St. Nicholas. Today the Azzerlini family owns and manages the pharmacy, making cosmetics, toiletries and fragrances. Vetiver Incenso was launched in 2012 in two concentrations, EdP and parfum.  For me it’s the parfum that sparks the most joy.

It opens fresh and effervescent from lemon, grapefruit and bergamot warmed with a note of spicy, juicy ginger. It’s an enticing combination that leads to a heart of pink pepper, juniper, vetiver and frankincense. Pink pepper isn’t spicy, it’s rosy and adds a floral dimension to Vetiver Incenso. Aromatic juniper gives it a heady whiff of gin, along with a woodiness that is amplified by vetiver before a note of aromatic incense weaves through it. It all sits on a base of cedar, patchouli, ambergris and oak moss - it smells balsmy, woody, sweet and foresty.

The drydown is soft, resinous and woody.  It’s complex, smooth and refined – not rooty or dirty - has an elegant virility that sends sparks of joy to all the joy receptors in my brain. 

I am happy to report that all of my decluttering has left me with lots more room for the things that spark joy – shoes and perfumes. I read recently that Marie Kondo has a written a follow-up book called ‘Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up ‘ that has step-by-step instructions and illustrations for folding everything from shirts to socks. Uh-oh, I guess I should have kept some of those…even if they didn't spark a lot of joy.

Vetiver Incenso is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $5.00 for 1 ml.