Monday 10 July 2023

ENCENS ET CREDRE by 1000 Flowers

A bottle of Encens et Cedre wellness water by 1000 Flowers
There are certain fragrance styles that forever feel as though they’re pushed to the limit with overwhelming volume and aggression, and so finding one where the perfumer has deliberately gone in the other direction is always an absolute joy. Delicacy and contentment mixing with a feeling of intimacy and fascination may sound like a combination that is impossible to achieve, but I’m happy to say it has. Encens et Cedre is the latest release from 1000 Flowers and, under the ever-inspiring eye of perfumer Jessica Buchanan, sits seamlessly alongside her existing “eau de bien-être” fragrances to create an unrivalled trio.

The town of Grasse is literally littered with perfumeries and perfumers but, unless you’ve got time to dive deeply into them all, you can be forgiven for missing some of the real gems that are on offer. One of the must-visit boutiques is 1000 Flowers, which is to be found in the town’s centre. It opened in 2017, a few years after Jessica Buchanan had graduated from the Grasse Institute of Perfumery, and quickly became a popular destination for niche perfume lovers. From an original selection of three fragrances, the collection now numbers eleven including the seasonal Pétales Sous Le Soleil.

One of the trends that really became popular during and after the pandemic period was wellbeing fragrances. These took various forms, with some promising unachievable results, but Jessica launched a range of three colognes that were simply designed to bring contentment and a feeling of optimism. Fleur de Lavande, Blue Chamomile & Eucalyptus and Rose Geranium & Petitgrain provided many of us with some much-needed scented escape during those two long years, and we weren’t about to let them vanish. The question was, how could Jessica reimagine these colognes so that they fitted seamlessly into her niche catalogue?

A bottle of Encens et Cedre wellness water by 1000 Flowers
The answer was to reorchestrate them into a stronger concentration, make them refillable, and repackage them in Italian bottles which are 50% lighter than normal and contain 40% post-consumer glass. Now, in order to keep them as a wellness trio, Blue Chamomile & Eucalyptus was discontinued. However, Encens et Cedre is the outstanding replacement. When we think of incense we often immediately conjure church, smoke and an overpowering aroma. What Jessica has done is to explore the various facets of these beautiful resins and, in an inspired move, has created a scent which is both joyous and grounding.

Encens et Cedre opens with zesty bergamot and piercingly green artemisia, but there’s also a hint of lemon-edged resin coming through. The artemisia’s herbaceous quality links seamlessly down to a dry pencil-shaving cedarwood and cade, and a hint of spiced rose, so you get a nod to the church smokiness but very much from a distance. However, this is when the magic happens. Jessica has combined a mix of frankincense, myrrh, opoponax and benzoin which, when aligned so perfectly, give the sweetly dusted aroma of incense in baking sun rather than being burned. With a final drydown revealing a buttery tonka bean, Jessica really does deliver on her promise of a fragrance that is both grounding and balancing, while also being addictive.

Encens et Cedre is available from the 1000 Flowers website at 1000flowers.ca priced at £25 for 50ml. You can also click on the image below to read my interview with Jessica Buchanan from April 2019. [Sample was a birthday gift from Jessica Buchanan]

2 comments:

  1. Jessica Buchanan12 June 2023 at 11:40

    Thank you so much for this lovely review Stephan!
    All I might add is that the fragrance also contains my own extractions of sustainably harvested (ie no cutting of the trees) blend of several myrrh and frankincense resin varieties sourced directly from tribal co-operatives in Somalia, Oman, & northern Kenya.
    The formula also contains cade wood essential oil from the Mediterranean.
    Besides being a general wellbeing mist for ambiant space, or méditation, or to wear, it's also nice to spritz in your clothing closet. It has a warm and comforting aura in a closed space such as that. Or even in one's car come to think of it.
    Anyway, the composition contains some of my very favourite raw materials (resins), and has been a joy to develop.
    Have a beautiful week ! :) xx

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    1. Hello Jessica, thank you so much for your comment. It really is a beautiful fragrance, and I'll be heading back for a refill as soon as I've finished this one. Best, Stephan

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