Monday, March 19, 2012

Angelique Encens

Getting back to real life, after two weeks recovering from knee surgery, is taking up a lot of my time. So today's post is a reprint from "Olfactarama's" earliest days.  Back next week with a new one!

If you'd like to try the now-discontinued Angelique Encens, leave a comment; drawing details at the end.

Angelique Encens, one of Creed’s celebrity perfumes, is supposed to be an incense scent. Even the name denotes incense. So, where is it?

When modern scents say “incense,” that is precisely what they mean. Commes de Garcon’s “Avignon” in particular evokes Mass in some ancient cathedral, at the moment when the priest passes by, swinging the censer. It is a literal interpretation of the incense concept, as are the rest in CDG’s incense series. As are most modern incense scents.

What I get from Angelique Encens, from the first moment, is musk. Angelica seeds produce a musky odor, which is dominant here. Then, a salty amber. Something animalic (as in very). Vanilla. All of this swirling in a heady, gorgeous, sultry tapestry. But not a bit of incense, not as we understand it in this exceedingly literal time.

Angelique Encens was made by Creed for Marlene Dietrich. I got it in a swap, with no idea that it was such an old perfume. In many ways, it reminds me of Guerlain’s classic 1889 Jicky, but without the herbaceousness that makes Jicky an acceptable “masculine” today. I would say that Angelique Encens, which I can’t imagine a modern man wearing, is a feminine Jicky.

Who could possibly be a better poster-child for questions of gender identity than Marlene Dietrich?

Marlene in a tux. Marlene in black lace. Did she really wear this scent? My guess is that she certainly said she did. Creed’s timing was convenient, with the perfume being released not too long after the English-language release of “The Blue Angel,” which made her an international star. (The concept of positioning – hitch your wagon to a star – may not have been taught in the business courses of the day, but, hey, it’s not rocket science, after all, is it?)

Marlene did not limit her choices. Nor did she trumpet them. The men’s clothing, the fedoras, the ever-present cigarettes, certainly sent a coded message, and, apparently that was enough. Now, of course, such announcements (“Lindsey’s dating a woman!”) are part of our culture of titillation. As in everything literal. As in everything, right out front and in your face.

Angelique Encens is from quite another time and place. Perhaps the “Encens” aspect of the scent was meant to be buried in the mix, difficult to perceive without at least some effort. That would make sense. A mystery. Based on the perceptions, the mind, of the beholder. It's there. Somewhere.

At first, I thought, no way would Dietrich wear this. Her other perfumes (reference below) included Bandit, Tabac Blond and Vol de Nuit. Now, those sound like the Marlene Dietrich we know!

Do we, though? Did anyone?

NOTE: Sadly, Angelique Encens has been discontinued since this post was originally written. I have a few mills of it, though, and can send a 1 ml. sample plus a few surprises to one lucky commenter. Leave a comment no later than Sunday, March 25, midnight US Eastern Daylight time, to enter. I'll do a drawing and announce the winner Monday, March 26.

Perfume Shrine’s Celebrity List can be found here:

Notes for “Angelique Encens” include angelica, tuberose, amber, incense and vanilla.
Notes for “Jicky” include lemon, bergamot, rosewood, lavender, civet, benzoin, vanilla and vetiver.


Anonymous said...

M. Dietrich loved all the scents I love. Plus I love tuberose. Thx for this opportunity. Alica -

Unknown said...

A feminine Jicky! It's so hard to find a wonderfully feminine incense.

Thank for the draw!

Anonymous said...

Would love to try this!

Julie Thompson said...

Sounds wonderful!! I would love to be able to try this beauty!

Irina said...

how interesting, and so well put: I think Marlene was a real "diva"
A perfume made for her is so tempting..
Please, enter me the draw- I would love to be able to sniff it

ccdouglass said...

I'd love to be able to try this. Thanks so much for the draw! :-)

Anonymous said...

Wow, I can totally sympathize about your knee surgery. My husband had his knee scoped about the same time you did and is still on the mend. He felt great right after the procedure because the doc had given him a cortisone injection, so he told me not to bother filling the Percocet prescription -- he didn't need it! The next morning he was wailing and I was off to RiteAid at top speed.

Anyway, I'd love to enter your generous drawing if the anonymi are eligible.

Sending you healing vibes,


Nancy said...

I do love some of the Creeds. I have missed this one and now it is about to be gone....the notes sound so promising. I'd love a try. Thank you and sure enjoy your site.


I would like to try Angelique Encens

Sujaan said...

Sweet of you to offer yours up for a draw. I love Jicky and this sounds great!