Nov 27, 2023 | 4 min Read

Best Incense Perfumes


From the beginning of civilization, it was believed that the only the smoke of incense could cross the physical barrier between Heaven and Earth. In fact, the word perfume takes its name from the Latin “per fumare” which means “through” or “by” smoke. Incense has been used in many cultures from the Middle East, Europe, India, Japan, and China for religious and spiritual practices. There are painted murals in Egyptian caves dating back thousands of years ago depicting dancers wearing wax cone hats soaked with incense and as the heat increased, the cones would melt and the scent of incense would perfume their bodies. The aroma of incense perfumes can smell fresh, musky, earthy, resinous and woody, and pair especially well with oud, florals, spices, and sandalwood.

Incense perfumes can make you feel meditative, sensual or regal and most are unisex. They are especially well-suited for the holidays and cold weather.

Guerlain Shalimar

Guerlain Shalimar

Created for a 1925 exhibition in Paris, Guerlain Shalimar is thought to be the first modern perfume to use incense. Its unique blend of vanilla, resins, florals and citrus is famously called the “guerlainade” and its exact ingredients are kept secret. The magic of Shalimar happens at the drydown where tendrils of incense wrap around creamy vanilla and sandalwood, adding warmth and comfort to this beloved fragrance.

Key scent notes: citrus, jasmine, may rose, incense, tonka bean, vanilla

Amouage Jubilation XXV

Amouage Jubilation Xxv

Omani frankincense, derived from the Boswellia tree native to the country, is the heart of Amouage Jubilation Xxv. Few incense perfumes can match the rich, complex resin of Omani frankincense. The perfume opens with a mélange of honeyed fruits, light florals and spices that are perfectly balanced with rose and guaiac wood. As the fragrance wears on the skin, the aroma becomes smokier, warmer, drier, and, as it mixes with the oud and woods- almost velvety. Considered the “King” of all incense perfumes, XXV has 12-hour longevity and excellent sillage.

Key scent notes: orange, incense, blackberry, honey, cinnamon, oud, rose, clove, guaiac wood

Amouage Interlude

Amouage Interlude

Interlude is a favorite of YouTube reviewers and influencers who hold up its striking deep blue flacon with  a jewel studded gold cap and spray themselves lavishly. With a unique mélange of pimento berry, oregano, and bergamot, incense swirls around like a Genie released from its bottle. Incense hovers throughout every stage as the glow of amber, smoky oud and leather add depth and texture.

Key scent notes: bergamot, oregano, pimento berry oil, amber, incense, leather, oud, sandalwood

Parfums de Nicolaï Incense Oud

Nicolai Parfumeur Createur Incense Oud

Parfums de Nicolaï Incense Oud is a beautiful and fresh approach to classic incense-based fragrances, created with authentic Oud from Cambodia, which is very precious and rare. The brilliant perfumer Patricia de Nicolai (who is descended from many generations of the Guerlain family) captures the exotic essence of incense and the rich nature of oud in one complex scent.

Key scent notes: incense, oud, ambrette, oud, coriander, rose, patchouli, amber, musk

Annick Goutal Encens Flamboyant

Annick Goutal Encens Flamboyant

Composed around frankincense and fir balsam, Encens Flamboyant is one of the most unique and elegant incense perfumes. Encens Flamboyant opens brightly, then becomes smokier as spices and a bit of sweetness from the vanilla meet the scent of fresh fir balsam. Annick Goutal Encens Flamboyant is a real compliment getter and never overpowering.

Key scent notes: incense, fir balsam, vanilla, cinnamon leaf, ginger, sandalwood

Hermes Un Jardin Sur Le Nil

Hermes Un Jardin Sur La Nil

In 2005, Jean-Claude Ellena created Un Jardin Sur Le Nil after traveling to Egypt and embracing the scents he encountered along the Nile River. From top to bottom notes, Un Jardin Sur Le Nil truly feels like you’re on a boat traveling down the Nile. It opens with sparkling green grapefruit, green mangoes and lotus flowers and wafting through the air is a trail of incense. If you aren’t sure if you like incense, this a great incense perfume to start with.

Key scent notes: grapefruit, green mango, lotus, bulrush, orange, musk,  incense, cinnamon

Etat Libre D’Orange Spice Must Flow

Etat Libre D'Orange Spice Must Flow

Fans of the movie “Dune” will immediately recognize what inspired État Libre D’Orange Spice Must Flow’s name– the spice of the desert planet Arrakis. Warm with cinnamon, ginger and saffron, this incense perfume opens with a cloud of spices (the spice on Arrakis was said to smell like cinnamon) enveloping a jammy red rose and the scent of gingerbread baking.  At the base, smoky, resinous incense adds a mystical dimension to the composition. The spicy/smoky/rosy experience of État Libre D’Orange Spice Must Flow lasts for a 8-10 hours.

Key Scent Notes: Ginger, Pepper, Gingerbread Accord; Cinnamon, Cumin, Turkish Rose, Saffron; Incense

In Conclusion

Now that we have introduced you to the best incense perfumes, head on over to and choose your favorite from our wide selection. Shop our bestsellers now

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Fragrance advice and recommendations from Perfumista. Perfumista offers fragrance guides published often for every season and occasion, and well as extensive knowledge in the fragrance industry.

More Articles from this Author
image of Perfumista

Fragrance advice and recommendations from Perfumista. Perfumista offers fragrance guides published often for every season and occasion, and well as extensive knowledge in the fragrance industry.

More Articles from this Author

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