Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Aedes de Venustas- Copal Azur

Photo from Tolan Yoga Retreats in the Sian Ka'an, Mexico.

Writing a fragrance review means combining as many elementsas needed to illustrate what a perfume feels like when you're wearing it. It always starts with fragments, then hopefully things come together. Except that with Copal Azur, the latest release from NYC boutique Aedes de Venusta (known to most locals simply as Aedes), a Bertrand Duchaufour composition,  my thoughts kept taking twists and turns and not forming a cohesive story. Not for lack of love for the perfume (in fact I adore it), but because it keeps making me think of places and colors, bringing forth various images.

What's so different about Aedes' Copal Azur? What makes it stand out so much among other beloved and/or classic incense perfumes? Is it the spiciness? the whiffs of fresh air? the hot and cold elements? Or maybe it's just the way the fragrance interacts with my skin? I've used up the sample and I'm still not sure. I just know that I keep thinking that Copal Azur is exactly what I wanted Uncle Serge's L'Eau Froide to be (and it failed miserably for me).

The official note list includes stuff like ozone and salty notes, both can mean the use of Calone, which I consider Not A Good Thing. I have to admit right here and now that I don't smell any of that. There's a sensation of cool air whooshing throughout Copal Azur, but at no point do I get a watery, "shower fresh" feeling from it. This is an incense perfume more than anything else, and while there is certainly an outdoorsiness to it, the focus remains on the beautiful incense, which is enhanced by all the other elements.

Copal Azur makes a statement right away with a noseful of spice. Only cardamom is listed, but I keep getting a zingy ginger in several forms: juicy fresh, dry powder, and in the end the sweet crystallized one. Together with the milky cardamom it could have gone foody, but it doesn't. Instead, it makes the incense more exotic and deeper, and provide the backdrop for the ambery and slightly sweetened dry-down.

I've been testing from a small dab-on sample, yet projection and longevity have been quite impressive (sillage is harder to evaluate this way). A cold incense is not always the first choice for midwinter, yet just like CdG Zagorsk, Copal Azur stands out against the snowy landscape, and I can't wait to discover where it goes in the heat of a NYC summer.

Notes: ozone, salty notes, incense (three kinds), cardamom, patchouli, myrrh, amber, tonka.

Aedes de Venustas- Copal Azur ($245 for 3.4oz or the very tempting refill spray at $110.00/ 3 x 0.25oz each) is available at Barneys and of course directly from Aedes (aedes.com).


  1. Love this scent. Don't mean to not give credit to Bertrand Duchaufour or Aedes, but each time I've worn it I have to remind myself that it's not from SL - instinctively, I feel like it would fit in with the most comforting of Uncle Serge's scents. Thankfully, I didn't read the notes before I ordered the sample, because if I'd seen ozone at the top of the list, I don't know when I'd have gotten around to ordering it (well, yes, I do know - it would have been after reading your review of it today). Like you, I get no ozone and I do get the ginger note. I think it may be the cardamom and ginger that make me associate this with happy, calming incense scents instead of more serious, meditative ones.

  2. I still can't explain why I like this one so much. I was so obsessed that I carried the sample in a coat pocket just so I could have it near me. The sample leaked in a pocket and now my winter coat smells like it. If that didn't happen, I would have used it up anyway.
    I can't explain why I'm smitten; I just know that I am. I like how it wears on me - a breath of fresh, spicy frankincense scented air.


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