Featured Notes include:- Cold Pressed Lemon, Bergamot, Petitgrain, Lemon Verbena, Rosemary, French Maillette Lavender, Kashmir Lavender, Roman Chamomile, Clary Sage, French Rose Geranium, Rose de Mai, Orange Blossom, Neroli, Melissa (lemon balm), Italian Alpine Peppermint, Sumatran Patchouli, Indian Rosewood, Sandalwood, Amyris, Cypress, Fir Needle, Elemi, Benzoin, Labdanum, Olibanum absolute, Ethopian Oppoponax, *Ethiopian Frankincense (Boswellia Papyrifera), Royal Green Hojari Omani Frankincense (Boswellia Sacra), Somali Frankincense (Boswellia Carterii) and Tolu balsam
SANCTUM is a long walk through carefully tended fields; on one side, overlooking the azure Aegean sea, are vineyards. The other side, filled with the silver leaves of ancient olive trees. The long path continues upwards, all the way from the sea, up the sloping hillside to the temple. Separating the vineyard from the sacred olive grove is an ivy-covered, low stone wall that meanders on through an orchard. Bitter oranges and tart lemons flourish here in the bright sunlight and the fresh sea air.
The path continues through herb and vegetable gardens bursting with sweet flowers and aromatic leaves that fill your face with the earthy green scents of plant medicine fully alive in the verdant landscape.
You come now to the stone walkway, slowed by the exertions of your long walk in the heat of the day, and you step gratefully into the shade of muted light and the deep cool of marble. Your hands reach into a stone basin for the refreshing splash of cool mint and rosemary water, to cleanse the dust from your face and hands.
Passing through the portico into the vast space of the temple, you slow your step, and move into a world of silence, your eyes drawn to the flickering of beeswax candles and other votive offerings; flowers, tapestries, golden cups and coins twinkling from the shadows at the furthest end of the temple. Incense drifts through the air. The hallowed atmosphere settles upon you, slowing your heartbeat, softening you.
You step quietly, reverently through the temple, and come to the shrine; the most holy place for private worship and deep inner reflection, and you sit now, on a low, carved wooden bench. All is silent, your mind is still, and you effortlessly enter the clear and empty space within, filled with the pure awareness that you are everything and nothing. You are one, and all.
In contrast to the other 3 Mystics, Sanctum is very gentle; a tender, natural scent inspired by ancient islands in the Aegean sea. The perfume opens with the freshness of bitter herbs and wildflowers that drift away to reveal precious woods and extraordinary resins that linger.
There are over 30 ingredients in the composition, and the result is a complex, unisex fragrance that unfurls along many scented pathways. An aromatic tapestry, Sanctum requires several wears to familiarise one’s self with its ancient landscape, with the subtlety of its shifting moods and scent trails. The dry-down is a sheer veil of comfort, a soothing scent for inducing contemplation and deep inner peace.
Sanctum is for Sundays… for rest and rejuvenation, a perfect companion for weekends away, for evenings after too much time in the hot sun. A cool, calm moment in the temple of self-reflection.
*Notes on Ethiopian Frankincense by the artisan Dan Riegler, from Apothecary’s Garden.
A rare and hard to find essential oil, artisan distilled in small batches. Also called “Tigray type” frankincense due to its preference for the northern area of Ethiopia, Boswellia Papyrifera is the resin of choice for both the Orthodox church and the general populace of Ethiopia who burn it during their daily ritual of preparing coffee. Frankincense Papyrifera resin yields 1/3 of the essential oil compared to most other types of frankincense. For this reason you will find its price is much higher. Sometimes commercial distillers will mix the resin of B. papyrifera with higher yielding Frankincense resins so it can be sold at a more competitive price. The essential oil of Boswellia papyrifera here in the shop is pure and unadulterated. The purity is reflected in its price which is higher than the essential oil of other frankincense types in the shop.
More distinguished, dignified than most other types of Frankincense, B. Papyrifera essential oil reminds me of well-aged whisky. It has a warm softness and depth. A hint of ripe sweet fruit is carried by honey amber and an ever so slight spiciness. Until recently, in our North American market, there was little choice as far as the type of frankincense resin or essential oil one could buy, and it was almost impossible to acquire the rarer types of frankincense such as Boswellia Papyrifera.
Though one of the loveliest of the frankincense essential oils, its rarity is compounded by its extremely low yield of essential oil. Few are willing to distill this oleoresin since the financial return is so low. Frankincense Papyrifera is distinguished from other frankincense types by the presence of the sesquiterpenes Incensole and Incensole acetate. Studies have shown that these volatile compounds are not only powerful anti-inflammatory agents, but they affect our brain chemistry, reducing anxiety and increasing feelings of heightened spirituality and well-being. These compounds are absorbed into our bloodstream through the smoke of burning B. Papyrifera as incense, inhaling the fragrance of the essential oil or applying it with a carrier oil to our skin. Do not ingest essential oils or apply them neat to the skin with out professional supervision! Ruled astrologically by the Sun, all types of frankincense are calming to the mind and spirit and aid in meditation and spiritual work.
Sadly all our Frankincense trees are suffering. They are declining so rapidly in their numbers it is estimated we will lose them all in the next 40-50 years. Unless we step in and apply corrective measures. These magnificent trees are dying at an alarming rate due to human encroachment and unsustainable harvesting practices. They are cut to make room for agriculture, burned as charcoal and cooking fuel, and often over-harvested till they die. If you would like to be part of the solution to saving this precious resource, please visit http://www.conservecalmadow.org/. Dr. Anjanette DeCarlo is leading a team dedicated to saving the frankincense trees and can use all the help she can get.
**The Mystics are the only fragrances in our range that really feature frankincense and myrrh as the key notes in our range. We have crafted 5 litres of each fragrance in the collection of four, and once gone they will not return. We do so out of respect for the diminishing frankincense trees.