The Two Andies
Traditionally, the Third Sunday of Advent is seen as a respite from preparatory austerity of the season. Also known as Gaudete – its Lenten counterpart being Laetare – this Sunday is a fleeting glimmer of the celebration of Christmas. Statues can be displayed, High Altar candles can be lit, flowers – usually roses – can adorn the sanctuary, and – surprise! – pink vestments and altar clothes can be used. (I seem to remember one priest of my youth referring to Gaudete as “Gay-day-té.”) And then, particularly in Catholic and Anglo-Catholic congregrations, there’s incense. I’ve written about incense before, the “odor of sanctity” and all that.
I can’t say that, outside of church services, I’m a huge fan of the more ecclesiastical incenses. Unlike the more Eastern incense blends, I prefer to have this smell on my clothing rather than on my person. Comme des Garçons Incense Series and Diptyque L’Eau Trois are my benchmarks, though Heeley Cardinal and Etro Messe de Minuit are also among my choices. For whatever reason, I’ve given scant attention to Creed Angelique Encens (even if the Creed family presented a special version of the scent to the Holy Father last year in New York).
Two exceptions that I will make to the not-on-my-person, or N.O.M.P., rule are the two Andies: Andy Tauer Incense Extrême and Andy Warhol Silver Factory. The former is cool as ice and dark as darkest moonless Northern night, with starlight piercing the pitchblack scrim in the form of cedar and iris; the latter is incensey but in that I’m-a-woman-who-wears-incense-yes-incense sort of way. If you’ll allow my poetic license, it’s incense with blue mascara. The cardinal rule of incense notes being, They Must Last, both fragrances have excellent sillage and tenacity.