Time flies, and niche brands proliferate. The Different Company turns 15 this year, which makes them nearly antediluvian in perfume time. They're marking the milestone with Le 15, a new "mystical composition" inspired by palo santo, the South American tree used as an aromatic incense, and believed by some to have medicinal and sacred properties.1
The opening is gorgeous: bright citrus and petitgrain grounded by a fair dusting of nutmeg (and if you love just the top notes, do try Le Labo Bergamote 22). The dry down is likewise gorgeous, but softer and calmer. It has a smooth, polished finish — no rough edges — and it's well-blended, in that none of the individual woody and resinous notes (in addition to the palo santo accord, they've listed incense, myrrh, vetiver, gaiac wood, cistus and Atlas cedar) really stick out: it just smells like a dusky incense, middle-weight and mildy earthy, more dry than sweet, meditative but not at all churchy in the traditional sense.
The lasting power is very good, but as is often the case with Extrait, it stays rather close to the skin.
Verdict: a lovely and fitting tribute, sophisticated but not difficult to wear. Highly recommended for incense freaks, especially those of you who prefer your incense on the dry and quiet side. It's not cheap, but nor is it outrageously priced; if I was still in buying mode, it would go on my list.
The Different Company Le 15 is available in 50 ml Extrait de Parfum, €139. It was developed by perfumer Alexandra Monet, and is limited edition. For buying information, see the listing for The Different Company under Perfume Houses.
1. Bursera graveolens is in the same family as frankincense, myrrh and copal, Burseraceae. It is now endangered in the wild, and is a protected species in some countries.