Holy Smokes - Ambrosia

Holy Smokes (BERK) – Ambrosia

I think, I’ve postponed Ambrosia‘s review longer than any other.
The reason is that the scent of Ambrosia seems to be largely based on essential oils, making the fragrance exceptionally complex. This also makes it very difficult for me to identify specific notes, and for a long time, I lacked the words to describe the scent. It’s time to tackle this review, especially since I often refer to Ambrosia and other incenses I consider related in scent.

My first encounter with Ambrosia were not the incense sticks, but the incense hearts, which are intended to be burned on coal or an incense heater. I discovered them during a 2015 holiday in Berlin. At the Mondlicht bookshop, the hearts were sold individually for 50 cents. I didn’t know they came from BERK at the time, as they weren’t labelled. Later, I found one of these jars. I’ve been buying those and the stick variant from Point for Wellness for a while now.
The regular price for Ambrosia sticks is €3.50 for the 10g pack. Occasionally, they can be found cheaper, but often, they are also quite overpriced. For instance, a seller on eBay is asking €8.99 for a pack.
The 25g jars of Ambrosia hearts are available from about €7, though they can be found for up to €12.
Personally, I prefer the hearts because they are better suited to my small rooms with low ceilings than the very potent incense sticks. The hearts are no less potent, but they can be used more sparingly. I never use a whole one, but break off small pieces to put on my tea light incense heater. Of course, you could also burn just a few centimetres of a stick, but since I especially like this incense for scenting my bedroom before going to bed, I prefer this “smokeless” variant.

Probably due to the old description on Sonnlicht.de (which linked the incense sticks to the plant of the same name), I long assumed that the scent of Ambrosia came from Ambrosia artemisiifolia, the common ragweed. It’s the very plant that is frequently warned about in the media here due to its potent allergenic pollen [DE], but there is indeed an essential oil made from it. The allergens, however, are only in the pollen.
In the course of this review, I inquired with Sonnlicht whether the oil from this plant is indeed one of the ingredients, to which the owner, Karin Luger, responded that she had rechecked and subsequently corrected the description in the shop. Every time I had contact with her, I found her to be very helpful, accommodating, and informative.

Ambrosia is marketed by BERK as the “scent of the gods,” likely a reference to the Ambrosia of Greek mythology, which is the food of the gods.
In many cultures, offerings of smoke are made to the gods, who are believed to be nourished by the rising essence. A very fitting name for incense, indeed.
Not much is revealed about the ingredients. “Herbs, flowers, oils, and sandalwood are mixed according to a secret new recipe and rolled by hand onto a bamboo stick” is said BERK‘s website. They describe the scent as follows: “This majestic scent unfolds in the atmosphere like a fine, high sparkle.”

The scent is truly special and certainly worthy of an offering.
Over the course of this and last year, as I started trying more and more incense sticks, I noticed the similarity to “Blue Lotus” scents, especially those from Pure Incense. Their Pushkar also contains blue lotus oil, and I find its scent to be related to Ambrosia. Based on this, I am sure that this is one of the fragrance components of Ambrosia.
The sweetness is vanilla-like and very high-pitched. Additionally, I smell a mineral note that indeed lends the scent a kind of “glitter”. This is complemented by a dark, earthy aspect that appears almost mystical, providing an interesting contrast. A few months ago, I first noticed a deep, balsamic note that could be labdanum or rockrose. I can also occasionally detect sandalwood now.

Overall, Ambrosia is truly a very complex whole, and attempting a factual analysis robs it of its magic.
To me, its scent is like a deep aubergine-coloured velvet blanket, covered with a hint of glitter particles. Sparkling like the night sky and equally fascinating; soft, luxurious, and extraordinarily sensual. A perfect “bedroom scent” that provides deeply relaxation to me and is incredibly sexy.
Definitely a fragrance for special occasions. Whether for the gods, to celebrate oneself, or to enjoy life and quality time with a loved one.

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