“More than 1,500 years ago, off Osaka Bay, a strange branch ran aground on a beach in the island of Awaji. Villagers picked up the branch and burned part of it to warm themselves and a wonderful smell arose… From then on, the fate of Awaji was decided and the island would be entirely dedicated to the production of incense.”
According to Japanese legend, Awaji was the first island to rise from the oceans. Those same waters carried a log of agarwood to shore that produced an aromatic, sweet smoke when burned.
To produce their line of premium, handmade incense, Benoît Astier de Villatte and Ivan Pericoli of Astier de Villatte rely on the legacy and expertise of this island community’s Koh-shis, or incense masters.
But traveling to Awaji is only the first stop on a long tour. Experiencing distant locations, and then subsequently translating the essence in to scent, is the motivation at the heart of Astier de Villatte’s line of incense.
Inspired by the romance of adventure, Astier de Villatte’s incense is developed in collaboration with Françoise Caron, an accomplished and awarded perfumer.
Each scent harnesses the excitement of traveling, wherein you simply take in the moment and revel in the sights, sounds, and smells of a new location.
Accompanied by a collection of incense burners, glazed in their signature milky white hue, Astier de Villatte’s incense offerings provide exceptionally hand-crafted incense with inspired fragrances that give off a sense of relaxation as they drift through any room.
Delhi: Careering by rickshaw through narrow streets in The Old Town. A torpid atmosphere. Scents of a thousand different spices flood your nostrils. Betel, Styrax, Musk, Myrrh. Grey clouds of smoked Vanilla wood. Beedies of herbs and eucalyptus.
Hollywood: The delicate dusting of iris and patchouli leads us down the yellow brick road of Hollywood studios, blending with the sunny cedarwood, eucalyptus and vetiver scents of Southern California’s luxuriant vegetation.
Namche Bazar: Black tea with its scent of dried hay and slight smokiness of tobacco. Breathe with pleasure the scented streams of Patchouli, Yerbe Maté and Musk, tempered by the delicate freshness of Verveine and Aromatic Lavender.
Atelier de Balthus: In the painter’s studio, all covered in wood panelling, time seems suspended. Through the big bay window overlooking green altitude meadows, the Northern light pours her powdery rays all over brushes, palettes, tubes, paint pots, sketched canvasses and rags still wet with linseed oil. The air is fragrant with the heady smell of turpentine mixed with lovely wisps of smoke, honey, woods, tobacco and cedar wood.
Aoyama: Damp wood, incense, and freshly laundered linen, evoke for Sonya Park the typical smell of an old, wooden Japanese house from the neighborhood of Aoyama. Exquisite traces of highly chic Patchouli of smoked wood and of cloves.
Visit Awaji with Benoît and Ivan to see their incense crafted from start to finish in this video by Astier de Villatte.