Lunar New Years & Incense


What is the Lunar New Year? 

Lunar New Years follows the cycle of the Lunar Calendar. It begins on the first day of the new moon and ends 15 days later on the day of the full moon. It is a time of community, honoring your family and your ancestors. Common traditions of Lunar New Years are giving red envelopes (lucky money) to children, fireworks, and eating traditional dishes. 

Lunar New Years, often associated with Chinese New Years, is celebrated over a variety of countries in Asia and is not exclusive to China. Countries and regions that recognize Lunar New Years as a public holiday are, and not limited to, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Hong Kong, Macau, Indonesia, China, Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, and Suriname. It’s important to understand that Lunar New Years is not a monolith celebration and each country has their own traditions and customs. 


Lunar New Years is a time of nostalgia for the countries that celebrate it. Your sense of smell is tied closely to your memory and whenever I remembered celebrating the Lunar New Years with my family it’s often the smells that resonated with me. With my objective of not referring to the traditions of Lunar New Years as a monolith celebration, I chose incense to be the featured note for this month as incense is used widely throughout the world.

History of Incense

Incenses transcend through so many cultures throughout the world with documentation of incense going as far back to Ancient Egypt. Each culture has a different way of creating incense with a variety of olfactive materials to omit the smell for the incense so your familiarity of the smell will fluctuate by your background. It starts with a combustible base, for example a bamboo stick and is coated with an aromatic material. 

Smells of Incense

Because of the variety of interpretations of incense, incense cannot be tied to a specific olfactive family, though it will typically fall into the amber woody olfactive group. For example, The Catholic church typically has frankincense and myrrh. In Buddhism they often use agarwood, and sandalwood. 

One of the most captivating parts of perfumery is the ways we are able to experience different interpretations of a singular note based on the perfumer and their interpretations of a single scent. 


Serge Lutens’s L'orpheline for example is a beautifully crafted musk and incense perfume with a captivating coldness. People often have scent associations of L'orpheline smelling like the churches they grew up in.


Issey Miyake’s L'eau D'isseu Pour Homme Intense in contrast brings out a warmer, brighter interpretation of incense. With notes like yuzu, sweet and mandarin orange, with a spiciness that carries through with their use of cinnamon, cardamom, and saffron. 

Both fragrances list incense as a note, but the blend of both perfumes creates a drastically different experience. 


If you would like to be led deeper into the journey of incense, allow our team at Parfum Gallerié to help you. E-mail us come into our store and allow us to recommend some fragrances!