Aloeswood again (Incense 4)

I did managed to go on a bit about kyara earlier, but I’ve been finding that the Vietnamese aloeswood sticks are just getting better and better every time I burn one to the point that I can see aloeswood being a gigantic part of my palette of scents in the near future. It has such a deep and powerful scent, so multifaceted that I notice different things about it every time.

[I’ve deleted the Ecclecstacy-specific links on this page as I can’t recommend them.]

It’s obvious to mention that aloeswood is a totally different type of incense from the Indian durbars and champas but I find them really complementary in terms of switching from one style to the other. Maybe the only potential casualty are my sandalwood incenses, which I love, but truly pale in comparison. While durbars are almost overwhelming in fragrance, aloeswood starts out “humble” and then proceeds to impress with various subscents. Even though the bamboo-less stick puts off less smoke, it’s as noticeable in other ways. Over the last couple days ago I’ve gotten minty hints from the #2 and #3 grades, occasional wafts of fine tea, as well as other hints I’m just starting to recognize. Of course the resinous nature that makes it so amazing is more prevalent with the more money you spend, none of these have that extraordinarily rich kyara scent the Shoyeido blends I mentioned earlier do, but they’re extremely fine incenses that I’m enjoying mostly because those Shoyeidos are toast and I’m waiting on a restock.

I also went for the high grade aloeswood box from Scented Mountain that Kerry commented on in an earlier post, so I hope to talk about that as well. If they are anywhere near as good as the three above at that price, I’m likely to be very happy.

Seriously, anyone remotely interested in incense reading this owes it to check some of these scents out, they’re like magick.



  1. Mike said,

    June 11, 2007 at 11:28 am

    Hi Kerry, I actually was just on my way to blurb a little bit about what I received from Sacred Mountain, I’m impressed to say the least. So I’ll save that for the post, except for my agreement with the sustainability issue which does indeed seem to be important. I believe the places I order aloeswood from are careful about this, but it’s not a bad idea to double check.

    I’ve got your new book on my list, looking forward to reading it! I take it, it will be in various bookstores soon?

    As for the single ingredients vs blends, it seems aloeswood by itself is as complex and multilayered as some of the blends I’ve experienced, in fact I’ve been noticing more and more that I’m spending as much time with the single ingredients as I was blends for this very reason. It, in its own way, kind of leads to guessing about blends as you become familiar with various fragrances.

    As far as music/sounds vs incense/smell, I think I nearly live just from the comparisons and similarities I find between my various interests. As a kabbalist of sorts this connection-making is all part of that give and take between unity and diversity, so your comments re: the Buddha and are of great interest and while I’d heard the idea of listening to incense, it didn’t quite click until your comment. šŸ™‚

    Appreciate your comments and support and now I’m off to talk about Sacred Mountain. šŸ™‚


  2. Kerry said,

    June 11, 2007 at 10:11 am

    Hi Again, Mike,

    I am glad you are checking out the sustainably produced Agarwood. With incenses (at least those that are unadulterated by synthetic stuff), it is important to make an effort to get sustainably produced or harvested material. Almost all the major types of incense (Sandalwood, Frankincense and certainly Aloeswood) have had major overharvesting issues. But it is also difficult to find companies that are really getting sustainably produced or harveted material.. all I ask is that people become more aware of this.

    Mike-yes, I have a new book out, and you should check it out. You can find it on it is inexpensive, and you will learn a lot about the different kinds of icnenses you are experimenting with.

    I like that you are looking past “the blends” and going straight to the single ingredient incenses. I think it is very good when you are learning (and when are we not learning?) to try to really understand and appreciate the single plant that is giving the scent. “What is Aloeswood, where does it grow, what is it’s importance?” It is important in your appreciation to understand that these scents come from living beings (plants!), and that is the essence that the plant is giving… ponder that!

    Also, Mike, I would love to comment on something you said from an earlier incense thread. You likened the smelling of incense to the “hearing of music”.. Are you aware that the Japanese use a word for when they “smell incense” they do not say “smell” they say “listening to the incense”. This comes from old Buddhist belief that a person can get all the teachings from Buddha just by listening to the incense. Isn’t that beautiful?

    Great blogging.. keep up your appreceiation of a truely wonderful thing and thank you for inviting us into your experience.

    Kerry Hughes
    Author of The Incense Bible

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