Weekend incense thoughts

Some bullet thoughts with no links. Most of these I’ve discussed in other posts, the others I’m just going to leave off because it’s Monday morning. 

  • I’m finding the Dhoop Factory line of Tibetan incenses to be great and my favorites in the line keep shifting. Right now the tops is probably Agar 31. I keep thinking of some old coot saying “Sourwood” when I burn this because it just has a sort of sour or bitter note to the wood and I love it. However, some of the lines do resemble each other, almost too closely, for instance Agar 31 is very much like Medicine Buddha, except not as thick a stick. Sauna Sticks and Alpine are so close, I couldn’t tell one from the other, even though the former supposedly has Eucalyptus while Sauna Sticks don’t. So I think of those two as the high-altitude campfire dhoops and the others as “sourwood.”
  • I bought a gift pack of Green Tara Tibetan incense, while not realizing Essence of the Ages has it on sale on the home page at the bottom. I haven’t really sat with them enough to tell one from the other yet, but of the five blends, I liked the Green Tara and the Kalachakra the best and there are some “sourwood” qualities with some of these lines as well.
  • The Scented Mountain Aloeswood Grade 1 seems to vary a little from stick to stick. I do notice almost all incense can vary a little depending on the “aural acoustics” of a room, depending on how much ventilation, space of room etc. It’s kind of like tasting wine or scotch in that the temperature of the liquid and shape of the glass all affect the aroma and taste. But with the Grade 1 incense, I’ve had sticks that resemble kyara and then one over the weekend with an off bitter note. I kind of like that, though, that it’s such quality wood that each new stick varies a little. Kind of curious about the Grade 2 now.
  • Red Crystal Tibetan Incense strikes me as kind of nasty now. I remember burning a stick and thinking it smelled like fresh sandalwood, but now I’m noticing tobacco/sage notes and an almost formaldehyde-like tinge and given the size of the stick, it’s a long time to have to endure that. I’ve now created a box where I’m moving poor incense like this to it.
  • I’m finding the Nippon Kodo Fragrance Memories line to be the type that is more impressive at first due to the unique aromas, but over about five or six sticks, the novelty wears off a little and very few of them are making me think “long term favorites.” For instance, the Paris Cafe blend blew me away first stick, now it mostly gets on my nerves.
  • I think I missed one Ramakrishnanda incense that was really nice, the Vrinda Devi, which I believe was their Nag Champa Supreme and lived up to it with a much denser aroma with a lot of oil. Very nice.
  • Unlike all other companies except for the possibility of Baieido, Shoyeido’s incense reveals itself more and more as you experience it, showing just how incredible and multi-faceted their blends are. I’d probably never have noticed this with the Premium or Horin collections where you get to sample one stick an aroma, it’s only after about 3 or 4 sticks per scent that one starts to really get the impression how well-balanced both these lines are. Usually after four sticks, I’ve come close to really getting a grip on a scent, but with some of the Shoyeido premium line, it’s like refracting light through a prism and you sit there and realize how complex the scent is, as if every spice has been carefully calculated.

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