Notes on a few other Korean incenses

I wrote these notes down long enough ago that I won’t be able to add much from memory to the reviews, but hopefully these could be considered of assistance in those interested in the Essence Korean incense sale.

Chung-Shim – pizza spice, sandalwood, wood slightly tart/sweet, slight Tibetan

Dabo – wood and tang, mellow, slightly spicy

Baeknan – undistinguished, small amount of high quality sandalwood mixed with cheaper wood

Dahyang – like mesquite/lime, woody/citrus

Danshim – like White Pigeon tibetan, slight mesquite/lime

Geumnan – like a stiff drink, almost saturated alcohol-like aroma with mesquite/lime

Shin Geumnan – Similar to Geumnan but more refined and a bit closer to the premium Koreans, slight tang



  1. Mike said,

    August 8, 2008 at 9:48 am

    I still love the TM and HH (I think I’m on my second or third boxes of both), it’s just that these are even a step up from those. Like with aloeswood incenses I’m constantly getting memory aromas all over the place from these. I’ll mention this when I review the incense, but the musk in the Highland is almost up to skunk-like strength in terms of its lingering quality (even after an inch or two of stick), of course this smells a little better. 😉

    Hope your two weeker is a great one!

  2. Steve said,

    August 8, 2008 at 9:29 am

    Hey Mike! I know what a fan you were (are) of Tibetan Monastery and Himalayan Herbal, so I can’t wait to try the Highland and Tibetan Medical College scents. They must really be wonderful to edge out those other favorites on the A-B-C scale! Unfortunately, I’m on vacation the next 2 weeks so Beth (EotA) is holding my order till I return – will have to wait till then to give em a try 😦


  3. Mike said,

    August 8, 2008 at 8:56 am

    Hey Steve, looking forward to hearing what you think (and appreciate the comments on the Koreans as well). It’s funny but with both of those TMC incenses I’m always reminded of a bowl of pistachios when they used to be more frequently red dyed. Kind of salty and very unique. The strength of all three of these incenses could be among the highest in Tibetan incense. Dzongsar might even be stronger, but that’s a bit more difficult. But above all these are Tibetans I’m always thinking about, just like I do with the best aloeswoods. And since the sticks are almost twice the size (and at least that in thickness) over the Japanese they seem an even better deal.

  4. Steve said,

    August 8, 2008 at 4:35 am

    Ordered the Highland and two Tibetan Medical College scents as recommended! They are considerably more expensive than most of the other Tibetan offerings I’ve seen, though still quite affordable compared to the range possible with Japanese incense. My interest is definitely piqued with the thought of high-end Tibetan!


  5. Mike said,

    August 6, 2008 at 11:11 am

    Thanks for the comments Steve, always appreciate the feedback. My notes become a little more elaborate when I’m dealing with more than one stick, in these cases it was a little difficult to get a good impression, which is why I never really moved to a full review. I’ve got samplers of another 15-20 Koreans which I’ve never actually sat down with for longer than an inch.

    Over the next couple months I’ll be concentrating more on the Tibetans. I’m actually starting to get a kind of mental tiering system with it: a) the high end, unleavened Tibetans, b) the middle end, leavened but still quality Tibetans and c) the 80% cedarwood, 20% other ingredient Tibetans which rarely assert their better qualities. Other than my notes on the Samye Monastery Samathabadra, I’ve never covered any a’s here, although a couple of the Lung Tas (and the two Mandala Trading incenses) are right on that a/b threshold. On the other hand I don’t think I’ve touched on any c’s, although I’m working on the Potala line which are definitive c’s.

    But seriously everyone’s gotta check out the Highland and the two Tibetan Medical College scents. They’ve redefined my Tibetan experience and have that attention getting power the best aloeswoods do.

  6. Steve said,

    August 6, 2008 at 10:41 am

    This is what my “notebook” looks like as I try different incense, Mike – though even these brief descriptive fragments probably still have a better/more diverse adjective choice than what I seem to come up with. Amazing how you get from these snippets to the full-bodied treatments you give us here.

    The Korean sale at EotA made it very tempting to wander off the Japanese path and explore the many Korean offerings, but I think I’ll stick at stocking the 3 premiums for now. The Tibetans took me on a similar detour and I still have so much yet to digest there. Truly amazing how many styles and variants are available to us. I have to admit I get overwhelmed at the choices at times 🙂


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