Lucky Tibetan Incense Co. / Green Tara, Kailash, Kalachakra, Mila, Paljor Healing

In the last couple weeks I’ve covered some of the best Tibetan incenses available, now it’s time to move over to the other end of the spectrum. In fact and in part, the incenses here had a delaying effect on my exploration into Tibetan incense as a group of several incenses I bought at a nearby store that did little to impress. All five of these incenses come in a “gift pack” which is basically a cardboard box that packages the five boxes. This article was updated on September 22, 2008 to amend the company name to Lucky Tibetan Incense Co.

The main issue with all five of these incenses is that there’s too great a commonality among them. It gives the, perhaps incorrect, impression that all five incenses share the same base and vary in terms of essential oils or some other ingredient that strikes me as “flavoring” of a sort. While I do get the impression that it’s possible I might have picked up a box that has aged to its detriment, the fact that several of these leave a grey-bluish ash gives me the impression these incenses are comprised mostly of cheaper woods with small fractions of other ingredients to distinguish them. Some of the incenses are colored as well, Kailash blue, Kalachakra red and Green Tara being self evident. In fact the incenses that give off the blueish ash happen to be these three colored sticks and they all happen to be the incenses in the “gift pack” that are the most inferior.

Green Tara, where the gift pack gets its name, is one of the incenses that seems to be a wood base with slight flavoring and perhaps even essential oils. The base seems heavily cedarwood and not particularly high quality, with light sandalwood or sandalwood oil content. The main difference between this and the other incenses other than the green color are hints of patchouli in the front. Overall, it lacks character and has a bit of unwelcome bitterness to the burn.

Kailash is blue and presents many of the same issues with the least amount of post-wood aromatics in the group. It also has a cedarwood or similar base and presents a very dull aroma. It’s possible the oils or other aromatics had volatized from this incense during the aging, to give it the benefit of the doubt, but even were that true it should leave more of a trace than my stick has. I can’t remember seeing a Tibetan stick that had a natural color like this, so I would think there would have to be additives of a kind. There may be a bit of resin in there somewhere, but overall I had the impression that this wasn’t much more than a cedarwood “blank.” To be honest I found the almost dozen-item long ingredients list to be surprising and difficult to believe (for instance there’s not even a hint of saffron that I can tell).

Kalachakra, while similar to the previous sticks, seems to have a slight bit of character to it. There’s, perhaps, some red sandalwood involved here that makes the the wood base differ slightly. But like Green Tara, it’s a bit bitter on the edges and seems to have very little aromatic impact over the central wood.

Mila is the first of the two tan sticks in the gift package and I believe the ash was a closer to the white/light grey you tend to get with most sticks. This is probably because the base seems to be more of a combination of sandalwood and benzoin and as such it’s slightly improved over the others. Unfortunately (and perhaps due to age) Mila’s an incredibly brittle stick, my box ended up being a container of various inch-long pieces. But at least in this case there’s some spice to liven up the aroma. And strangely enough, this appears to be the most expensive, singly, of the five incenses here.

Paljor Healing is probably the line’s incense the most akin to the typical Agar 31 blends, although I wouldn’t make the mistake of thinking there’s too much agar here (aquilaria does seem to be an ingredient). It’s a bit too similar to Mila overall, but with a slight tangy background reminiscent of the general “healing incense” style which helps to make it marginally the most interest here. And it doesn’t appear to be quite as brittle.

Overall, the Paljor incenses easily fall into the 5% of Tibetan incenses at the bottom of the heap. They lack distinction and seem to go for cheaper materials, all of which make their incenses at worst a chore to burn and at best a generic experience.

9 Comments

  1. tacololo said,

    November 12, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    I recently bought a lucky tibetan incense called tibetan meditation incense.
    It is a mainly blue box with 32 sticks in it. Very cheap and long burning, about 1,5 hour per stick.
    I really like it. had a few lucky`s before wich werent so good but I really like this one. Certainly for the price.

  2. Mike said,

    September 24, 2008 at 7:53 am

    Hi Beth, thanks for clarifying! Do they do Relaxense, Dzambala etc as well?

  3. Beth Johns - Owner of Essence of the Ages said,

    September 23, 2008 at 5:39 pm

    Hey Mike!

    Actually Lucky does makes all the incenses but I haven’t had the time to take them off the other Tibetan incense pages yet! : ) I got their entire line in about a month ago and got it all up last week.

    And I totally agree with the selections you mentioned above with regard to price and affordability. The Mandala line is terrific and I haven’t had one yet that was a dud. Tibetan Monastery and Yog Sadhana rock! : )

    Blessings,

    Beth

  4. Steve said,

    September 22, 2008 at 2:27 pm

    Hey Claire – if you pass your address to Mike, I will be glad to send you samples of some of the Tibetans mentioned above so that you can be a better educated consumer before you spend your $. Just let me know if you’re interested. Warning – this stuff is addictive! 😀

    Steve

  5. Claire said,

    September 22, 2008 at 1:44 pm

    Hi Mike and Steve, thank you both ever so much for your input, it’s really helpful. I shall look up the reviews of the incenses you’ve mentioned and then, oh my, will face the difficult task of narrowing my choice down to just 1 or 2 to add to the order I’ll be placing this time round for raw ingredients. Now all I need is an incense that is formulated to “attract financial abundance” so that next time I can sample all of them! Best wishes, Claire

  6. Mike said,

    September 22, 2008 at 10:38 am

    Apparently, based upon the presence of Green Tara, the new list of Lucky incenses at Essence of the Ages has solved the company mystery on these incenses (most of which actually aren’t on the same page). Or has it? It looks to me as Lucky is actually a distributor of sorts.

  7. Mike said,

    September 22, 2008 at 9:55 am

    Hi Claire. I wonder how many incense samplers stop at these incenses thinking Tibetan incense isn’t much to write home about, I know I was put off for months by these and glad to confirm it wasn’t just the age of my box (my benefit of the doubt).

    The two Steve picked are big favorites, in fact after a small hiatus I had the Tibetan Monastery out (several times) and was marvelling over its complexity. Some others under $10:

    Natural Arogya Karmayogi (I’d search Arogya on Essence to find the whole series) is a really nice, resin-heavy stick I’ve liked quite a bit of late, if you like frankincense, myrrh, benzoin etc.

    Yog Sadhana’s a big favorite. It’s very smoky, but heavy on spice content like cinnamon, clove etc. The same company does one called Heritage I like quite a bit, in fact I have a review of this and Pilgrim coming up in the next couple weeks.

    There’s one called Traditional Mandala I like a lot lately as well, it’s made by the same company who does Nirvana A, B and C, and I like the former two quite a bit as well. You should be able to find it searching Essence for Nirvana, although it might be on the previous “various” page. They’re close to $10 but might be a bit over, I forget. That’s a bit of the trouble with some Tibetans, we don’t know what the company or origin is.

    Tashi Lhunpo’s Shing Khyam Kab is a fantastic very inexpensive Tibetan stick, you should be able to get a small box under $5. There’s a review on this site I believe, or notes anyway. The other Tashi Lhunpos seem really nice as well and they do a very nice long stick or two that’s very cheap. Ditto for the Zongkar Choede duo.

    And Lung Ta Drib Poi’s a big favorite of late, very spicy even curry/masala like. Love it to bits and wish there were bigger rolls. But it’s still around $5 for about 15 sticks. To a lesser extent I also like Riwo Sang Chhoe and White Sur.

    Many of the Dhoop Factory incenses are quite good, I think you can get a sampler of their line for around $10. Some of the woodier incenses can be a bit bitter (Alpine, Sauna) but that’s the nature rather than the quality of certain ingredients. I know I went through a phase where I was addicted to a few of these.

    Might be worth checking out my notes on recent Direct Help Foundation incenses. Very affordable and while they’re not all great there are some gems. Stupa incenses are somewhat similar and good quality for the price as well, although I haven’t tried all of them.

    And finally any of the Mandala Arts incenses seem quite good, although again I haven’t tried all of them. They do a very thick stick line with Boudha leafs (including a Sandalwood heavy Green Tara which is the only one I’ve tried so far) and a thinner stick, bamboo tube line of which I really liked the Yellow Jambala and Kalachakra lines. I can’t wait to try the others, but all of these should be well under $10 a package.

  8. Steve said,

    September 21, 2008 at 2:20 pm

    Hi Claire!

    Tibetan Monastery Incense and Himalayan Herbal Incense (2nd and 3rd from top) are both excellent choices! Either is less than $10 for a box.

    http://www.essenceoftheages.com/tvarious/tvar2.html

    I think both are on Mike’s Hall of Fame.

    Steve

  9. Claire said,

    September 21, 2008 at 1:34 pm

    I am actually encouraged to read your views here as I recently purchased this gift set and was so disappointed at both the lack of aromas and the lack of difference between the aromas of each of the 5 incenses that I had concluded that maybe all Tibetan incense smells the same irrespective of the blend. Now I know that it’s just this particular set I am tempted to try other Tibetan incenses. If the budget was up to $10, is there one in particular that you think stands out amongst the competition?


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