Incense Trading, Absinthe

One project I have to set up in the next few weeks is an incense trading circle. I had been waiting until my first big box of samples was received by some site friends before mentioning it. The plan is basically this: I spent a while getting rid of incense boxes that weren’t to my tastes and then sending them to the “next person on the list.” The recipients will do the same, keeping what they like, adding incenses they don’t like from their collections and sending the next box onto the next person. This, of course, can be done by anyone who wants to get involved (some of you may remember Steve’s giveaway a few months ago) and hopefullly it will be a good way of educating everyone’s noses. But at some point in the near future I’ll be creating a separate page for this activity, probably when the next circle participant is ready to send their box forward. Of course, feel free if you have any ideas on how to run this thing to comment here.

Second, I’ve been crazy busy the last month or two with my weekends basically taken up with other (fun) things, so for a few weeks I’ll be spreading my reviews out a little more, now that I’m down to five articles with notes finished and an Essence project I need to return to this weekend. One of the fun things that came out of last weekend happened during a surprise visit to the local Beverages and More store, where upon making comment about an absinthe bottle (apparently fake) at the front counter, was told that absinthe is actually legal in the US as of December 2007 (who knew?) Now you might be wondering why I’m talking about absinthe on an incense site. The revelance is that the herbal content of absinthe is actually very incense-like, with wormwood, fennel and sage all being part of its bouquet. I bought La Tourment Vert and prepared the absinthe for my company by using the traditional ice water over sugar cube in a slotted spoon method. What’s amazing about this process is that the water and sugar actually release the aromatics, so without having a sip, this aromatic blast of anise and fennel was not all that dissimlar to the herbs on a heater. And what occured to me experiencing the absinthe was just how similar its aroma was, in part, to some of the Shoyeido premiums. There’s just something liqeur or even winelike to the heavily oiled incenses that “absinthe” may end up being part of my descriptor list in the near future. And where aloeswood and other aromatics have a way of reaching into your head, absinthe, of course, is even more powerful.


  1. Rachel Lindstrom said,

    January 27, 2009 at 5:43 am

    Hello! I would love to get in the line for the incense sampling stream. I’m in Arizona. 😀

  2. Mike said,

    September 29, 2008 at 11:53 am

    Will do Nancy, you’ll be next. 🙂

  3. Nancy Hyton said,

    September 26, 2008 at 9:09 am

    I have a bunch of incense that I’m ready to pass on. Please let me know when the trading circle comes to fruition. Thanks!

  4. Mike said,

    September 23, 2008 at 8:51 am

    Oh and I’m not sure about the medicinal effects, I’d have to defer to one of the more knowledgeable readers. 🙂

  5. Mike said,

    September 23, 2008 at 8:49 am

    Hello Bernd. I too enjoy single malt scotch quite a bit, I used to go to tastings in this area when they were held. I’m very fond of Islay malts like Ardbeg, Lagavulin, Bowmore and the like and I wouldn’t be surprised if they inform my incense impressions at times. Will be interested to hear what you think of the absinthe… 🙂

  6. Bernd Sandner said,

    September 23, 2008 at 2:05 am


    hope, you are well!
    The trading circle is a very good idea. Unfortunately I am far away.
    You know, I have an absinthe shop, not far away. I even saw La Tourment Vert in their window. So I will go for the experience.
    Mike, I am very much in favour of old scottish whisky, and sometimes the filled glas will just stand next to me without being touched, just releasing it’s wonderful smell in subtle waves from time to time. I often tell friends, that in my opinion whisky is not only an alcoholic drink, but medicine, if you don’t drink the whole bottle on just one evening.
    In the same way as incense is a medicine. Not in the sense, that some ingredients will have positive effects on certain organs (although this might be the fact. Do you know anything about this?), but in the sense, that the whole body gets relaxed and feels comfortable. Simply because of the good feeling of the mind.
    Please, scientist forvive me the simple thoughts. I know that the alcohol is one reason for the relaxation, but I would never drink any alcohol just to be relaxed.
    I has to smell and taste good.

    So thanks again, Mike for your ideas!

    Best! Bernd

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