Bosen Incense Chin-Zhou Aloes -from Ross

I find myself on a pretty frequent basis searching out new sources of incense via the ever deepening world of the Internet. Some months ago I discovered Bosen Incense on Amazon.com. They are based in Taiwan.
Compared to many of the Japanese companies Bosen has a pretty tight line up of two major groupings of Aloewoods and a line of Tibetan style sticks , coils and powders.
They were kind enough to send me samples for review of what’s available on their Amazon.com pages. Since I have yet to figure out the intricacies of Tibetan incense I sent those on to Mike. I did notice that they used quite a lot of Aloewood in those blends, more so then I have seen listed from other companies.
As for the Aloewoods, there are two subgroups, Chin-Zhou (Indian) and Hoi-An (Vietnamese)..
These are pure wood sticks, by which I mean there are no additions in the way of spices or herbs. Most of what we are used to burning are blends composed of some percentage of woods, spices, resins, herbs and perfumes. The Aloe sticks are a variety of different grades of Aloes with a very small touch of binder. The closest thing to this might be the incense from Scented Mountain, but they are using cultivated woods while Bosen are apparently using wild harvested.
Bosen also defines their line up by the quality ( which seems to be a composite of the amount of resin as well as the quality of the scent) of the wood. Sometimes this seems to get a little complicated.
So, this part of the review will be dealing with the Chin-Zhou sticks and powders.

Superior Chin-Zhou Aloeswood: Very smooth surface with a very dense feel to it, about an eighth to inch thick. Very long burning. The scent is a combination of dry woods with a touch of refined sweetness and, at time, a sort of peppery top note with possibly light chocolate like tones underneath.. Overall, this is a nice scent with a lot of different levels going on within the burn without the addition of spices, resins or E O’s that we are normally presented with. Bosen mentioned that there are no “pure incenses” in the world, everything is a blend of some kind, theirs being a blend of different grades of aloeswoods with different levels of resin content as opposed to woods and spices. I think this is a pretty good deal and a good place to start with these incenses.
Top Grade Chin-Zhou: Similar looking stick, a bit thinner in width. The scent is similar to the Superior Chin-Zhou, as you would expect, but there is a noticeably more spicy, peppery feel to it with the chocolate tones more underneath the spicy top notes. There are also some other scent groups at work here but as of yet I can’t really describe them other then they are pleasant. Again, there are a large number of levels going on here, a learning curve!
Given the large difference in price I think Superior is a pretty good deal and a good place to start with these incenses.

Chin_Zhou (Jinko) Powder: In this case Jinko means “water sinking” or resin heavy. This is a very finely ground powder with a clean Aloeswood scent, somewhere between the Superior and Top Grade above. It seems to work best on a makko trail. It would also work really well as a wood base for making your own incense at a relatively affordable price. This is not super strong, but it is a pretty good deal for the price.
Chin-Zhou Aloeswood Powder: This is their lowest level of wood however it still has a distinct Aloeswood scent to it when burned. Less then the Jinko but still there. Again, great as a base for building your own blends.
If you are looking for deep, heavy resin scents neither of these powders are it, nor do their prices reflect what those deep, heavy resin scented woods go for now days, which of course was what I was hoping for  : )

If you are interested in trying out Aloeswood sticks that are really built around the woods and not layered with all the extras you should consider these. Bosen has mentioned that they are putting together some samplers, which would make things much less of a gamble. Next week I will be presenting the Hoi-An (Vietnamese) series.

4 Comments

  1. Terra Renee said,

    April 24, 2015 at 12:02 pm

    I am a frequent customer of BOSEN and have corresponded with the person who speaks for the store several times, and recently he sent me a totally free sample pack. I got 5 sticks of custom Hoi-An (he said it was on par with Reserved Hoi An), 5 sticks of Top Grade Chin Zhou, various 2 and 4 hour reserved Chin Zhou and Hoi An coils, a full pack of lower grade chin zhou coils, and 2 full 24 packs of Blessing coils (I had mentioned that Blessing was my favorite BOSEN scent). BOSEN goes above and beyond for their frequent customers and the scent of the high end aloeswood is amazing. I can’t detect a single filler in the custom Hoi An or the Top Grade Chin Zhou. Thank you for reviewing BOSEN’s scents. They don’t get the recognition they deserve. I’m waiting diligently for them to open their Taiwan-only site to US residents so I can try some of their Taiwan-only incenses, such as the Zambhala coils and their stick sample packs. I loved my stick-and-coil sample pack and it was free, but I would definitely love to try more, and their Taiwan site has so much more.

  2. Ross Urrere said,

    January 22, 2009 at 12:37 pm

    Thanks Mark. It is interesting how writting about the stuff seems to have given me a much greater apprectiation of the proccess and the materials.
    This is good because I slow down and linger more over each stick as opposed to just blasting away. Saves money too 🙂
    -Ross

  3. Mark said,

    January 20, 2009 at 1:12 pm

    Ross, just want to say that I really enjoy your reviews and your writing style. I feel like I get a good idea of what to expect from an incense from your descriptions which are right on. You and I must have similar noses.

  4. Mike said,

    January 20, 2009 at 10:52 am

    Nice report Ross! I will be reviewing the Tibetan styles at some point, but do want to say they’re pretty fabulous from my end, very different from the usual Tibetans, with as you said, a bit more aloeswood than the usual. In fact aloeswood seems to manifest in a totally different way in most Tibetans. One theory I have is that in many of the high end sticks that have it, the same sticks usually have musk, which is often so strong it tends to drown out the intricacies of aloeswood. Also, the Japanese certainly use higher quality woods overall. I’ve got a report on the wonderful Medicine King line coming up eventually, but that’s where I notice the wood the most.


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