The Direct Help Foundation / Kumary House 2006, Himalayan Jhakri, The Druid

A previous TDHF review, including an introduction.

While the three incenses in question here may be available in other sets (certainly both the Kumary House 2006 and Himalayan Jhakri are among their most commonly distributed scents), I found them as part of the (now deleted or at least uncommon) Magic Tantra set, one of The Direct Help Foundation’s triple roll boxes with fantastic artwork.

Kumary House 2006 is that year’s version of an incense made by saving the trimmings from the making of other incenses so that no product is wasted. It makes for a scent with probably dozens of different ingredients that in this form are probably dominated by the most common ingredients, usually woods like juniper, sandalwood and the like. That’s something of a guess but it seems to play out in the incense’s aroma, which is indeed very everygreen and campfire/woody, and the description of flowers, woods and resins. However, I’d probably say whatever floral aromas at work here tend to the fruitier side, as is particularly common with Direct Help Foundation’s scents. Here it’s something of an orangey tint and I can imagine that scent comes from some rope trippings, where it is particularly common (you can see my reviews of various Essence of the Ages ropes – created by TDHF – starting here). Like many TDHF incenses, there’s something of a gravelly, woody background that might be a bit harsh for those who don’t already gravitate towards Tibetan scents, and in this case it’s a bit more pronounced with a bit of strong tobacco or sage like hints that speak of some herbal colliding in the mix. In a way it’s like having a very nice incense sitting on a poorer one and it’s strength is that during a burn all sorts of unusual hints come out of it, making it something of a potpourri. Very interesting overall.

Himalayan Jhakri is one of TDHF’s most common scents, there’s a stick, rope and powder forms of it, inclusive of the Essence of the Ages line TDHF is also responsible for. All three are fairly similar in scent with a somewhat citrus-blended sandalwood scent to it that’s fresh, clean and somewhat sawdusty and blended with a slight amberlike tint. It’s not far from a mix of a heavy wood incenses with an orange spice tea bag and if you can overlook the stronger, intense smells of the juniper wood and binder, you’re likely to find this a very pleasant incense. I’d probably prefer it in powder and rope form overall, the sandalwood tends to be a bit more noticeable and that’s particularly a strength with this incense. Overall it seems a genuinely Himalayan incense with a very fresh feel to it.

The Druid could be TDHF’s finest stick, described as a mix of moss, roots and resins, a combo fairly unusual for the line. Perhaps it’s a lower content of woods that helps to remove what’s kind of a harsh background scent to many of these incenses, but the combination works really well here. Even though it’s different from many other TDHF scents, it’s actually a bit more classically Tibetan, strange for a Celtic themed incense. It has that sort of tangy saltiness common to some of the better Tibetans, but with a cool floral herbal mix or perfume on top that gives it quite a bit of depth. I’ve always had this impression of Celtic incenses being like those fruity, green resin blends, but this is quite a bit different. The resin in the middle seems amber-like in the way amber tends to somewhat musty in this line and it gives the incense some heft to it, helping the overall tangy, savory nature. I found this one extremely pleasant and it’s somewhat unfortunately it’s only found in a couple boxes.

As always quite a bit of the draw with TDHF is their beautiful presentation, but in this case the incenses are pretty strong as well, if fairly uncompromising to the Western nose. While I’m sure we’ll see various versions of the Kumary House and Jhakri again, which should be easily found, I’d much more hope for a return of The Druid, which shows this company’s work at its best.

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