Mystic Temple / Green Floral Champa, Maharaj, Precious Forest, Sacred Woods

Previous Mystic Temple reviews on ORS:

Golden Champa, Transcendence, Vanilla Amber Champa, Frankincense

This group of Mystic Temple scents contains two “classics” and two relatively new scents. I use the word classics in quotes because one of these two is an incense that I believe has lost its luster over the years; however, it’s still a decent incense, just not up to the fine standards of the other three here. All four of these sticks can be classified as durbars in the newer sense in that none seem to have large amounts of halmaddi in them, although three out of four could possibly be some of the better durbars in the modern age. In these latter cases it’s likely the perfume/oil art at work that makes them so successful.

Fortunately, in the case of Green Floral Champa, we’re speaking of an incense that manages to be roughly the same as it was ten years ago. It’s always been one of the thinner champas and probably never had much halmaddi to begin with, quite the contrary if it had there might have been a little more conflict. Green Floral Champa is basically one of the most distinctive durbars on the market. It combines evergreen-like notes with a huge wallop of camphor along with some very subtle and even barely tangible floral notes into an incense that is extremely potent and perhaps an acquired taste or at least one for occasional use. Those not into strong camphor notes could easily pass up on it, but for me it’s quite fantastic, penetrating and sharp, and unlike any other incense I own. And unlike many high end durbars where $1.50-$2 will only get you a few sticks, you can usually find about 15 in a similar package of this one. I’m actually a bit surprised I lived without it for so long.

Maharaj is basically one of those incenses that makes you wonder if your impressions are based on some sort of nostalgic memory impression you’ll never match or if it just isn’t the incense you remember. When I first bought a package of this when these incenses were a lot wetter, this was one of my favorites, it had a certain oil tone that leaned in the spicy, almost licorice like direction, but even back then it seemed to quickly lose much of that note. Now, even though it’s still something of  a spicy champa derivative, it’s a lot more typical, just a little bit better than a dozen or so hard to pin Shrinivas incenses.  Nowadays it’s a bit gummy and somewhat featureless or thin in the middle. It’s also a pretty common style, both Surya and Incense from India have slight variations on the theme.

Precious Forest is one of Mystic Temple’s more recent entries, although by that I mean it’s been around a few years. This is a real treat that ought to appeal to those who like their Indian sandalwood oil dark and rich. It’s quite similar to the White Frankincense incense I reviewed in the last Mystic Temple installment, a very thick, deluxe stick with a rich base and oil. While there are a lot of elements at play in this one, the stick is defined by the previously mentioned deep sandalwood contour, the similarity to the White Frankincense is that both are rich in their respective ingredients. It’s definitely an expensive durbar overall, but one I’ll eventually have to stock in larger quantities as it’s really one of India’s more impressive wood first incenses.

Sacred Woods is really no less impressive, although in this case I don’t get a woody vibe from it so much, rather it’s more akin to green, forest or celtic themed resin blends. As such it’s similar but superior to the Shrinivas Patchouli Forest blend, moving much more to the very fresh, slightly evergreen but mostly citrus-like realms of good frankincense and gums like mastic or even some copals. It’s topped off by a hard to place floral note that just perfects the perfume. Again, like Precious Forest, this is one of those packages where you only get a few thick sticks so it’s a good one to sample and then stock in bulk if you like it to reduce the cost per stick.

I wish I could recommend Maharaj, but certainly the other three are all among the more superior durbar or champa styles from India, in fact I found myself even more impressed by the latter two when pulling them out for review, the creators really pitched them perfectly. Champas may not be what they used to be but there are certainly a number of them as satisfying as ever.

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7 Comments

  1. John Gensler said,

    July 1, 2012 at 11:33 pm

    Manufacturer for Paradise Flower went out of business. Discontinued fragrance. If we have a fragrance that sells and is popular, we keep offering it. The big problem is that people and businesses constantly rip us off, steal our names, sources, do as much as they can to undermine us and drive us out of business. I have come full circle now. I have gone from a business that employed 10 workers, down to just myself and my wife now, in a tiny operation. Whatever I created that was good was stolen and ripped off by other companies.

    Just Google “Mystic Temple” and thousands of companies come up that never pay a penny to us, or support us, and just rip off our name for themselves.

  2. December 15, 2009 at 4:56 pm

    […] (Incense, India, N. Ranga Rao & Sons) In the short version of this review, I’d link to this Mystic Temple review, make the note that N. Ranga Rao & Sons Woods incense is virtually identical to Mystic […]

  3. Janet said,

    July 16, 2009 at 5:44 am

    I like the Green Floral Champa very much. It appealed to me immediately, but I know I have unusual taste and can see where this might not be for everyone – it really is as sharp and penetrating as advertised.
    There is another Mystic Temple, called Paradise Flower/ Camphor Champa that I also thought of trying- do you have any feedback on that one?
    I probably wouldn’t have tried this (and many other treasures) if not for your review, so thank you again for this wonderful resource!

    • Mike said,

      July 16, 2009 at 10:58 am

      Hi Janet! If and when you restock GFC, I recommend checking out Purelands Flower as a very similar alternative, it might be just slightly richer (you won’t need them both at the same time though). It’s been a long time since I tried Paradise Flower, probably too long to make an accurate guess. If they’re now advertising it as a camphor champa, it’s probably quite a bit different than it used to be, which I seem to remember being more dry masala-like, kind of like a sandalwood flora sort of blend. But I know Mystic Temple has shifted a great deal of recipes under single names so it could be a completely different incense now.

      • Janet said,

        July 21, 2009 at 12:42 pm

        The Paradise Flower seems to be milder and sweeter than the Green Floral.

      • Janet said,

        September 2, 2009 at 6:19 pm

        I just had a chance to sample the last two, and have discovered that the Sacred Woods is very much like the Woods Natural incense that I have mentioned a couple of times, and am crazy enough about to have stocked several boxes. Have you ever tried it, Mike?

        • Mike said,

          September 14, 2009 at 8:02 am

          Hi Janet, I haven’t tried it but am ever more curious given your comparison.


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