Shroff Channabasappa / 505 Amber 1882, 707 Amber Bath, Amber Boquet, Amber Floral, Amber Royal

Shroff Channabasappa Part 1
Shroff Channabasappa Part 2

Shroff Channabasappa really do have an amazing number of amber incenses. I touched on one of them in the floral group last installment, Amber Rose, and there appears to be at least one more on the way in the next batch that should be arriving to these shores.

Amber is probably one of the most hard to define of all incense types as it varies in both ingredients and scent. Generally speaking it’s a mixture of tree resins, beeswax, essential oils and other powders that probably originally attempted to mimic the smell of the rare sperm whale excretion ambergris and soon after took on a life of its own in a myriad of different ways. With Shroff Channabasappa and many other companies, the main ingredient of amber is benzoin, a common theme that pervades all of the incenses in common here and while all of them vary to some extent in their scent, in all cases there’s a vein of fine benzoin at the middle. In fact I’d go as far to say that in Shroff’s case you’re likely to fine some of the best benzoin scents on the planet in these incenses. The scents are resinous but in true Shroff fashion there’s a perfume or oil work in these incenses that elevate the scents to true works of art. These are ambers that will remind you of no others.

The 505 Amber 1882 is one good example of an amber that gravitates to the more oil-rich side of the aroma. While it’s very traditional in scent, almost a classic amber, the top oil is almost liqueur like in strength. This is a good example of how rich the benzoin content is in Shroff’s incenses, here there’s a combination of the vanilla edges of the resin along with some caramel and clay. The combination gives off something of a gold or coppery vibe to it, a side effect of combining an earth scent with a traditional perfume. A truly excellent blend that improves with use.

707 Amber Bath is a much more muted amber without the more intense oil overtones of the 505. It’s still as benzoin rich at its center and is unquestionably Shroff in its essence, but instead of a liqueur like top scent this is a bit spicier with hints of orange peel and leather mixed in as well as a more overt beeswax scent. In many ways it’s the most traditionally amber of the group, perhaps a good “vanilla” in some ways yet not as spectacular as some of the other amber combinations.

Amber Boquet is something of a more deluxe floral variation of the scent and closer to both the Amber Flora and Amber Rose in style. Like the 707 this also has a strong perfume on top that might be described as liqueur like, although in certain sticks it seemed like the oil wasn’t quite as infused. This is a similar quality to the Amber Rose in that when you hit one of the strong bathis it really impresses you with its depth. Like most Shroffs, continued use brings out the subtleties and I’ve grown over time to find this one of the best in the entire Shroff line, it even has some slight durbar-like qualities that enhance the richness. Very smooth and seductive.

Amber Floral is similar in ways to both the 707 and Amber Boquet and illustrates the difficulty in trying to separate and describe what are at heart very simialr incenses. All three of these have a strong and richly aromatic benzoin center, yet all three have subtly different perfumes that might all be described as floral in a way. I’d probably put the Floral itself between the earthier 707 and more overtly flowery Boquet, but to some extent its splitting hairs.  Perhaps if once considers this a flora incense in the sense of it having a combination of spicier, herbal and floral scents you might be closer to imagining its scent.

Most Royal Ambers I’ve tried from other companies tend to be charcoals with a rich powdery sort of amber scent that likely comes mostly from oils. The Shroff Amber Royal is quite different and in many ways a lot more traditional than you’d expect, more a cousin of the 505 than the richer, oil infused combinations. It’s got a bit of a classic touch with an obvious benzoin base that tends towards some spicier cinnamon touches and lots of earthiness and clay, with a hint of orange peel and nutmeg mixed in. Like the 505 it doesn’t have the perfume kick that really enhances the floral ambers but it also hints to a longer learning curve that could eventually enhance my estimate of the scent.

Overall I found myself gravitating towards the more overtly oiled ambers in the group, particularly the florals which are all the expertise of the Shroff company. I’ve mentioned the Amber Rose, which is really the classic of this group, but very close are the Boquet and the 505, both of which I found myself warming to increasingly during the evaluation of these incenses. But really, Shroff rarely put a foot wrong and all of these have their pluses. On the other hand given fragrances that are so close there’s no need to rush your way through these and I’d recommend trying one or two first and getting used to those before exploring the other variations.

17 Comments

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  8. Maharani said,

    January 20, 2010 at 5:40 pm

    Same here: I’ve been focusing on the newer Shroffs lately, but today and yesterday returned to the Ambers. They really are good, and it was a great pleasure to experience the scent again.

  9. January 7, 2010 at 10:58 am

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  14. Maharani said,

    August 23, 2009 at 8:52 am

    I agree: I like all the Shroff ambers Ive tried, but Amber Boquet and Amber Rose are my current favorites. They are different from other amber incenses I have tried-quieter and smoother, very elegant. How did I live without Shroff? I’ve thrown out much of my old incense (charcoals) with the exception of a few hard to find fragrances (vetiver, khus, tuberose) and some frankincense resin that has been sitting around for years. Went grocery shopping at the Indian store closest to me yesterday and checked-all they carry is low quality charcoals-a sad situation. They did have loban and frankincense resin, but Ive no idea as to the quality.

    Also ventured in Japanese finally and ordered a roll of Tennendo Renzan. Very interested in trying this style as I am most familiar with Indian incense.

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  16. Hamid said,

    April 25, 2009 at 1:03 am

    The Shroff Ambers are one of lifes delights. I decided to have a day using only one incense, so burned Amber Bouquet morning noon and night . My nose did not tire of it, in fact I enjoyed each stick more than the last, it is indeed rich and smooth, and sophisticated.

    • Hamid said,

      January 12, 2010 at 7:37 am

      After nine months of fairly frequent use I am enjoying the Amber Bouquet as much as ever, another indicator of the sheer quality of the Shroffs.


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