Nathaniel Musselman: Kyphi, Jaguar’s Breath (from Ross)

Nathaniel Musselman is an incense maker living in Michigan who produces blends for different stores. These are three he has done for an online store in Ireland called White Witch.

Genuine Handmade Kyphi Incense:

This is a really nice authentic Kyphi. You can read about the process by which it is made at the White Witch website, this is obviously a labor of love. I can only imagine what boiling up a pot of frankincense is like.

Based on an Ancient Greek translation, this Kyphi is made with components that include: Chios mastic gum, Persian galbanum resin, Indian vetivert, Greek myrtle, lemongrass, Egyptian mint, and cinnamon. Plus a whole lot more. The aroma when slowly heated is deep, spicy, and smooth. You can sense the individual components at different times, yet it all blends together at the same time, really well done. Kyphi has been in use for thousands of years as an offering in Egypt and other areas. The maker of this batch has done a lot of study to get this blend right and the results are worth it. Works well on coals or an incense heater. This is somewhat different from the batch composed for Mermade Magickal reviewed a couple of weeks ago. Both are good and recommended.

Jaguar’s Breath Dry Powder :

Jaguar’s Breath is Mesoamerican inspired and heavily influenced by Aztec and Mayan components. It is unlike any other incense I have gotten to try, it is also somewhat difficult to describe. There is a light or airy quality to it as well as a sense of many spices and herbs, but not the style of Japan or India. The scent is very clean and uplifting with a slight “edge” to it, but still with semi sweet qualities going on at the same time. The aroma is quite wonderful and a small amount on the electric incense heater does a good job of filling the room. Not with smoke but scent. It tends to last for about two hours after one turns off the heater.

The active ingredients in Jaguars Breath include Mesquite, rosewood, wild cherry, tagates, damiana, salvia divinorum and copal..

Jaguar’s Breath Soaked in Honey & Mezcal :

This version has added vanilla infused honey and mescal to the above version. It is a wet paste that benefits from something along the lines of a wooden coffee stirrer to get from the bag to the heater or coal. But once you do you are in for a real treat. It has similar qualities to the dry Jaguars Breath but the added ingredients produce a unique blend and is not to be missed. The honey and Mezcal seem to act as catalysts and somehow the entire scent and aroma profile is amplified many times over. The vanillia  from the honey shines and is tempered by the Mezcal as well as the other spices in the mix. The scent ligers for sometime afterwards, yet it is not the overpowering floral/resin type of scent that you would get from Indian style incenses. Not to be missed!

I have not yet gotten to try the Angelico Incense Sticks, but you can read Claires review in our “Review Your Incenses” section(#4) . I have read other reviews of it and they all agree it is a knock out.

If you are in Europe getting this is a no brainer, if outside of Europe, the shipping cost is very reasonable and the actual price of the incense is low.

The truth of the matter is that these incenses are  way under priced to start with. They are much more creative and better made then so much of what you can buy today. The ingredients are all first rate. If you like incense and want something a bit different but which, at the same time, is really well done and very nice, try these out.

Oh yes, White Witch has quite a few things you can use on your heater at good prices Check out the Raw Materials section of their site.

-Ross

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5 Comments

  1. Scentolicious said,

    August 22, 2014 at 12:35 pm

    Anyone know if these products are still being sold somewhere?

  2. glennjf said,

    March 15, 2011 at 5:18 am

    I received the Genuine Handmade Kyphi Incense in a small turned unvarnished wood container with a lift off lid with some ancient Egyptian painted relief artwork affixed to the top. White Witch put together some excellent recycled packaging which meant it reached me in tip top condition.

    I placed some onto some foil and warmed it with my electric heater. I got an immediate and very impressive result. At first a delicate mixture arose of sweet warm appetising scents that developed at times bordering the animalistic. As the process rolled on there were added to the opening more layers and more depth. I can’t explain it better as others might but what did come to me strongly was that overall Kyphi presented itself to me as having a certain “clearing” quality, sat very well with me.

    After some time the heater naturally dried out the incense so when I felt the time was right I took the residue, now very dry indeed, crushed it to a powder/granulate and sprinkled that over a lit charcoal, result was again very pleasing.

    I am very happy the incense has had extra time (since its’ original ORS April 2009 review) to continue its maturing, to my mind it’s now a living incense if that makes sense. I’m pleased to have had the opportunity to try Nathaniel’s creation.

    As for how it is when compared to Kyphi (the perfume from http://africanaromatics.com/wordpress )? There were definite similarities and one deja vu moment sort of thing happened during warming, a very nice thing to have had occur.

  3. Mike said,

    May 20, 2009 at 9:49 am

    It takes me a while to fully absorb nonstick incense, but these three are all really special. I love kyphi in any form and this one’s really unique, the wine and currant really comes through in an almost liqueur like form, very elegant, with elements that only come from something that’s aged. I’m really starting to grow to mastic in incenses too, what a resin!

    The two Jaguars Breaths are truly unlike anything I’ve tried before, they’re the kind of scent your mind has trouble with right away, with not much to compare them to, but I find this is always a good sign as you get used to it. Definitely copal involved (perhaps the darker resin?) and it has an almost buttery sort of aroma. The honey seems to be the big difference between the powder and stickier incense, although there are some mescal hints in the latter that remind me of aspects of higher quality tequila in a way.

    Thanks Ross for passing on some samples, this is really high quality blending at work. Among Katlyn, Nathan and the workers at Nu Essence, the US really has some formidable incense makers at work today.

  4. nmuss said,

    May 19, 2009 at 6:05 pm

    Thanks for the reviews Ross!

  5. Claire said,

    April 27, 2009 at 1:48 am

    My own experience of purchasing raw ingredients from White Witch is also excellent. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the site to anyone. All the ingredients I’ve had have been really fresh and potent (the smell sticks to your nose after just a quick sniff) and the customer service is excellent. Ruth who manages the store is very friendly and helpful.

    As an aside I have also tried a non-incense product from the store called Bridget’s Balm. It is very wholesome smelling (you could be tempted to melt some on your electric heater, really!) and I find it excellent for taking the itch out of insect bites like nothing-else I’ve tried can.


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