Well I’ve had a chance to go through the most recent Shroff incenses (basically all the ones Beth has listed as new at Essence) at least once through. Unsurprisingly the second time is really showing me what these are made of, which is very typical of Shroff, they all get better with experience, as notably so as any incense company out there. Honestly the Champa blew me away the second light, it was almost like burning a different incense, definitely as good a Champa as you’d hope from this company (it might even be better than the Bam which would be saying something). Akash Ganga also really improved on a second go as did Jungle Prince. Moonlight reminds me more of the floral champas akin to Incense from India’s Enchanted Garden scent. But in that case I still find it hard to beat Enchanted Garden which has a lemony subscent that helps the floral oils to not cloy too much. The jury is still out for me on Moonlight.
The Masala Base line is a tough one to describe and I really wonder what I’ll even be able to say with some experience. They’re basically all charcoals with heavy floral oils. Most of them, however, have bases that are flecked through with something a bit more masala like, similar to Sugandhi Bathi, and in those cases I felt the charcoal was balanced quite a bit better. But despite that I find this an inferior incense carrying system, there’s no doubting that some of the floral oils here are like fine perfumes. Both the Lilac and Lily 1938 were very impressive, as was the Night Rose which was deadly potent. In all these cases I can imagine you’ll not want to waste time on these as their intensity will likely fade pretty quickly. Overall though it’s hard to say more about these as I take it they line up floral to floral pretty straight through the line.
The larger line, as I mentioned elsewhere has a couple immediate gems with the Natural and Paneer scents, neither of which I could describe that well, but they’re potent and beguiling and I can’t wait for the second stick bump on both. They do a mighty fine Mogra as you might expect, a little less oil and a little more masala like than most mogra sticks out there. The Jasmine was a bit more natural and drier than the 1940 version but not as immediate either. I liked the Natural Loban a bit more than the Singapore version, it was not quite as earthy with the hoarier feel of the benzoin turned down quite a bit. I don’t remember much about the Poona Amber, except I liked it and it was different from the other ambers I’ve reviewed and I’m also a bit vague on the Rose Masala which I remember liking a lot and the Rosy Sandal which slips my mind. The Sandal itself is an excellent and fairly typical masala in this style with a fresh, potent but not too expensive oil on top.
I took a quick 5 second sniff of a number of Pure Incenses and found about half of them amazing and half of them typical. The ones I remember liking were the Vrindavan Champa (which totally earns its hyperbolic description), the Blue Lotus (almost like a hepped up Primo stick), both Agarwoods (the better of which was the first Indian stick I’ve tried that really had agar-like traits akin to the Japanese sticks), and both the Golden and Green Champas. The Frankincense and Myrrhs were both fairly typical masalas in style but both seemed to have an edge that was quite impressive. The Jasmine was disappointing with too much charcoal. But overall it looks like a strong line with some real gems in it.
I’ve only tried two Maromas, which doesn’t really give me much of an idea of the 30-40 incenses in all its lines, but I found one of them to be a nice if typically aromatherapeutic oil on charcoal blend but the other, Champak, was excruciatingly bad, I’m even wondering if the sample was old enough to have retained its oil as all I got was a harsh charcoal punk that ended up giving me a headache. Here’s hoping this was a fluke.
Still quite impressed with the Shechen red box in that line, a really strong incense for its price. The Blue’s a bit less potent, only striking the mildest of the Red’s notes. The other two Shechens in cellophane and in the $2-3 range are fairly typical for that range with cheaper materials lowering the potency somewhat.
And I have to say the Jinko Yozei by Gyokushodo is really something special, it even gives off notes that seem to indicate an incense at least twice the price so it’s well worth procuring a box. And I’m still just blown away by Mermade’s Aphrodesia, I’m quickly coming to think it’s one of the best floral incenses you can buy. Anyway that about wraps it up prior to true reviews which will be eventually forthcoming on the Shroffs and Shechens one of these days.