Incienso de Santa Fe is a company that is in love with wood; they have been making single note wood incenses since 1964. All of their offerings come from trees that are native to America and, in the spirit of conservation, are made from only dead or fallen trees. They have seven varieties: alder, cedar, fir, hickory, juniper, mesquite, and pinon. Incienso does not make sticks or cones, but pressed bricks. These require special burners to keep them upright so that they will burn correctly. The Seven Scent Sampler includes one of these holders plus 7 bricks of each variety, plenty enough to get a good idea of what each different wood smells like. If you’re looking for something a little more artistic, Incienso also offers a line of really cute hand made terra cotta burners, modeled to look like adobe houses, teepees, log cabins, kivas, and the like.
Since these are single-note incenses, it is very difficult to describe what they smell like to someone who has never been exposed to these woods. You may be familiar with alder, mesquite, and hickory because all of these are used to smoke meats. Like pinon, balsam fir and juniper are evergreen so they have a noticeable pine-like aroma. Perhaps you’ve smelled a cedar chest? This wood’s essential oils are a natural insect repellant, making it perfect for the storage of organic fibers like wool and cotton. These incenses are all very, well, woody. (What can I say?) They are distinct from each other, but only in subtle ways. Mesquite a bit more resinous, pinon a bit more sweet, for example. All are very nice and scent your space like you’ve got a big stack of logs burning in the fireplace. Cozy indeed!
Aromatic woods are a major ingredient in all quality incenses and, at under $10, this sampler gives you an affordable opportunity to experience some of these woods as individuals. However, even though all of the 7 different woods are quite nice, the tendency in the end is that they begin to blend together. Also, even with the special burners, it is difficult to ignite the bricks so that they burn well. They are a little brittle and seem to flake apart or separate while burning, sometimes leaving half of the incense brick burned down and the other untouched. Still, it’s hard to criticize Incienso for these technical details when their incense smells so good! After all, one of the best aromatic experience in the world is a good campfire, and these incenses evoke this quite well. What could compare to the smell of giant chunks of wood burned out in the fresh air? Surely this must be the original incense experience!