Shroff Channabasappa / Wet Masalas / French Musk, Saffron

Shroff Channabasappa Part 1
Shroff Channabasappa Part 2
Shroff Channabasappa Part 3
Shroff Channabasappa Part 4
Shroff Channabasappa Part 5
Shroff Channabasappa Part 6
Shroff Channabasappa Part 7
Shroff Channabasappa Part 8

Continuing Shroff week at ORS, we have two incenses in the newly christened Wet Masala line. The idea of a wet masala evokes many of the ideas explained in my recent Champacopia article, regarding halmaddi and its presence or lack of presence in champa and durbar style incenses, however, perhaps in this case we can’t necessarily assume that this is the case in this new wet masala line. From the looks of both, I don’t really see the presence of the gum any more than I do in the Soft Masala line, in fact I’m not quite sure why the French Musk wasn’t just added there, but I’ll get more into that with each specific incense. Suffice it to say, both of these scents are uncommonly rich and perhaps are more so than the decadently rich scents in the Soft Masala line.

The French Musk may be one of the most long burning scents in the entire Shroff line, in fact on at least one occasion I swear I remember one stick burning for perhaps 90 minutes. This likely entails a base full of gums and other dense ingredients and the result is definitely very similar to other musk champa blends, for instance it has some similarities to the Musk Champa in the Blue Pearl line. It certainly has a ton of vanilla, honey and sugar in the scent as well as that sweetest of musks, one that might be described as being on the opposite axis to the animal Tibetan musks. In this case you have a much more refined and sweet, perfume-like scent, like a different version of the Vanilla / Honey Dust / Satya Natural sort of smell. In fact even if there is no halmaddi in the scent, the creators have still managed to imitate the sweet honey and vanilla scent as a base and it makes this a very decadent and pleasant incense to burn, certainly toward the more intense side of things due to the oils, but accessible and Western friendly.

I almost got choked up when I first took a whiff of the opened box of Saffron, it not only has the strongest, legitimate Saffron scent I’ve ever smelled in an incense, but whether it has halmaddi or not, this is truly a wet masala with the oils coating the inner packaging. This is a very red incense, red in color, red in the sense of a saffron scent, and red with the other subscents such as the middle cherry lozenge sort of aroma. I’m not sure if this scent is sort of an aftereffect of the noticeable saffron floral scent or a part of its combination with the sweeter base, but it’s very luxurious and it has the sort of intensity that makes it seem almost kinetic with energy. Like with the French Musk, the base is sweet with vanilla and honey, but there’s no clashing at all going on with the rich oil and perfume scent on top. Other than a perhaps coincidental similarity with Dzogchen Monastery’s Lotus Ground Incense, which too is a very red incense, the Saffron is very unique, and miles away from the saffrons seen in, say the Primo or Pure Incense lines. Overall even with the cherry/saffron oils and sweet vanilla/honey base, the combination has a slightly and very pleasant sour candy vibe to it as well as some slight poppy or rose-like florals in the mix. I found this stick to be an instant classic and definitely hope Shroff have more incenses in this style up their sleeve for later release.

Either tomorrow or early next week, I’ll complete the most recent series of Shroff reviews by looking back to the last batch with five more masalas not covered from the last import collection, before taking a break and moving on to some other company works. In a few weeks or so, I’ll be back to discuss the strangely delineated group of “Base Masalas” hoping to catch up on the company in case we get swamped with another batch by then.

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14 Comments

  1. Ben said,

    February 27, 2016 at 5:44 pm

    Olfactory Rescue Service considers Shroff Channabasappa’s Saffron incense to be better than Pure-Incense’s Saffron incense. However, I feel that the true saffron lover will want to have both brands of saffron incense on hand. The Shroff version is more obviously mind-altering than the Pure-Incense version. On the other hand, the Shroff version does not have the obvious sandalwood element that I so enjoy in the Pure-Incense version.

    The Saffron incense from Pure-Incense is amazing. It contains sandalwood powder and vanilla bean powder, as well as genuine saffron. Combining saffron with sandalwood is a very old tradition in India. The Essence of the Ages description of this incense reads “Very potent. Not for the faint of heart.” However, I find this incense to be very gentle despite the strength of its fragrance. On one level I find this fragrance to be exotic. On another level it feels like returning to something long familiar and fondly remembered.

  2. June 14, 2013 at 11:05 am

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  3. October 5, 2011 at 7:22 am

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  4. October 4, 2011 at 6:57 am

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  5. October 3, 2011 at 7:31 am

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  6. July 19, 2011 at 6:58 am

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  8. November 19, 2010 at 11:36 am

    […] Part 5 Shroff Channabasappa Part 6 Shroff Channabasappa Part 7 Shroff Channabasappa Part 8 Shroff Channabasappa Part 9 Shroff Channabasappa Part […]

  9. Maharani said,

    January 9, 2010 at 9:10 am

    The French Musk has become an all-time favorite of mine-I am going through my 50 stick box really fast!

    I am looking forward to trying the saffron. I have tried 2 saffron incenses so far and liked them, but compared to saffron in biriani or shrikhand, both of which I made last week, the scent seems most like an approximation to the real thing. Of course, there’s the base in there, but both the Pure Incense and Purelands versions, while very good, left me vaguely disappointed.

    Not sure about the cherry lozenge note. It is most definitely not present in saffron used as a spice, at least to me. I would characterize saffron as being primarily warm and woody, with a unique perfume. However, dont discount the possibility that a strong concentration might reveal otherwise hidden notes.

  10. Anne said,

    January 7, 2010 at 6:52 pm

    I think the French Musk is definitely a brother or at the very least, a very close relative to Sri Sai Flora incense. When I opened my box of FM yesterday and took out a stick, I remember being shocked at how thick it was, and that it reminded me of SSF, which is a incense with a very, very, very THICK stick. Once I lit it, it immediately called to mind Sri Sai Flora’s scent. Right now, as a experiment of verification, I’m burning a stick of each. And yup, to my nose, both do smell similar (and actually look alike too, though FM is a skinner stick). FM is more refined and sweeter. SSF is more musky and powerful, and smokey.

    I think those that like FM will also like SSF. And for those of you that are interested in SSF, here are two links to pics of Sri Sai Flora incense sticks:

    http://www.theincensestore.com/online_store/aargee_sai_flora_masala_incense_25g.cfm

    For the above link, move your mouse over the pic, and it will enlarge.

    And:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/houseofsims/3809560410/

    • Anne said,

      January 7, 2010 at 7:53 pm

      And re-reading carefully before posting is often a very, very, good idea.

      Ladies and gentlemen, witness exhibit A:

      “I think the French Musk is definitely a brother or at the very least, a very close relative to Sri Sai Flora incense.”

      Stupid, real stupid of me, folks. That’s what I get for posting when I’m tired!

    • Mike said,

      January 12, 2010 at 8:46 am

      Interesting, Anne, I wouldn’t have quite made the same connection. When I think of Flora and Fluxo incenses (and I have a review of a bunch coming up in a few weeks), I tend to think of them having sour and earthy sorts of notes as well as the super sweet, rich and honey kind of vibe the French Musk has. but perhaps part of this is I see Sai Flora as being one version of the common Golden Nag Champa style and find it very similar to a few other incenses (like Blue Pearl Golden Champa, Incense from India Golden Champa, Mystic Temple Golden Champa, even Nitiraj or Atmosphere has one that’s quite identical) so any variation beyond these similarities makes me think of a different blend. Maybe I’ll have to bring out the French Musk box when I’m working on these reviews.

      • Anne said,

        January 12, 2010 at 8:27 pm

        Actually, Mike, please do give a sniff to Shroff’s FM and Sri Sai Flora. I think they smell similar – to my nose, at least. I’d be curious to hear your thoughts on a side by side comparison.

  11. January 7, 2010 at 10:58 am

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