Shroff Channabasappa / Dry Masalas / Paneer, Poona Amber, Rose Masala, Rosy Sandal, Sandal (K)

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
Shroff Channabasappa Part 9

For the final installment of “Shroff Week” we’ll be going back to the last group of Dry Masalas that showed up for the first time earlier in 2009. This should catch things up with the entire available line except for the 14 Base Masalas, which will be forthcoming eventually in two installments, hopefully sometime in February. The Dry Masala line, of course, was Shroff’s original group of incenses, and while categories have been a little confusing of late, it can safely be said that the five incenses here are fairly standard for Shroff.

In all of these cases, these seem to be additions to the already sizable number of rose, amber and sandalwood incenses already in the catalog. If anything might be said about these five incenses as a group, it’s that they’re not quite as perfumed as many already released in their categories and represent fairly traditional scents, even if they do represent slightly different takes.

I appreciate Maharani letting us know in a previous comment that Paneer means “rose water” in Kannada, as a quick search in Google might have made me wonder if we were dealing with a cheese incense instead. Certainly this Paneer seems to be another scent combining wood and floral oils to great effect, in particular this has a very deep, lasting sandalwood at base that would make a wonderful incense in its own right, let alone the addition of rose or rosewood scents in the mix. It has some nice and light complex notes in the mix as well such as caramel, coffee and a very light Tibetan-like musk. It reminds me a little of Pure Incense Parijata blend, but the Paneer is a darker blend without the sweet high end notes of Parijata.

Poona Amber is Shroff’s seventh amber and is quite a bit different from the others in that the amber scent itself isn’t particularly strong, in fact it seems to just merge intgo what seems like a general Indian floral. It’s a very mild incense and after sampling it for a few sticks, it still has never seemed to assert its personality as strongly as some of the other ambers, while still being quite different from them. It’s sweet and pretty but ultimately not one of the better Shroff incenses.

If Amber Rose and Rose Natural share a very similar rose perfume at the heart of the incense, the perfume used in the Rose Masala is slighty different in an ineffable sort of way, even more than a different base or the lack of amber might account for. For one thing the oil is a bit stronger in this incense, more noticeably floral as a style and perhaps a bit closer in scent to a garden rose itself. It’s pretty, but ultimately not as gentle or refined as other rose sticks in the Shroff line. On the other hand it’s still quite a ways better than the plethora of cheaper rose incenses found in various Indian incense lines, demonstrating Shroff’s trustiness with the type of scent even when they’re not superlative.

Rosy Sandal has about an equal mixture of rose and sandalwood material or oils to the point that both blend with each other enough to where a more unique hybrid of the scents is created. The rose is gentle and melds with the sandal to the point where the typical characteristics of sandalwood such as vanilla, butter and wood are submerged, but not enough to where you might call it a base. The rose comes out mostly in the top note, but the balance keeps it from exhibiting entirely floral characteristics. Like the Rose Masala, it’s an interesting take, but not necessarily a memorable one.

Sandal (K) strikes me as the purest and most natural of the Shroff sandalwood incenses, particularly more so that the perfumed and stylized White and Mysore sandalwoods, in fact this seems like Shroff’s closest analog to the usual sandalwood oil masalas found in most Indian incense ranges. However it’s certainly not as intense as the Pure Incense Connoisseur sandalwood (or as deluxe), but on the other other hand the oil is quite a bit more mild, seemingly balanced just as much by the natural qualities of the wood. It’s a nice and simple incense and one might find that the newer sandalwood incenses in the Base Masala group, Sandal (K) Special and Sandal King, are even better versions of the lineage started here.

So at this point we’ll end Shroff Week here, before returning in a few weeks or so to survey the Base Masala group…



  1. Malchus said,

    February 4, 2010 at 7:25 am

    Since Shroff is being highly praised, i tried to find out if it might be available somewhere in Europe. It does not seem to be so… Anyway, i found this:

    Regarding this incense:

    Anyone tried them yet?

    • Hamid said,

      April 28, 2010 at 7:17 am

      Sorry about the delay in responding, I have just come across this.
      Yes I have bought from this source…I realised in retrospect when I first bought Shroff incenses from EOTA that my first encounter with that brand was in the guise of incenses from this catalogue, but repackaged and carrying the same name without indicating the makers.
      Still no European distributors of Shroff as far as I am aware.
      The “Grandmothers Kasturi ” mentioned in the catalogue is an intriguing stick. Hard to describe but I suspect would polarise opinion..its very distinctive.

  2. Laurie said,

    January 8, 2010 at 12:26 am

    “as a quick search in Google might have made me wonder if we were dealing with a cheese incense instead.” – Hah, I ran into exactly this problem back when I was googling for all the words in the line that I didn’t know.

    • Janet said,

      January 8, 2010 at 7:44 am

      Yep, me too….that’s why I waited for some other brave soul to report on it before I got it! 🙂

  3. Maharani said,

    January 7, 2010 at 7:19 pm

    Re Paneer, my first thought was this is cream cheese too! Shroff explained that the name means Rosewater and my mother–“she-who-complains-about-cheap-incense-corroborated at Xmas-she is fluent in several S. Indian languages. I do not know the etymology of the word or why it is the same as “paneer” meaning cream cheese (N. Indian), but I am sure there is an explanation.

    It is not only my favorite of the above selection, but one of my favorite Shroffs-a very fine scent indeed and one I never tire of. I would recommend it highly.

    • rr said,

      January 9, 2010 at 7:04 pm

      Neeru is water in Kannada and “Punneeru” is Rose water. Paneer would be a sloppy transliteration.

      I love this site but boy am I lost. So what else is in the league of Fred Sol’s line that presents Indian fragrances?

      • Maharani said,

        January 12, 2010 at 8:59 am

        Thanks rr. A lot of S Indian words have a terminal “U’ sound but it always gets dropped in translation-no idea why-resulting in confusion, as with paneer meaning two different things in two different languages.

      • Janet said,

        January 13, 2010 at 12:55 pm

        Aside from the Shroff’s, you might want to take a look at the Pure-incense line, which are real winners….but if you have read other recent postings, you will see that, although the line is extensive, many are variations on a theme, with a sweet sandal-vanilla base. There is also the small, but excellent Purelands line, and the even smaller Mother’s Nag Champa line, which are truly stellar, especially the Ganesh. All of these Indian lines are pretty highly regarded in the ORS community!

    • Mike said,

      January 12, 2010 at 8:47 am

      Indeed, I think it’s by far the best one in this batch too.

  4. BenA said,

    January 7, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    Thanks for all the reviews! I still feel a bit overwhelmed by this company’s selections. As someone who has never tried the Shroffs, what would you suggest as two or three incenses that would showcase some of their strengths?

    • Mike said,

      January 7, 2010 at 2:45 pm

      Hi Ben! I’d probably choose Red Sandal, Pearl and Amber Rose, but I’d definitely let other readers give you some suggestions as well before pulling the trigger. – Mike

    • Anne said,

      January 7, 2010 at 6:26 pm

      Hi Ben,

      What type of scents do you like? Floral? Resiny? Woody? If you can tell us a bit about your scent likes and dislikes, we can all chime in with some informed suggestions for you.

      One of my personal favorites is Night Queen, which is an absolute glorious jasmine type incense. This is a very floral, very strong, sweet and sultry jasmine. If you like florals or jasmine at all, this is a definite must buy.

      The other is Jungle Prince. A powerful incense that has a great “throw” – i.e. the scent travels around the room and lingers. This is rather like a masculine type of perfumey incense, rich and sweet, with notes of vanilla and amber, if memory serves. Forgive me – it’s been a while since I last burnt a stick (blame that on my vast incense collection and infatuation with solls), but I seem to recall elements of vanilla and amber.

      Well, these are two of my faves. I’m sure others will ring in with their likes and suggestions, too!

      • Steve said,

        January 7, 2010 at 7:01 pm

        I second Jungle Prince. Have always heard good things about Pearl, Moonlight and Champa. I have Champa and it is quite nice. Moonlight and Pearl are “in the mail” so I can’t give 1st hand testimonial, though I see Mike also mentioned Pearl above.

        I had the same “overwhelming choices” dilemma you have, Ben, with Shroff. I would suggest looking at the Indian Incense Hall of Fame here, but you’ll see no less than 16 Shroff’s listed! I think that basically says it’s hard to go wrong with ’em. For what it’s worth, I decided to jump in with Red Sandal, Champa, Jungle Prince, Moonlight & Pearl. This was based on repeated glowing comments from numerous people. I have no regrets yet with any of my choices which I’ve tried.

        • BenA said,

          January 7, 2010 at 8:15 pm

          Thanks Mike, Anne, and Steve! I’m pretty new to Indian incenses (I have many more Japanese and Tibetan-style sticks), so I don’t have any particularly set tastes. I’m also recovering from spending way too much during the EoA Xmas sale (though I do have that Baieido “sale” coupon to spend….), so I’m probably not going to buy anything too soon. But when I do make my next order, it will definitely include a few Shroffs.

        • Hamid said,

          January 8, 2010 at 1:22 am

          I was going to suggest Moonlight Steve, but I see you are awaiting it. Probably my favourite Shroff outside of the highly priced ones. That and Amber Bouquet.

    • Janet said,

      January 8, 2010 at 7:43 am

      My votes:
      Akash Ganga, Red or White Sandal, Green Durbar, Saffron.

    • Maharani said,

      January 9, 2010 at 8:52 am

      I would suggest:

      Amber Rose, Amber Boquet from the Ambers,
      Paneer is a wonderful rose/sandalwood
      Mysore Sandalwood, Red Sandalwood from the sandalwoods
      From the traditional scents, Green Durbar
      From the florals, Mogra and obviously Night Queen
      From the newer scents, French Musk, Moonllght,

  5. Hamid said,

    January 7, 2010 at 11:38 am

    Thank you Mike for the continuing plethora of reviews of this extraordinary incense line. I have grown very fond of the Sandal K.

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