Awaji Koh-shi Part 2:Sandalwood, Fresh Sandalwood, Orange Osmanthus, Lavender, Scent of Forest (Ross)

This is Part 2 of the new Awaji Koh-shi series from Scents of Japan, for Part 1 go here.

This particular grouping would fall into what could be considered a more  “modern” style of scents. Most of them are either from the Low or Less Smoke styles. There are a lot more people who are attracted to this now days and it is nice to see more choices being made available to them.

Sandalwood(Saraike) A nice quality Sandalwood, sort of in the middle of the Sandalwood pack. A clean, fresh scent, with a slight touch of sweetness(this will appeal to many). Probably something that beginning incense users will really enjoy as opposed to some of the more classically styles Sandalwood like Baieido or Shunkodoh. I say this because I know a lot of people who consider those too strong. This is something you can light and let drift through the room and not really have to think about it. .It simply delivers a very pleasant aroma and would work well in a retail setting as well as at home. The more I smell this one,  the more attractive it becomes.

Fresh Sandalwood (Kogyokudo) Unlit this has a very strong perfume like scent to it. When burning, and it is a Less Smoke style, the perfume scent drops back somewhat and the Sandalwood element comes up towards the top. The overall impression is something of a light floral perfume mixed into Sandalwood oil with a slightly sharp edge to it. This does not have any of the dreaded (to me) syntactic scent to it, so the perfume aspect comes across cleanly(well there is a certain sexy quality at play here) Overall I would lean towards the one above, but that’s just my preferences.

Orange Osmanthus Fragrant Olive(Shochikudo) Osmanthus is a flowering shrub from China that produces a very strong and beautiful scent, The absolute of the distilled flower is stunningly beautiful as well as stunningly expensive( I got to sample some last weekend, great stuff)  The unlit stick smells pretty much like the oil, which has a fruity ripe apricot scent to it. When burning the scent is still there although the smoke(which is very minimal) does get in the way of it to a degree. I notice that after the stick has finished burning the Osmanthus scent still hangs in the air and adds a pleasant aroma to a room for some time. The Olive note is way in the back round of the overall scent and is a nice pairing for the Osmanthus.

Lavender (Taikado Koho) A Low Smoke style stick that has a really interesting scent. A sort of lavender with a hint of cinnamon/spice. I find this pretty intriguing. It was not what I was expecting at all. When I see lavender in the name I am pretty much expecting something along the lines of, say, Fred Solls or one of the Indians, this is totally different and got my attention. There is a degree of sweetness to it that is very nice. I tried this on some people and their reactions were very similar to mine. A good addition to a collection with a modern approach. Collage students would go for this as it would be a good intro into this style and the smoke level is low.

Scent of Forest (Shorindo) This is a low smoke incense that smells very fresh and clean but not particularly like any forest you would find in most of California(where I am). There is a very slight floral back round to this one and that, plus the overall clean quality of the scent, will make it attractive to many. It is a well made back round kind of aroma that is very modern in style and presentation.

I have noticed of late that many people who are interested in the low smoke type incenses are also not going for the “big wood” classic type scents(think Baieido Aloeswoods) or the mega floral or spice types( NK, Shoyeido and, of course, Indian styles). There is a  trend towards generally softer, somewhat perfumed and identifiable scents(Coffee, Green Tea, India Ink, Musk etc.) that work in more modern settings.

Part 3 should be up in a couple of days.    -Ross

A few Nippon Kodo notes (edited)

[Edited] In the ever revolving NK catalog, the full catalog of the East Meet West is no longer available (implying deletion?)  I had originally mentioned in this post that the Elemense and Most Exceptional lines seemed no longer available but I was incorrect, they only seem to be inaccessible through part of the site. Apologies for the confusion and thanks to Beth for clearing it up!

February Top Ten (or so) (Mike)

[For previous Top 10 lists, please click on the Incense Review Index tab above or the Top Ten Lists category on the left down the page a bit. Please also check the Reviews Index for longer reviews of all these]

I can’t really order my top ten nor necessarily even contain this list to a top ten this month, I think categorically I’m thinking of things in groups and such, making this sort of a top 8 to 12 kind of thing. There were too many strong contenders this month so this will be formatted a bit differently…

I know when I’m using a lot of daily incense that when I pop in even one stick of something premium that one usually goes right to the top. Indeed I’ve had my Kyukyodo Sho-Ran-Koh box out again now that Japan Incense seems to have some in stock, but it made me realize that comparatively I still have more left with a half box of this incense than most full boxes. Seriously is there any better deal in incense? It’s almost the equivalent of paying up front for four $40 boxes except that you’re also getting one of the best incenses in the market. This is seriously one of the most elegant, mysterious and mercuric concoctions ever to hit a censer, better than many kyara scents twice its price. It’s just a must in every way.

Similarly favorites Tennendo Enkuu and Shoyeido Ga-Ho and Shoyeido Nan-Kun all made runs in the last month and they’re always my favorites while burning. Enkuu’s another one of those aloeswood incenses that’ll make you forget about kyara, it’s just the go-to for those of us who like our woods dry, lacquer-like and changeable. You think of Nan-Kun as an aloeswood, but more and more I think of it as a spikenard incense because for that scent I think it’s the most elegant incense you can by, it’s almost like a spray of humid, musky, sweet air with a rich aloeswood burn lifting it all up into the stratosphere. Ga-Ho’s still one of my personal favorites as it’s like some bizarre green and black exotic flower, again with an aloeswood charriness that etches the surroundings. Both of these are so powerful and glorious that I literally can’t get enough.

The two newest Gyokushodo imports Samei-Koh and Umeshoin are also in heavy rotation although I find it hard to suggest one needs both as they’re so close in many ways. Like the high end Kunmeido incenses everything from Jinko Yomei on up seem to be variations on a theme, with a definitely spice and wood oil mixture that tends to refine itself as the scale and expense increases. Yomei is almost the basic level, somewhat floral, while Samei-Koh seems hotter and spicier and Umeshoin halves the oil content to share with a mellower wood and a cooler greenness. Needless to say my only issue with these is they’re so mellow, I’m often tempted to burn two sticks at once.

I’m still totally bowled over by how great the two Shroff mixes Amir and Shamama Gold are. When I first bought these I went for the 100g batches and all four are subdivided into quarters and I’m through or almost through the first quarter on both batches. The essential oil mixes here are the product of a very clever alchemist, one who has combined a number of very different perfumes to create a scent with different faces. I’m reminded of a pliable surface that surrounds shapes that push outward in variation in constant movement, from a glimpse it all seems to be one object but it’s impossible to capture the whole of it in one description. Often with both of these incenses I’m just amazed all over again as some new facet comes billowing out. There are really no other scents like these and you honestly wish Shroff had a full catalog of charcoals like this as they’re so very good.

Continuing the theme of dry and less accessible woods, I’ve not mentioned it often but I get a lot of mileage out of Minorien Aloeswood, Minorien Kyara, and Minorien Kyara Ryugen. Despite their very natural like scents I think there’s a density here that implies wood oils are part of the formula, but all of these never get too sweet and indeed the straight Aloeswood just has a rough, hoary sort of scent that always stands out of any pack with the Ryugen the most elegant of the three and the regular Kyara having characteristics of both.

I still can’t get enough of the Kunmeido Kyara Ten-Pyo, which overlays confectionary like chocolate and a heavier wood content over the signature Kunmeido green oil, it’s like the best of a bunch of worlds. It occured to me that it has completely supplanted both Asuka and Heian Koh for the month (which probably helped to slow down dwindling stock). Tenpyo is one I put away and then bring out and put away and bring out again, which I haven’t stopped doing since my roll arrived.

I also wanted to fit in here the two Shoyeido Premium Dailies, En Mei and Sei Fu, both of which I burn very frequently, enough that they should be on this list even though I look up and see we’re already talking 13-14. And also in the distinguished runner up category, any of the Mothers Nag Champas all of which give me that piney mattipal dose that I can’t get enough of. And so I better stop while I’m ahead.

What’s you top 10 or 5 or 2 or 1 this month?

Stupa / Buddha Incense

It’s hard to tell from the listings at the Essence of the Ages page but a few of the packages under the Stupa name are actually more than just one incense and that’s no more true than this Buddha Incense package, which is a box of five sticks of five different incenses. The ingredients are listed as a whole: red and white sandalwood, juniper, spikenard, shang, bakchi, mugwort and others; however, it seems like these are sort of generally distributed over the five different sticks. None of the individual incenses have names, they’re only identifiable by colors and each is subbound by strings in the box.

Stupa’s a pretty solid mid-range Nepali company, while their incenses are often fairly typical, they have a strength and potency akin to companies like the Dhoop Factory, that is they’re a step up on the lowest tiers. The first of the five Buddha incenses sticks, colored olive-green/brown, is an unusual tangy nepali blend and it’s one I’d have thought asta sughandi might have been part of as it has that almost marshmallow/herbal like scent. I’d also guess the spikenard plays a bit of a part in this one as well, along with the usual sandalwood mix. Of the five sticks here this is probably the most original and unfamiliar blend.

The tan stick is very resinous and even though I don’t see it in the list, I’d suspect part of this made partially from frankincense or some other resin, blended thoroughly with wood. It’s fairly typical in style with this wood, resin and slight spice mix, but it’s one I find particularly friendly. The red stick (the brighter of the two reds in this box) is definitively red sandalwood and thus fairly dull, even if it does tend to get the scent right, with its slight mellow sweetness. Spikenard might also play a part in this one, but overall this is the least scintillating incense in the box.

The light green incense, streaked with a bit of red, is dominantly juniper, nice and intense with both wood and resinous aspects to it. Unlike a lot of cheap Nepali juniper incenses this one doesn’t overdo the heavy campfire woods and ends up being nicely balanced. The final incense, brick red to brown in color, is like a combo of the two greenish incenses in a way, with the tanginess of the first herbal scent and the slight evergreen from the juniper stick. I’d guess this is the scent with the heaviest mugwort content as it has a slightly tobacco-like herbal flair to it, with perhaps some rhododendron in the mix. Lilke the first incense it’s a bit unusual.

Not a bad sampler at all really, kind of midrange Nepali with a nice range of scents, perhaps with the commonality of the woods at base. It should also be mentioned that I don’t believe any of these scents are duplicated outside this box, but I’m also not sure any of them are noteworthy enough to warrant such a case.

SAMPLER NOTES: Tun Bo / Dream, Heart, Sentient Beings, Traditional, Triple Gem

This isn’t a bad place to add a quick discussion to the difference between full reviews and what I call sampler notes. In the latter case, notes are made from what I feel is something of an insufficient supply, but usually because what I sampled doesn’t necessarily make me want to buy a full roll or box. In the case of the five Tun Bo incenses, I was given a larger supply a little later of the Heart incense and it’s probably telling that of the five incenses here it’s the one I like the most, probably because I’m more familiar with it.

Tun Bo appears to come from the Tibetan Autonomous Region and its incenses have some slight similarities to those from Medicine King, however these are much milder scents and in many ways probably have more in common with Nepali incenses in that despite what seem to be large ingredient lists often come off as just mildly woody with some spices. And these ingredient lists include all sorts of things like saffron, musk, crocus, angelica, styrax and many more, yet for some reason I wasn’t really able to parse a lot of individual scents with only a stick or so. So I want to preface this group of samples by saying that it’s quite possible I didn’t have enough of a supply of four of these to really eke out more than mild impressions.

Dream is the closest in style to the Medicine King Special Medicinal Incense, but it doesn’t have that scent’s richness and depth. It shares the sort of wood and corn chip aroma some of these Tibetans exude, but despite a freshness of ingredients, the overall scent struck me as being fairly plain. Heart doesn’t deviate much (although it has a red rather than brown color), but it does seem to me that the saffron is quite noticeable and there’s a touch of spice that seems to give this a bit of richness. However like I mentioned, I’ve lived with this one longer and know it better than the others. Sentient Beings is less rich than the previous two incenses, much woodier with a noticeable tinge of rhododendron in the mix (giving it similar tendencies to the Maya Devi Rhododendron Anthopogon). It’s mixed with a slight sweetness but overall it has the typical simplicity of your duller Nepali woody sticks. In fact some Indian sticks are more aromatic while unlit. Traditional shares a similar generic like formula with the Sentient Beings, albeit without the rhododendron or corn chip base scent. There is some herbal tendencies here but for the most part I found it difficult to get an idea of. Triple Gem is probably the woodiest of the bunch and even moves in the campfire like direction many Nepalis evince.

I did make an effort to have my nose cleared before sampling these (on two different occasions) especially when it occured to me that in burning them in this order, it seemed like I was getting some fatigue, but the pattern repeated itself on a second rotation. Except for Heart I still end up feeling these get an incomplete grade, mostly due to my experience with other incenses from the TAR that open up quite a bit with famililarity.

Mysore Sugandhi Dhoop Factory / Gateway of India + Puspa Perfumery Products / Puspa’s Green Mogra + Parekh Perfumery Works / Great Himalaya of India

These three Indian charcoals have a few things in common, they’re all quite good for the style and they’re all very long sticks. They also represent what might be considered archetypal Indian scents, perhaps one or two here I think of subconsciously when evaluating anything new that’s similar.  As implied these are all scents whose primary mode of aromatic transmission is through a mixture of perfume oils and I’ve found in all cases, the charcoal bleed through is standard and the oils work fairly well in the style.

Mysore Sugandhi Dhoop Factory’s Gateway of India is the type of scent reminiscent of what we’re finding in a stick like Shroff’s Sugandhi Bathi, a mixture of florals that mix and are difficult to identify. Of the three here, perhaps the charcoal plays the most part in this bouquet but it’s only slightly rough and I can imagine this issue may gain prominence as the stick ages and the oils volatize. But really this is the only issue as the perfume is lilting, gentle and exotic with both floral and herbal elements. Like all of these scents it’s perhaps designed more for a larger room than personal use, so it works at a premium if set up in a corner somewhere and allowed to dissipate slowly. Sure, I’d probably go with the Shroff incense mentioned over this, but they differ in style enough for them to both be worth sampling.

We’ve seen a mogra come in via Shroff as well, but the dominant mogra style from India often seems to be a Green Mogra and Puspa’s version is almost the baseline version of this scent, the one you might compare anytning new to. This captures the exotic almost lotus meets jasmine type of scent in an oil form, with its slight green and sweet contours giving it hints of flowers and a touch of menthol. A little does go a long way with this one, but again it’s a stick that works best in a large room where the oil will win out over the base, after all this is quite a lovely perfume, very watery and surreal.

Like the Gateway of India, Parekh’s Great Himalaya of India is a composite blend of floral and herbal qualities that’s difficult to parse into its components. It’s not as gentle as the Gateway perfume is and there seems to be more in the way of evergreen or woody qualities along with a dark autumn/post-harvest like smell that reminds me of aging hay or even raisins. Because of its relative strength the charcoal is at its least intrusive here and while this isn’t quite as kinetic as the sticks that use dominant florals, it still manages quite an exotic and eastern touch to it. While one might compare it to general Indian oil charcoals, it still stands on its own and it’s hard to find another incense that compares.

Shoyeido / Genji / Hanachiru-Sato, Yamazoto, Kikoushi, Ukifune

Genji / Otome, Momiji-Noga, Mio-Tsukushi
Genji / Enishi

It has been a while since we took a look at the rather sizeable Genji series that Shoyeido started to solidify in their US catalogs about a year ago. Partially this is because they’re almost as much gift sets as incense boxes, with all the various sets packaged in unique and striking containers that all bear the motifs of the famous Japanese Book of Genji. To get a better introduction to what this is all about I’d suggest taking a look back at Nancy’s fine write-up in the link to Enishi above. This book is often the inspiration for incense aromas and themes, even beyond Shoyeido and acts as fascinating context for culture and aroma. These are all very pricy sets and in many ways seem to me to be a further experimentation in the short stick style that has flourished within Shoyeido’s catalogs from the Horin series to the 12 Months, Angelscents, Floral World and many others.

The four in question here include two sets that feature one aroma and two others that feature two different aromas. All boxes range at 20 sticks in total, although Shoyeido has also imported Hanachiru-Satu in a much larger box set, in fact it was the first to come over. Hanachiru-Satu means Field of Blossoms and is a distinct, light and pleasant floral incense that will appeal to those with modern tastes. It’s distinctly fruity-floral, but given the stick type and format it ends up being a lot more complex and pleasant than most florals of its type. The scent evokes apples, daisies, gentle flower and a spiring breeze, with a very upbeat and freshening vibe. However for the type of incense, it strikes me as awfully expensive, especially when you consider many similarly prices Genji scents seem quite a bit more deluxe with the addition of aloeswood or fine sandalwood (whether these are oils or woods themselves). Hanachiru-Sato is certainly a pleasant incense and very pretty, but as many of these aromas go they’ll often tend to appeal more to the casual user, definitely more populist than traditional.

To my nose, the second floral here, Yamazoto (Mountain Valley), is much more successful and attractive. Where Hanachiru-Sato might invoke feelings of nostalgia and familiarity in the western user, Yamazoto is definitely far more exotic with the exotic perfume oils topping off a mix of aloeswood, sandalwood and spikenard to great effect. Like many of these short sticks, it will be evocative of any number of incenses in other ranges such as the 12 Months or Angelscents series, but even with the slight wood in the background this still is dominantly floral, sultry and bewitching. I found it quite fortunate that this happened to be a one-scent Genji box as this is a scent I could easily see myself restocking, it’s exotic, complex and won me over with a stick.

The Kikoushi (Young Nobleman) set splits its 20 sticks into two different aromas, with pink/purple and green sticks. As is true for many Genji scents, both these sticks have noticeable aloeswood contents mixed in with hard to identify floral characteristics and a nice helping of quality sandalwood. The former stick (the one with the pinkish purple color) also has a musk scent to go along with its brash, intense woody scent as well as some slight violet hints. This combination of purple characteristics with aloeswood seems fairly common in many of these short stick lines and always strikes me as youthful and aggressive, fulfulling part of the box’s theme memorably. It’s like a combination of elan with class and sophistication and the mix of florals and a slight berry hint with the heavy woods is quite nice.

The green stick is also sharp and aggressive, maybe even more so with a distinct and pungent aloeswood hit. I mentioned a commonality with purple aloeswoods along the short stick line, similarly there’s also a common thread among the green sticks, which often mix and match notes of evergreen, patchouli and mint in the mix. There’s so many of these I’m wondering if a comparison among them would be of better use, as I’m naturally sympathetic to this kind of blend. Nevertheless this too reflects the duality of the young nobleman, with a stick both elegant and impulsive. And it completes what’s another excellent Genji set.

The other two-scent set here is called Ukifune or Rowboat. The first stick, which has a carnation color to it is a very woody, aloeswood imbued stick that might be the most overtly high end incense among all these varying Genji sets. The wood tones are mixed with a very soft and subtle florals and the scent, like many of Shoyeido’s short sticks, has fleeting similarities to both the Horin Muro-Machi and Ten-Pyo sticks (in fact this aroma even leans towards some quasi-kyara like scents in the mix). I might guess at this being something of a carnation/aloeswood mix, and what might be interpreted as a marriage of feminine and masculine qualities reflects nicely the description of “… a young couple who enjoy an intimate time on a rowboat under bright moonlight night.”

The purple colored companion stick, on the other hand, is much mellower and only features aloeswood as a slight part of the bouquet. Compared to the heavier Genjis, this is very airy, with a touch of lavender or violet in the bouquet or at least the aroma holds similarities to the Xiang-Do versions of either scent. It’s even, perhaps, slightly wine or grape-like in an unusual way. It’s superbly balanced although it is so faint and subtle one wonders if a full appraisal can be made before the 10 sticks in the box run out.

As always, the Genji series seems to be made of excellent incense, although one will need to decide if the $16-$20+ asking prices (meaning each short stick is about a dollar a piece) is worth the fancy packaging. Indeed it at least does seem to be a place to go for the aloeswood lover who’s already gone through the Premiums and Horins, although I’m always careful not to fall too far for any of these scents as very few of them can be restocked in any sort of bulk form to make them worthwhile. On the other hand they do look like they’d make fantastic gifts, although the string, paper and carton packaging can be slightly frustrating in putting it all back together.

Awaji Koh-shi: Fresh Citron, Water Lily, India Ink, Japanese Musk, Coffee, Green Tea (from Ross)

Scents of Japan has some pretty deep ties to the Awaji  Island incense makers and has had these scents custom made for them for their Awaji Koh-shi line. There was a lot of R&D involved as they wanted incense’s that could hold their own in the market as well as be unique. This is Part 1 with Part 2 to follow shortly.

Fresh Citron (Seasonal Yuzu)(Awaji Baikundo): I am not sure what Citron really smells like, but assume it is “citrusy” in nature. This particular incense is not like anything else I have sampled. There is a great citrus note combined with an almost pink pepper top note and way under it all a slight wood scent. This is really surprising and delightful in its delivery, excellent for an overall refreshing room scent. Very uplifting, light, and the pink pepper  really brings it up into another level.

Water Lily (Less Smoke)(Keigado): This is a very subtle and almost etheric scent. I think the name aims more at a concept rather then a true scent as I am not too sure that water lilies have a scent( well maybe blue lotus). All that being said this is a very pleasant light floral note that is very much a back round rather then in your face incense. Not particularly sweet, and it does invoke the feel of the name. A lot of people who would like to try incense but do not want something too strong will find this just right.

India Ink (Less Smoke)(Seikado): India Ink is famous for( well one of the things) its scent, which is a mix of many materials as well as Patchouli oil and camphor. This incense is a wonderful combination of materials that has a very soothing and grounding quality to it, much more going on here the just the Patchouli oil and camphor. A great back round scent that to me invokes far away places and times. Somewhat stronger then many less smoke type sticks. It is defiantly a distinctive scent and something that could fit in many different enviroments.

Japanese Musk(Daihatsu): Whoever figured this scent out is really good. The musk is right up front with a light floral/spice and cream back round. Its surprisingly strong but not over powering and every time I burn some I think of the colors magenta and violet, which sort of describe the scent characteristics to me. Very elegant and almost hypnotic at the same time, a solid winner. I think it will appeal to a wide variety of people.

Coffee (Less Smoke)(Kunjudo): This smells like a very good cup of French Roast with a bit of heavy cream, no sugar, to round it out. An very pleasant and friendly sort of aroma that is actually stronger burning then unlit. It is supposed to act as an air purifier and freshener. I was not at all sure what a coffee scented incense was going to do for me but ended up being quite pleased. I can see this could be very useful in commercial areas or at home as a back round scent.

Green Tea (Less Smoke)(Kikujudo): A nice medium tea scent. Not really sweet and with that subtle bitter edge that tea can have that, to me, gives it character. There is a green note that flows through the whole mix and kind of holds it all together. There are no forceful notes in this stick, rather it is a grouping of three or four delicate scents that work very well together to add a distinctive “Japanese Tea” scent to a room, in other words, it smells like its name.

New Agarwood info at Absolute Trygve (Ross)

A great piece on Agarwood production and grading at Absolute Trygve blog.

Always excellent writing and insights into the wild world of sourcing essential oils and rare woods. The really cool thing about Trygve is that she really does go to the source for most of the stuff that sells in her store in NYC. This particular one is about Agarwood harvesting in the Assam area of India. Not to be missed. -Ross

Fred Solls Classic Vanilla, Fresh Peaches, Sacred Myrrh, Dragon’s Blood, White Sage & Dragons Blood, & Lemon Grass (Ross)

For the reviews on the Fred Soll’s line already done you can check the listings on the left side of this page. These are very well done incenses at a great price. I love the picture of Fred with Billy E Gibbons on the home page, I find it hard to imagine, say, the head of a major Japanese incense company in a similar shot. 🙂

Classic Vanilla: This is about as strong a vanilla note as I can imagine, there is a slight creaminess to it but overall it is pretty much a full on vanilla scent, somewhat singular in its delivery. I have some of the Nag Champa with Amber & Vanilla sticks on hand which I find to be a more attractive mix just because there seems to be much more going on. However, if you are a vanilla fan this might be right up your ally.

Fresh Peaches: When you pull this out of the package it really does smell like a peach and even when lit the Peach scent note hangs in there over the smoke and even over the base note of the burning stick.. It is pretty sweet and very strong but at the same time a true Peach scent, one which seems to have a very long hang time. It also does not smell artificial to me, something I was not expecting. I have no idea as to how Solls managed to create this scent and make it so true to life but in its own way it is a work of art. I would think that the people who like his Strawberry line will also like this.

Sacred Myrrh: When I think of Myrrh I generally think of something that has a somewhat bitter and very grounded quality to it. It is, I believe, one of the resins associated with the Egyptian god Set, who is not well known for any warm and fuzzy qualities. This particular stick on the other had is very, very sweet with a very faint almost bubble gum note in the background. To me, it is hard to find the Myrrh scent within the sweet notes. Of all the Fred Solls scents I have tried this seems to be the oddest one. Not at all what I was expecting or hoping for, which could be why it did not do it for me.

Dragon’s Blood: I find this quite wonderful; deep, sultry, penetrating, with a slight bitter edge to it. All this drifts over a slightly(very slight) sweet base note that in many ways seems to be the signature scent of the entire line. This is a real winner for those of you who enjoy heavy resin blends. There are some similarities between this and , say, some of the Copal’s but I think that that is just how it is going to be in this neck of the resin world. Not to be missed if you are a Solls fan or you like big resins. This pretty much humbles any other resin blend on a stick.

White Sage & Dragons Blood: The addition of Sage really changes the scent characteristics of this blend from the Dragons Blood above. This feels like a much more energetic and vibrant offering, which, given its description at the home site “Here we have created the ultimate protection combination..” makes sense. This is a strong, very penetrating scent, not harsh or overbearing but you know it’s there. I personally find it refreshing and it seems to have a certain “bright” lift to it. Excellent for cleansing the atmosphere on a spiritual or physical level.

Lemon Grass: This was quite a surprise to me. It has a distinct citrus/lemony scent when unlit, the surprise is that it follows through when lit. Somehow, I have never put the combination of incense and citrus or lemon together in my head. Somehow this does just that. It really works well and is a great room scent rather then say, a meditative incense. Of course your personal preferences may be completely different. I think this would be great on a Summer or Spring afternoon. It has a very lifting and upbeat quality to it. Probably not for everyone but so unique that it is well worth trying.

Bunch more from Fred Soll’s coming soon, enjoy!

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