Drezang Kuenchap, Nado Poizokhang Zimpoe Grade A, Lhundup

From the looks of this group it would seem that I’ve already reviewed 2 out of 3 of these incenses before, but as it turns out, I actually haven’t reviewed any of them before, for reasons that will be made a little clearer in the respective paragraphs. All three of these, as with the Tsenden incenses reviewed last week, were provided as samples from Sensia, whose owner had recently received all these new incenses after a trip to Bhutan.

The first of these could be my favorite of the entire group. Drezang Kuenchap comes in both long and short sticks and is as robust, tangy and hearty a Bhutanese incense as you’ll find anywhere. I tend to evaluate any stick on whether its aroma exudes a greater or lesser percentage of fine ingredients as opposed to cheaper woods and in this case you’re definitely getting a stick that asserts its own character. In fact this is an incense that seems more Nepali than Bhutani in scent and strength. It’s difficult to pick out any specific elements since the whole thing seems a perfectly balanced mosaic, for instance the woodiness seems to be match perfectly with a certain sweetness in that the woods never verge too much in the campfire direction and the sweetness never overpowers. My guess is some of the elements of this will likely be familiar but it’s hard to criticise how this one was put together. To say I went through the sample fast would be an understatement and I’ll end up having to buy a pack at some point in the near future.

Nado Poizokhang incense seems to provoke intense reactions from its users, as the comments to my previous review of the top three grades demonstrates. What’s clear is that the company does indeed tweak their recipes severely as what I received from Sensia is an entirely different incense from the Grade A I reviewed years ago. Fortunately, I suppose, I’d never formed an intense attachment with the formula I previously reviewed and I think this current version is also an excellent incense, a well rounded, sweet, woody and herbal blend that most will enjoy. However I think it’s possible that due to costs there’s a greater level of juniper in this new version, however one not so high as to do anything but impart a round berryish scent to the mix. And the big change between the old and new is that this seems to be more Nepali in style and less like the snappy, plastic like stick style found in previous years. It all makes for a lot of confusion where Nado is concerned as noone seems to be sure what they’re getting, but at least for now, this well balanced stick is the new Grade A and it would likely only disappoint those expecting the old style.

I did some sampler notes on the Lhundup Grade A a while back, however what I received as a sample is the Lhundup in the regular pink paper package. I didn’t have samples to compare side by side, but by memory, this particular version seems to be a little less stronger than the grade A but roughly similar in style. I’d have compared this to the Nado Poizokhang Grade B of a couple years back, as its almost classic Bhutani in style, with a plastic-like tensile strength and that mysterious mix of spices that makes it difficult to differentiate specific ingredients. I don’t remember the Grade A having the sorts of mild characteristics this one does and as such this seems to be rather reluctant to assert a personality, certainly pleasant enough, but compared to the previous two incenses, this doesn’t really reach out and grab you. But essentially, given its price and now that Nado seems to have changed its style, this might not be a bad place to start to get a “ground zero” Bhutani blend as a base.

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3 Comments

  1. Terra Renee said,

    August 16, 2015 at 1:29 pm

    My boyfriend bought me Nado Grade A from eBay. I have no way of telling if it’s authentic or not, but it smells great, so it’s no big deal. I ordered a small roll of Grade A from E of A to compare the scents, but either way, I love the current Nado A, at least the current Nado A that wind-horse is selling on eBay. It might be fake, but if it is, it’s a good formula!

    It’s not in the happiness bamboo tube, just the bamboo tube that’s near the top of the picture on E of A’s Nado A picture.

  2. C.J. said,

    August 9, 2010 at 10:32 pm

    Thank you for the review on Nado–I was so disappointed in the “Grade A” I bought this year. It was EXTREMELY Different than the year before–less herb-y and more sweet (sandalwood-ish). Even the “B” was different– herbier than the A! This years “A” actually resembled the lower grades. If we don’t get incenses which are at least similar from year to year, or keep integrity with the ingredients description, how can we develop preferences, or loyalty?

    –CJ

    • Michael said,

      September 27, 2010 at 1:49 pm

      I purchased the Grade A Nado from E of A also just this week. It came in an open bamboo container labeled Nado Happiness Incense (both paper ends were clearly open) and the tube was contained in a plastic bag. The sticks were berry red and the only note I could discern unlit was clove and maybe some other spice that is unrecognizable to me – no sandalwood at all. I can’t really describe the aroma once lit. Even with all the year to year variation and recipe changes, Just what is this supposed to smell like?


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