New Shroffs

Just wanted to put a few words and add a thread for the latest batch of Shroffs to come in through Essence of the Ages. I’m as thrilled with the new scents this time as I was disappointed by the last batch, there’s not a wet masala in this group that isn’t terrific. Darshan is like the most deluxe spice cookie, full of sugar, cinnamon and other sweet things. Drona’s mellower with quite a bit of caramel in the mix, very soft. Little Woods is like a more connoisseur version of the Woods incense we’ve discussed here, quite a bit deeper with a really great mix of wood oils. Their Nag Champa isn’t terribly far off from the Dhuni version recently discussed. The Ruby takes the wet masala format with a nice rosey top oil, one of the most successful versions of a red or pink colored champa I’ve seen. Shanti was absolutely amazing as well, although my memory of it and Sharan are a bit sketchier since it was late. Super Star, at least on the stick and by name, seems like a variant on Satya’s Super Hit, I suspect it will be a lot better. I also gave the Bakoor a small spin, it’s quite unique and seems charcoal based but definitely moves in an unusual bakhoor-like direction for a stick. Any comments or thoughts on these or older Shroffs can be added right here…



  1. Sanghanistha said,

    November 20, 2012 at 7:35 am

    The link doesn’t work for ‘Shroff Channabasappa Part 8’, any chance of remedying it? Ta 🙂

  2. Carrie said,

    April 30, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    Little Woods – I can’t say anything any better than Mike already has. This may be one of the best Indian incenses I have ever smelled. My first order was for 50 gms, and after my first few sticks I ordered 5 more 100 gm boxes.
    I’ve been sending samples of all my new goodies to my daughters, and my oldest says Little Woods is ‘intoxicating’ and ‘magical’.

    Pearl – Reminds me of a really good nag champa, but there are hints of something else in it I can’t figure out, but that keep sending me over to bury my face in the smoke to see if I can figure out what it is. A really lovely incense.

    Darshan – I really, really wanted to love this, based on the reviews here. I ordered a 50gm box and when I opened it I did not really care for the scent unburnt. So I lit one and this is one of the very few incenses I’ve ever immediately put out and thrown away. I can tell its a VERY good incense, but something about it just rubs my fur the wrong way.

    Bakhoor – This is another that I can tell is a good incense, even if it is a charcoal, but the scent and I don’t get along. Even though I like a lot of the sweet Indian incenses, this was too sweet and in an odd way, and the stick gave me a headache anyway, probably from the charcoal?

    I can hardly wait to try other Shroffs!

  3. clv said,

    April 11, 2011 at 5:54 pm

    I just lit my first stick of Shroff Little Woods and it’s incredible!

    Maybe 10 years ago I received in a thank you note 4 sticks of incense from a lady back east who I sent the notations of a West African drum rhythm to.

    The sticks looked about the same as blue box Nag Champa, but when I burned it, it smelled SO MUCH BETTER. To this day I don’t know why I didn’t write her back immediately to ask what it was.

    This Little Woods incense is very close to what she had sent me. I just added a couple 100 gm boxes to my order for Baieido Kai Un Koh, and I don’t think it’s safe for me to continue reading your site. 😉

    Thanks for all the new addictions!


  4. Hamid said,

    February 1, 2011 at 6:15 am

    I always hesitate before expressing a negative opinion of a Shroff, because I sometimes have to retract it…. but I share your reservation about Shran , Mike.
    It seems to me to be an example of the “Fluxo” style…too heavy and smoky for my taste. Although as is to be expected, when Shroff do a Fluxo it is good of its kind. Just not to my taste.

    • Hamid said,

      February 1, 2011 at 6:24 am

      I have just realised what the Shran most reminds me of..its like a slightly sweeter version of the Red Poppies distributed through Incense From India… a stick that I am not fond of.

      • Mike said,

        February 1, 2011 at 10:55 am

        Interesting, I remember that one from long ago, in fact I think of it kind of in the same class as Ruby. For me I’m not sure I’m all that comfortable with kewada, it’s an intriguing scent but it doesn’t seem to merge all that well with the sweeter characteristics of the wet masala.

  5. Hamid said,

    January 29, 2011 at 8:48 am

    Just recieved a batch of the newest Shroffs…despite the lovely Beth’s best efforts we run a few weeks behind here in Europe.
    So far I have only tried the Darshan….goodness me its excellent.
    I get the spearmint that you refer to Mike and the spice, and something else which is on the tip of my tongue but I cant quite place…quite delicious.

    • Mike said,

      January 30, 2011 at 6:00 pm

      Darshan is really in a class by itself. Mint is a very difficult scent to get right in an incense, so Shroff have really come up with a nice balance on this one. Look forward to what you think on the others Hamid, I truly can not get enough of this batch, they’ve been in heavy rotation since I got them in. I think Darshan, Little Woods, Shanti and Super Star are all hall of fame worthy and I’m almost about to add the Ruby and Drona as well, both of which I’m really warming to. In fact the only one I’m having difficulty with is the Shran, mostly because it’s so unusual.

      • Hamid said,

        January 31, 2011 at 8:20 am

        The Shanti is another premium item. A middle note of buttery sandal, top notes of vanilla sugar and baby powder, and a bottom note like the earthy aroma of uncooked basmati rice. Excellent.

  6. vinny said,

    January 27, 2011 at 9:39 pm

    I tried the Balaji Signature, Chandanam, Golden Flora and Prashant .
    All are pretty good but the Golden Flora and Chandanam are WOW, I have tried many sandalwoods but this is the first sandalwood which is strong but cooling at the same time. The Prashant is a very herbal mix , and I think would be most suitable for a western nose. The Signature is good too , a sandalwood spice mix but the Chandanam smells waay more expensive than what it is, ditto the Golden Flora. I also got the Kala Loban , which does not even smell like benzoin its nasty and smells like burning rubber or something.

    • Kevan said,

      January 28, 2011 at 2:04 am

      I love Chandanam too but I can’t burn it fully. It just gets way too smoky. It’s a thin stick but smokes like a flora/fluxo.

      • vinny said,

        January 28, 2011 at 3:54 am

        no sai flora is the mother ship of smoke. Im curious to try the Focus, once im through with these incenses. I will also probably try more shroffs , esp the little woods , paneer, and singapore loban. Actually I also just burn them half way too .

        • Kevan said,

          January 28, 2011 at 10:36 pm

          Yeah, agreed on Sai Flora but what I mean is that the Balaji incenses I have (Focus and Chandanam) are normal size, yet they release a steady column of smoke so fast and constant I have to wonder about their charcoal content (they also flame a lot when ignited).

          I like their aroma and I want to try others…I just wish their smoke output was closer to that of the Mother’s.

          • vinny said,

            January 29, 2011 at 3:48 am

            yeah Mothers incense are really high quality , when you mean smoother , do you mean the sandalwood is not as prominent . Signature and Chandanam are both sandalwoods , with Chandanam being the stronger one.

          • vinny said,

            January 29, 2011 at 3:59 am

            btw i confused golden flora for signature . Golden flora I dont like , I tried to like it but it smells like cheap poutpourri. So avoid that. Prashant is nice has more of a buddhist incense feel but I like the Chandanam and Signature the best . Btw I highly suggest trying NR Rao’s Yagna its really nice too

            • Kevan said,

              January 29, 2011 at 11:25 pm

              Hmm….the only Ranga Rao incense I have is Woods. I’ll have to look for Yagna.

              By “smoother” I mean sharp or acrid notes are either reduced or not noticeable. It’s been my experience with charcoal-based incenses and some lower-quality Indian sticks have this characteristic.

              There are tons of smooth sandalwood scents out there. I have a no-name box of sandalwood sticks that are temple size and are incredibly buttery smooth. The Minorien and Seikado sandalwood sticks are smooth as well (with a LITTLE bit of a sawdust quality to the latter).

              One stick that genuinely surprised me was Sai Chandan. Despite being a bone-dry masala it has a unique sweet sandal aroma (like Chandrika sandalwood soap).

  7. vinny said,

    January 18, 2011 at 5:48 pm

    yeah the brassy notes last momentarily but im talking of a very deep resinous smell almost cleansing , would the singapore loban be like that ??
    Have you tried the Balaji masala series (Signature flora ,P rashant and golden flora) , I have not tried them myself but the packaging looks quite tempting in itself . I am trying to find an incense which has that resinous cleansing note that i found in some sai flora packages , will try the ones you suggested. Yeah i was very livid that they changed the Rao Woods incense, the older boxes had perforated lettering , and a strong cedar note , the new ones dont have that evergreen scent. and its not smokey like before and i love incense smoke . This was suppose to be Rao’s top end agarbati , the other Yagna is really nice but I liked the old Woods.

    • Mike said,

      January 19, 2011 at 9:28 am

      No, the Singapore Loban is nothing like that. Never tried the Balaji masalas. Now that I think of it I’m not totally sure Sai Deep and Sai Leela might fit what you’re asking for, I just find them both quite similar to Sai Flora in style, so thought it might be worth the try.

      • vinny said,

        January 20, 2011 at 12:27 pm

        may i ask what do the singapore loban smells like then ??

          • vinny said,

            January 23, 2011 at 3:43 am

            Yeah I bought the Red Sandal on your word , its really nice , its smells like a nice indian attar and also kind of reminds me of Tom Ford’s Oudh, I was surprised those small sticks could give off such strong smell. Sandal Flora is too feminine for me , I gave that to my mom. I would like if you could review the Balaji natural incenses whenever you get the chance, I have heard they are really good in particular the Prashanth , Signature and Chandanam.

            • Kevan said,

              January 23, 2011 at 2:52 pm

              Balaji incenses are good, yes. Chandanam is a sandal flora stick but has a very “comfortable” scent to it, like a grandfather’s cardigan (or at least that’s my impression). Focus is similar, though a bit smoother.

              They are quite smoky and strong, though. I can only burn a little at a time. I’ve been wanting to sample Prasanth and Signature but I have to burn through some of my stock to justify the purchase. 🙂

  8. Mike said,

    January 18, 2011 at 12:04 pm

    This is a really impressive group of wet masalas, I’ve had trouble keeping my hands off of them and just ordered 100g packages of Darshan, Little Woods, Shanti and Super Star. Darshan’s one I can’t imagine anyone not liking, it’s like a really nice spice cookie and the fresh stick seems to have a bit of spearmint in the mix. Super Star’s my second favorite, largely because it reminds me of what Satya Super Hit used to smell like before they changed the recipe. Shran’s interesting as well as it’s almost like a screwpine champa, I even took out one of the Kewada sticks to compare it to. Ruby is the best of the red/floral/rose champas I’ve seen, much deeper than other versions.

  9. vinny said,

    January 16, 2011 at 5:09 pm

    Hi Mike , I am a big incense aficianado and your site is awesome. I had a question and I hope you can help. I like sai flora but I notice they differ considerably box to box . Some of them have this resinous smell , which smells brassy and smooth , like a resin of some sort , loban or frankincense perhaps? I am not sure , but the majority of the boxes ,have incense which have this earthy slightly burnt medieval kind of smell. While not bad , I dont like it , the other sai flora with the brassy resinous smell is amazing. Are there incense which u can reccomend which have that resinous smooth brassy smell. Another thing I want to mention the woods incense from NR rao has been reformulated and its nothingl like what it use to smell like .

    • Mike said,

      January 18, 2011 at 11:55 am

      Hi Vinny. I’ve not come across any Sai Floras that don’t have, as you said, the brassy resinous smell, but it’s definitely not uncommon for companies to change their recipes and that often means a transition where two different recipes are for sale. I suspect that’s probably what we’re seeing for Woods (I highly recommend checking out Shroff’s Little Woods which might scratch the itch the new recipe isn’t). As to other incenses with this smell, check out this page:

      Sai Deep and Sai Leela are both quite similar to Sai Flora.

  10. BenA said,

    January 12, 2011 at 1:50 pm

    Well since you asked…

    I bought a bunch of Shroffs during last year’s Essence of the Ages 12 Days of Christmas sale. I’d never really been a fan of Indian incenses before; I mainly burn Japanese and Tibetan-style incense. My previous Indian incense purchase had been a couple from Purelands which I found way too much (too sweet and too strong).

    I love almost all the Shroffs I got: Pearl, Jungle Prince, Champa, Natural Loban, and Red Sandal. The only one that hasn’t worked for me is the Mogra, the artistry of which I appreciate but which, like the Purelands incenses, I find a bit overwhelming.

    (I also picked up some Mothers Nagchampas, which are equally wonderful…but you know that!)

  11. Kevan said,

    January 11, 2011 at 12:56 pm

    I can attest to the Nag Champa being brilliant. It seems just a shade spicier than the Dhuni and leaves a wonderful after-aroma.

    Now you make me wish I had bought Darshan and Shanti!

  12. Hamid said,

    January 11, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    You have certainly whetted my appetite Mike..

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