ORS News

First of all I’d like to extend a warm welcome to our newest staff member Marian Williams!

Second, we will be slightly expanding the scope of ORS in the near future in two ways. First we will be stretching out into reviews of perfumes and ouds, especially those that would be appeal to incense lovers. Second we will be starting to review the more inaccessible and unexported Japanese incenses in the near future. Staff has actually been debating this last one longer than I can remember, but decided that we do a better service by letting everyone know what’s out there.

Feel free in this thread to let us know what you’d like to see reviewed or for any other ideas.

24 Comments

  1. February 26, 2011 at 7:11 pm

    […] read Christian’s comments on in the ORS-News post about “incense note” perfumes and laughed. I recently ordered about 15 different […]

    • Marian said,

      February 28, 2011 at 4:41 pm

      Taran- I agree that the BN oud thread is unorganized and it’s difficult to pull out the reviews from the masses of other posts. I’ll be reviewing ouds and mukhallats that are currently on the market. Unfortunately oil prices are pretty high, and free samples are almost unheard of. I’d love to be able to try everything that’s out there, but since that’s an impossibility I’d do my best to choose wisely and to cover as broad a spectrum as possible.

  2. Taran said,

    February 26, 2011 at 7:02 pm

    Reading this again today one thing I’d love to see is a comprehensive Oud oil section like you mention! There isn’t a place online that has good reviews of Oud oils set up for ease of access and clarity. Basenotes has an Oud appreciation group that has a huge archive of posts reviewing oils but its so messy and unorganized its hard to tell at times what oil is actually being talked about. Generic names of oils are used and a lack of consistent source discussion is common.

    • Marian said,

      February 28, 2011 at 4:42 pm

      Whoops- posted my reply in the wrong place. See above 🙂

  3. apsara said,

    February 26, 2011 at 11:37 am

    The question of what’s “natural” in fragrances is a wasp’s nest – there is such deceipt, starting with sandalwood EO. It is thoroughly irritating to me that fragrances are being called “natural” that aren’t. Or oils are called “essential” that have been adulterated, and this includes products from the below mentioned perfumer, in my opinion. I stay with my resins now, and some incense, or put spices on the burner.

  4. Alex said,

    February 25, 2011 at 10:52 pm

    First of all, congrats Marian!

    Secondly, I’m excited to hear that the site is being expanded. I don’t have any personal interest in perfumes, but expansion is always exciting. And besides, I would be very interested to see reviews on currently unavailable Japanese incenses. Who knows- maybe their presence on this site will serve as a motivation for them to be imported here?

    As always, thanks for the great work ORS. Perhaps you’re too good- now I just want to buy incense all the time 😀

  5. glennjf said,

    February 24, 2011 at 4:14 am

    Hi Marian, newest staffer hey! I hear the staff benefits are fantastic!

    “review the more inaccessible and unexported Japanese incenses”

    I’m looking forward to whatever pans out from this idea. I’d put forward for review the two Kyukyodo incenses that are supposed to have replaced Shiun and Yumemachi if anyone can determine which ones they are from the current Kyukyodo catalogue..

  6. Christian said,

    February 23, 2011 at 9:08 pm

    One more comment about reviews of perfumes that would appeal to incense lovers.

    As a collector and one who keeps on top of perfume trends, incense perfumes have been done to death. A year or two ago, almost every perfume house and indie perfumer jumped on the oud(h) bandwagon. Prior to that, most houses were “doing incense.” And most not all that well. Comme des Garcons came out with an Incense Series that is good, but that is very old news.

    People who really love and are serious about incense will not be awed by 99% of the incense perfumes on the market. They are same old, same old. It’s throw in some benzoin, throw in some labdanum, throw in something amber-oh wow-we made an incense perfume. There are a few that could knock down a whole block if more than a Q-tip’s worth is applied (Norma Kamali’s euponymous Incense) and most could not be told apart in a blindfold test.

    Been there. Done that.

  7. Taran said,

    February 23, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    I’d like to see ORS become more like basenotes.net.. Allow user reviews of incense. Maybe a forum as well? Your site and basenotes should be merged! I can wish.. Incense, perfume and all things olfactory reviewed in one place! Love oud and perfume though glad to see ORS expanding you guys do some of the best and more knowledgeable reviews I’ve seen online.

    Great site though you’re what got me started and now I’ve got a huge perfume incense and oud collection that never stops growing.

    • Mike said,

      February 23, 2011 at 3:54 pm

      Thanks for the comments and ideas Taran. I think it would probably take more computer know how than I have to go beyond a blog, besides there are actually quite a few user reviews in our comments sections, even if it might not be the most ideal format for them. http://hausofwaft.com/haus-forum looks like a nice forum for incense, I’d like to eventually get some time to go over there for some chats.

    • apsara said,

      February 23, 2011 at 4:33 pm

      I have looked at basenotes a while ago. They review perfumes, without a distinction as to natural vs. synthetic. Some commentators, for example, raved about oudh based perfumes. Was able to take a whiff of some of these, and they were just commercial perfumes with synthetic aromas, incl. Montale.

    • Christian said,

      February 23, 2011 at 8:57 pm

      Please-no Basenotes. Or makeupalley.com fragrance board. I think there are so many perfume blogs and forums now that it is to the point of silliness.

      One of the reasons why I visit this blog is because I adore incense and this is one of the few sites that I trust because it is well moderated by intelligent, passionate people. My incense collection has grown to FIVE drawer sized wooden chests since I discovered this site.

      It is a true pleasure to be free of cliques, posturing, uber coolness and Ebay braggarts (the people who can afford to snap up all the vintage classics there) that I find on perfume sites and many perfume blogs that invite comments.

      I have been writing perfume reviews since 2001. I have been collecting perfume since the 70s. I am sick of perfume reviews-my own and others. Incense, though? That’s a different story.

      • Taran said,

        February 24, 2011 at 2:54 am

        You guys all made good points; actually thinking about what you said I agree. I appreciate the personality and professionalism of the reviews here and see how it would clutter it up and change ORS’s character if it was more like basenotes.

        • glennjf said,

          February 24, 2011 at 4:05 am

          Though I liked very much action and the to do around the Mystery of Musk postings I think something that’s intrinsic to this place could be at risk of becoming lost by too much widening of the parameters.

      • Mike said,

        February 24, 2011 at 8:13 am

        5? Wow! Oh and thanks for the kind comments Christian. I don’t think anyone need worry about a perfume takeover here. Besides if the reviews bother anyone, you can just set your ORS link so that it just brings up reviews marked with the category incense.

        • Christian said,

          February 24, 2011 at 8:29 pm

          Oh, good to know about the setting, Mike. I know I probably sound like a curmudgeon (and I am one)-but I adore this blog because of the writing and being exposed to things I never even knew existed.

          I know I am in the minority, but for me, reading about and writing about perfume is like a diet of Wonderbread. ORS is like manna.

          Thanks.

          • Mike said,

            February 25, 2011 at 10:00 am

            Well we definitely want to hear from readers whether they like or dislike certain ideas or trends so your opinions are certainly welcome. I’m definitely curious to hear what kinds of favorite incenses you’ve found given your collection though. 🙂

            • Christian said,

              February 25, 2011 at 1:37 pm

              I’ll post my favorites when I have the energy ( iwork a 12 hour day, have animals, recently lost my life partner and am trying to keep up house and grounds by myself) or as they come up.

              Even though there are good reviews here of Tibetan incense, I have mine put far far away because I have yet to find one that’s tolerable. As someone nearing 60 and with a certification in aromatherpy dating back to the 1970s, I have been enjoying incense and odours since the early 1960s. Have smelled a LOT of things, weird and wondrous and vile-but I cannot “get” Tibetan incense. To me, it all smells like burning rope. I keep reading here, looking for the brand that will turn on the olfactory light, but maybe my bulb for the Tibetan is just permanently burned out.

              • Mike said,

                February 25, 2011 at 2:28 pm

                First of all, Christian, my sympathies and understanding.

                Since I started exploring Tibetan incense I think less of them all as Tibetan and more by specific country. I tend to like actual Tibetan incense, but like very few “tibetan style” incenses that come from Nepal or India (although there are notable exceptions in the Hall of Fame) and have largely given up on exploring them as so many do fit your description. I’m somewhere in the middle on Bhutanese incenses. But stuff like Holy Land, Samye Monastery, Highland, Dzogchen and the Medicine Kings are all huge favorites in my book. I never get enough of them.

                • Christian said,

                  February 26, 2011 at 9:53 am

                  Thanks Mike.

                  Like certain perfume categories (chypres, for example) or essential oils, I suspect educating the nose is the key to understanding. I was assuming that “Tibetan” was just that, but since you stated there is “tibetan style”-the light bulb flickered.

                  Will go through the “Tibetan” box and revisit what I have there.

  8. Marian Williams said,

    February 22, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    Thanks for the welcome, Mike! I look forward to posting!
    Hyblaean- I’ll be reviewing some sandalwood oils. I have a couple of favorites I’d like to share.

    • Mike said,

      February 22, 2011 at 1:19 pm

      Can’t wait, I’ve been wanting to buy something outstanding in the sandalwood oil category for a while now.

  9. hyblaean said,

    February 22, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    “Second we will be starting to review the more inaccessible and unexported Japanese incenses in the near future.”
    yay! 🙂 on both this and the perfume.

    I know most here prefer aloeswood, but could I make a request for more sandalwood reviews? Minorien is my favorite so far, but I would love to try others of this quality. Also is there some way for us to group together to buy some of the less accessible items?

    • Mike said,

      February 22, 2011 at 1:18 pm

      Thanks for the suggestions. First of all, we’re still in discussion how we want to handle how to source unimported Japanese incenses, but will definitely let the list know when we decide how we’re going to do it.

      Second, some sandalwood recommendations. I think my personal favorite sandalwood and it’s a bit of a blend, is Kyukyodo Gyokurankoh, which is one of those pesky unimported ones (I think I reviewed it years ago but have grown to appreciate it a lot more since). But it has one of the clearest Old Mountain sandalwood notes I’ve tried in an incense outside of Baieido (and with Baieido you have the classic high end Byukaden Kokoh and the much more affordable Byakudan Kobunboku both of which set the bar very high). Keigado’s East and West Temple are very nice, although one’s more of a blend than the other (I forget which). Shunkohdo Sarasoju is also great. I think there should be reviews of all of these accessible on the left. Will keep an eye out for more to share.


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