March 2011 Top 10

  1. Shroff Channabasappa/Wet Masala/Little Woods – Quite  simply this is one of the best Indian incenses you can buy. I think I’ve lost count how many sticks I’ve gone through at this point, there have been times where I’ll just burn one after the other. In fact I’ve been meaning to get to this latest and finest batch from Shroff, but haven’t found the time yet, but this one is described as containing fouger, rose, ambery sandal and oriental scents. It strikes a balance I can barely describe, but has an oil mix that’s extremely addictive.
  2. Shroff Channabasappa/Wet Masala/Darshan – This spearmint fronted work of magic could be interchangeable with Little Woods, as I’ve burned nearly as many sticks of this. This is an Indian incense I think almost everyone will like, it’s redolent of minty, spice cookies and very friendly.
  3. Kyukyodo/Musashino – Kyukyodo have a kyara and it’s a lot different from the dark and resinous kyaras you’ll find in, say, Shoyeido’s stable. In fact the first time I tried a stick it was difficult to describe because it has a lot of similarities with other Kyukyodo green sticks (Denpo for example) in that it’s kind of light and foresty. But once you get used to it and the green kyara note comes through, it becomes breathtaking. Like most kyaras it’s an expensive buy (given other Kyukyodo prices, my guess this would run $350 or so at 20 sticks if it was imported here) but in this case there’s really no other kyara like it.
  4. Meena Supreme – There’s an up and coming new company in Britain who’s set forth trying to import some incenses not generally seen outside of India and Meena Supreme was the first one (a more indepth review is forthcoming) I received. This was described to me with a hail of superlatives and has managed to live up to most of them. It’s a fluxo style incense, very thick and smokey with some earthiness in the background making it somewhat akin to Sai Flora. Quite frankly I’d have trouble describing the aroma even after going through two boxes of it, except to say it’s extremely addictive.
  5. Dhuni/Kashi (new version) – I’m not sure what’s going on in the Dhuni labs of late, but their latest care package was absolutely astounding despite there only being one true new scent. What else arrived was improved versions of three of their incenses. The new Kashi seems to increase the thickness and richness of the sticks. If you’ve ever tried Honey Dust or Vanilla or Satya Natural then you’ll know this scent, but I guarantee you’ve never smelled it at this level of luxuriousness. For me, it rejuvenated a scent I think I’d grown rather tired of.
  6. Dhuni/Special Amber (new) – The one stick sample of this I received is possibly the largest stick of Indian incense I’ve ever encountered, in fact I wondered if I could use it to defend myself. And bigger is better is definitely the case with this new version which seems to increase the content of the fine amber resins being used because at times this stick is like burning a fine resin mix, very sublime and much more balanced and measured than the original version (which was pretty great in its own right as it was). This is definitely one I’ll want to restock.
  7. Kyukyodo/Murasakino – It’s difficult to tell for sure, but other than the Musashino above, I’d probably put Murasakino at the top of the premium Kyukyodo aloeswood list. It comes in a variety of different boxes and packages but the silk roll in pawlonia box is probably the standard version. This is a potent, green aloeswood with that wonderful sharp acridity good wood always brings. And unlike Haru-no-yama, this is different enough from the Sho-Ran-Ko to make it feel not too duplicative.
  8. Dhuni/Khus – Much thanks to the Dhuni group for stocking me up on this utterly fine and fantastic vetivert champa. I had left a stick of this burning upstairs last night and remember just how incredible the aroma it left. Vetivert is often described as cooling, which isn’t something I always pick up in incenses it contains, but this one has absolutely nailed that vibe. This one’s an essential.
  9. Shroff Channabasappa/Ruby – I’m a little slower burning this one because I haven’t nabbed a 100g box yet and it took me a few sticks, but when it comes to the red colored, floral/rose type of champa, this one is the supreme version by a long way with a perfume intensity that’s unusual for this style. Very well rounded and gorgeous.
  10. Tibetan Medical College/Holy Land – What can I say that I already haven’t on this one. Still a staple around here and just polished off another box (third maybe?). In a class of its own.


  1. ted said,

    May 27, 2012 at 11:46 am

    After a lengthily absence,Little Woods is back in stock at EA. I’ll be eagerly awaiting reports on how this latest batch compares to the one reviewed here.

  2. Robert said,

    July 4, 2011 at 4:54 pm

    Their Nargis 1931 is an all-time favorite of mine.
    As beautiful as Daffodils smell, I find it odd that so few companies make something like this.

  3. Maharani said,

    May 29, 2011 at 7:27 am

    Since reading this page, I bought Ruby, Little Woods, Darshan, Bakhoor, and refills of French Musk and Chypre. I am enjoying all of them immensely. I agree with the Top 10 descriptions and am not sure I could add anything. Ruby is sumptuous-red, jammy and rich-almost too much so, but occasionally it is nice to have “too much”. I think Darshan exquisite: it really is just like a spice cookie-but the mint note weaves in and out and lightens it-very unusual. Little Woods I like very much too, but need to think about it before trying to describe it. However, I welcome this addition to the woody series that includes chypre, cypress, and bakhoor. Ive been exploring these notes in perfume the last year and have come to appreciate them much more than I did when I was younger.

    • Carrie said,

      May 29, 2011 at 9:15 pm

      I love Little Woods so much that I ordered 500 gms almost as soon as my first order of a small box was opened and the first stick burned.

      Tonight I am getting re-acquainted with Pearl. I burned a couple sticks early this month before I quit smoking, but I really wasn’t able to appreciate just how beautiful this incense is because of a compromised sense of smell. Pearl is another one I am going to stock in large quantities.

      My favorite genre of perfumes has always been the chypres. I think I read once that chypre perfumes always have an oakmoss base and a bergamot top note. I wonder of that’s the same with Shroff’s Chypre incense? I am going to add this to my wish list for my next order.

      I ordered the Bakhoor and liked the scent of it but the incense gave me an almost immediate headache, probably from the charcoal.

      Maharani, do you have the link for Shroff’s website? The only one I can find is for Shroff Perfumers, which I think is a different company.

      Thank you!

      • Maharani said,

        May 29, 2011 at 9:25 pm

        Here is the link I use:

        The website is up as of this evening.

        • Carrie said,

          May 30, 2011 at 5:25 am

          I can’t get there on Firefox or IE.


          • Maharani said,

            May 30, 2011 at 7:03 am

            I have Safari, which works fine.

            • Carrie said,

              May 30, 2011 at 6:45 pm

              My daughter in Seattle can’t get in on any browsers she tries either. I wonder why this is? Does anyone else have this issue? Mike, if you see this, could you have a try please?

              I was going to hold off on placing another order with Beth until a couple Tibetans come back in to stock, but there are a couple Shroffs I don’t have and don’t think I can live without and I seem to be burning through my one box of Peral (lol) pretty quickly. I have absolutely no self control. 😉

              • glennjf said,

                May 30, 2011 at 8:12 pm

                Carrie, I’m in Australia, I’m getting “Server not found” and have had no luck at all with getting to the site to load each time I’ve attempted it these last few days? I’m using a PC with XPPro & Firefox 4.0.1
                Maybe it’s time you sent them an email? Please report back to us here what’s happening with their website and all, that’s if you get a response.

                • Carrie said,

                  May 30, 2011 at 8:27 pm

                  I’ve been trying to get into this website for weeks, so it’s not a new issue.

                  I’ll send them an email and ask.

                  • Carrie said,

                    June 8, 2011 at 6:43 am

                    No answer to my email and still unable to access website. Oh well.

                    • glennjf said,

                      June 11, 2011 at 6:34 am

                      I’ve checked the Shoff website a number of times since you first alerted to the issue and each and every time I get the same thing… “Server not found”?

                    • Maharani said,

                      June 11, 2011 at 7:13 am

                      I dont have a problem! I just checked it! It opens fine! Very odd.


                    • glennjf said,

                      June 11, 2011 at 11:43 am

                      ” Maharani said,

                      June 11, 2011 at 7:13 am

                      I dont have a problem! I just checked it! It opens fine! Very odd.


                      Yes, it is indeed very strange goings on. Thinking I’ll email a friend, ask him to try loading the site and/or try accessing myself at a net cafe otherwise it’s virus scan time for this computer.

                    • Carrie said,

                      June 11, 2011 at 6:32 pm

                      I’ve asked a few people here to try to get in to Shroff’s site and no joy for any of us. “Server not found”. So I’m pretty sure it’s not a computer problem.

          • The Admin said,

            June 13, 2011 at 2:03 pm

            We had an issue with our domain nameservers. It`s currently being rectified. We are migrating to a different service provider. You should be able to access the site without any problems within 72 Hrs.

            Website Admin for

            • glennjf said,

              June 13, 2011 at 2:33 pm

              Thanks so much for posting about the situation here Pranav.

              You can be certain I would not be the only person to now be breathing a great sigh of relief after reading your explanation. 🙂

            • Carrie said,

              June 13, 2011 at 2:53 pm

              Wonderful, thank you!!

              I am so looking forward to seeing your website!

              I just placed an all-Shroff order with Beth earlier today. I ordered Chypre, Jungle Prince and Paneer, none of which I have experienced yet.

              And I ordered 3 more 100 gm packs of Pearl, giving me a hoard of 500 gms. 🙂

              I never thought I would find something I love even better than Nag Champa, but I think Pearl is it.

    • Mike said,

      May 30, 2011 at 12:00 pm

      I should have full reviews of the Wet Masala group going up in few weeks (and much more, will be posting soon… Anyway I’ve since really come to love that Ruby, suprising even more so as I’ve never really loved red-colored champas so much. I’d also recommend anyone who loves LIttle Woods to stock up soon because from various comments I’ve heard my guess that stock is going fast. I have to add I quite like the Chypre as well.

      • Carrie said,

        June 17, 2011 at 4:41 pm

        I got my order including Chypre today.

        Chypre is exactly half of what I expected it would be. Oakmoss and ?. But, that’s all I’m getting out of it is…oakmoss.

        To be fair, I’ve only burned the one stick, before I moved on to Paneer (sweet, and I don’t mean sweet in a food or scent way, I mean aww, how sweet! It just struck me like this :)), and then Jungle Prince, which seems to me after one stick to be a cross between Little Woods and Nag Champa.

        It’s weird, I love the smell of oakmoss to the point of having 2 half ounce bottles of the essential oil even though I only rarely use it, but I’m not sure a straight oakmoss incense is going to do it for me. I was expecting a little something more I think.

      • Carrie said,

        June 18, 2011 at 5:25 am

        btw, I had a look at the Shroff website when I was able for the first time the other day. It appears they have added some fragrances in the last few days to the list. I wonder if Beth is going to be getting some new ones in stock? 🙂

  4. Maharani said,

    May 17, 2011 at 7:54 pm

    I thought readers might like to know that my Mum was in Bangalore recently, and, on my recommendation, visited Shroff! She returned with a lifetime’s supply of incense and had a good time at the store. Her tastes are classic, so she bought sandalwood, mogra and vetiver, but commented on the large range of incenses to be found at Shroff and their high quality. This blog gets all the credit!

    • Carrie said,

      May 28, 2011 at 8:50 pm

      That’s wonderful! I’ve been reading through the archives here, and didn’t you mention that the really good incense is not as easy to find in India as you might think, that a lot of it was exported out?

      I would love to be able to visit Shroffs. I keep checking to see if their website is up, and it’s not.

      • Maharani said,

        May 29, 2011 at 7:00 am

        Yes, that is the case according to Shroff themselves. The website was up last time I checked, but some pages (history) still need populating. I’d like to visit the shop myself. My Mum and a cousin went out there and by all accounts (my niece’s) my M returned with an immense amount of incense….. I will see what more I can find out and will post it, as after much nagging, now we finally skype-my M is a rather taciturn person.

  5. Lars Olav said,

    April 27, 2011 at 6:43 am

    Have any of you guys tried Shroff’s “Bakoor”?
    It’s very dark, sensual, strange and hard to describe,.
    It reminds of a fine whiskey matured in burned oak crates, spice wine and fermented flowers, deep woods I can’t identify.
    Believe me when I say it’s dark and mysterious, that is the best way I can desribe it.
    It’s in the dry masala range, but it costs as much as the wet masalas 50gram boxes, but only contains 25 grams.
    It is not an incense I burn often, because it’s just to special.

    I would highly recommend it!

    • Mike said,

      April 27, 2011 at 9:12 am

      I’ve tried the Bakhoor. I like the oil mix on it a lot, but it’s a charcoal stick which almost always weakens an incense’s case so to speak, on the other hand the best charcoals I’ve tried are all Shroffs.

      • Maharani said,

        May 29, 2011 at 7:12 am

        I’ve also tried the bakhoor and like it a lot. I agree, it seems to have 2 sides, the first a masculine woody aspect, and the second a sweetness that is not feminine at all. There is a cool note that might be kewada or something like it, very discreet, which has a bracing effect. If this were a cologne I might describe it as a chypre oriental for men. Very interesting.

  6. glennjf said,

    April 25, 2011 at 5:03 pm

    Mike, I’ve been wondering for the longest time about the two Kyukyodo discontinued ie Shiun and Yumemachi.

    I was told some time back that they had been reviewed and replaced. I asked after more information, replaced with what, but was not able to get an answer. I got the impression they had been reviewed and then re-released with different packaging. I’m hedging that information was not totally correct.

    It is good to know Shiun lives if only as one of the five rolls offered No.s 003 and 005 in in Catalog 2010.11 but what of Yumemachi? Is there an incense you’ve tried that’s in the current catalogue you might suggest as being it’s replacement?

    • Mike said,

      April 25, 2011 at 5:46 pm

      Glenn, I’ve seen your questions before on this subject, but haven’t answered before because I don’t think there’s any easy answer. That is I don’t think Shiun or Yumemachi will have replacements, just other incenses in the same tree so to speak. For example, I think Kristin in her review of Chitose on her site says it’s like a more inexpensive Yumemachi, so that might be an idea, but her review wasn’t particularly flattering either, which is why I decided not to spring for it. I think the 203 Miyuki reminded me a little bit of Yumemachi, but again not close enough to be a replacement. Honestly if you want a really great Kyukyodo sandalwood go straight for Gyokurankoh and don’t look back. It has a very high quantity of old mountain in the middle and a nice spice blend to accentuate it. And if I do come across one that’s closer at some point, I’ll bring it up. Kyukyodo have a bazillion sandalwoods and I’ve in no way tried all of them, so maybe it will pop up at some point.

      • glennjf said,

        April 25, 2011 at 10:10 pm

        When referring to my asking after more information I should have mentioned I was referring to situation around a fellow who was living in Kyoto at the time who had offered assistance with answers.

        It was he who suggested to me those two may have been replaced with similar incenses rather than being deleted completely? It was he I was hoping would get back with the relevant information. If I could speak Japanese I’d have phoned and asked but I cannot. Your answers above have helped fill in the missing pieces so huge thanks (again) for your feedback Mike.

  7. C.J. said,

    April 17, 2011 at 8:53 pm

    I suuure would like to know how to obtain some of these wonders. I wish there were a decent supplier of Kyukyodd incense ANYWHERE where I might order!


  8. piers said,

    April 16, 2011 at 7:18 am

    Thanks so much Mike for these nice comments. Just noticed them and really pleased to do so. We’re launching some new packaging shortly, which takes that side of things to the next level, and hope to have some new scents out later in the year. Big thanks to all who frequent the ORS here that have supported us, too….

  9. Taran said,

    April 12, 2011 at 8:57 pm

    Returning from Japan recently (work was cut short due to horrible disaster last month..) with a selection of Kyukyodo offerings I’ve never seen; feeling regretful as I didn’t pick up either Murasakino or Musashino! Defiantly felt like a dream seeing so many boxes similar to Azusa and Ryuhinko.. Grabbed up all they had in that style box packaging and a few others. I hope more from them is imported sometime in the future they surely have some of the most unique product around! ORS if your interested I can send you a list of the numbers from the Kyukyodo catalog that represent the rolls I picked up? Maybe do a trade for 4-5 sticks each of what I picked up for a couple of the two you reviewed this month? Email me if your interested. If not I’d still like to send a couple that you may not have if you wanted to try them/wright a review.

    • Mike said,

      April 25, 2011 at 3:01 pm

      Taran, apologies for missing your comment and offer until now. I’m definitely interested in seeing what Kyukyodo you might have for trade, although I should say in terms of the catalog pages (7-8) with Azusa and Ryuhinko, I think I own all the incenses on those pages. I’m also pretty complete on the bulk boxes from page 9-10, i’m only missing Chitose and the four smokeless incenses at the bottom of page 10 and probably won’t pursue any of them. Most of what I’m still interested in trying is from page 2-6 and nearly everything after 10. Anyway you can find my e-mail on the about page if you want to contact me in person to discuss. Course if you have any descriptions on incenses we don’t have any for, feel free to contribute on that page, I’m happy to add any info.

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