Krishna Store / Agarwood, Everest, Frankincense, Jasmine Natural

The Krishna Store offers one of the most unusual lines of Indian incenses, along with all sorts of books, videos, CDs, beads and the like. The first time I looked at the store, it seemed that they only offered single aromas at 250g packages, but unless my eyes deceived me then, they do seem to carry smaller packages now. They have also packaged 16 of these aromas as a sampler bundle, which is what I purchased maybe about a year ago. The sampler bundle, does change, however, but in checking I could only find one of the 16 that doesn’t seem to be available anymore. Some of these incenses are not in that bundle anymore, but should still be available.

Let’s face it, Krishna Store is selling mostly incredibly inferior product. The florals in this line (the packages seem to hail from 2-3 different companies including one called Gopala) are what I’d call disasters, not only do some of the scents not even remotely resemble what they’re trying for, but the results remind me of the potent and stomach turning smells that used to leak out of chemistry labs in college. However, there appears to be one decent incense in every four or five, including one in this first batch of reviews.

Krishna’s Agarwood smells nothing like agarwood at all, in fact it’s far closer to lemon furniture polish. It smells remotely what it would be like to combine a cola or other soft drink with a champa. Ramakrishnanda’s Rasa Lila is a roughly similar analog but this isn’t nearly up to that quality level. The perfume oil on top is instantly cloying and a bit sour and gets worse as it goes. It seems artificial in some way, particularly so when it’s impossible to guess what the creators were trying for. And unfortunately the spice note present on the fresh stick is missing during the burn.

If one was to take the bitterness of Tibetan “campfire” incenses and turn it into an Indian champa, you might get this Everest blend. It’s also kind of a rough step off the Mystic Temple Patchouli Champa. Unfortunately this is very astringent and unpleasant stuff with that heavy sense of burnt rubber in the background. It’s very indicative of the way these incenses are made, where there’s a roughly decent base dipped in some horribly synthetic perfume.

Krishna’s Frankincense (this package had the company Vaikuntha on it) is a rather standard frankincense masala, with what smells like a lot of inexpensive benzoin as well, making it smell like a catholic resin mix. You’d be lucky to find a less refined frankincense stick and it doesn’t help there appear to be some oils in the mix as well, destracting from the authenticity and giving the bouquet a much more static and shallow scent than necessary. Similar to Vinason’s Frankincense.

The one winner in this bunch is the Jasmine Natural (I think this is the same incense sold just as Jasmine), a very nice, big, thick, almost flora sized durbar with a spicy floral mix. It’s Jasmine-ish rather than authentic, but the aroma is still quite pleasant, very gentle and slightly honeyed. It’s not in a Shroff or Dhuni league but it’s worth picking out as a minor gem in the catalog. But be warned, it’s still slightly shallow as if the aroma doesn’t carry very far, and I wouldn’t doubt at all that this was created synthetically.

There are three more installments coming up down the line, but my guess is I’m a month or two away from getting to the next one, so stay tuned.


  1. Emily said,

    July 28, 2011 at 1:17 pm

    Oh man! I ordered, but have not yet received these…I took a chance, because the foil packets reminded me of some that I’ve seen on the Pure-Incense website for their 10g connoisseur line. I was hoping to be the fortunate recipient of rebranding 🙂 Ah well! They are actually out of stock in FL and are being shipped from India…we’ll see how they are when they get here. Sounds like they’ll go into my “learner’s pile.”

    • Mike said,

      July 28, 2011 at 2:48 pm

      Emily, if you ordered the sampler pack, I don’t think the three bad ones in this batch are even in it anymore. They’re still sold separately so I’d guess they rotate the sampler pack every so often. That’s not to say I don’t have much more good news for you in future installments, there really aren’t more than a few good incenses in this range, but who knows maybe the ones they replaced the old ones with are better.

  2. glennjf said,

    July 26, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    Thanks for posting this review Mike. I too have been pondering upon whether to buy to try their Pack of 16 varieties, Masala Incense Variety Pack. I won’t be bothered now.

    • Mike said,

      July 27, 2011 at 8:32 am

      Always glad to help save some money!

  3. Kevan said,

    July 26, 2011 at 3:33 pm

    Scratch that….we’re talking about two different Krishna Stores (that both call themselves “Krishna Store.” I didn’t know until I clicked on the link. The one I’m talking about is the “official” store based out of Florida. They sell different incenses (probably the same sampler blends though, under different names)…but most likely low on the quality scale as well.

    • Mike said,

      July 27, 2011 at 8:32 am

      Hey Kevan, yes there do appear to be two different stores, there have been some discussions over this in other threads. Apparently I got the wrong store. 🙂

  4. Kevan said,

    July 26, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    Hmmm. Thanks for this Mike. I used to order items from the Krishna store about 2-3 years ago and the packages always arrived smelling amazing (no matter what I bought, and it was never incense). Opening them was an olfactory delight. Like a wonderful sweet, spicy floral/fruity fragrance. Just comforting and inviting, y’know? At one point I shot them an email and asked what it was, and if it was an incense, where could I purchase some.

    The person who wrote back didn’t know but basically told me that it was probably a mixture of whatever incense or oils they burned in their warehouse. I was disappointed but I’ve contemplated ordering a sampler from them ever since, so it’s good to see this review. I guess I can save some money now.

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