New Incenses

Beth at EOA has both the new Dhunis’s and Happy Hari lines listed now, both of which are pretty high on the “goodness” charts for Indian incenses. These are hand rolled and seem much more real (read natural) than anything else on the market (Mothers might be in this group also), at least to my nose. Of course, short of some very expensive testing there is no sure fire way to tell, and even GC/MS testing is open to interpiation. Go with what smells/feels right to you.

Over at Equinox Aromatics, Andrew has brought in Star Child from England. They look to be very faithful to some of the esoteric teachings as well as also being all natural. Real Halmaddi is also available at his site and not to be missed, it is very entertaining to experiment with if you are making your own blends.

Kohshi has some new scents in, one of which is Sanjusangendo Incense. It comes out of a temple in Kyoto. Nice woody/amber scent with a hint of cinnamon. They also have Kyukyodo and Yamada Matsu available. It is generally best to call the store and check what’s in stock.

Enjoy   -Ross


An update…

Just wanted to drop a note about the state of ORS. First of all, I’m without a home computer at the moment. I’m hoping to get a new one next month some time, but until I do it’s going to make reviewing incenses fairly difficult. I just got in a package of four new Dhunis (they apparently travelled to Australia first). I tried Frangipani, Lakshmi and Sandalwood and all are at the quality level and incense style you’d expect from Dhuni. I’m also slowly working on a new batch from Happy Hari which considerably opens up their range, most of these I like as well and the ones I’m not quite as fond of are entirely a taste issue as they all seem high quality. Anyway more when conditions allow…

Kousaido: Bamboo, Lotus, Engimono / Ocean

Kousaido seems to be a  fairly new incense company in Japan ( in other words less than 50 years). They also seem to be directing their line towards  the newer styles of scents coming out of Japan. They very skillfully use a variety of materials to create some very fresh takes on many classic ideas for incense.

I do not think any of the three that I reviewed here are based on classic sandalwood or aloeswood formulas, rather than that they are designed to present a scent that is built to showcase an idea or concept, a sort of scent picture of the name of each incense.

Lighting a stick of the Bamboo and closing your eyes finds one sitting within a bamboo grove, it’s soft with a slight green note, a little sweetness (just a touch) and very real. There are none of the harsh or chemical smells that so often underlay this type of scent. It is really nicely done. [NOTE 7/13/21: Unfortunately Ross isn’t around to ask but there appear to be two Kousaido incenses that are “Bamboo,” an Engimono series and one in a Hanga or Hanaga art box. They might even be the same incense presented differently, but can not confirm. – Mike]

The Lotus truly gets the idea across of what you would think of as a lotus scent. Somewhat sweet with floral notes, not like jasmine or the other “white flower” scents. There is a slight edge to it that really brings the “lotus” note home, without the almost latex aspect of lotus. [NOTE 7/13/21: The same is true here for Lotus, there is an Engimono and a Hanga or Hanaga. – Mike]

Ocean smells like a very clean beach, probably cleaner than most you can find. Ocean scents or aquatic scents were all the rage at one point in the perfume world, most of them ended up smelling like a chemical bath in a chroming factory. This incense is completely devoid of those notes and is really a great mood changer in a room. Clean surf at a secluded beach, just the ticket to lighten up the atmosphere in a city environment. [NOTE 7/13/21: Assuming this review refers to this incense, although I can’t confirm.

The other great aspect about these is that the price is very good and one gets quite a lot of sticks. To the best of my knowledge Kohshi /Japan Incense in San Francisco are the only people selling these in the US and they have pretty large selection to choose from.