Dhuni / Frangipani, Lakshmi, Sandalwood, Temple

It’s going to be tough for me to complain or criticize anything about this latest batch of new Dhuni incenses, so for the critical record I’ll just come out and say that, um, Dhuni doesn’t expand fast enough for me? I’m only kidding of course, but this latest batch of goodies is as close to an incense TKO as I’ve ever seen. Users of Dhuni incense already realize that they’re becoming very close to the premiere connoisseur Indian incense imprint and if these new incenses are any indication they’re getting better with every new scent.

If you want the short review, it’s that I’ve added the first three to our hall of fame and the fourth isn’t entirely out of the running either. It actually struck me burning some of these that the ingredients are so good that at times it’s almost as if you’re experiencing the Indian version of Baieido incense because it’s clear a lot of the aromatic value in these incenses come from very high quality ground wood powder and herbs, the subnotes on all of these pop and catch your attention constantly.

Frangipani is a fairly common Indian incense but I guarantee you’ve never tried one nearly this good. This is an incredibly beautiful and floral aroma, soft, sweet and decadently rich, in fact only Pure Incense’s Pink Sayli even remotely comes close to this incense’s almost archetypal femininity. Other frangipani incenses often seem generically floral, but Dhuni have managed to really extract the essence of the aroma and surround it with the appropropriate base and high level of ingredients. When I first got into Indian incense, it was the sweet and rich luxurious champas that drew me in and this is a great example of one. It’s simple, direct and undeniably pleasant.

Lakshmi is another superb champa style, full of halmaddi and honey, backing an almost even mix of woods and florals, not to mention a thin thread of spice that runs through the middle as well as a touch of vanilla. In fact this contrasts quite nicely against the Frangipani as where that stick succeeds in simplicity, the Lakshmi succeeds in complexity. The main difference is the quality makes it all breathtaking and reminiscent of the golden era with a real nostalgic flair. The last stick I burned before I did this review was mesmerizing, this almost seemed to have Baieido quality level ingredients and the way the burn spun off subnotes was extremely impressive. In fact this is really one of the finest champa styled incenses I can think of.

Dhuni’s Sandalwood sticks to the champa style and is of the same ilk as Happy Hari’s recent King of Sandal, the two Sandalwoods in the now defunct Rare Incense line, and almost any incense you’ve come across called sandalwood champa. However now take that idea and think of it Dhuni style. There are no slight imbalances here at all, the sandalwood sticks to a nice and light woodiness without the intensity of the oils you usually find in other sticks. Rather than a really strong oil-based sandalwood aroma, the Dhuni stick goes for a bit more of a high-altitude evergreen feel, likely due to the huge balsamic hit the halmaddi gives it. Like all Dhunis it’s luxurious and rich, and it’s hard to imagine a sandalwood champa lover who wouldn’t take immediately to this.

Reviewing Temple after three hall of fame level incenses might make it seem this is the stinker in the bunch, but that’s anything but true, if anything it’s just one I’d like to evaluate a little longer. The difference to my nose is that Temple’s aroma is carried more by the oils than the other three incenses and like any incense of this quality level you wonder if the oils might overwhelm some of the powders and herbs. Temple has some citrus touches in the mix, I’m detecting something like lemon or bergamot on the top, but mostly it seems to be largely a mixture of woody oils, maybe a touch of sandalwood at least. Make no mistake this is a beautiful incense, but really what else would you expect from Dhuni at this point?

What else can I say but more, please? Dhuni have really outdone themselves with their latest and can hardly wait for the next expansion.


  1. G. to the F. said,

    November 4, 2013 at 9:10 am

    Hi Everyone,
    I only recently discovered Dhuni incense, frangipani to be more specific. What a lovely, amazing incense! I went looking, online, for more of their incense, as I wanted to try other scents. However, it appears that they may have gone out of business. Does anyone know if this is the case? Their Facebook page says they have handed Dhuni over to Happy Harry? Not sure what that means. If they are out of business, does anyone have any recommendations for incense similar to Dhuni’s? Thanks for all your help!

    • Mike said,

      November 6, 2013 at 9:24 am

      Yes, Dhuni have gone out of business and what an unfortunate event. There are really no similar incenses to Dhuni, it was in a class of its own. And I’m not sure why the Facebook page says that, as Dhuni incense is not being sold by anyone. The difference in incenses and business approach between the two companies are light years apart.

      • G. to the F. said,

        November 6, 2013 at 10:20 am

        Thanks for the info, Mike. What a shame. Their incense was pure heaven. I suppose I’ll have to hide away what little I have left, and save it for a special occasion. In the meantime, here is what they said on their Facebook page (from August 27, 2013):”We are soon to be handing over Dhuni to the capable hands of Paul at Happy Hari, whose site you can find here: http://www.happyhariincense.com/cart/ Thanks to all the kind and loyal customers who’ve supported Dhuni, it was quite a ride!”

        • July 23, 2014 at 10:20 am

          Yes,what an appalling loss now that Dhuni is gone.I didn’t particularly like their scents or found their business model very convenient,however,even after these experiences,all Dhuni incenses,although a small range,each one was potent,pure,clean,full and powerful.It was as if the incense had been hand made fresh that very day.Superb.
          And the best of their range(which for me had to include their nag champs,sandalwood and amber),were beyond description.
          The purity,freshness,supreme quality of ingredients and vital energy made Dhuni almost a mystical experience.!!(and as I mentioned,they had no scents that particularly was to my liking and yet there was supreme majesty in these sticks!!!quite beyond real explanation).
          I kick myself as I gave so many away to show what real incense was truly like and I constantly fantasise that someone,somewhere has kept a secret stock that they don’t want!!!!!

  2. Frances said,

    February 20, 2012 at 10:42 am

    Hi Mike,

    I have now tried the Frangipani and Lakshmi Dhunis (how lucky I am to be living in the UK where they are so easily bought!) ; both are superbly pure and lovely incenses, but for me, the Lakshmi is the best of the two. It has so much going on, and is sublime! The frangipani is really lovely too, but I find that it is much lighter, so much so that it takes me nearly half-an-hour of burning to really hook on to the scent! (Maybe this will not be so when we move into warmer weather.) Also, I rather like to have an after-aroma from my incenses, and frangipani does not linger at all. But it is a lovely light one for the very early morning.
    The Lakshmi sticks burn for a little bit longer than the frangipani, and I just get lost in them – so they are a winner for me!

    • Mike said,

      February 21, 2012 at 8:07 am

      Great Frances, thanks for sharing. I’ve almost burned through all of my sample packages, I’m definitely adding all of these to my next shopping trip. Some of the best Indian incenses out there.

  3. February 8, 2012 at 10:33 am

    The Frangipani is the first Indian floral I have really “bonded” with 🙂 It really gets the idea of the flower across, more so then how the actual essential oil or absolute distillation smells. This is quite a balancing act and real triumph of mixing on their part. The other thing i noticed about this stick is that the scent does not over load the room or stay around for days as can be the case for most other floral’s, which tells me they are really using excellent ingredients. I also got a chance to use the Amber, Sandalwood and the Citronella, all of which I was very impressed by.
    It is a treat to finely get to try Indian’s which are using real materials, been waiting for awhile for this experience. -Ross

  4. Mike said,

    February 8, 2012 at 9:33 am

    BTW I should mention, I’m not sure if it’s WordPress, this computer or a combination of both, but it’s not allowing me to create links or even boldface short of going into html coding. I’ll try to fix this when I can, but that’s why they’re not showing up.

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