February Top 10

It has been a long time since I’ve done an incense top 10 here and it has been a while since I visited some of my stock, so I’ve limited the entries to seven as you can more or less count the recent Dhuni group as four slots. This is basically a lot of what I’ve been using of late….

  1. Various Incenses / Mermade Magickal Arts – Let’s just call this first entry a salute to one of the US’s top incense talents Katlyn Breene. Mermade should be well known around these parts, but this is a reminder that there is an almost incredibly high consistency level in the work from this company from the art to the incense to the presentation. It doesn’t matter if it’s evergreen treasures like Earth Church or ancient blends like Kyphi, every item is delievered with skill, integrity and a dose of light. To be honest I’m not sure this site would even be here had I not been blown away by blends like Dream Snake and Dragon Fire over 15 years ago so it’s always a great joy for me to spread the word.
  2. [deleted]
  3. Dhuni / Frangipani, Lakshmi, Sandalwood, Temple – As I’ve said before Dhuni’s biggest weakness is their lack of 100g packages. Because honestly these 12-15 stick packages I can put down in a weekend. Anyway I reviewed these recently so check there for more but this is a terrific group. I might give Frangipani the nudge of the four just because it’s so florally gorgeous.
  4. Ross Urrere / Ocean of Night Sure this is highly biased, to put one of my cohort’s incenses on this list (and I should say it here too, there wouldn’t be an ORS without Ross), but if you go check out the sales page, you’ll see I’m not alone in admiring this incredible mix of high quality woods and herbs.  In 2030 we’ll be looking back at how great Ross’s “early work” was. 🙂
  5. Kyukyodo / Unkin  Of all the Kyukyodo items I put up for sale I think this could be the biggest surprise none of these moved as this is a terrific incense and one unavailable outside the five roll box. I almost think of this as something like the Kai Un Koh of the Kyukyodo line up in that I think for the price it’s a bit better of an aloeswood than you’d normally get. For a while I was lighting up two sticks at once which really increases the woodiness. It’s smooth, undeniably Kyukyodo in that there are some oils at work. And yes I have two rolls left, but not for long!
  6. Shroff Channabasappa / Sugandha Mantri – I’ve had a difficult time thinking or even talking about the batch Sugandha Mantri came with as they’re all very good incenses, yet to some extent most of them seem to be champa based with a mysterious and exotic floral/musk blend on top. This tends to mean it’s a group of incenses you haven’t really tried before and aren’t comparable to much that’s out there in the field. There’s really only a hair of difference between this and the others.
  7. Shoyeido / Premium / Ga-Ho – There’s a pungent green exotic floral note to this that has always made it a favorite in my book, it’s like the beautiful flower you’ve never smelled in person before. Most of the Shoyeido premiums are amazing but I have a soft spot for this one, it perhaps has the type of aloeswood hit I like best.


  1. April 21, 2012 at 12:41 am

    Gahoh is good when I want to try something different as a reset!

    The New Shirakawa Incense of the Horin Series is like Horikawa but not as strong. Horikawa has gone up double!

    You coil lovers, you should buy the economical boxes with 60coils inside! You will save a lot.

    For those of you who love zukoh, the not sold zukoh, only for long time customers, it is great, not like clove smelling only like most zukoh due the religion. I mix it in oil or cream and use as perfume.

  2. Julia said,

    April 3, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    Thank goodness I learned about Mermade Magikal through this site! It has been an amazing incense journey. The quality of her products is beyond. I particularly love her Nature Spirits incense triangles (mostly because I don’t have a heater yet so can’t really burn her blends). I love Pan’s Earth (and I’m not a patchouli lover, but this is fantastic and so calming), Spirit Temple, Sacred Grove, Mermaid, and Faery Call. I’m not a huge fan of Dream Pillow, but I think lavender is hard to translate to incense. I also love the Kyphi of course, and her resins (Frankincense & Pinon are my faves). Just really, really amazing things!

    I also tried and LOVED the Dhuni sents mentioned here. Just…wow. I look forward to giving Temple a try since the others were delicious. I think Sandalwood & Moksha are my favorites so far.

    • Mike said,

      April 4, 2012 at 11:07 am

      Thanks for continuing to share your impressions Julia!

  3. Lars said,

    March 11, 2012 at 10:21 am

    Interesting read Mike.
    Very glad to see some posts coming in lately.

    Been heating a lot of Ross’s creations this month.
    Agarwood Musk, Sandalwood and Ambergris, Ocean of Night.
    He also kindly sent me two samples of White Florals and a blend called Resin World.
    It’s all outstanding work, and I don’t feel qualified to attempt to review them.

    I have used a lot of Nu Essence blends which are also very nice, all are highly perfumed with essential oils.

    I also have started to “get” the Baieido Kun Sho and Tokusen Syukohkoku a little more, though I don’t find them terribly exciting.

    And as always I’m burning a lot of Mermade and the Veil of Inanna blend is very nice.
    A heavy, dark and “wet” rose bakhoor-style blend

  4. Harlan said,

    February 27, 2012 at 6:37 pm

    Following up on a previous post where Paul Eagle of Happy Hari said he would be happy to send samples to readers, I requested some. Having stayed away from Indian incense in general for some time due to the much discussed declines in quality I was skeptical. Paul was very prompt and quickly sent quite a few samples to me, much more than I expected. I must say this incense comes as quite a surprise, smelling much like it did when I was little (hippies for parents) with no big synthetics alarms going off. The Nag Champa Gold, Meena Supreme and Dhyana Sutra are all really quite lovely. And the Oud Masala? Wow. Wow! Never smelled anything quite like it, very very nice. There’s still more I have yet to smell too.

    I also wanted to mention that I have just begun having some interaction with Katlyn from Mermade Magickal Arts, and I am enchanted by the level of passion and care that seem to just pour from her work. Today I burned Earth Church for the first time and really I have never experienced anything like it- it moves beyond words of description into something transcendental. I can tell this is only the tip of the iceberg…

    • Mike said,

      February 28, 2012 at 9:02 am

      Thanks for sharing Harlan. “it moves beyond words of description into something transcendental.” Couldn’t have said it better!

      • February 29, 2012 at 11:02 pm

        I just re-ordered the Oud Masala as well as the Dhuni Frangipani. These are really the best and cleanest Indian incense’s I have gotten a chance to use, the quality ingredients make a huge difference in the scent.

        The Kyukyodo Unkin really is pretty unique, glad you decided to sell off part of the box 🙂

    • Harlan said,

      March 20, 2012 at 9:02 am

      After writing what I did in the latest reviews of Happy Hari I realized that I had mistakenly written a glowing review of Dhyana here and I got the name confused, I meant the Yama. I am sorry for any confusion. The Dhyana is an incredible scent, and incredibly not for me. I can see how folks that adore super duper powerful fragrances would like this, but I was running out of my room before a full 1/4 of the stick had burnt, and my coffee mug that was ten feet from burner smelled of it the next morning which was not something I was happy about. I prefer natural scents, and seemed to find more of that in the Yama’s mellow butteriness, although I have yet to try what sounds like the superior range of Dhuni. I didn’t mean to mislead anyone, I am new here.

      Thanks everyone who has made this vast vault of information, I truly appreciate it.

      • Mike said,

        March 20, 2012 at 9:25 am

        All is well Harlan, we’re happy to have you on board for sure. Definitely don’t think anyone is misleading anyone. 🙂

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