Yamadamatsu Fujitsubo

This will be the first of my reviews of several Yamadamatsu scents I recently picked up from the wonderful people over at Japan Incense. Fujitsubo means (in the way it is written here) jar of wisteria, and comes in two forms, stick and coil. I am basing this review off of my impressions of the coil variant as I write, and I am immediately confronted with a sticky sweet floral reminiscent of a strong perfume. I get top notes of vanilla and lavender, with mid notes of rose and a base note of talcum powder and a slight, slight hint of spice. There is not a strong learning curve to this mix, as all the scents are quite up front and easy to pull out. At the very lowest end of the Yamadamatsu coils, this incense should be a pleasing treat to anyone who loves strong, sweet in-your-face florals without breaking the bank.

Posting guidelines for incense companies and sellers

I’ve been noticing something of an uptick in posts by incense companies of late although you probably wouldn’t notice as I don’t tend to let most of these through. Olfactory Rescue Service is a site aimed to be a resource for the incense consumer and so I don’t think it’s a good idea to allow companies to spam the site with links. Most of the time this is really obvious, like when a company will post in a thread that’s over 3 or 4 years old and has had no comments on it in just as long. To me there’s no effort to be a part of the community here, which is one good way for me to be able to tell if there’s a balanced approach to being here.

So what’s the balanced approach? Well, I’m definitely far more inclined to let posts like this through when they’re being informative and specifically addressing a person’s question. But in allowing a post like this through, then I don’t expect the frequency of this to go up to where these comments are dominating the feed. It’s not OK, just because you carry a particular brand of incense, to spam your company link on that page. I don’t buy spam-generated stuff like “I love your website” and then a link to an incense company. You won’t see most of this stuff here because we won’t let it through.

On the other hand, I’d like to think I’m approachable and I do want to get the word out there about reputable and honest incense suppliers and companies. So if you are one of these companies and would like to touch base, my contact information is on the About page. This is a much more effective route to getting the word spread. On the other hand if your company is one of those that makes synthetic perfume on charcoal stick kind of stuff, then this site probably isn’t right for you either.

Also, to many of these companies, this is not an incense retail site except for an occasional boutique kind of thing from one of our staff. So inquiries into sales, will not be addressed or replied to, particularly because this should be very obvious from a cursory look at things here, it tells me you’re not really paying attention.

Anyway questions on this page are welcome here, with the caveat that some things just aren’t up for discussion and browbeating and bullying me or my staff over the rules isn’t something I’ll tolerate or even humor. Yes there are some incense companies that will occasionally post here and the reason they do is because they understand the balance here and what is trying to be achieved. We’d of course like that to be true for everybody.

A few incense notes

It has been a really long time since I posted anything, so I figured I’d drop in and say hello. Life has kinda moved me away from blogging and writing in the past year or two and although I’ve had some sample review inquiries, not much has shown up and with a few exceptions I haven’t had a chance to try a lot of new things, but I figured I’d do a ramble and see what I remember.

First of all, it’s difficult to write about good incenses at all without mentioning Mermade Magickal Arts. Among Katlyn Breene’s many talents, one in particular always stands out to me and that’s the way she can bring evergreens and forest scents out in her incenses, absolutely nobody does it better. As someone whose very first incense experiences as a teenager were pine incense sticks from Cost Plus incense, the scent of woods and fresh evergreen resins are always a huge draw for me, so to sample Mermade’s incense pastilles, especially right around the holidays, was a real treat.

These pastilles look like the little candies they were named after and it seems to me that all three have a wonderfully foresty and frankincense-heavy base that is slightly modified by the title scent. With the Labdanum Incense Pastilles, there are three frankincenses in the mix and a touch of benzoin to go along with the labdanum scent. Just like if you were to open a little tin of citrus pastille candies, the smell from these pastilles is full of the gorgeous lemon and orange hints you get from great frankincense, at time’s the scent is as strong as fruit juice. The Spruce Incense Pastilles are a similar scent but the effects here are less like candy or fruit juice, with the spruce moving the whole thing to a less sweeter place. I would have guessed that this would have been strongly evergreen but in the end it’s really a note, it drifts to being a bit more earthy as it melts on a heater. The Sweet Myrrh Incense Pastilles seem to have a stronger presence with the “title” note and is the most complex of the three. The myrrh, as it always does, balances and modifies the frankincense scents that also moves it away from the citrus notes. Myrrh has always struck me as being a bit “thicker” than frankincense and thus it works to excellent contrast here. As always with Mermade’s work there is a real clarity to the scents and subscents that portray years of experience in creating fine incense and it just always seems that new offerings from Mermade get better and better. I also tried a sample of Mermade’s Majoun Encens which just makes my ability to keep describing these new fantastic blends more and more difficult – I don’t think there’s ever been anything quite like it on the market, a bewildering mix of a base kyphi incense with all sorts of new and mysterious ingredients that just pop with energy, like a mix of spices, cola, various food hints and something just a bit more subversive. It’s an absolute essential purchase in my opinion. And of course if you haven’t checked out Mermade’s heaters yet, you simply must.

I’ve revisited some Shroff incenses of late and I’ve found that the initial semi-dry masala series that came in the yellow boxes has slightly changed. I’ve heard reports of big changes with Jungle Prince. Pearl is definitely a lot coarser and less subtle than it used to be while essentially pitching the same aroma, and Little Woods has changed but fortunately is still excellent. However, the group that came with Sugandha Mantri seems to be holding strong, in fact this group is still one of my favorites. With Dhuni gone, many Shroff incenses are about the best on the market right now.

I tried several of the Nandita scents. These incenses are all essentially perfume based, but they’re all blends that don’t go instantly reminding you of other incenses. Mantra Meditation, Wood Spice, Dehn Al Oudh, and Royal Attar all show up as decent variations on a given thing, but many of these aren’t easy to describe due to the fairly complex oils at work. They’re all extremely affordable but I’d be hesitant to pick one or two of these as a favorite as they’re all pretty close.

Anyway that’s about it. Feel free to use the comments section and let us know what your current favorites are!