Essence of the Ages

I’ve been hoping that I wouldn’t have to address this issue, but I have had multiple personal e-mails and posts about long and extreme delays (4-6 weeks) ordering from Essence of the Ages in the last couple of months, perhaps longer. First let me address this. While Beth’s page re: Olfactory Rescue Service on the Essence of the Ages site has been invaluable to giving this incense site greater visibility, and I would assume that the reviews here have also directed traffic her way, Olfactory Rescue Service is not a wing of the company, it is completely independent from Essence of the Ages and will remain so, otherwise it could not function with any semblance of objectivity. On the other hand, because of the symbiosis between the two sites, I consider Beth a friend and for a very long time I have been able to recommend her business wholeheartedly.

And so I am caught between a rock and a hard place. On one hand, my empathy goes out to her for what has been a very difficult time. On the other, the reports of late packages continue to proliferate. Some of these reports are polite and well measured and most of these you don’t see because they are going straight to me. Those that are angry have come here and yes I do allow these posts to come through, we would not be objective if we hid those, as incense lovers you have the right to know if there are problems and I would think that the fact you can read these reports here shows that we are doing our best to be transparent.

However, if there is any middle ground at all here, it’s that in several of these cases, writing her directly about the problem seems to have cleared some concerns up. This is recommended BEFORE posting on this site. One thing we do understand is that there are often two sides of a story. Now when I say this, I’m not talking about the long delays. I understand why they are aggravating people, quite frankly I’ve heard enough reports of delays to be hesitant ordering myself until things clear up. I’m talking about the details. Beth has the ability to answer these reports, it’s something I would allow any vendor who would like to tell their side of the story; however, I won’t let these exchanges turn angry.

Second, from here on out, I will not be answering e-mails about Essence of the Ages anymore, I am not on the payroll. If I wrote back. I would just be saying what I said above. Write her or call her. I can’t tell you why there are delays other than for the reasons we know already. I do know some details but also understand that these aren’t likely to mollify anyone who has shelled out cash with nothing to show for it (yet) even if privacy didn’t prevent me from sharing them. And yes, if Beth chooses to add to this further here, I’m OK with it.



  1. Lynn Rank said,

    June 15, 2015 at 8:35 pm

    Whew Beth, all the POPUPS, I hope I get this right. Thank you for doing what you do.

    LAST YEAR MY HUSBAND OF 32 YEARS COMMITTED SUICIDE IN MY PRESENSE. IT HAS BEEN A HORRIBLE YEAR. Yes, getting my security going, life going, etc. But, I want to say, my packets, my Johin body powder packet, the Shoyan packet body powder and that other one…all .from Japan……,.WHEN I WAS SO STRESSED I would grab one and take a few breaths of them (one at a time) and I would find the most “comforting relief”.. Yes, in the night, during the day, doing all the crap I needed to take care of… really helped to “bring me back”.. I just love these scents, yes, they have helped me so much and worth their weight in GOLD…

    Never knew there were helpful scents that can help “calm” so much………

    Thanks for what you do, Beth.

    • June 16, 2015 at 12:58 am

      My deepest love and support to you,Your trauma is way beyond even my conception or imagination.
      I am a consultant psychologist 35 years in London,working more with the mentally ill now,however I am also publishing on research on the effects of scent and incense especially,with interesting results with grief/loss, depression and reducing acts of violence with the mentally ill.
      feel free to communicate,I will look at the incenses you mentioned,Joseph

  2. Terra Renee said,

    May 17, 2015 at 8:45 am

    This is good to know. I can’t wait until it’s back up and running as normal. I’m dying without Holy Land! I also can’t wait until Holy Land Grade 2 is back in stock. That was superb.

    • Dead Crow said,

      May 25, 2015 at 6:51 pm

      Wow, another person fond of the Holyland #2! Beth hasn’t had it in stock for a number of years, and I guard the 2 rolls I have left carefully. Although a “#2”, I always thought of it as a more refined Holyland and you really couldn’t beat the burn time of those monstrous sticks!

      • Terra Renee said,

        June 15, 2015 at 6:34 am

        Exactly. I have maybe 12 sticks left and only burn perhaps 1/4 of a stick at a time, and only when I’m feeling depressed or upset about something. Nothing like the wonder of Holy Land #2 to lift my spirits. Holy Land original is out of stock too now. Glad I still have some of each left. I need to burn more Nectar, see if I can’t fall in love with it the same way I did Holy Land.

        • June 15, 2015 at 9:47 am

          I am totally converted to Tibetan,the cheapest ropes and essence of the ages,incredible.
          And some more expensive ones too,i can smell the increased depth,power,fullness and fineness,but when it comes to the Bosen or Holy land,superb quality?Yes,Impact?0.At this stage I completely am missing the point.
          Do I need a nasal operation?
          Yours in olfactory desperation,Joseph

          • Terra Renee said,

            June 16, 2015 at 12:27 pm

            BOSEN is special to me. Their very cheap Blessing was one of my first Tibetan incenses, and it’s still my absolute favorite to this day. It takes a lot of getting used to. Tibetan is very strong and occasionally overwhelmingly smoky. The amazing smell usually outweighs the smoke, but some blends I just can’t get past the smoke and to the internal ingredients, such as Yog-Sadhana. Holy Land and anything by BOSEN, however, are superb.

        • Gregg said,

          June 22, 2015 at 10:16 am

          I know Mike is a big fan of the Nectar, while I am not quite so fond of it. They really are two different blends, and for me, all are better suited for the fall and winter seasons.

      • Terra Renee said,

        August 5, 2015 at 5:28 am

        Dead Crow, Beth has now restocked Holy Land Grade 2! Sooo excited! Going to order two packs of these, then if they’re just as amazing as the first batch, going to HOARD these!

        • Gregg said,

          August 14, 2015 at 11:12 pm

          Glad to hear that Beth has them back in stock, but don’t know if I should reorder from her, as I don’t get the same service from her that other people seem to get. After numerous orders, I have NEVER gotten any broken sticks, missing boxes, months of delays, etc. and so I feel like I am not getting the proper treatment. In fact, I got this type of treatment from day one, long before I ever wrote one word here… maybe she has it in for me? Guess I’d better order it now before it goes away for another 5 years!!

          • Terra Renee said,

            August 15, 2015 at 6:54 am

            I had some payment issues that I’m sure really irritated her, but she was never rude to me or anything, and she sent me a free sample with the order of Holy Land grade 1 I got. I guess she doesn’t have time for special treatment for anyone anymore.

            • Beth Johns said,

              August 15, 2015 at 7:24 am

              Terra, I believe Gregg was making a funny, saying that he has NEVER had a problem with me or my service. I’m not sure what you are saying ” I guess she doesn’t have time for special treatment for anyone anymore.” Especially since I have bent over backwards to work with you and your payment/order problems. I don’t understand why you would say something like that.

              • Terra Renee said,

                August 15, 2015 at 9:25 am

                Oh, no, Beth! No insult meant! I was just saying I know you’re busy! When I’m busy, I can’t give EVERYONE personal treatment! And as for my payment issue, all taken care of and paid for! As I said, I think you’re awesome! I misread Gregg’s comment. I’m not a young lady, so I apologize if sometimes I read things wrong or wrong things come out of my…keyboard?…I really meant nothing by it! I know you probably wanted to kill me with my payment issues! Don’t worry, though, it’s all paid for and I eagerly await it! In fact, if it won’t bother you, I’m going to place another order THROUGH PAYPAL using my prepaid card, since those are easy to follow and you don’t get people locking your account cuz you’re buying stuff online. I really want Nado Poizokhang Grade B and perhaps Highland or Samye!

              • Gregg said,

                August 20, 2015 at 10:10 am

                Yes, just to clarify this matter, I filed a brief with the BBB in support of Beth, as the service I have ALWAYS received from her has been excellent, as it was in the shipment I received today. The Holyland #2 is indeed exceptional, so thanks again for the heads up on it being back in stock again after a very long absence. The treatment I got was the normal treatment that I expect from Beth, the same that I have gotten from my first order many years ago. However, I will try to keep my sarcasm to myself in the future 🙂

  3. Maharani said,

    April 16, 2015 at 7:08 am

    Good luck Beth! I put in a large order of Shroffs yesterday after a long gap, not knowing anything about this, and wish you all the best!! Your incense service is simply the best I have found! I want you to keep going and do well! Have you thought of getting an assistant, even on a temp basis, to fill in for you?

  4. April 15, 2015 at 8:55 pm

    What up, incense people? Long time no post for me.

    I’ve definitely adjusted my expectations with Beth’s delivery times. It’s just going to take a long time to get that order…a very long time. However, I know of no other site with such an amazing collection of Indian and Tibetan stuff. If there was no Essence of the Ages, there would be a large smoke-less hole in my heart. And since she’s had such a long term relationship with this site, she must be legit.

    I will say that her communication could use some improvement. If you tell me that my order won’t be shipped for six month, I’m cool with that. But I need to be told that. Emails checking in on the status of an order need to be acknowledged and replied to. I type this only as a hope for improvement.

    I’m very sorry to hear that Beth has hit a rough patch. I wish her the best of luck and I’ll send some sweet smelling smoke up to the gods and ask them to look favorably upon her.

    -JohnPawn, Co-Protector of the DSS

    • Mike said,

      April 16, 2015 at 7:30 am

      John, I definitely and generally agree about waiting times for packages. For instance when I ship from overseas, sometimes those packages that usually take a week will take six. Some of the difference here is that experience gives us confidence that no matter how long it takes we will receive the order, while in the case of someone who is new or maybe not as tied into the incense community an experience like this can be disconcerting. I have been ebaying regularly for a month or two now and know that the window is very small for a seller, which I think probably has led to higher expectations for buyers. In fact the very day I started my first round of packages, my printer died on me and I had to scramble fast to make sure everything went out on time. I wonder what would happen if my computer died or if I got in an accident in the middle of an auction.

    • Beth Johns said,

      April 17, 2015 at 11:45 am

      Hi John,

      Thank you for your kind words and vote of confidence.



  5. April 15, 2015 at 8:35 pm

    Thank you Mike for confirming the outstanding integrity of O.R.S.,It is so important to me to know the reviews,hall of fame is,(beyond individual tastes)as full of integrity and freedom from ‘connections’ and preferences as possible.Rather like the ‘ebay guarantee’ it is a make or break approach.But also to not be distant but allow friendships,connections and support like the decent human beings most of us are.
    I am waiting for a largish order to arrive here in London from ‘Essence of the ages’ .(a ‘taster pack’ very much based on of about $250 ).
    I can see there are some troubles with the essence of ages site,but I would never judge this as the standard.I would have to make 2 or 3 orders to confirm this.I feel in this world of wondrous delight that we are all involved with of the beauty of gods gifts of the magic of incense,we should approach orders with love,patience and gratitude and only change this after repeat negative experiences.After all,we aren’t purchasing burgers from macdonalds.
    Can I also say,that within the slight delays and uncommunicated status of my orders with Beth,she has IMMEDIATELY responded with love,kindness and efficiency to any e-mail requests to ‘know what is happening’ or to deal with my rather mercurial nature of changing my orders.
    I have,on this,my first order with Beth have nothing but good to say,and in this world of stress and sometimes suffering we are all human beings trying to get through and I like to think all in the same boat.I would never judge a supplier on first order unless their rudeness or complete and utter awful service was there.
    I look forward with excitement to my order and can only thank Beth for supplying me with her wonderful products and service in such difficult circumstances.I support Beth completely and would much rather have delays and inefficiencies from an obviously kind and loving person than add to that persons already pressured and difficult time.Again,it is not like we are ordering urgent medical drugs or essential life supplies.
    Thank you Mike for your integrity and honesty and thank you Beth for bothering to accept my custom at this most difficult time.
    I and hopefully most of your customers support you and care about your physical,financial and emotional health.Joe Cymrank

    • Mike said,

      April 16, 2015 at 7:21 am

      Great post Joe, thank you. Appreciate your confidence, openness and kindness.

      • April 16, 2015 at 10:40 am

        I have been a buyer of products from all over the world for over 30 years,including a massive amount from ebay since its beginning.
        I have never had any problems at all,that were not put right after communicating any concern.

        I have run a variety of companys and businesses over 47 years,and although because of my massive disinterest and inadequacy in the area of efficiency,I have largely had super-efficient,organised geniuses to hide my mountaint of inadequacies.However I have always found that being warm,friendly,willing to apologise,not pretending I have ‘got it all together’ and keeping people informed,(or if not then apologising later from the heart).Kept everyone with me.

        I refused to be what i’m not,(efficient)and refused to pressure myself,for me,my businesses and making money I wanted to be pleasurable and not go against my ‘nature’.

        I found,to my surprise,I was forgiven always and my customers and income got bigger and bigger.

        If you are in the ‘pleasure’ industry,(as I was)and incense is,then I would not want for a supplier to feel pressured or stressed more than they need to.Happiness and pleasure is too important for pressure or impatience.

        I want to enjoy my suppliers,as well as my incense.
        I would much rather wait and receive my incense from a less pressured supplier than get it tomorrow under stress.

        Bless you,Beth.

        • Beth Johns said,

          April 17, 2015 at 11:48 am

          Thank you so very much for your input and your point of view. : )



    • Beth Johns said,

      April 17, 2015 at 11:46 am

      Hi Joe,

      Good to know that you have been pleased with my service. : ) And also for the vote of confidence you have given.



    • Beth Johns said,

      April 17, 2015 at 11:56 am

      Joe, my customers have been very supportive. After doing this for so long I have many wonderful, repeat customers. Some of them have actually been ordering from me since 2003!

      Thank you for your very kind words and encouragement.

      Blessings to you.


  6. Beth Johns said,

    April 15, 2015 at 7:43 pm

    Mike, thank you for speaking up. I have been aware for while that people have been contacting you with concerns about my business. I have always valued the boundary that we have laid out defining the difference between our friendship and the transparency that this site needs to have concerning business reviews.

    I will not go into all the details of what I have been going through but since you did allude to it; from Sept. of last year through now I have been dealing with multiple deaths in my family, serious family illness, lost and damaged cargo from Nepal, the loss of 4 credit card processors in a row for my other business, Grandfather’s Spirit, having to deal with the ATF and their compliances, and a myriad of other setbacks. For 14 years I have run 2 businesses completely by myself, doing all my own web design, product photography, inventory ordering, shipping, bookkeeping … any everything else it takes to run a business, and that is a lot more. My businesses have run almost flawlessly during all that time. However, this time I have not been able to valiantly struggle through seamlessly. This time things have deeply affected me, and in turn, affected my businesses.

    I have tried to be respectful of my customers and the money that they chosen to spend with me. But I have had a difficult time answering the myriad of phone calls every day, many of which are SPAM and have nothing to do with my customers (and fill up my answering machines almost on a daily basis), and the over 500 emails I receive a day. Something has to give in order to get orders shipped out. : )

    I am writing this explanation not as an excuse. I know rough times happen to everyone and in that regard, I am not special. What does make it different is that I run the business by myself. I have no coworker to ‘take over my desk’ when I need to be away from the business. When I don’t work, or can’t work up to my normal capacity, things start sliding. And sometimes they slide really fast.

    All I can do is apologize for the delayed shipping of orders. I am trying to make it right by sending a 20% discount coupon with all late orders. I am hoping that my customers, if they had a bad experience with me, will give me a second chance to do right by them. However, I also know that nothing will make some people happy and therefore they will not take another chance with me.

    Mike, thank you for the opportunity to explain a bit of what I have been going through. And again, thank you for your post.

    Blessings and warm regards,

    Beth Johns
    Essence of the Ages

    • glennjf said,

      April 15, 2015 at 8:01 pm

      Thinking of you Beth *cyberhug*

    • Mike said,

      April 16, 2015 at 7:19 am

      Beth, thanks for taking the time to follow up and explain. Wishing you peace after such trials.

    • adrianbartoli said,

      April 16, 2015 at 10:32 am

      I’m sorry to hear Beth has been going through such a troubled time. To anyone waiting for a package, I want to re-assure them that I have placed many orders over the years with Beth with her companies.

      She has always done a fantastic job, shipping things out promptly and securely packaged. She carries an enormous stock of many different types and grades of incense and offers helpful advice if you need it. She has always displayed an amazing degree of professionalism in a field which is frequently plagued by limited availabilities and delays. It is important to keep in mind that high quality incense sellers and makers are often individuals who are doing this mostly as a labor of love.

      She is a human being going through some really hard times, but my past experience with her made her my favorite “go to” incense seller. I have complete confidence that things should improve and get back to normal for Beth in the near future.

      • Beth Johns said,

        April 17, 2015 at 11:50 am

        Adrian, thank you for the very kind words and vote of confidence. Nice to get perspective from a long time customer. : )



    • Katherine Wolfe said,

      April 16, 2015 at 9:41 pm

      Hey Beth –

      One of the things I really like about buying incense from you is the little samples you send with the big orders. You don’t have to do it, and there’s some thought to what you put in – once an Agar 31 that smells just like what I ordered, but less expensive. Another time a better incense from the same manufacturer as one I’d ordered.

      So, I appreciate you, your thoughtfulness, and your honesty. It’s hard to dig out when life knocks you on your keister and you get behind. Personally I’m willing to wait for you to get to things – if it takes a while I’ll manage. 🙂



      • Beth Johns said,

        April 17, 2015 at 11:51 am

        Katherine, thanks for letting me know you are enjoying both my service and the freebies I send along. Thanks also for your very kind words, which are very much appreciated.



  7. April 15, 2015 at 6:43 pm

    I do not know what Beth is going through – and Yes, it took awhile, but I have gotten my orders and a very generous voucher. Just need to mention that running an online business by yourself can be challenging and it is hard to catch up after personal matters set you back. Beth has been serving the incense community world wide for so long, i’m sure there is a very good reason for the delays. Thanks for your candor Mike.

    • Mike said,

      April 15, 2015 at 6:52 pm

      Great points Katlyn, thank you for weighing in, your wisdom is always appreciated. From what I know personally, I think compassion and patience are highly warranted here.

    • Beth Johns said,

      April 17, 2015 at 11:52 am

      Hi Kat! Yes, your products were some of items that were damaged in shipment from Nepal! : ) Thank you so much for your words of encouragement.



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