Ross Urrere

I am sorry to share the news that Ross Urrere has passed. Long time readers of Olfactory Rescue Service may know that Ross was pretty much my partner during most of the site’s original existence and not only would the site not have its name if it wasn’t for Ross, but none of his enthusiastic reviews and articles on incense. To say the very least it would not be the resource it is today. When I decided to open the site back up a couple of months ago I wrote Ross to tell him, but sadly we were not able to connect and while I am not aware of the details of his passing, after not hearing back from him, I was concerned. Ross was well known in the incense community not only for his work here, but he was an amazing incense creator in his own right and I had actually just heated a little bit of his own classic Ocean of Night a few days ago. He will be deeply missed.

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Kunjudo/Kan Ken Koh, Healing/Iyashi

This incense is a bit of an oddity all around. First of all it’s packaged in the type of box you hang on racks, something you don’t see too often outside of Shoyeido’s low end sticks. The box itself contains a corked glass vial with 30 thicker sticks that nests fairly cleverly in the box. Upon burning you realize from the whiter ash that this isn’t a traditional stick but obviously a modern form with the aroma based on oils. It’s almost like a less smoke incense, although it does some produce some. The aroma is actually quite nice and more traditional that you expect with the listed ingredients of agarwood and honey being the obvious highlights. This isn’t a case of your dry woody agarwood, but nor is it really like a sweeter traditional one either in that whatever oil mix Kunjudo went for actually has something of a genuine agarwood note. It’s quite beautiful actually although I do remain skeptical of any claims that this incense would actually heal anything on its own. I very much like the sweet honey note that wraps itself around the aloeswood, it’s something I haven’t really seen in any other incense.

The Long Stick

My love for Minorien’s Kyara Ryugen has been documented here before and I recently restocked my second box. But after trying long sticks of a couple of other Minorien scents, both of which made me curious how different the formulas were as I enjoyed them more than I remembered, I was curious what Ryugen would be like in a long stick. I unwrapped my first stick tonight and it just brought up a bunch of questions which kind of relate to the difficulty in reviewing and describing high quality wood incenses over long periods of time. It is both a different incense and then it isn’t. For one thing I think the kyara element of the stick is much more pronounced in the long stick and the sort of dark wood oil in the short stick isn’t quite as strong. The long stick is just as complex, but at times it feels like it hits pockets of really high quality wood that make my head melt. But where I would describe the regular stick as a mix with kyara sort of in the middle of it all, it’s a lot more dominant here. So the question I have is like do the long sticks just take longer to sell and therefore you’re often reaching back to older stock? Does the difference in price (because in many instances the longer stick is more expensive per inch) show that long sticks are often more deluxe and wood heavy? Is it just the way different boxes hit different supplies of wood? I don’t know for sure, but this sweeter more kyara rich version of Kyara Ryugen was a really, really good call. It’s like having two versions of your favorite incense.