Gang-Zi Nunnery Incense

Sometimes a scent has to percolate in the back of your head for it to speak to you when it’s ready, and sometimes you don’t even realize it’s happening, but as I lit a stick of Gang-Zi Nunnery incense I realized the scent of it reminded me of the original Samye Monastery scent. I had reviewed this latter incense so long ago that I had even forgotten that it had a name at the time, Samanthabadhra. Since then I feel like Samye Monastery incense has changed to a completely different formula, leaving something of a vacuum where the old scent used to sit in my memory. However as the link describes, this comes from a nunnery close to Samye Monastery so it’s probably not a surprise there’s some crossover in tradition.

Gang-Zi Nunnery is one of a group of incenses (the Holy Lands, the original Dzongsar, Wara, maybe a few others) where the scent has a level of density that appears to be fairly uncommon in Tibetan incenses but it is always notable. Unlike these other incenses, Gang-zi Nunnery has some similarity to other Tibetan red stick formulas, especially some pink colored sticks from Bhutan (once again I’ll note the link stating the nunnery sits close to the border) that seem to be as resinous as they are woody. Also, unlike those other incenses this is a sweet one, almost candy-like, with a strong hit of musk to it. As in the Samye review, this also has a rather strong spice mix, certainly hints of clove and nutmeg in the profile. It also has what I might describe as a velvet smoothness to it, but it also impacts the local atmosphere pretty strongly which hints a bit at a possibly faunal source. And on top, along with the resin, there are hints of the floral as well. All in it all it’s a wonderfully complex incense but unlike say Dzongsar (which is a bit too much for me) and Wara (which I’m hopelessly addicted to), this is also pretty friendly and more immediately accessible. Quite recommended, an almost essential scent for Tibetan incense lovers.

1 Comment

  1. realmeteoro said,

    September 26, 2021 at 9:44 pm

    With this one, I picked a particular note I like and haven’t found in any other Tibetan incense: leather. At least not in such an approachable blend. With that I mean, it doesn’t require a learning curve; if you like Woody or leathery notes, most likely you will like it.


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