Drizang Kuenchap/Lhawang Driden Incense

So just in case you haven’t, I want to refer you this review from a few days ago as it sets a bit of context for Bhutanese incense and the red/purple style that tends to be common from this country. I do so also because Lost Fragrance of the Mountain Gods lists some ingredients but Drizang Kuenchap’s Lhawang Driden incense merely tells you there’s at least 30 different ingredients in it and you’re more or less left to guess what they are. However, given that this incense is in the same style, I think you can draw some analogs from other ingredient lists.

However when it comes to this style, and while I haven’t tried them all by any means, I think this one is probably my reigning favorite. It is a very deep incense, unquestionably very heavy in high quality juniper content with a stamp of depth only comparable to the finest of Tibetan incenses. There’s nothing just surface level to this, it has musk and spice in quantities that leave quite a lasting aromatic impression on your burning environment. It has a level of high altitude freshness that many Tibetan incenses aspire to without reaching this sort of outdoorsy, elevated feel to it. It has subnotes and more complimentary aspects that incenses of this style can miss sometimes, almost like this is a prototype to those. I would guess this has a lot of the same ingredients as Lost Fragrance: saffron, clove, nutmeg, rhododendron, sandalwood and frankincense.

The real strength of Tibetan incenses to my mind and nose is that they are evocative of high altitudes, evergreen trees, camping fires and so forth. They are not usually refined incenses in the manner of Japanese sticks nor are they dependent on perfumes like Indian incenses. As a result, a lot of what is marketed in the United States often tends to be made from cheap cedarwood or juniper and is priced accordingly. Deeper Tibetan incenses result from recipes that account for the more offputting aspects of materials and manage to highlight the aspects we love about these evocations. There is something of a romance from the Western perspective of monasteries high in the mountains, deep meditation with the scent of nature permeating one’s space. And as result at least for myself they scratch a particular itch that other styles of incense don’t and if they are done well, I can becoming quickly addicted to what they offer. Lhawang Driden may not have quite succeeded in doing the same thing on the Bhutanese front as Holy Land or Wara Monastery has done for Tibetan incenses, but it is perhaps as close as I’ve gotten and does so at a nicely affordable rate.

[I was surprised to find out that I had actually reviewed this incense back in 2010 via the Reviews Index on the left!]

2 Comments

  1. June 15, 2021 at 7:14 am

    Thanks. I ordered some of this one, as well as a few others.


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