Dzogchen Monastery / Brilliant Gem Incense

Readers of Olfactory Rescue Service may be familiar with Dzogchen Monastery’s classic Lotus Ground Incense, which used to be one of the finest Tibetan style incenses on the market, a scent completely unique and unduplicated anywhere else. I’ve been informed that it is current unavailable for sale in the west, but of course we hope to see that change eventually. Strangely enough, Dzogchen’s Brilliant Gem incense, which also fluctuated in availability now seems to be available for the time being. So I grabbed a box just based on Lotus Ground to see if they had replicated their magic with another incense.

Brilliant Gem is actually as solidly traditional as Lotus Ground isn’t. I was actually somewhat surprised as it ended up being a rather unremarkable scent. Certainly it’s on par with most of what comes out of Tibetan (or Nepal) as it’s largely made from woods and thus comes closer to pure campfire type aromas. There’s probably a touch of spice in the mix, but it does not seem to rise above the base. And while the incense does follow the double roll packaging of Lotus ground the box is much shorter. After a few sticks I didn’t really notice anything hidden about the formula. It does not have the same kind of ash reside as Lotus Ground either. In some ways it’s hard to believe it comes from the same monastery as it’s completely different in every way. And the woods used don’t seem to be particularly rich in resin or aromatic content. It does manage to avoid and off notes or harsh qualities which does leave the finished burn fairly smooth, it’s just that there isn’t much to say about it in the end.

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