Aba Prefecture (Miyalo Town) / Huiyou and Qinrun Tibetan Incenses

I live pretty close to the Sierra Nevadas and have a lot of camping and travel memories of going into the evergreen-rich mountains and the ever-present scent of pine, cedar, fir and juniper. Hikes were always permeated with this higher altitude freshness and some of these were the woods that would end up in your fire at night. And so a lot of these impressions form the basic memories that the most resinous and green Tibetan incenses tend to recall. There are the similarities that trigger those memories and of course the differences that make them fascinating.

Both Huiyou and Qinrun incenses are intense evergreen incenses made by the Aba Prefecture in Miyalo Town. Huiyou Incense appears to be a therapeutic incense with a number of different uses but its central potency lies in how well it really captures this high altitude evergreen and wood aroma. It’s not the same kind of stick that Aba Prefecture’s other incenses create (the two great Shambhala incenses, a review of which should be forthcoming) or the sort of denser stick I’ve talked about with Bosen or Five Fragrance but this doesn’t lose any of that super green middle. I’m burning a stick first thing in the morning right now when it’s cool with a cup of coffee and it’s just an invigorating scent that gets in the back of the brain and pulls out great memories, where you’re all bundled up and inhaling the richness of nature. While the incense’s dominant note is definitely that green foresty scent, this also has a lot of herbal and spice content to keep it nice and complex too. There are so many blending ingredients that it’s a bit hard to separate one out from another, but it has that wonderful sawdust of fresh cut evergreen wood as a note and a bit of a spice mix that reminds me of some teas. Really gorgeous incense, highly recommended at its price point. It’s a bit smaller of a box than most of what you’re used to (including the Qinrun), but it’s well worth it.

Qinrun itself is something of a variation (or vice versa) of the Huiyou. It still has a lot of the same evergreen and wood qualities, but they’re a touch milder and pulled back. The ingredients given for Qinrun (there aren’t any given on the Huiyou but it’s not hard to extrapolate in some way) include white sandalwood, rosewood, nutmeg and Rhodiola roses. I feel this is enough of a variant on a good thing to make it an incense worth checking out in its own right. I would guess the rose element is probably not in Huiyou as much because it’s a note that changes the profile a bit, you get it right on the edge and it is a wonderful adjustment to it. It is really rare for floral elements to be strong in Tibetan incenses, so this incense is somewhat remarkable in having one. It also feels like the wood content is a bit higher, but once again this is just a slight change. Like Huiyou, this is a very beautiful incense with a lot of richness and complexity. Quinrun is a bigger box than Huiyou with only a slight adjustment upwards in price, but it’s still a very affordable incense for such incredibly high quality.

As a final note on the photos, you can see the fronts at the incense-traditions.ca links, but these are both really beautifully done boxes, so I thought I’d feature the other angles.

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