Dhe-Tsang Monastery Incense

In my virtual tour of Tibetan incenses, I’ve clocked a lot of styles from the deep salty and musky sticks of Holy Land and Nectar, to the green high altitude scents of Quinrun, Huiyou and Spirit of Shambhala on to more autumnal and herbal goodies like Ba’er Qude Si and Feng Ma Bao Highland. Dhe-Tsang Monastery incense feels more like a lateral step from some of these other incenses with a sweetness to it that tends to be a bit more uncommon with monastery incenses. It has a pretty healthy and more obvious mix of sandalwood in the blend. Often with Tibetans the wood is on the list but tends to be subsumed. Here it’s actually part of the top note. In some ways this would make it more reminiscent of a Nepali incense except unsurprisingly there’s still a bit of musk here, it’s just not the at the usual strength you would expect. The box is a bit smaller than comparable monastery boxes while remaining at about a comparable price which I would likely think has something to do with all the sandalwood in the mix. It’s nicely done, user friendly and doesn’t really fit into any other grouping I can think of with other Tibetan styles.

5 Comments

  1. timdufka said,

    August 7, 2021 at 1:52 pm

    The Dhe-Tsang Sacred Mountains incense is also extremely nice:

    https://incense-traditions.ca/shop/tibet/dhe-tsang-sacred-mountains-incense/

    • Mike said,

      August 7, 2021 at 6:49 pm

      Yeah been meaning to check that one out!

  2. timdufka said,

    August 7, 2021 at 10:22 am

    Yes, this one is very balanced, smooth and subtle.

  3. August 4, 2021 at 6:00 pm

    Thanks, Mike,
    I have question about Tibetan incense. Several of them that I have tried have a very peculiar sort of common odor in common. I would not say it is offensive, but neither would I say it is delightful. It smells very earthy or moldy…..perhaps like a dirty sock (I think I read this some place). It is a unique smell that I imagine could become reassuring in some way, and I have never smelled it in any other incense other than Tibetan. I am curious if this rings a bell with you, and if you have any idea what ingredient that might be. Thank you. RC

    • Mike said,

      August 5, 2021 at 3:59 am

      That’s a tough call unfortunately. I know there’s some really strong notes like that in the Dzongsar Monastery incenses and maybe mildr notes like that in a few other incenses. I know asafoetida is used in some Tibetans and that tends to be a tough one for Western noses, but it’s never actually listed as an ingredient in anything so I’m not sure if that’s what causes it. I would guess Tibetans have a virtual menagerie of different herbs that it could either be one if or multiple of.


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