Absolute Bliss / Dharmik, Krishna Rose, Kundalini Flora, Natural Beauty Masala, Natural Mysore Sandal, Vintage Nag Champa

As with previous reviews of Absolute Bliss-imported incenses, there is no current plans to list these incenses at the Absolute Bliss website so it is highly recommended and encouraged to contact Corey directly using the methods at his contact page if you are interested in any of the reviewed scents here. My experience is that you can find what you want and ask him for a Paypal invoice. This is the final group I’ll be reviewing for the time being, although hopefully not the last in the way of new scents from the exporter.

Dharmik is a really interesting flora or fluxo sized stick, although it falls a bit short of being a flora per se. It’s interesting in that there is a scent from this that I might call “brassy” which is something I have sensed in these types of sticks (especially Sai Flora); however, this seems to be a dusted charcoal and almost entirely dependent on a very strong oil. For sure there’s some combination of spices, woods and maybe even florals in this perfume but it’s very hard to pick out exactly what’s in it. Surely some level of sandalwood oil but it’s either an accident or there’s very little since it’s not imparting that level of personality to it. The spice plays around the edge a bit but I can’t separate whether it’s cinnamon or clove or something else because it’s not loud enough. Ditto with the florals, nothing is too loud in here to even define this as a floral incense. It’s certainly an interesting and pleasant scent and a bit tangy, but it sort of runs out my imagination trying to define it further. It feels like there might be some musk and amber in this as well and I’m just falling short of picking out screwpine/kewada just because there’s some level of an unusual flora in the mix. It tickles my memory a bit in being reminiscent of some old schools scents I remember, but they’re all lost in the mists of memory. I will say though that after several sticks I’ve come to love this one a lot more, like it has some latent addictive quality to it.

Krishna Rose is somewhat similar to Temple of Incense’s Indian Rose, but rose absolutes, incenses and mixes all often vary enough for even similar incenses to be different. There’s also a pretty visible difference in what the stick looks like in that the Indian Rose is a much more polished and thinner looking magenta colored stick, while the Krishna is obviously a very red-dusted charcoal stick. This doesn’t mean the Indian Rose isn’t charcoal but it looks a bit more like it’s probably a hybrid as you don’t generally see much in the way of peek-through. However the overall scent profiles are roughly enough in the same ballpark to mention it. Krishna has a nicely cherry-like rose profile, it’s a bit sweet and overall doesn’t really have any off notes which should make it a winner for most floral lovers. Whether it’s really much of a rose scent, well maybe a little but there’s a bit more to it and it probably leans more to a fruity-floral than a pure floral. But it certainly avoids a lot of the pitfalls you find in more inexpensive Indian masalas or charcoals. I don’t really sense any bitter or sour notes at all.

Kundalini Flora is akin to the Bengali Jungle Flora, but it has a more powdery sweet sort of floral mix, an almost pink like smell with maybe a more carnation-sort of bent in the middle. I’m often so used to Indian florals being rose or lotus incenses that I’m almost not used to coming across something that seems so much more Western friendly, so much more like a mainstream, feminine perfume in an Indian incense. It’s a very pretty and warm incense with a softness to it that betrays nothing in the way of sharp or bitter notes. It’s not even particularly far from the Vintage Jasmine/Jasmine Blossom except it doesn’t have any specific floral definition to it and there may be some level of lilac in here as well, although lilac incenses usually come with a lot of off notes. So yes this is nicely done, very friendly, a successful pink floral well worth trying out if you’re missing something like that.

The Natural Beauty Masala is a pretty vast contrast to the Kundalini Flora in that it is a tremendously woody incense, in fact it’s notable for having quite a bit of cedarwood in it, which changes the mix with the sandalwood oil quite a bit. The wood oils are just right out in front with this one and it’s actually a bit hard to tell if it’s the strength of the oils that bring up a bit of a spice background or if there’s a touch of that added or maybe a little bit of both. There may even be a touch of oudh in the mix. It’s honestly one of the best woody Indian incenses I’ve had the pleasure of trying and while it’s not really in the same family as the Happy Hari Oud Masalda, the two Oudh Saffrons and so forth, it’s still likely to appeal to the appreciators of these incenses. Once again I think the strong and powerful cedarwood note in this really sells it as it reminds me a little of the cedarwood masalas you used to be able to find in Triloka or even Pure Incense sticks, but there’s no base to get in the way of the scent and it’s not quite as sweet. There may be some light floral touches to balance it as well. Very recommended. *Please note that this is incense is currently out of stock and the hope is to have a new batch back in in October.

The Natural Mysore Sandal incense is really the AB equivalent to TOI’s Sandalwood Extreme, except because they are different batches I would give the quality nod to the TOI. However it is a slight nod only in the sense that this one doesn’t set off my nostalgia buttons off so much. However the AB version is much, much more affordably priced and since it’s still a wonderful sandalwood (this one pulls away from the Happy Hari Absolute Sandal quite a bit), it is really hard to argue that the quality difference justifies what may be something like double or triple the price, particularly if you’re ordering overseas to Temple of Incense. I think most Indian sandalwood fans are likely to find this one very pleasant indeed and it has a well defined sandalwood note that hints very much at fresh cut, quality wood. In fact if the TOI might have that nostalgic hint of the old days, this one at least really shows up the resinous qualities of the wood quite well. Sitting here in front of this, I find the gap between the two narrowing quite a bit.

Vintage Nag Champa is also a charcoal and it might make you wonder if Mike is going to go into one of his grandpa speeches about the old days again as this is unquestionably halmaddi-less. It’s also instructive in the sense that some of the same drier notes I detected in the Gold Nag Champa are here without the flakes. But overall it might be worth seeing this as more of a nag champa perfume or oil mix fronted incense rather than a champa style per se. It’s certainly a pleasant stick overall and still has the authenticity of the perfume up front, but it’s also as likely as dry a Nag Champa as you will try and there’s really little in the way of the sweet elements that help to ground the perfume. It gives way to clay and stone-like notes that I’m not sure are intentional, like it’s earthy in the same way a patchouli or vetivert incense is. And so for me it has something of a feeling like it’s almost leeching moisture out of the air. The bottom line, I guess, is I’m not sure it’s an improvement on the Gold but its kind of unique just because it’s so charcoal.

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6 Comments

  1. drummagick said,

    November 3, 2021 at 4:04 pm

    I found some Beauty Masala that I got from Corey months ago and that had gotten buried. I was wondering if there was some aloeswood in it. Something in there I’ve smelled before but couldn’t put my finger on. Was it cedarwood?

    I burned my first stick of Natural Mysore Sandal last night (I could have gotten away with a quarter stick, or less) and immediately ordered some. Much better than Absolute Sandal in my opinion and powerful! I noticed it has a high, bright note to it. Uplifting. You definitely get your money’s worth with these sticks because burning a whole one will perfume the entire neighborhood if you have a window open.

    • Mike said,

      November 4, 2021 at 9:03 am

      I thought the cedarwood did feel a bit different. It’s actually kind of odd how little it used as it can be quite a good thing to have. Glad you enjoyed the Natural Mysore!

  2. September 6, 2021 at 7:57 pm

    My daughter just came up to me and asked if I had taken a shower. She was wondering what the smell was in the house…the smell, she said was “just like the soap you use when you shower”. What she was smelling was the Dharmik incense you just reviewed. I would not go so far as to say it is “just like” the soap fragrance (Zest), but I agree there is something similar there. (Does this tickle your memory?)
    I have all the others in this review as well, but I have not tried them yet.
    Thanks for your spot-on work.

    • Mike said,

      September 6, 2021 at 7:59 pm

      I don’t know what Zest smells like, but any help describing Dharmik is appreciated!

  3. scandojazz said,

    September 6, 2021 at 7:52 pm

    Is there a maker associated with these sticks above at Absolute Incense?

    • Mike said,

      September 6, 2021 at 7:58 pm

      Its the same Indian exporter that supplies Happy Hari and Temple of Incense. I don’t know the name. Corey has told me that they’re sometime referred to as a “Temple” line but there’s nothing official.


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