Chimi Poe Jorkhang / Guru Chan Dreen Poejor, Na Gi Ma Bjor

Here’s a couple of Bhutanese incenses from the same creator that are both red/purple style with perhaps a slight shading difference. These are both solid representations of this classic style, somewhat picture perfect in fact. There are few (or no) ingredients listed on the package or at the incense-traditions.ca site, but I think the question here depends on whether you are familiar with this style of incense as the range of them isn’t terribly vast. So I’m going to link a couple that do have ingredients list as a pointer, not because I really have any idea what’s in these two but because the style is so similar, it’s likely there is crossover. Take a look at Lost Fragrance of the Mountain Gods or Gelephu as pointers.

Guru Chan Dreen Poejer seems quite friendly and sweet. I’d liken that sweetness to the mix of sandalwoods, juniper and maybe a bit of resin, but to me the quality overall is kind of red berry like and it’s the sort of Bhutanese incense that I think is likely to be friendly to most Westerners. Unlike Nepali incenses you never get too harsh of a wood quality, that is it’s not campfire-like at all, and there’s a sort of soft puffiness to it almost like what a confectionary would smell like if it was made out of woods and spices. And while some Bhutanese red sticks might have some more dangerous ingredients as subnotes, this one seems to be missing them. Like most red stick Bhutanese incenses the spices do not dominate but play around the edges a little, complimenting the sweetness with a bit of cinnamon and clove. To recapitulate this entire style is to really say that nearly any red stick is a good entry into this Bhutanese style, and Guru Chan Dreen Poejar might be one of the most friendly to familiarize yourself with. But if you’ve tried a few, you might reconsider needing more unless you’re a real fan of the style.

Na Gi Ma Bjor isn’t a radical departure from Guru Chan Dreen Poejor but it’s not quite as sweet and it’s a bit more tangy. We’re given a couple more clues as to what’s going on with this, with Na Gi (a medicinal seed) and white sandalwood (unlikely to be shocking) and these new elements give this one some personality that makes it a bit different from other red sticks. However, unless you’re really paying attention to it, this one isn’t terrible distinguishable from the Guru Chan Dreen Poejor and is mostly just a slightly more original variation on the red stick formula. Even though it’s a bit less sweet, it’s really no less accessible. I might just add that if you’re familiar with the style, have surveyed the more tan-stick Jaju incenses and want something a bit different, this might very well fit the deal. But overall once you’ve dug into several Bhutanese incenses the one thing you notice is that they tend to fit into some tight ranges and are very similar.

2 Comments

  1. realmeteoro said,

    October 4, 2021 at 9:26 am

    Hey Mike, how are they compared to Drizang Kuenchap’s Lhawang Driden? From all the Bhutanese incense I’ve tried that one is my favorite and has become kind of a benchmark.

    • Mike said,

      October 4, 2021 at 9:29 am

      That one may very well be the benchmark. I find most of these styles to be well within a narrow range though. But these are maybe not quite as deep as the DK/LD.


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