Sangdanli Temple Nunnery Incense

We talk a lot about monastery incenses at ORS, but there aren’t quite as many nunnery incenses so to speak, but the ratio of really good nunnery incenses tends to be a lot higher simply because nearly all the ones I’ve had the pleasure of trying are usually quite rich and really good, even if I can probably count them all on one hand. Sangdanli Temple Nunnery Incense is one of incense-traditions most recent new finds (or well it was when I originally bought it, but it took me a lot longer to bring it up for review) and it’s a really nice blend, well worth picking up for lovers of deep Tibetan picks.

This is a very dank and intense blend that lands somewhere between the older Samye Monastery blend, before it got a bit lighter and more evergreen, and the smaller Gang-zi Mani Nunnery Incense sticks. This is something I think internally of as red and likely shares some aspects in common with other more brick reddish Tibetan sticks. The ingredients description includes “a blend of white and red sandalwood, clove and 10 other ingredients.” There is no small musk hit on these sticks, but they also have that sort of amber-ish, clay-like middle that I really find enjoyable in Tibetan incenses, there’s no feeling that this is based on filler wood. This base gives it a certain balsamic aroma to it that tends to subsume the woodiest of notes. So that it is supposed to have white and red sandalwood in it is something you might have to be told, as the blend seems to cover up most of the notes associated with those woods, except, perhaps, the element of the aroma specific to the red wood where it’s a bit sweeter in a different way. It has a lovely polish to it overall and the more you burn it, the more you will notice the varying notes of its constituency. A definite keeper (and it was out of stock when I finished writing this and am hoping a restock is coming soon!) and undoubtedly a classic of the nunnery style.



  1. chamekke said,

    November 2, 2022 at 5:28 pm

    I really enjoyed Sangdanli! Definitely worth the wait for anyone who didn’t nab some before the supply ran out. In fact, all the nunnery incenses from Incense Traditions are excellent, punching well above their weight among their monastery-incense brethren. Here’s hoping more arrives soon! (P.S. ‘Sangdanli’ seems to be a sinicized form of the nunnery name. According to the label, it’s called Samten Ling in Tibetan.)

    • Mike said,

      November 3, 2022 at 6:19 am

      Thanks, appreciate the extra information! I do notice a lot of the newer IT goodies tend to blow out pretty quickly, been waiting for restocks on a few things to pitch an order over there.

      • chamekke said,

        November 9, 2022 at 11:27 am

        FYI, the IT homepage now has a note at the bottom: “Much of Tibet is in lockdown and our direct suppliers, incl. Mindroling Monastery, are unable to ship until further notice. Sorry for the inconvenience.” Presumably that’s why so many incenses from Tibet are out of stock, or close to it. I spoke for the penultimate Sangdanli roll the other day, and someone else clearly bought the last one as it’s out of stock too.

        • Mike said,

          November 9, 2022 at 11:46 am

          Oh that’s good to know, although I sure hope that’s lifted soon for IT’s sake. Thanks!

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