The Olfactory Rescue Service is the new home for the retail incense resource that used to be part of Mike’s Prattle and had outgrown it. Joining Mike McLatchey for ORS is Ross Urrere (who also christened the new site) and Anne Chan. The ORS exists to review and discuss the world of retail incense in order to help bridge the gap between East and West in terms of understanding incense and helping the reader find higher quality scents, sources for these scents and to connect with others passionate about fine scent. While ORS cooperates with all reputable incense companies (several of which send samples for review), it currently remains a third party resource and only claims bias in favor of excellent service, fair pricing and the constructive. The following are the writer bios:
Mike: I live in Sacramento, California and work as a legislative analyst. As a music journalist I used to write for several national and international “progressive music” magazines including Exposé, i/e, England’s Audion magazine, Italy’s Melodie e Dissonanze and others. I am a cofounder of the Gnosis Project. I now consider myself retired from writing about music. I do write about my other interests at my second blog (found somewhere on the left), but consider it all pretty informal, more a journal than serious attempts at criticism.
I’ve loved incense since I was a very experimental teenager and the connection between incense and the mind became engrained in my being. For so long it was Indian incense, but my discovery and exploration into Japanese incense has basically been documented here.
Ross: I was born, hatched or spawned (depends on who’s talking J ) Nov 23, 1950. I have lived most of my life in and around Berkeley and Oakland CA. with some time in Georgia (Naval airbase) and onboard an aircraft carrier (CVA 62) in the Mediterranean for 6 months.
I discovered incense just before going into the Navy. As I remember it was a “Joss Stick” in a red box. Smelled great in my barracks room, but terrible in the hallway outside my door. Ever since then I have wondered at this phenomena. I am still looking for the answer. This is also when I found out that not everyone liked incense. And that there are so many kinds and styles. After the Navy I went into a Junior Collage. I also, at the same time, managed to get to work for the Bill Graham Presents organization for about 4 years (1972-1976) and see quite a lot of really good music, perhaps the perfect college job.
I spent about 10 years as a glassblower, before moving into metaphysics and spirituality.
My teacher was heavily into computers so I too found myself using them. Early Macintoshes, Amigas and the PCs of the time for publishing and audio/video editing.
Currently by day I work at UC Berkeley as a network and computer repair and troubleshooter person. At night I teach meditation, healing and some other classes at a school that has been around now for 25 years. In fact I just presented my first class on incense there. Great fun and something I plan on doing a lot more of.
I love incense and all things that smell good. I also like motorcycles and plan to be back on board one as soon as I get a new hip. I have read Science Fiction and Fantasy since the 3rd grade, although I have slowed it down a bit over the years.
You can reach me by email at “clairsight “at” yahoo.com” . Make sure you put the word incense or perfume in the subjects section.
Anne (no bio – you can reach Anne privately through Mike or Ross’s e-mails)
Nancy: (currently on indefinite sabbatical from ORS) I live in Asheville, North Carolina where I practice Chinese Medicine. I came to this profession through my love of herbal medicine. I first became interested in the healing power of plants when I joined a co-op where my friend was the manager of the herb department. I worked in health food stores for many years, sort of an informal education, and became certified as an herbalist along the way. I furthered my studies through a degree in Chinese Medicine at a school here in Asheville and went on to open a practice in my neighborhood.
Though I appreciate many different kinds of incense, my current interest focuses especially on the Japanese offerings, specifically the traditional herbal varieties. Most ingredients used in these blends have been revered for their healing properties for millennial. Like medicine for the soul, I find that real plant-based incense has a profound effect on my spiritual and emotional well-being.
My introduction into the world of incense began in Junior High when I became infatuated with Gonesh’s Coconut incense, which I purchased at a head shop in the local suburban mall. I was reintroduced to incense years later at a new age store that was burning the ubiquitous Satya Sai Baba Nag Champa. This became my favorite for many years until I started working as a buyer in a health food store that carried Shoyeido. Shoyeido had just expanded into the US market around this time, opening their distribution center in Boulder, Colorado. Exploring Shoyeido’s offerings opened my mind and senses to the complex formulations of this established company, so different from the masala and dipped charcoal incenses I had known before. I have truly enjoyed witnessing the flowering of the US incense market and tip my hat to Shoyeido for opening the door for so many other Japanese companies.
Now I burn incense almost every day. I even take it with me when I travel and bring it along for hikes in the woods. I continue to be astonished by the incredible diversity and variety of what is available. Depending on the blend, incense can be peaceful or stimulating, warming or cooling. It can empty the mind or provoke deep philosophical reflection. It can command your attention with its complexity or simply delight. For me incense is so much more that just an enjoyable smell and my life would certainly be incomplete without it. I am very pleased to have the opportunity to share my love of incense with a wider audience through Olfactory Rescue Service. I hope you enjoy my reviews!
If you’re interesting in contacting us or have questions, Mike’s e-mail is sigil23 /at symbol/ comcast.net. If you’re interested in having any of us review incense, please use the Reviews Information page for guidelines. Please keep in mind we post from different computers and may not be able to reply to e-mail until the weekend.