Top Ten for January 2011

Happy New Year, everyone! May 2011 be a good one for you, bringing health and happiness, and lots of great incense!

It’s my turn up at bat for the Top Ten for Jan 2011. The top ten can be difficult at times due to the sheer amount of great incense out on the market, and the many personal faves that I have. However, for this month, I’ve decided that the following ten incenses are my favorite this January. In no particular order, they are:

-The Direct Help Foundation Eternal Maiya incense. A lovely blend of sandalwood and patchouli, where the sandalwood provides the expected woody note and the patchouli a light airiness that is both earthy and slightly sweet.

-The Direct Help Foundation Oum Pure Sandalwood incense.  Sandalwood incense done up Tibetan style that has sandalwood and sandalwood oil. The sandalwood and the sandalwood oil are a one- two punch combo that makes this superior incense, one with a truly delightful sandalwood aroma.  This is not high end incense like Shroff’s natural sandal that runs north of $150 USD. This is much more modest incense, but one that still manages to be quite good.

-From Chagdud Gonpa Foundation, Sitar Dorje’s Unsurpassable Healing Incense (P’hul-Jung Men-Po).  This is absolutely lovely incense that ranks right up there with Dzongchen Monastery and Holy Land, in my opinion. Unsurpassable Healing Incense is like a first cousin to both, having similarities to Dzongchen and Holy Land, but is still different enough and with its own character that make it unique. This is another earthy, resiny, floral, musky blend. It’s an “all rounder”, hitting all those aforementioned bases, and has that special mojo that is both calming and uplifting at the same time. Some of the ingredients are aloeswood, white and red sandalwood, frankincense, saffron, valerian, magnolia, musk…etc. The scent itself manages to be both fresh and floral, with a darker resinier base and herbaceous endnotes with a touch of musk.

-Holy Land Grade 1. Well, I finally bit the bullet and bought this once it was back in stock over at EOTA. I’m glad I did, though, as that it is definitely a worthy purchase. I won’t write too much about this one due to the fact that it’s been covered extensively here on the ORS. Suffice to say that this incense that as Mike might say, “has mighty mojo that borders on being mystical.” The scent is darker, muskier, and less floral than either Dzongchen or Unsurpassable Healing Incense. If Holy Land incense was a food product, I’d say that it’s more savory than sweet (if that helps any in getting an idea of its scent and description).

-Mother’s Fragrances Lotus Incense. A singular and linear incense and scent, where there’s no complexity but dang if this isn’t a good one. Slightly sweet, and of course floral, this is incense that is very calming and is a good room scent. It’s one to use when having guests over as that it gently perfumes the room but isn’t overwhelming perfumey or ostentatiously showy.

-Mother’s Fragrances Atma Incense. The Mother’s incense catalog is simply superb, with their Nag Champa line being quite a standout. One of my favorites from their Nag Champa collection is Atma. A delirious blend of various ingredients, with floral notes and sweetness from halmaddi and honey. This is a tough one to describe because so many things are going on, and it’s all going on at the same time, the ingredients are working together and not against one another. It’s a symphony of scent, with lead violin being performed by the lavender, the cello is geranium, piano is vetiver, and the triangle is clove with halmaddi as the composer, and honey is the conducter.

-Hougary frankincense resins. A hold over from last month’s Frankincense and Myrrh review, but when incense is this good, it’s going to pop up continually in a lot of people’s “best of” lists. Bright, citrusy, fresh and fragrant, this is frankincense royalty. If you like frankincense at all, do yourself a favor and get some hougary.

-Duggatl al Oud Wardh Taifi. My favorite rose incense of all time, and one that provides an astonishing authentic fresh rose scent. There are many rose incenses out in the market, but this one stands head and shoulders over them all, in my opinion. Simply gorgeous and a must try for rose lovers.

-Mermade Magickal Arts Faery Call. I don’t know about you, but in the midst of winter, I often dream about and long for spring. This incense brings a touch of freshness and brightness and evokes spring and summer in appearance and scent. Literally garnished with dried flowers of marigold petals, rose petals, and lavender buds, and deliciously scented with neroli and other top notch ingredients, this incense is sure to put you in a cheerier mood and drive away the winter blues.

Shunkodo Haru no Kaori. The name of this incense translated into English means ‘smell of spring.’ Can you tell that I’m tired of winter? 🙂  This is great incense, more subtle than Faery Call, but equally good in its own way. As to be expected, it’s more refined being Japanese incense, with a less in your face scent bouquet. There’s the added touch of aloeswood, which adds that certain “je ne sais quoi” quality, that extra special touch that puts this incense into the category of wonderful.

The above incenses can be found at various retailers on the net. The Faery Call incense can be purchased from Mermade Magickal Arts, and the Sitar Dorje’s Unsurpassable Healing Incense from http://www.tibetantreasures.com/tthtml/ttmerch/incense.htm. Incidentally Tibetan Treasures will be going offline from February 7th to March 7th for a site renovation, and will return on March 8th. As such, if you want to purchase the Unsurpassable Healing incense, I recommend that you do it soon to avoid delays in processing and shipping.

What are the incenses that you have been burning lately? Are there any that are your “go to” ones to beat the winter blahs? Chime in and share your thoughts!

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Tis the season for some Frankincense Frenzy and a little bit of Myrrh Madness…

Season’s Greetings and Happy Holidays to all our ORS readers! In the spirit of the season, I will be reviewing some frankincense and myrrh incenses. As many of you likely know, frankincense and myrrh were two of the gifts given to baby Jesus by the Magi (three wise men or three kings) with the third gift being gold. According to some interpretations by biblical scholars, the frankincense represented Jesus’s spirituality and his connection to the divine, the myrrh represented his human mortality and prophesized his mortal death, and the gold represented his royal power and influence.

To my mind, frankincense and myrrh are like the peanut butter and jelly of the incense world. Each is good on its own, but teamed together, they achieve greatness.  The following incense reviews lean more to frankincense then to myrrh. This is a reflection of my own bias; though I like myrrh, I love frankincense. Also, some of these incenses were already reviewed previously, but are included again because they fall into the theme and to act as a reminder of what’s available. Though of course, there are so many more frankincense and myrrh incenses out in the market.  However, I do believe the below are a good representative sampling of some of the better ones.

Fusoos frankincense resins: We’ve talked a lot about Hougari frankincense here at the ORS – and rightly so, it’s amazing frankincense, with its bright and lovely citrusy top notes followed by an earthy balsamic endnote. However, it’s time to give Fusoos, Hougari’s sibling, some consideration as well. Fusoos is a type of frankincense from Oman (which incidentally is the birthplace for the best frankincense resins) and differs from Hougari in that it’s less citrusy with a drier scent and is slightly earthier.  Incidentally, the Omani people consider Fusoos to be superior to Hougari.

Yemeni Myrrh: Those that love myrrh really should try and obtain the resin from Yemen. This Middle Eastern country produces the best myrrh, with a darkly resinous edge, one with depth and a scent that lingers for a long time.

Minorien frankincense: This provides good frankincense aroma with a woody undertone; alas there is no citrusy top notes though.  Nonetheless, Minorien as a company has provided consistently good work, and their rendition of frankincense is a good one, one that is more subtle.

Tennendo frankincense:  Tennendo uses frankincense resins from Oman. Whether or not Tennendo utilizes hougari resins is unknown. Regardless, don’t expect the citrusy top notes that are often found in Hougari frankincense, but instead a slightly sweet, slightly fruity honeydew melon top note. The frankincense scent itself is earthy. I’m quite fond of this incense, but I know others don’t care for the fruity sweetness, and prefer a darker more straight up frankincense scent.

Kyukyodo Shirohato White Dove: This is an interesting mix of frankincense, sandalwood, and a touch of floral. This is not a sweet scent like Tennendo’s frankincense. This is a warmer, woodier aroma. The frankincense and floral scents are accent notes.

Pure Incense Connoisseur Frankincense:  This is a sweet and foody type of frankincense scent. Due to the vanilla powder and other ingredients in the base, there are touches of cocoa and caramel notes to this incense. The frankincense scent is an endnote and muted as well. Those that would prefer a less candy like scent and more frankincense should look elsewhere. However, those of you that like the sweet scents are likely to be over the moon for this incense.

Fred Soll Classic Frankincense: The name says it all; this is a classic frankincense scent. This is smoky and resiny goodness in a stick form.

Fred Soll Frankincense and Cedar: This is a mix of frankincense, cedar, and pinon herbs. This is an unusual blend that is slightly musky. This incense does not have the bright citrusy notes of Hougari (boswellia sacra), which isn’t surprising because Fred uses resins from boswellia thurifera, another type of frankincense tree from Somalia. Nonetheless, this is still a good frankincense scent, and due to the addition of cedar, has a warm woody note.

Fred Soll Frankincense and Patchouli: A nice mix of frankincense, patchouli, and pinon. The frankincense and patchouli are the more prominent scents, and work surprising well together with the earthy sweet patchouli blending well with the resiny frankincense.

Fred Soll Frankincense Jasmine and Roses: Due to the jasmine and rose notes, this is more of a floral than frankincense aroma. Top notes are jasmine, followed by rose, and the frankincense is the end note. The frankincense is muted here, so for those that prefer more dominant frankincense, you should consider going with another incense. Though this is still a very good incense blend, and those that are looking for a new floral twist on frankincense may enjoy this particular blending.

Fred Soll Frankincense and Myrrh: Fred’s rendition on the classic pairing of these two incense resins. The myrrh is not very strong, which may appeal to those that aren’t myrrh aficionados. Frankincense is the more dominant scent, with myrrh being muted and the end note. This is still nice incense, and is a good choice for people that want an easy accessible stick with these scents but don’t want to bother with the real resins.

Ancient Forest Frankincense and Myrrh: An excellent blend of frankincense and myrrh, with a nice even balance between the two resins. The myrrh is readily apparent but not overwhelming. These short little incense sticks once lit are very smoky. Though like Fred Soll sticks, they do have a tendency to be difficult to light or stay lit.

Orthodox Incense Myrrh: About a year ago, I wrote this about orthodox myrrh – “The athonite style myrrh, blended in with floral oils, is a nice change of pace. The top notes are of a fine floral bouquet, the scent of various flowers blended in together, which then give way to the bitter resinous edge of myrrh. The two play off each other very well, the soft sweet florals give way to a sharper, dry, resiny myrrh earthiness. However, the floral notes still linger, and so the edge that myrrh brings isn’t completely overwhelming. It’s an interesting contrast, as if this is the olfactory version of balancing sweet with sour/bitter in a culinary dish. That said, I think that those that don’t normally take to myrrh would like this athonite style of it. However, hardcore myrrh lovers and traditionalists could literally turn their noses up at this, believing that the florals are too soft, too sweet, and detract from the lovely bitter edge that myrrh is known for. The floral bouquet in this athonite style is myrrh is very hard to pin down. I can’t say definitively what floral oils are in it, but I think I’m detecting honeysuckle, lily, lilac, perhaps lily of the valley, and the merest whisper of rose.” I recently revisited this incense and all of the above remains true, though the myrrh scent is now a bit more muted, having lost some of its potency. Nonetheless, this is still lovely incense, and one that I recommend.

Omani Frankincense sticks: This is an incense stick that I discovered a while back, one that is made in Oman and which uses genuine Omani frankincense resins. The aroma is bright, sharp, and penetrating, and very fragrant. This is an excellent frankincense stick, one that provides a very authentic frankincense aroma. It doesn’t state so on the package, but it’s quite likely that hougari frankincense are used in these sticks. The citrusy and balsamic notes associated with hougari are present in these sticks. Regardless of whether Hougari is used or not, this is a superior frankincense incense stick, and might just be the best in the market for those looking for a pure unadulterated frankincense scent without having to use the actual resins. This incense stick is about eight and half inches in length, with six inches of it being burnable, and the remaining two and half inches being the handle. This is very smoky, and burn time duration is about an hour and a half.

Incidentally, note that the Orthodox athonite myrrh resins are available from OrthodoxIncense.com. The Omani frankincense sticks are available from Ibn Saif Trading in Oman (see my review of this incense retailer in the Review Your Retailer section). The other incenses mentioned in this article can be found at various retailers on the internet.

So what are you burning this December? Are you veering toward the traditional frankincense and myrrh due to the holiday/seasonal associations? Or are you burning whatever suits your fancy? Perhaps something calming and relaxing to sooth raging emotions caused by holiday stress and madness? Chime in and let us know!

Top Ten Incenses for July 2010

I have the pleasure of writing up the Top Ten Incenses for the month. Below are my top ten for July 2010. In the review process, I’ve re-acquainted myself with forgotten favorites, and have had to revise an opinion of an incense which at first I didn’t particularly care for all that much. That’s one of the bonuses of writing top ten reviews – old favorites resurface and remind you why their favorites and other incenses get additional chances to impress.

Well, without further ado, here’s my July Top Ten for 2010:

Pure Incense Blue Lotus: Absence makes the heart grow fonder, and indeed, that’s what I’ve found with this incense. It’s been a while since I’ve burnt some Blue Lotus incense, and I only recently returned to it, but I’m glad that I did.  I’ve been critical in the past about Pure Incense, citing their base blend of charcoal, vanilla, and sandalwood creates a generic shared aroma to all their incenses.  I still think that is the case, but that shouldn’t detract from the fact that they make very good incenses. This Blue Lotus is floral and perfumey, and sweet, and really all around lovely.

Shroff Patcholie (Patchouli): Earthy and perfumey, with just a touch of sweetness, this is a wonderful patchouli scent. It’s got a good scent throw, and one stick will scent a large room easily, leaving a lingering patchouli scent that is sure to please. One of the best patchouli incenses out there, with an authentic aroma, very affordable, and lasts a good long time. If you like patchouli, you owe it to yourself to try Shroff’s Patcholie.

Fred Soll’s Desert Patchouli: Different from Shroff’s patcholie in that there’s Soll’s signature blend of pinon resin present in this incense. This is a really nice patchouli pinon combination, with the pinon adding a nice resiny finish to the stick. Unlike Shroff’s version, the patchouli scent doesn’t have that sweet note in it, either.  This is a lighter and drier patchouli scent and worth trying as well.

Hougary Frankincense: This is the King, nay, the Emperor of all franks, and if you like frankincense, then you really must sample Hougary.  Resiny rich, with the balsamic base note and the wonderful citrusy lemon and/or orange top note, Hougary, which comes only from Oman, is in a class all by itself. Hougary is more expensive than other frankincenses, but you get what you pay for, and here you’ll get top notch quality. Even unlit, these resins perfume the air with their unique rich resin scent.

Al Haramain Bait Al Arab Cambodi Oudh Bakhoor: Baby, it’s bakhoor, and what a bakhoor! If you are unfamiliar with bakhoor, it is a type of incense from the Middle East.  Bakhoor can come in tablets, pellets, and/or chunks of woodchips. Bakhoors generally contain oudh (aloeswood) scent and are usually very aromatic and/or perfumey. Seriously, virtually every bakhoor that I’ve ever tried has packed a serious scent wallop. A little goes a very, very, very long way with these incenses. Al Haramain’s version of Bait Al Arab shouldn’t be confused with Swiss Arabian’s Bait al Arab (which was previously reviewed here on the ORS).  Firstly, Al Haramain’s Bait al Arab comes in perfume drenched wood chunks or chips, and not dry tablets like the Swiss Arabian version. Secondly, these woodchips are just permeated with one of the loveliest mélange of scents. A lot is going on here; the overall scent is a complex blend of oudh, amber, floral essences, and resins.  It’s very rich – and err, so is the price tag for this bakhoor.  Available at ParadisePerfumes.com, this retails for $39 CDN for 100 grams. However, since it is such a potent bakhoor, a little does go a long way and therefore this will last a long time. So in the end, you will get quality and your money’s worth. This is just my personal preference, but if I had to choose between Swiss Arabian’s version or Al Haramain’s version, I’d go with Al Haramain’s Bait Al Arab.  Incidentally, note that you will need charcoal tablets and/or an electric incense burner for this bakhoor. This type of incense cannot be burnt by itself, and needs a heating element like a hot coal or an electric incense burner.

Swiss Arabian’s Kashkha Oodh Muattar: Another bakhoor, this time from Swiss Arabian. This bakhoor smells like a sophisticated aloeswood floral perfume. I’m not kidding, if you like perfumey aloeswood, or just perfumes and colognes in general, you should consider trying this bakhoor.  Kashkha comes in small agarwood (aloeswood) pellets, and even unlit, smells of oudh, musk, and floral essences.  This is because the agarwood has been drenched in concentrated perfume, and thus emits its  oudhy floral goodness into the air. Though bakhoors aren’t generally aimed as for being for one particular gender, I would classify the Kashkha scent as being more feminine. It truly does remind me of a high end women’s perfume. This bakhoor also requires charcoal tablets and/or an electric incense burner to burn it. Note that this bakhoor is available for purchase at: http://www.mukhalat.com/Bakhoor_c2.htm.  I hasten to add that I did not purchase my Kashkha bakhoor from Mukhalat.com, so I have no idea what their customer service is like. However, note that Mukhalat offers free shipping on all products for delivery within the USA.

Gangchen Healing Buddha Incense:  Excellent and affordable incense from Gangchen. The box states that “These Aroma Therapeutic incense is made from very special thirty-one (agar 31) natural ingredients. This incense specially made for Lungny (wind diseases) which we got from nervous and fear, such as heart attack, insomnia, shivering, temporary loss of consciousness, back pain, dryness of the mouth.  This incense can help.  Also it’s very good for massage.”  This is gentle and soothing incense, with a soft woody aroma. The scent is comprised of aloeswood, juniper, and Himalayan herbs.  I personally find it very calming and relaxing, and one good for decompressing and unwinding.

Baieido’s Koh En:  A delicious spicy aloeswood treat that is to be whipped out for those special occasions, or when one is feeling particularly indulgent and/or flush. This is one of Baieido’s more upscale aloeswood incenses, and retails for $120 USD for sixty 6.5 inch sticks (though given how expensive some of the kyara incenses are, this is really more like the mid-tier or low end of the upscale level!).  My budget doesn’t allow for this to be an everyday treat. But when that aloeswood craving needs to be satisfied, this incense is one that will certainly fit the bill (alas, in more ways than one! 😮 ).

Minorien Fu-In Sandalwood: Classic sandalwood scent, using classic “old mountain” sandalwood from India.  If you’re looking for an authentic sandalwood scent that won’t break the bank, then try Minorien Fu. This is excellent sandalwood incense, and one that is not likely to disappoint.

Tibetan Medical College’s Holy Land Grade 2: This is a surprise entry even to me, given that when I first tried Holy Land Grade 2 a few months ago, I was underwhelmed. All the hype and praise heaped upon it had built it up to mythical levels, plus I was still in my perfumey incense phase, and was at the time, taken aback by this incense’s muscular rawness, its combination of musk and floral and spice and dark earthiness.  To give you a point of reference, if you’ve tried Dzogchen Monastery Lotus Incense, think of Holy Land Grade 2 as similar to that, but amplified and expanded upon.  Anyway, as time passed and I fell into a Tibetan incense phase, I started burning the HL Grade 2, and slowly, little by little, I went from being disinterested to liking it, and now to really loving it. In a previous email to an ORS reader, I had stated that once I had used up my HL Grade 2 that I wasn’t going to re-purchase it, opting instead to spend my money on other incenses. But now, as I look at the last few sticks of it in my collection, I’m forced to reconsider that notion…

Well there you have it, my top ten for the month – all incenses that I heartily recommend. What ten incenses are in your top ten for July? Chime in and let us know what you’ve been burning, and why. 🙂

Best,

Anne

Everything’s Coming Up Roses – A Valentine’s Day Tribute to the Flower of Love

It’s February 1st, and Valentine’s Day is only 13 days away. In keeping with the holiday centered on love and romance, I have decided to do reviews on rose incenses. After all, the rose is the flower most often associated with amour (that’s the French word for love, by the way) and romance.

Indeed, the rose makes a significant appearance in one of the most deeply romantic of Shakespeare’s plays, Romeo and Juliet. It is a love struck Juliet that mentions the rose in her famous soliloquy:

JULIET:
      ‘Tis but thy name that is my enemy;
      Thou art thyself, though not a Montague.
      What’s Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot,
      Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
      Belonging to a man. O, be some other name!
      What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
      By any other name would smell as sweet;
      So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call’d,
      Retain that dear perfection which he owes
      Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name,
      And for that name which is no part of thee
      Take all myself.

So was Juliet right? Does a rose by any other name smell as sweet? With regards to the following incenses, I’d say… definitely, maybe. The following ten incenses cover a range of styles, countries, and prices. Each has the rose scent in one form or another, and each is, in its own unique way, special and lovely. I hasten to add though, that this is not the list of the top ten best rose incenses, ever. There are a million rose incenses out there in the market, and it’s impossible to cover them all, obviously. These ten incenses were selected to give you, Dear Reader, a sampling range of what’s good, available, and perhaps to you, new and different.

I have grouped these incenses by Country, and where possible, have even given the word for ‘rose’ in that country’s language. After all, a rose by any name is always a thing of beauty!

Japan:

Fun trivia fact, the Japanese word for ‘rose’ is ‘Bara.’

Encens du Monde’s Rose:

 As some of you already know, Encens du Monde is a French company based near Montpellier, France. They are a major distributor of quality incenses in Europe, offering a fine variety of Japanese, Indian, Tibetan, and other incenses. It’s speculated that some of their incenses are actually made by Japanese incense companies, and then sold under the Encens du Monde label. At any rate, Encens du Monde’s Rose incense is a Japanese style incense, i.e. without a stick core. This incense has a soft, slightly spicy floral rose scent. I catch whiffs of benzoin and clove mixed in with the rose scent. The rose is both a top note and mid-note here. The benzoin and clove come in at the end. Incidentally, the marketing write up on the label reads “The delicate and feminine nobility of the May rose.” And that is actually an apt description, the rose scent here is decidedly a young rose scent; this is not the deep full-bodied aroma of a mature rose, but that a of young spring rose, just in the process of blooming.

Shoyeido’s Rose (as a part of the Royal Floral World Incense Pack):

Shoyeido’s Royal Floral World Incense Pack contains 60 pieces of three different scented incenses. There are twenty sticks each of jasmine, rose, and sandalwood. The sticks are a short seven cms or two and three quarters inches. Despite their tiny size, don’t be fooled, these little guys pack quite a scent wallop! One little stick will scent a room easily. The rose incense in this pack is a strong spicy rose floral. The rose is actually a mid-note here, with the top notes being spicy, and again, there is benzoin, clove, and cassia. I even catch a whiff of sandalwood and vanilla as the endnotes, which add a sweet finish to this stick. This is a more mature rose scent, deeper and a bit darker, but it’s not a strong rose aroma. Nonetheless, it’s quite enjoyable, and I think those that like spicy florals will like this incense.

Baieido’s Rose (Smokeless incense):

Like incense but have a problem with smoke? Or have family and friends that have allergies and issues with smoke? Then smokeless incense may be the item for you. Baieido’s smokeless rose incense is a soft subtle rose incense. This is a gentle rose aroma that quietly wafts around the room, scenting the atmosphere. This rose scent doesn’t have the spice elements of Encens du Monde or of Shoyeido. This is a simple, gentle rose scent, with just a hint of greenery mixed in at the end. The green note connotes leaves, and stems, and adds a light airiness that is quite enjoyable. Indeed, I wonder if the green note may even be green tea.

India:

Fun trivia fact, the Indian word for ‘rose’ is ‘gul’ or ‘gulab.’

Pure Incense Connoisseur Rose:

I’ve recently been a bit critical of Pure Incense for using the same base blend in all their incenses. I mentioned that the base elements often exude a vanilla and honey sweetness, resulting in all their incenses having a similar scent with no distinct personality of their own. That said, I do like Pure Incense as a brand, and I do like their Connoisseur Rose incense. Unlike Encens du Monde or Shoyeido, this is not a spicy rose floral scent. Rather it’s a sweet rosey floral, with elements that verge towards candy like at times due to the vanilla and honey notes in the base. Indeed, the sweetness reminds me of desserts and candy such as rose scented Turkish delight. Those that prefer sweet florals over that of spicy florals would probably like this. In fact, I think this incense would appeal to children because of the sweet elements in it.

Shroff’s Night Rose:

Of all the incenses reviewed in this post, I think Shroff’s Night Rose is the most romantic named one of them all. I don’t know, but there’s a certain romantic element there, the name kinda just connotes romance, and love, and starry skies over a trellis full of roses, with their sweet floral scent gently wafting in the evening air. Well, ok, I’m a bit of a sappy romantic at times; you didn’t know that about me, did you? 🙂

Anyhow, Shroff, the masters of Indian agarbattis, serve up another delight in their Night Rose incense. This one is actually similar to Pure Incense’s Connoisseur Rose, but without as many sweet elements; there’s a vanilla note here, but it’s not as strong as in the Connoisseur Rose. More importantly, the rose is stronger, and is the topnote, too. Even unlit, this stick is choice, smelling softly of roses. This is not a super strong rose scent, though, so those of you looking for that should look elsewhere (and I’ll tell you where that is at the end of this post).

Tibet:

Fun trivia fact, I don’t know what the Tibetan word for ‘rose’ is. Though it might just be ‘sa snum.’ At least that’s what popped up when I tried to use an online English/Tibetan dictionary. However, I’m not even sure that the dictionary was working. If you know, chime in!

Chandra Devi Rose:

This is a smokey rose incense, with the typical campfire smoke smell that is common in so many Tibetan incenses as an endnote. The rose scent here is a soft and subtle one, and comes in bursts. This isn’t a bad incense from Chandra Devi, though their jasmine one is far superior to their rose. If you like smokey rose scents, Chandra Devi’s rose may be the one to try.

USA:

Fun trivia fact, the American word for ‘rose’ is ‘rose’, just like it is for the Brits, Canadians, Ozzies, and the rest of the English speaking world! 😛

Orthodox Incense’s Mt. Athos’ Rose:

This particular rose incense is done up in the Greek orthodox anthonite style, which is to say that pieces of frankincense are soaked in floral oils (in this case, rose) and dried and cured, and then dusted with purified clay powder. The end result is a rosey frankincense scent, though here, the rose florals dominant, and the frankincense is a slight endnote. This Mt. Athos rose was actually made in a monastery in America, thus my classification. Anyway, the rose scent is a soft sweet floral, and quite rosey indeed. This is a fairly potent incense, two teaspoons of it on my electric incense burner scented my apartment very well. In other words, this has a good scent throw. And the scent is very nice, too.

Nu Essence Venus:

Ah, Venus, an aptly named incense to feature in a Valentine’s day themed review. Venus was the Greco-roman goddess of love. And the Nu Essence Venus incense is definitely inspired by that. The write up on the back of the tin states, “Creative imagination, the bridge between the mind and the heart, from thought to Art. Remembering that real victory is through love.”

This is a very interesting incense. Visually, just looking at this incense is arresting. It’s the color of red ochre clay, and is soft and powdery with little bits of dried rose petals in it. There are a number of other ingredients, and rose is not the star player, but is instead, a member of the symphony. Every ingredient is playing a part, and rose is one element of many. Some of the ingredients are sandalwood, benzoin, marshmallow root, nutmeg, rose, peppermint and myrtle. The scent is a bit complex, starting off floral, then hitting spicy, then drifting into sweet, and finally ending as minty (that’s the peppermint kicking in) and uplifting.

Fred Soll’s Joyous Rose:

If Shroff’s Night Rose has the most romantic name of all the incenses in this post, it’s Fred Soll’s Joyous Rose that is the most romantic incense of them all. Fred created this incense for his wife, Joy, and named it after her. And what a joy it is, indeed. Fred’s signature use of pinon resin and high quality oils are present here as in all his other incenses. The pinon and the rose would seem to be an odd blend, but they work as nice contrasting elements, and play off each other well. I liken this to finding an unexpected wild rose amongst a pinon forest. The rose shouldn’t really be there, but it is, and it brightens and uplifts the surrounding pinon forest.

United Arab Emirates:

Fun trivia fact, the Arabic word for ‘rose’ is ‘wardh.’

Duggatal Oudh Wardh Taifi:

Oh, you really didn’t think that I wouldn’t give this one a mention, did you? This is still my all time favorite rose incense, and is one of my favorite incenses, plain and simple. Earlier I said that if you were looking for a stronger, truer rose scent, I’d tell you where to find it. Well, Dear Reader, here it is. I’ve already given a detailed review of this incense, so I won’t repeat myself. Suffice to say, this is the truest rose scented incense out there that I know of; the scent is incredible, and perfectly captures that of fresh cut red roses.

Well, there you have it. A sample of various rose scented incenses for you to peruse and try. All the incenses mentioned above, except for the Duggatal Oudh Wardh Taifi, may be purchased at Essence of the Ages. The Duggatal Oudh Wardh Taifi may be purchased at Paradise Perfumes.Com.

Whether you plan on using any of the above rose incenses for a Valentine’s Day evening with your sweetheart, or if you simply want to scent your home with the scent of roses, I think any of the above would create an interesting atmosphere. I’d like to think that there’s a little something for everyone, and that the price ranges for these incenses reflect that sentiment, too. The prices range from a few dollars for a roll of Shroff’s Night Rose to close to forty for Shoyeido’s Royal World Incense pack.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this post, I know it was a pleasure writing it for you.

Best,

Anne