Kuengacholing Peozokhang / Yellow Tara

We have already made a stop at Kuengacholing Peozokhang with their classic Bhutanese pink stick that bears the mark of Gelephu town. This somewhat longer Yellow Tara is an intriguing and very different, mildly spicy, heavy on the sandalwood stick that really does has some yellow associations. For instance I really couldn’t get the thoughts of a banana note out of my head. The pink “Gelephu” is a pretty well blended scent and so is this one, very homogenous throughout the burn. It actually reminds me a lot more of generic Nepali incenses except the ingredients here are a lot more resolute and there’s no feeling of filler wood in the mix. It’s got maybe a bit of a harsh campfire note on the outside but there’s so much sandalwood in it it never gets too heavy. And like most good Tibetan incenses there’s a fresh feeling to it, although I would guess this could be as much as some level of say saffron or rhodendron in the mix. It’s nicely done, more of a step away from traditional monastery incenses but also a little different for a Bhutanese stick.

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Kuengacholing Peozokhang (Gelephu) / Bhutan Incense

It’s funny to me writing up another Bhutanese purple-red stick incense how much I’m starting to warm to these. You kind of want to come from the approach of, well if you know a couple of these you know the style. And you do, there really aren’t a lot of surprises. But it’s such a friendly incense overall, such an accessible one, that variations on it seem to do each example of it favors as well. I’m probably a number of observations from the level of detail where I’ll finally know where I sit in comparison to one another, but not only do I like this style, I particularly like it as a contrast to burning other incenses. Try it after a kyara or an Indian or even another Tibetan.

Anyway I’m not sure exactly what this is called. From the website on the package, the company or monastery (the “peozokhang” if you will) is Kuengacholing, but the large font on here merely says Bhutan Incense. I believe incense-traditions.ca sells this as “Gelephu” (Gelephu is a Nepalese town, so I’m not sure it’s really the name of the incense. It will work for purposes of this review but there may be no actual name.) and this seems the best way to identify it, it just doesn’t particularly stand out on the packaging. Major ingredients include juniper, rhododendron, cinnamon, clove and nutmeg (I’m surprised they didn’t include sandalwood because it’s usually on a list and it’s obviously in this one). That berry-like juniper sweetness is really the incense’s main note, but I like the way the rhododendron weaves its way through a bit like a tobacco note or something, it gives it a slight touch of wildness to it. The spice mix is there too, not particularly loud but blended just right. If Lhawang Driden is one of the deeper Bhutanese incenses, then Gelephu might be something of a lighter, higher mood example of the style. It’s not at all lacking in depth, but the musk in this is probably at its lightest and so it forgoes any density for a bit of an airier scent. It’s quite well-balanced and I find it really uplifting as well. A splendid example of a Butanese incense and very affordable too.