Menri Monastery / Menri Incense

Like many Tibetan monasteries, Menri is now exiled, its new base in Dolanji, India. They create their one incense from 30 different herbs and while its blue/grey ash and deep red color do evince larger quantities of juniper wood/berries and/or cedarwood, the incense also manages, on the fresh stick to have that musky, earthy, feral, stable-like smell that implies some form of musk.

However, this combination of what seem like inexpensive woods and more expensive herbal additions falls somewhere in the middle in terms of quality. Indeed this is an incense much more pleasant than many that exude this type of leftover ash with the best part of the juniper berry giving it a slightly cherry or fruit-like aroma that you see in, say, Mindroling Grade 2 or Tashi Lhunpo’s Shing Kham Kun Khyab. There’s also quite a bit of spice content, such as cinnamon, that never really dominates the incense but makes it quite a bit more complex than you’d imagine for a dominantly woody incense. While the musky nature of the fresh stick doesn’t ever seem to dominate the burned aroma, the incense’s subtle intricacy makes it just a little more than a basic woody Tibetan. It has a pleasant high altitude earthiness that helps to make this a very fair quality for the price.