N. Ranga Rao & Sons / Woods

In the short version of this review, I’d link to this Mystic Temple review, make the note that N. Ranga Rao & Sons Woods incense is virtually identical to Mystic Temple’s Sacred Woods and then be done with it (and cheers to Janet for making the association in the comments there), and if I did so I’d be fairly accurate. Even on separate occasions I might have noticed each incense’s similarity to the fresh greenness of Shrinivas Sugandhalaya’s Patchouli Forest blend or made note of the high woody oil content it contains. However as is always the case with incense sometimes even two different batches of the same incense often have some differences.

Most noticeable here is that the Woods stick is much bigger than the more standardized Mystic Temple Sacred Woods. I toyed with including these with a (now future) review of various floras, and then thought I might move it to the champas but at the last moment thought better of it, in some ways it’s a hybrid of the two styles, but I think there’s an oil content here that perhaps makes it a one (or perhaps two) of a kind. In terms of “Woods” I think we’re talking of the Woods as a synonym for the forest, rather than the normal aloeswood and sandalwood associations that pop to mind with incense. Although there certainly seems to be a sandalwood in the mix, so much of what we’re smelling here is green, and I’d note again the Mystic Temple review where I compare this to some of the celtic or forest resin blends. That is, where there might be oils here, there are also, perhaps, pitches and resins. My nose picks up a bit of high quality cedar oil in there, waves of evergreen oils that could be anything from cypress to juniper to pine and that almost lilting fresh patchouli-like scent mentioned earlier, less the dark and earthy oil than the fringes around the edges that speak more of the fresh than the harvested. And all of this has the layers of sandalwood oil that help root the scent and give it a somewhat ancient vibe. It’s really a brilliant piece of work, a highly attractive incense that most will enjoy in either of its forms. I dare say it might be iconic despite its spin off.