These three Indian charcoals have a few things in common, they’re all quite good for the style and they’re all very long sticks. They also represent what might be considered archetypal Indian scents, perhaps one or two here I think of subconsciously when evaluating anything new that’s similar. As implied these are all scents whose primary mode of aromatic transmission is through a mixture of perfume oils and I’ve found in all cases, the charcoal bleed through is standard and the oils work fairly well in the style.
Mysore Sugandhi Dhoop Factory’s Gateway of India is the type of scent reminiscent of what we’re finding in a stick like Shroff’s Sugandhi Bathi, a mixture of florals that mix and are difficult to identify. Of the three here, perhaps the charcoal plays the most part in this bouquet but it’s only slightly rough and I can imagine this issue may gain prominence as the stick ages and the oils volatize. But really this is the only issue as the perfume is lilting, gentle and exotic with both floral and herbal elements. Like all of these scents it’s perhaps designed more for a larger room than personal use, so it works at a premium if set up in a corner somewhere and allowed to dissipate slowly. Sure, I’d probably go with the Shroff incense mentioned over this, but they differ in style enough for them to both be worth sampling.
We’ve seen a mogra come in via Shroff as well, but the dominant mogra style from India often seems to be a Green Mogra and Puspa’s version is almost the baseline version of this scent, the one you might compare anytning new to. This captures the exotic almost lotus meets jasmine type of scent in an oil form, with its slight green and sweet contours giving it hints of flowers and a touch of menthol. A little does go a long way with this one, but again it’s a stick that works best in a large room where the oil will win out over the base, after all this is quite a lovely perfume, very watery and surreal.
Like the Gateway of India, Parekh’s Great Himalaya of India is a composite blend of floral and herbal qualities that’s difficult to parse into its components. It’s not as gentle as the Gateway perfume is and there seems to be more in the way of evergreen or woody qualities along with a dark autumn/post-harvest like smell that reminds me of aging hay or even raisins. Because of its relative strength the charcoal is at its least intrusive here and while this isn’t quite as kinetic as the sticks that use dominant florals, it still manages quite an exotic and eastern touch to it. While one might compare it to general Indian oil charcoals, it still stands on its own and it’s hard to find another incense that compares.