Kyarazen’s Artisinal Incense: Song of Rain and Sea of Clouds

Sea of Clouds

The unlit sticks of Sea of Clouds smell dry, bitter and woody with a hint of borneol that adds its customary energetic uplift. I think I smell a sprinkle of dry white pepper and a hefty amount of sandalwood. The burning stick initially smells vanillic sweet. Then creamy sandalwood waltzes in, smooth and wavy and very light on its feet, smelling of mellow woods and coconut. It’s so strange that I can’t smell the camphor at all. I imagine it’s the invisible charioteer, content to drive the gently drifting and weightless wood skyward without contributing a scent of its own.

When I smell sweet agarwood incense I’m always charmed and feel as though I’ve rediscovered something very wonderful, however the bitter sticks are the ones I come back to again and again and again. Sea of Cloud’s bitterness is tempered by age-earned ease and gossamer grace, a welcome, unburdened bitterness that makes me feel determined and secure as I enjoy it’s meditative flight.

Sea of Clouds is an agarwood kiss, a breath of wood spirit, a floating puff of sylvan stillness. It takes me away, not on a wild adventure or a child’s fanciful daydream, but on an intent, silent pilgrimage made in earnest joy.

 

Song of Rain

As soon as I removed Song of Rain from its plastic sleeve I was really surprised! I wasn’t expecting to smell such strong, thick, sweet spiciness! The unlit sticks smell very ambery- lots of caramel (is that benzoin?) – accompanied by cumin, turmeric and cassia. A bittersweet chocolate makes me wonder if patchouli is the source of the herbal element. Before it’s lit, Song of Rain reminds me of a gourmand-smelling zukoh, but while it’s burning the sweet and spicy notes recede and woody and subtly animalic notes become much more prominent.

This is not the song of a suburban Spring shower. I smell the rainforest after a stampeding downpour, the sweet loaminess of sodden earth, the sour bitterness of fungus-laden bark and the damp thickness of heavy air. It’s easy to imagine green crested lizards scurrying beneath sinking rocks, birds of paradise seeking shelter under the spreading canopy and the drenched gray coats of squirrel monkeys glistening silver with sun-warmed droplets. While many amber incenses are way too sweet for my personal taste, Song of Rain balances sweet spiciness with herbal, earthy and plum skin agarwood notes. It’s a rain I’d happily sing in and a song I’d happily sing!

 

 

Aajudyo Dhupayan Rope Incense

You can find this incense as the seventh item on this page.

Rope incense is as new to me as a week or two and like any different style, it takes a bit of time to get used to it. This is especially so with rope incense, which is basically powdered aromatic materials in rice paper braided together so that the top loop can hang on a rope incense burner hook. It takes a bare spark to get the whole thing going and when it does it burns fast and very smoky, especially the bigger your rope.

And of all the ropes I tried out in my starter package, so to speak, these Aajudyo Dhupayan ropes are probably twice as large as the rest. They put off almost enough smoke to trigger my smoke alarm, although not quite. They come packaged with the terrifying visage of the sky god himself, fangs and all, and it all exudes power, not least of all the unburnt ropes themselves which smell delightfully of camphor wood.

Burning, the camphor smell isn’t dominant but one note in a symphony of aromatics. I get quite a bit of vanilla mixed in with what smells like tobacco or sagey characteristics and the whole incense is so overwhelmingly potent that it started setting off little intuitive impressions. The vanilla/camphor in front it gives it a somewhat stately presence, although the predominant smoke often works to cloud the overall aroma, and it’s recommended one make sure your space is ventilated appropriately first, as there’s quite a bit of play beneath the surface with the extra herbs.

If you’re new to ropes, you might want to try a smaller and mellower one first, but if you can handle a lot of smoke, this is well worth trying as it seems to have both aromatic and energetic qualities in abundance.