Baigu Temple / Medicine Buddha Backflow Cones

The Baigu Temple Medicine Buddha Backflow Cones come in a nice little stylish pouch. Unlike the last two cones I covered (Ba’er Qude and Ganden), these are not red but a tan color and have a very different profile. The cones have the same listed ingredients as the stick incense: lavender, wormwood and sandalwood. So I think one can assume that the idea is to have two formats of the same incense, the biggest difference is that these make the waterfalls in the neat little backflow burners. However to my nose the cone format does change things around a bit. The wormwood isn’t really as present in this format and the sandalwood is a lot more intense, which may say something about how the base of the incense has been altered to support the cone format. I wrote that the Baigu stick has a bit of a funky note, but you really don’t find it in the cone. I’m not sure how much the whole backflow cone trend is really a western thing because when I search for these types of cones on, say, Amazon, they flare up a bunch of warning signs for me. But if it is and the monasteries are just reacting to this trend then making a friendlier blend for the cone seems like it’s probably a smart idea. It’s a bit of a simpler incense, has some level of spice to it that I don’t remember so much from the stick, and if you mix all that in with the sandalwood (and other wood) base with light herbal touches from the wormwood and lavender, you’ve got yourself a pleasant cone here. You might even want to start with this one before the stick at least if you’re trying to get your toes wet, although normally I still find this format to be generally weaker than a stick. They burn quick and they’re rough towards the end, where a stick would still be lit for another 20-30 minutes.

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Baigu Monastery / Baigu Temple Medicine Buddha Incense

I’ve talked about what I find maybe to be Tibet’s most dangerous incense in their regular Dzongsar incense. It is a fascinating blend for me, because to me it has the richness of incenses like Holy Land, Nectar or Wara but maybe a richness isn’t what you want with that kind of scent. In fact I’ve recently had samples and feel my review has largely held on it. It’s one of those sticks you wouldn’t recommend except to an intrepid explorer wanting to cover all angles of the range of scents you can get and in that case you really don’t want someone to miss it. What I’m missing is seeing someone try it in real time in all its funky glory. There is really no question about its alienness to the Western nose and I find that incredible fascinating.

Anyway I bring it up because that funky note, the one I’ve heard called sweaty socks but sometimes I think of it maybe as a kind of cheese – hell I’m not even sure what it really is (my best guess is there’s something like asafoetida in there) – isn’t something completely intolerable when it’s turned down some. And it is indeed turned down enough and mixed in with this Baigu Temple Medicine Buddha Incense to help assist a really deep, rich and complex Tibetan aroma. I’m always looking for something like the incenses I mentioned above. I’ve often really thought that while I have a ton of Japanese incenses on my favorite list there’s always a handful of Tibetans I utterly crave when I get into them and which I have gone through rolls of. I write this after a month of burning Wara every night. I literally can’t get enough of it and there’s no kyara price shame to stop me.

The only incenses listed in Baigu Temple Medicine Buddha incense are lavender, wormwood and sandalwood. For sure some of the funk is the wormwood, but not all of it, because from my experience it really only adds a dry part of the tang and not the more humid middle. And yeah although I may not have noticed it without reading it, the lavender is actually really obvious as part of a very herbal top note. While Baigu is a bit drier than some of the more richer incenses, I think it’s obvious how complex and involved the aroma is. It’s just that there’s some of it taken up by a bit of woodiness at base. So this is one well worthy of your attention. Yes there’s a bit of an outlay because it’s a double roll and so it may be worth asking for a sample or finding it in a variety sampler. But with where I’m at with it right now I’m really glad it is a double because I think this one could be something like a top 10 or 15 Tibetan incense because it does what all the best ones do, introduce you to something unfamiliar, fascinating and ultimately addictive.