Snow Land / Purification, Peace

Snow Land is a Tibetan monastery that produces well above-average incense, although pricewise only the Purification incense (scroll to bottom) would rate as a high ender. Snow Land’s Peace (also scroll to bottom), while costing $10 a package, contains two rolls of long stick incense, making it a very good bargain for the price. Like most of the monasteries creating high quality and/or high end incense, Snow Land produces rather distinctive aromas that sets itself apart from other monasteries. However in both cases they don’t go for extract or musk-heavy scents nor settle for inexpensive aromas with high contents of cheap wood.

Snow Land Purification incense, while seeming to consist of high quality ingredients, actually has a very subtle, smooth and sophisticated aroma to it and isn’t quite as arresting as most of the incenses in its price range. The comparisons (thanks Beth!) to a single malt scotch or cognac are quite interesting, possibly due to the way the herbs manage to resemble some of the peatier and heather-like elements of a good whisky, while managing to give off a very polished and smooth smell. In many ways this is the yin to the yang of the Peace incense, as it’s not a multiplex aroma peppered through with various subscents to capture your imagination. Rather it seems to go for the sublime quality, creating a very pleasant base (a lot of sandalwood, particularly red) with some coppery hints, but giving way to a slight sublime edge that I could imagine would be very effective for meditation. It’s quite possible this has a long learning curve to it as it keeps giving me ineffable impressions throughout the light.

Snow Land Peace is packaged in a neat box with Tibetan motifs that are almost psychedelic or at least visionary art. It’s a substantially long stick created from what seems like a menagerie of ingredients. It’s quite similar to the Medicine King sticks in that the central aroma of the incense tends to grains and spices, giving the scent hints of corn, barbeque chips, wheat, tobasco sauce, ketchup and lots of pepper. It seems a vastly complex incense as even though these hints give the impression it smells like cooking, the woodiness and spice content add a bit of sweetness and depth to the overall scent often giving me the impression it’s like two incenses fused into one, one a more traditional Temple or meditation incense, the other something much more savory and edgy. It’s quite organic overall with a slight musk background similar to Mindroling Grade 1and over time I’m finding this more and more akin to a high end incense, possibly due to the stick’s cutting power.

Incenses like this remind you of just how wide ranging scents can be even within one particular style or country. They’re likely to appear to the adventurous who will marvel over how different both of these incenses are in completely different ways.