Tun-Da Village / N-M Jewel of Ancient Incense

I previously covered Tun-Da Village’s Master Incense, so we can assume the N-M Jewel of Ancient Incense is essentially their #2 blend. At $7 a roll, it’s almost impossible to knock a Tibetan incense of even, what, standard quality, but this may be a touch better than that. On the gift box page, we’re given clove and spices as the only ingredients, although they’re probably used in a moderate amount and not over the top like say the Kathok Monastery’s King of Incense. Anyway there’s no question this is a pleasant blend and maybe not a bad idea as a Tibetan starter incense as it’s super friendly, super affordable and not inclusive of any of the more dangerous notes you might find in some other Tibetan incenses. It’s got a bit of the mild corn chip sort of scent mixed in with the spices and a bit of tanginess and herbal quality too. There’s even some intriguing mild floral in the mix in there somewhere. It has surprisingly good definition for its price and a touch of woodiness to wrap it all up. Most of all it’s more art in balance than wowing you with any particular aspect of its profile. Monastery incenses is often the first link I go to at incense-traditions.ca, but honestly the village incenses are solid across the board. And the next Tibetan installment will include the last one on that page!

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Tun-Da Village Master Incense, Drepung Monastery Incense

These two incenses have been paired together, as Tun-Da Master Tsering Dorje is said to have produced them both. Both of these rolls come in skinny long stick bundles with similar labels and not much in the way of outer protections, with the village incense having a darker brown color.

Tun-Da Village Master Incense is a nicely salty affair and akin in its way to Dirapuk Monastery’s incense. It’s also roughly in the Holy Land area and builds up a similar musk and pistachio aroma as the smoke collects, very much to my liking. I should probably explain with this that I mean it reminds me of what a bowl of salted pistachios smelled like when I was much younger and most tended to have a red dye added to them. Without the dye the aroma isn’t quite as strong or exact but it is still kind of close. This incense is a lot woodier than Holy Land and has an unknown herbal content in the mix, but mostly seems to stay away from any spice or floral content. Reviews at incense-traditions.ca point at agarwood and cypress in the mix, both of which seem present to my nose as part of the blend. While Dirapuk Monastery is also in this range there are no noticeable borneol notes to this incense and nor is the cypress resinous like you would experience in say Bosen Pythoncidere. The results are really to form a wood substrate that doesn’t get too harsh, mostly allowing the musk scent to blend in with the saltiness. There’s no question this is a very nice stick and one that unveils a little more with each burning.

Drepung Monastery Incense is also very much a similar incense to both Dirapuk and the Tun-Da Village Master incense, although I might argue that this isn’t quite as aromatic as either one of those. The musk is definitely there although it’s a bit different in aroma to the Tun-Da. The saltiness is also a bit milder than either incense, but the benefit of that is that the musk seems to be a bit more to the foreground.

Overall though, if you discuss these two and Dirapuk together you are discussing incenses that are all very close in the same range as one another. It’s not a bad idea to see if you like the style first and with that in mind Dirapuk might be the best stop because it has the least amount of incense and the lowest price point. Purely from a scent perspective I would put the Dirapuk first as well, although the village incense is an extremely close second. But then again I think all of these are solidly within my taste range. If you tried Holy Land and didn’t warm up to it then these may not be quite to your taste, but they’re also a bit friendlier and milder as well, so it’s worth taking that into account.