Everything’s Coming Up Roses – A Valentine’s Day Tribute to the Flower of Love

It’s February 1st, and Valentine’s Day is only 13 days away. In keeping with the holiday centered on love and romance, I have decided to do reviews on rose incenses. After all, the rose is the flower most often associated with amour (that’s the French word for love, by the way) and romance.

Indeed, the rose makes a significant appearance in one of the most deeply romantic of Shakespeare’s plays, Romeo and Juliet. It is a love struck Juliet that mentions the rose in her famous soliloquy:

JULIET:
      ‘Tis but thy name that is my enemy;
      Thou art thyself, though not a Montague.
      What’s Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot,
      Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
      Belonging to a man. O, be some other name!
      What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
      By any other name would smell as sweet;
      So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call’d,
      Retain that dear perfection which he owes
      Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name,
      And for that name which is no part of thee
      Take all myself.

So was Juliet right? Does a rose by any other name smell as sweet? With regards to the following incenses, I’d say… definitely, maybe. The following ten incenses cover a range of styles, countries, and prices. Each has the rose scent in one form or another, and each is, in its own unique way, special and lovely. I hasten to add though, that this is not the list of the top ten best rose incenses, ever. There are a million rose incenses out there in the market, and it’s impossible to cover them all, obviously. These ten incenses were selected to give you, Dear Reader, a sampling range of what’s good, available, and perhaps to you, new and different.

I have grouped these incenses by Country, and where possible, have even given the word for ‘rose’ in that country’s language. After all, a rose by any name is always a thing of beauty!

Japan:

Fun trivia fact, the Japanese word for ‘rose’ is ‘Bara.’

Encens du Monde’s Rose:

 As some of you already know, Encens du Monde is a French company based near Montpellier, France. They are a major distributor of quality incenses in Europe, offering a fine variety of Japanese, Indian, Tibetan, and other incenses. It’s speculated that some of their incenses are actually made by Japanese incense companies, and then sold under the Encens du Monde label. At any rate, Encens du Monde’s Rose incense is a Japanese style incense, i.e. without a stick core. This incense has a soft, slightly spicy floral rose scent. I catch whiffs of benzoin and clove mixed in with the rose scent. The rose is both a top note and mid-note here. The benzoin and clove come in at the end. Incidentally, the marketing write up on the label reads “The delicate and feminine nobility of the May rose.” And that is actually an apt description, the rose scent here is decidedly a young rose scent; this is not the deep full-bodied aroma of a mature rose, but that a of young spring rose, just in the process of blooming.

Shoyeido’s Rose (as a part of the Royal Floral World Incense Pack):

Shoyeido’s Royal Floral World Incense Pack contains 60 pieces of three different scented incenses. There are twenty sticks each of jasmine, rose, and sandalwood. The sticks are a short seven cms or two and three quarters inches. Despite their tiny size, don’t be fooled, these little guys pack quite a scent wallop! One little stick will scent a room easily. The rose incense in this pack is a strong spicy rose floral. The rose is actually a mid-note here, with the top notes being spicy, and again, there is benzoin, clove, and cassia. I even catch a whiff of sandalwood and vanilla as the endnotes, which add a sweet finish to this stick. This is a more mature rose scent, deeper and a bit darker, but it’s not a strong rose aroma. Nonetheless, it’s quite enjoyable, and I think those that like spicy florals will like this incense.

Baieido’s Rose (Smokeless incense):

Like incense but have a problem with smoke? Or have family and friends that have allergies and issues with smoke? Then smokeless incense may be the item for you. Baieido’s smokeless rose incense is a soft subtle rose incense. This is a gentle rose aroma that quietly wafts around the room, scenting the atmosphere. This rose scent doesn’t have the spice elements of Encens du Monde or of Shoyeido. This is a simple, gentle rose scent, with just a hint of greenery mixed in at the end. The green note connotes leaves, and stems, and adds a light airiness that is quite enjoyable. Indeed, I wonder if the green note may even be green tea.

India:

Fun trivia fact, the Indian word for ‘rose’ is ‘gul’ or ‘gulab.’

Pure Incense Connoisseur Rose:

I’ve recently been a bit critical of Pure Incense for using the same base blend in all their incenses. I mentioned that the base elements often exude a vanilla and honey sweetness, resulting in all their incenses having a similar scent with no distinct personality of their own. That said, I do like Pure Incense as a brand, and I do like their Connoisseur Rose incense. Unlike Encens du Monde or Shoyeido, this is not a spicy rose floral scent. Rather it’s a sweet rosey floral, with elements that verge towards candy like at times due to the vanilla and honey notes in the base. Indeed, the sweetness reminds me of desserts and candy such as rose scented Turkish delight. Those that prefer sweet florals over that of spicy florals would probably like this. In fact, I think this incense would appeal to children because of the sweet elements in it.

Shroff’s Night Rose:

Of all the incenses reviewed in this post, I think Shroff’s Night Rose is the most romantic named one of them all. I don’t know, but there’s a certain romantic element there, the name kinda just connotes romance, and love, and starry skies over a trellis full of roses, with their sweet floral scent gently wafting in the evening air. Well, ok, I’m a bit of a sappy romantic at times; you didn’t know that about me, did you? 🙂

Anyhow, Shroff, the masters of Indian agarbattis, serve up another delight in their Night Rose incense. This one is actually similar to Pure Incense’s Connoisseur Rose, but without as many sweet elements; there’s a vanilla note here, but it’s not as strong as in the Connoisseur Rose. More importantly, the rose is stronger, and is the topnote, too. Even unlit, this stick is choice, smelling softly of roses. This is not a super strong rose scent, though, so those of you looking for that should look elsewhere (and I’ll tell you where that is at the end of this post).

Tibet:

Fun trivia fact, I don’t know what the Tibetan word for ‘rose’ is. Though it might just be ‘sa snum.’ At least that’s what popped up when I tried to use an online English/Tibetan dictionary. However, I’m not even sure that the dictionary was working. If you know, chime in!

Chandra Devi Rose:

This is a smokey rose incense, with the typical campfire smoke smell that is common in so many Tibetan incenses as an endnote. The rose scent here is a soft and subtle one, and comes in bursts. This isn’t a bad incense from Chandra Devi, though their jasmine one is far superior to their rose. If you like smokey rose scents, Chandra Devi’s rose may be the one to try.

USA:

Fun trivia fact, the American word for ‘rose’ is ‘rose’, just like it is for the Brits, Canadians, Ozzies, and the rest of the English speaking world! 😛

Orthodox Incense’s Mt. Athos’ Rose:

This particular rose incense is done up in the Greek orthodox anthonite style, which is to say that pieces of frankincense are soaked in floral oils (in this case, rose) and dried and cured, and then dusted with purified clay powder. The end result is a rosey frankincense scent, though here, the rose florals dominant, and the frankincense is a slight endnote. This Mt. Athos rose was actually made in a monastery in America, thus my classification. Anyway, the rose scent is a soft sweet floral, and quite rosey indeed. This is a fairly potent incense, two teaspoons of it on my electric incense burner scented my apartment very well. In other words, this has a good scent throw. And the scent is very nice, too.

Nu Essence Venus:

Ah, Venus, an aptly named incense to feature in a Valentine’s day themed review. Venus was the Greco-roman goddess of love. And the Nu Essence Venus incense is definitely inspired by that. The write up on the back of the tin states, “Creative imagination, the bridge between the mind and the heart, from thought to Art. Remembering that real victory is through love.”

This is a very interesting incense. Visually, just looking at this incense is arresting. It’s the color of red ochre clay, and is soft and powdery with little bits of dried rose petals in it. There are a number of other ingredients, and rose is not the star player, but is instead, a member of the symphony. Every ingredient is playing a part, and rose is one element of many. Some of the ingredients are sandalwood, benzoin, marshmallow root, nutmeg, rose, peppermint and myrtle. The scent is a bit complex, starting off floral, then hitting spicy, then drifting into sweet, and finally ending as minty (that’s the peppermint kicking in) and uplifting.

Fred Soll’s Joyous Rose:

If Shroff’s Night Rose has the most romantic name of all the incenses in this post, it’s Fred Soll’s Joyous Rose that is the most romantic incense of them all. Fred created this incense for his wife, Joy, and named it after her. And what a joy it is, indeed. Fred’s signature use of pinon resin and high quality oils are present here as in all his other incenses. The pinon and the rose would seem to be an odd blend, but they work as nice contrasting elements, and play off each other well. I liken this to finding an unexpected wild rose amongst a pinon forest. The rose shouldn’t really be there, but it is, and it brightens and uplifts the surrounding pinon forest.

United Arab Emirates:

Fun trivia fact, the Arabic word for ‘rose’ is ‘wardh.’

Duggatal Oudh Wardh Taifi:

Oh, you really didn’t think that I wouldn’t give this one a mention, did you? This is still my all time favorite rose incense, and is one of my favorite incenses, plain and simple. Earlier I said that if you were looking for a stronger, truer rose scent, I’d tell you where to find it. Well, Dear Reader, here it is. I’ve already given a detailed review of this incense, so I won’t repeat myself. Suffice to say, this is the truest rose scented incense out there that I know of; the scent is incredible, and perfectly captures that of fresh cut red roses.

Well, there you have it. A sample of various rose scented incenses for you to peruse and try. All the incenses mentioned above, except for the Duggatal Oudh Wardh Taifi, may be purchased at Essence of the Ages. The Duggatal Oudh Wardh Taifi may be purchased at Paradise Perfumes.Com.

Whether you plan on using any of the above rose incenses for a Valentine’s Day evening with your sweetheart, or if you simply want to scent your home with the scent of roses, I think any of the above would create an interesting atmosphere. I’d like to think that there’s a little something for everyone, and that the price ranges for these incenses reflect that sentiment, too. The prices range from a few dollars for a roll of Shroff’s Night Rose to close to forty for Shoyeido’s Royal World Incense pack.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this post, I know it was a pleasure writing it for you.

Best,

Anne

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