Kunjudo / Kan Ken Koh / Breath, Sleep

Early in 2021 about when I reopened ORS I covered an interesting new incense Japan Incense had gotten in stock called Kan Ken Koh/Healing. This was an interesting charcoal-based mix of oils packaged in these neat little glass test tubes. As it turns out this incense is part of a series from which Japan Incense has turned up two new ones, Sleep and Breath. With a bit more data one can only come to the conclusion that these are really essential oil mixes rather than what you usually see in traditional Japanese sticks, and almost feel like they could have been targeted at a more new age or even co-op sort of audience. As such, they’re quite different than what you’d normally expect.

Breath lists magnolia kobus, eucalyptus oil, artemesia princeps and borneol as ingredients, with the eucalyptus being the focus. You absolutely get that eucalyptus leaf oil scent from this burn, in fact it’s a bit tea-like in a way and I’d assume the artmesia (mugwort) probably helps get it there as well, moving the overall aroma in an herbaceous direction. The borneol content seems rather small in comparison, hanging just onto the edges and the magnolia seems to be used more to ground this in a friendlier direction rather than being a feature on its own. It’s a neat stick overall because of its herbal qualities and quite natural smelling, definitely recommended for those who enjoy eucalyptus. That tree’s sort of slightly bitter and unique scent has really been given justice by this stick.

Sleep lists cedarwood, chamomile, thyme and hops, something of a very unusual mix I would guess; however, the link between chamomile tea and a bit of drowsiness seems fairly common in US herbal tea culture as well. Overall Sleep isn’t terribly different than Breath but where Breath seemed to have some high resolution oils in the mix, Sleep seems a bit more dialed back, perhaps intentionally. Cedarwood would actually not be the kind of aroma I’d imagine would help me sleep and it’s fairly strong here, but the rest of the herbs seem like they’re pulling it all a bit more in the right direction and it feels like that thyme and hops mix gives the edge of the scent a bit of luster it might otherwise be missing. But of the two in the series this feels less individual and realized than the others in the sense that the other two aromas really pop out at you while this one feels a bit more blended.

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Temple of Incense / Nag Champa Gold; Oudh Masala; Dhoop Cones / Absolute Sandalwood, Benzoin, Frankincense, Lavender, Oudh, Rose, Vetiver

Temple of Incense Part 13
Temple of Incense Part 14
The entire Temple of Incense review series can be found at the Incense Reviews Index

Wrapping up the Temple of Incense reviews is everything else I managed to get that was in stock. After these reviews, the only things missing are the Palo Santo cones, and the Bakhoor aloeswood chips which I may review at a later date. Also, want to note that both Mike and I figured we had covered Nag Champa Gold but I’ll insert that here as we both didn’t manage to review the ToI version of this famous stick.

Starting with Nag Champa Gold, one of the flagships of the HH line is also a flagship here. This is essentially the same stick. For those unfamiliar, this is a very dry and astringent version of the famous nag champa scent. It has gold flakes/dust that comes from mica. I was told that this is actual waste from statuary production and since mica doesn’t tend to add anything to a scent it is purely aesthetic, like eating gold leaf. The stick itself is a yellowish bamboo core with a extruded charcoal-based masala dusted in tan and gold dust. The oil of the magnolia in this is exquisite and scents the stick before you light it. After lighting, the saltiness of the sandalwood and a touch of halmaddi/vanilla to give it some sweetness. My understanding is that if you used to like this stick a decade ago that it has a touch less halmaddi in it which makes it drier and more astringent. Overall, this is still one of the better Nag Champas on the market.

Absolute Sandalwood Dhoop Cone is an all black charcoal cone with oils added. This should not be confused with incense sticks of the same name because this is not similar in any way. This has some of the same oils I think go into Sandalwood Extreme, as this is a fairly good representation of Mysore sandalwood in all it’s salted butter notes. There is a touch of something sweet like maybe a hint of benzoin in here as well but it only seems to come out and play briefly before it gets coated in santalum smells.

Benzoin Prayer Dhoop Cone has a different format for cones, this is more like a thick cylinder that might be as big as 3-4 of the other sized cones. My biggest complaint on this is that they are harder to light without a graduated tip, but they give off a bigger smoke/smell and burn a lot longer. If you like the Benzoin Absolute stick that they make, this is a great continuation of that scent. This is a less sweet version of benzoin, while I’m still not an expert on the resin localities, this one doesn’t have the vanilla mashmallow scent and instead is something more like baking marzipan cookies and gunpowder. This is possibly my favorite of the cones I’ve reviewed in terms of scent.

Another in the cylinder format, Frankincense Prayer Dhoop Cone is different in that instead of being an all-charcoal base, this looks like pressed sawdust. This is a good representation of the boswellia sacra resin, it has a clean, citrusy scent that is a bit crisper and cleaner than the Frankincense stick they offer. Great for any application where you need 20 minutes of constant frankincense aroma, this is a room filler because of the thickness, and it has been a favorite in the family when I light one because everyone in the house smells it.

Lavender Dhoop Cone returns to the cone-shaped charcoal format and does a good job of bringing out a few different formats of lavender. Opening the jar, it smells like my favorite version of lavender oil, the one that captures a bit of the ‘green’ note like you’re in a field of lavender. When you light this, it becomes apparent that this oil is pretty much the only ingredient as you’re met with a mixture of both the fresh lavender and the more ‘warm’ lavender that I associate more like with soap and dryer sheets, the smell of relaxation. This really has a very clean feel to it and the marketing copy on the jar says it will ‘balance all seven chakras’ and I do enjoy how this seemed to have brightened the room a little bit.

Oudh Dhoop Cone is another cone-shaped charcoal formatted cone. Essentially, this is a cone version of the Oudh Masala, or at least, this is what my initial impression is upon lighting this black cone. It has a strong ‘cologne’ presence of oud here, where they are using distillation techniques that compress the scent into a much thinner profile without all the extra bells and whistles of the nearby plants and animals mixed into the scent. This is oud. Oud oud oud. As the cone has burned a bit, I can tell now that this is a bit different than the oudh masala, and it has a lighter, sweeter note than the Oudh, which is earthy and strong. Either way, I love how this scent is coming out and I definitely want a lot more of this.

Oudh Masala comes in a 60g Miron glass jar and is a powder meant for a electric burner or charcoal. I picked this up because of the name conjuring the HH reference and because I’m a huge fan of the stick. This is hard to describe, but if you’ve experienced Oudh and Himalayan Spikenard, this is like combining the best aspects of both of those and cranking up the intensity and the resiny goodness as loud as you can handle. In fact, if I put too much on at once, it gets overpowering because the oudh cologne scent is right there in the middle. If you enjoy powder incense format, this is so oily that you can actually just make a little pile and light it on fire. You won’t consume 100% of the powder but it burns most of the way by itself it’s so dense and resinous.

With Rose Prayer Dhoop Cone, we have another cylinder format, but like the Frankincense Dhoop Cone, this one isn’t made of charcoal, instead it looks like crushed rose petals and something like makko. Infused with what must be a mixture of oils, we get a fresh rose scent with a slightly sweet undertone like the roses are central to a bouquet that also includes something sweet like candied rose as well. Overall, this is a really good cone and the size of it means it burns a bit longer than the conical ones. This is good for people who really like the rose to smell fresher. That candied rose is under the central rose scent, which really is very good and reflected in the price point. It smells like rose petals and confectioners sugar. Really nice.

At Last, the Vetiver Dhoop Cone. Vetiver is always a wonderful scent when it is done right. My husband and I love vetiver essential oil and for many years used the oil as a perfume and received many compliments. This is a sweeter version of khus. This black cone seems to be charcoal with oils and I’m guessing they’re using all the best. There is a touch of what I detect as sandalwood in here, or maybe it’s just another note of vetiver I’m unfamiliar with because so rarely in incense do you get vetiver by itself for a conversation, most of the time it’s in a chorus.

Pure-Incense / Absolute / Golden Champa (Discontinued), Green Champa, Magnolia, Vrindavan Champa, Vrindavan Flower, Vrindavan Leela

Pure Incense Part 1
Pure Incense Part 2

For installment 3 of the Pure-Incense series, one of two British outlets for the incense made by Haridas Madhavadas, we’re going to move away from the current Connoisseur line into the Absolute range for the next several installments, a group of incenses that has already grown by five new scents since I started writing about them. This group roughly covers the champa and Vrindavan scents along with the very similar Magnolia stick and perhaps the commonality among these scents is they’re mostly very sweet florals and among the most accessible of the catalog’s aromas. [NOTE 10/8/21: Due to variation in natural products it is unlikely Pure Incense reviews written from 2009-2013 will be completely accurate in 2021. Links below are to new versions, so please use caution in purchasing. Pure Incense uses different grade levels and you’re likely to find their best work in their Connoisseur and Connoisseur Vintage ranges.]

It’s worth noting something that really does affect all the incenses in the Pure Incense range, the base of charcoal, vanilla and sandalwood. Unlike many incenses this base is always aromatic enough to be part of every incense’s bouquet and this is no more true than it is in the Absolute line. In the Connoisseur range, the heavier amount of oils often plays this base scent down a little, but it’s very noticeable in the Absolutes, particularly so in a group of incenses like these where the sweetness of the base matches the scent. So it has to be said that vanilla plays a part of all these incenses, some more so than others. This is a tendency that can often be quite strong depending on one’s moods and it really does set apart the Madhavada family incenses from other scents, and perhaps ironically few of these are pure scents of any kind. On the other hand they’re still very very good.

Both Purelands and Pure-Incense have a similar Golden Champa. They’re both masala styles and thus completely different from the Sai Flora clones that show up with the same name. Between the two masalas, this one’s slightly the superior, with a rich, full, sweet blend full of vanilla, honey, spice and a floral oil that’s like a different take on a blooming jasmine or magnolia like aroma. The only thing this incense does share with the Sai Flora clones is the sort of sugary/confectionary-like sweetness at heart, but other than that everything else is different, there’s no power shock here, no soil-like earthiness or coppery overtones. But despite being a mellower stick, it’s still very rich and thus matches the idea of “golden” as being something a little more special. And as an Absolute range incense it’s already topped out on the perfume, so it would seem no connoisseur version is even necessary. [NOTE 10/8/21: There no longer appears to be an Absolute Golden Champa but there is a Classic version.]

Pure-Incense’s Green Champa mixes up the champa quite a bit, removing the central richness the Golden version exhibits, giving a much drier note that lets the floral oils come to the fore. This is one of those incenses where aromatic fatigue would easily kill the top note, in a cleared out room this is actually a very special incense on top, with a wonderful flowery scent. While a green incenses often hints at evergreen, mint, patchouli, and/or vetivert there aren’t really huge hits here of any of these scents, rather the greenness is almost a result of its individuality rather than any added ingredients. And it leaves the Green Champa slightly diffficult to describe as you’d really have to check a stick out to get an idea of its unique personality.

From gold to green to distinctly red, the Magnolia in this range definitely has some similarities with the other sweet and friendly red scents such as the Vrindavan Champa or Pink Sayli, which makes it fit quite nicely in this group. Those who know the Primo version of this scent will already be roughly familiar with it, but even at the Absolute level this incense is far more deluxe, with a nice redolent magnolia on top. As I mentioned earlier this is one of those incenses where the vanilla is almost equal to the top note, which too makes this an incense close to champa regions as well as having some similarities to jasmine. The fruitiness of the scent also blends in quite nicely with the floral and vanilla elements, leaving this incense quite attractive. And again it’s hard to imagine the benefits of a Connoisseur version except that it might knock out the heavy vanilla a bit. However in this case you might not want that.

The Vrindavan descriptor refers to a town in north India where I believe the creators of all these incenses originates, a town with a rich religious heritage. Thus, unlike many Pure-Incense scents these seem to be variations on themes rather than direct aromatic representations and as such some of the more interesting incenses in this Absolute line. The Vrindavan Champa is a glorious, sweet and rich champa masala with a fruity floral blend not terribly far from the Pink Sayli (as implied above). The sandalwood peaks through quite nicely here and gives the background a nice bit of breadth and depth. I get lots of cherry and strawberry along with the heady champa oil and the type of pleasant tangyness that helps the whole from getting too sweet. Perhaps my appreciation for this is that I’ve already burned through about half of a 50g package of this already. [10/12/21: Just a quick confirmation that recent stock shows the Vrindavan Champa as mostly unchanged from this review. – Mike]

Vrindavan Flower is totally different and it’s been an incense discussed around here in the comments before. In this case we’re talking about a variation on a similar theme as that of the Purelands Flower, Desert Flower or other masalas that tend less to the rosy and sweet than to a sort of exotic dry and herbal blend. However in this case the incense goes even farther into a much more intense, oil rich blend that has a really heavy lime and citrus scent to it a long with the herbal florals. It has also been pointed out to me on a couple of occasions that it does also have some soapy notes to it, which perhaps leaves me to feel this is an exception to the rule, an incense I like very much even with those sorts of overtones. Indeed this probably won’t be for everyone and its participation on our Indian Hall of Fame is probably on the fence, but it still knocks me out every time, and I do think it’s unlike any other scent even those that roughly fall in the same family. [NOTE 10/8/21: This looks to have been renamed as Absolute Vrindavan Flora.]

Vrindavan Leela (also known as Ponds) is an incense I’m fairly confused about. I received a nice sample of this which included a package of three red sticks and instantly fell in love with them, it was yet another group of red floral sticks similar to some of the others I mentioned above, but yet again a different direction. So I was surprised to find out when I ordered a 50g package that I received a completely different scent, one that was colored green and while nice, nothing I’d have been in a hurry to restock. This green stick is more similar to something like the Primo Original Musk blend with some floral topping, it’s much more a generic type of Madhavada stick then the red stick was where the milder ingredients end up letting the base come through a bit too much. Anyway I’m not sure what the change was, if perhaps a mix up was made in the sample (because there wasn’t a mix up with the 50g package given the label), but it’s perhaps the one among these six I can’t immediately recommend. Even after some time and use I haven’t felt this assert its personality.

More Pure-Incense sticks to come, I’m counting at least another 20 we haven’t covered yet…

Primo / Extra Special Connoisseur / Night Queen (+ Original), Patchouli (+ Original), Ruh Khus, Sandalwood (+ Original), Spice, Yellow Rose + Original / Kashmiri Rose, Lavender, Magnolia, Saffron (Discontinued Line)

Primo Part 1

It was very interesting to put two and two together recently and discover that the family who makes Primo Incense in India, Haridas Madhavda, is also responsible for the Pure-Incense and Jivada lines, in fact I’ll end up making this change in the category lists to the left at some point. It does make sense, though, given the similarity of the bases in all of these incenses, but it’s also quite interesting to see that there are still not a lot of true duplicates across these various companies. Clearly Madhavada create incense from different specs, despite using similar bases.

However, while I’ve not tried Jivada yet, I think it’s safe to say that Pure Incense’s blends are definitely made at a much higher quality level than what we’re seeing from Primo, and, of course, the price does reflect these differences. Primo incenses are very basic and unfortunately this does not bode particularly well for their charcoal florals and in the case of very similar incenses like sandalwood, frankincense and the like, the Pure Incense versions are nearly always recommended as being the better buy, that is, even the Absolutes are more potent than any of the Primos.

But even in Primo we do see a two level difference in some of the aromas. For example with Night Queen there are both Extra Special Connoisseur and Original formulas, although I’d doubt many would be able to tell the difference between them, being that both are floral perfumes on a charcoal and vanilla base. In both cases the vanilla leaks through far too much and the floral oil is either gentle enough or dissipated to really have much of an impact. However, the oil is fairly powdery and pretty and somehow it ends up not being too much of a disaster (particularly in the Extra Special Connoisseur version where it’s a little stronger), although when you realize you can get the Shroff version without paying much more, there seems to be little reason to settle for either of these two.

The differences between the two versions of the Patchouli are a little more pronounced. The Original version is nearly a wash, with the oil so faint you’re almost left with just the base, the only impression being a rough earthiness mixed in with vanilla and charcoal. The Extra Special Connoisseur is far more intense, with the typical dry earth and clay mixture, but even though the scent is noticeable, the charcoal and vanilla base still causes quite a bit of conflict in the scent. In fact these days it’s almost inexcusable to produce a patchouli that doesn’t work given it’s relative affordability and sure enough, even the Pure Incense version is much more refined than this one.

Strangely enough, the Extra Special Connoisseur Ruh Khus is a lot closer to the way you’d wish the patchouli would smell. The charcoal here has been reduced to more masala-like levels and even though there’s still a noticeable vanilla subnote in the mix, the Khus is still well defined: earthy, pungent and green, with even a faint menthol touch and that bit of sweetness common to the herb. As a green and earthy aroma it’s quite similar to some green patchouli masalas, but this is quite a bit more special. Not perfect, but definitely in Primo’s upper echelon (I have to admit to looking forward to trying Pure Incense’s version, which given their track record, must be better).

I’m almost to the point where reviewing this type of masala Sandalwood is something of an exercise in tedium, being that it’s so common along many Indian lines, a masala with a hit of lower quality sandalwood oil in the mix. Perhaps the differences are intensity, with the oil being the best in the Pure Incense Connoisseur line, coming down a bit in the Absolute and then perhaps the Triloka and Original/Extra Special Connoisseur versions might be right after. In Primo’s case I thought maybe the Original had the better formula, with a small bit of spice in the mix and a slightly more intense oil, but at this point I think the differences are virtually trivial. Sandalwood incenses are often so similar that one’s advised to go for the Pure Incense Connoisseur if you want an Indian stick, or better yet, to try one of several Japanese incenses for something a bit more authentic to the real wood.

Spice only exists in the Extra Special Connoisseur range and you’d expect that anything with such a name should pop off the stick in a mix of cinnamon and clove, but unfortunately this one’s quite a bit duller. The base seems more herbal than spicy and the top notes only seem to have the lightest cinnamon-like aroma to it. Perhaps the mix with the base is what weakens the whole, but at the same time there’s some hard to place notes in the middle that keep it from becoming unpleasant and therefore it’s more bland than offensive.

The Yellow Rose is fairly typical of low quality floral charcoal disasters, the oil seems very cheap and the base is as much a part of the bouquet as the perfume is. That’s not to say the base overwhelms, after all the oil here is quite strong, but the mix of all the poor elements is quite offputting to say the least. I’m assuming the Pure-Incense version is far superior, as this is the sort of incense that almost made me swear off Indian florals at one point (which would have no doubt been to my detriment). The Original Kashmiri Rose fares no better. Perhaps the only difference is that one does get the impression the perfume oils are different enough to warrant the names, but I think I liked the Kashmiri even less than the Yellow. Or perhaps the base is even harsher here, way too much charcoal and vanilla in the mix.

The Original Lavender continues the issue from the roses, charcoal and vanilla bases but with an oil that barely resembles any sort of lavender you might be familiar. I should reiterate at this point that all my samples came fresh directly from Primo itself and that I’d tried all of these not far after purchase, so it’s difficult to even assume these might be too old, but the lavender is so faint in this one it barely seems present. Definitely one to avoid.

You’d think the same issues would exist with the Original Magnolia but it’s definitely more pleasant than the Night Queen, roses and Lavender even if the red color of the stick hides the fact we’re still dealing with a roughly similar base. It would be difficult to blame the Madhavada family entirely, after all the Pure Incense Absolute Magnolia is amazing, missing entirely the sort of sour middle note the Primo stick manifests. But clearly cheaper materials were used in this one.

At least I can leave this write up on a higher note, as the Original Saffron is a much better incense, different in quality from either the Shroff or Pure-Incense versions and probably more traditional in that it’s a masala with a noticeable sandalwood-heavy base that helps to drown out the usual charcoal and vanilla notes in so many Primos. In fact this is probably one of the line’s standout scents, with a sweetness in the mix that reaches a bit further in the champa direction that most of the line. It burns pleasant throughout even if one gets the impression there’s probably very little true Saffron here.

This covers just about the entire Primo line, although I see in both samplers there’s no Vanillatopia, but given the wallops of vanilla in nearly all the Primo scents it seems like it might end up being a pretty redundant and thus it’s not a stick I’m in a hurry to try. Overall, it seems that Pure Incense has more or less superceded Primo in quality, with much finer incenses from the same original and venerable incense making family, so there’s really no need to waste any time on this group, although I did end up coming out of the appraisal with positive opinions of the ESC Cedarwood, ESC Ruh Khus, Original Musk and Original Saffron mixes. It’s interesting to realize that for a long time Primo was very much considered one of the better incenses available in the US, so while we’ve lost quite a bit of quality in champas and durbars, it seems that we’re seeing much better product in the masala family.

SAMPLER NOTES: Keigado, Seikado, Kunmeido

I’ve long had the internal debate on reviewing incenses where I only have small samples, in many cases I often just hang onto the ones I’m going to buy anyway and do a review proper on them. But I’m getting to the point where I’m kind of backing up with them and in a lot of cases they’re new and it’s probably time to get the word out, particularly as we’ve been seeing a lot of new modern styled imports coming in in the last six months. So periodically and probably through the end of the year I hope to get some comments out on these in batches of (approx.) 5 or 6.

The three Keigados in this batch, however, have been around for a couple years. The Blue Berry was even discussed in some comments a while back, and I can see why, it’s a pleasant smokeless stick that does what it says on the box, exude a pleasant smell of blueberries that’s pitched just about right. However I’m at the point where I wouldn’t even be sure what I’d do with 370 sticks of this, I could easily even imagine getting tired of it. But it’s light, airy and friendly, I can’t imagine the person who would find it unpleasant. [Please note that the link now goes to a 70 stick for $7 bundle, rather than the old 370 stick version, I think this makes this incense more attractive given you’re not getting too many sticks. – Mike 7/6/21]

Keigado’s Pink Magnolia is one of their three magnolias and I believe I covered the Purple Magnolia some time ago. Like the purple, the pink isn’t smokeless, the main difference is this stick evokes typical pink-like smells, perhaps rose or carnation in parts, as much as it does magnolia. In fact I was reminded a little of the Shunkohdo Shuhou I reviewed yesterday in terms of tone. The Pink Magnolia, however, has a slight bit of cinnamon spice in the mix which made me like it a little more than the purple, but overall this is the kind of low end, inexpensive floral that will appeal more to the modern than traditional incense fan.

Sennichiko, however, is definitely more in the traditional vein and strikes me as, perhaps, a slightly more inexpensive version of Keigado’s Full Moon, the amber scents are not quite as strong in this version, although it’s strong enough that this doesn’t just come off like another low end green sandalwood. But like most of those, it has a mild perfume oil on top that’s hard to describe, except that it seems to have a touch of patchouli or cinnamon in the mix. And certainly at $3 a roll, it’s kind of a steal.

Moving over to Seikado is another entry in the company’s Hitori-Shizuka line, the Fancy Floral. That’s not particularly the kind of description that really appeals to my sensibilities so much and my opinion wasn’t far off the same one I had for the Floral Elegant in the same line. Like many an NK floral (or even Daihatsu or Kunjudo), it’s part of the modern trend of perfumed incense sticks, and like a couple I’ll talk about later in the Shorindo Koibana line or the NK Free Pure Spirit line, I get watermelon more than I do floral, sort of a gentle and subtle feminine perfume that isn’t likely to do more than lightly perfume an area. Like the whole line, the base is sandalwood but in this incense more than the others it’s perhaps the most sublimated.

Seikado’s Kyoyama Bokusho is also modern, but in this case they’ve put together a distinctive and special incense not quite like any other, although again I’m fairly put off by the sheer number of sticks (180+) in the box more than I am by the price; that’s probably way more incense than I can crunch at this point. Anyway this incense is unique in that it largely exudes the aroma of Sumi ink. Not having any conscious memory of Sumi ink specifically, I can say that it does remind me of the better examples of calligraphic ink I can remember and married to camphor it makes for a distinct almost oceanic incense, very water elemental. It’s smokeless, so never gets too potent, a bit spicy and overall this one just about anyone will need a sample of first to check out as it has virtually no comparison at least among imports.

Finally, another oldie from the Kunmeido stable, the Hosen is one I feel amiss at not having discovered earlier as although it’s a distinct modern floral, it’s really no less brilliant than most of the line’s traditionals and one of the best multi-floral air freshener type incenses I can think of. While it’s definitely a bouquet scent, I’d say the violet’s out front on this one but what’s great about it from my perspective is it’s almost as spicy as it is floral and the complexity the combined styles exude make for a fascinating burn. Some similar incenses might be Baieido’s Kokonoe Floral and Izumi and less so Shorindo’s Chabana Green Tea, all mentioned mostly due to their similarities as freshener types. A 200 stick box, again, could be stretching it for me, but in this case I might be on the purchase side of the fence as I can see this mixing into a day perfectly.

Up over the next few weeks new incense from Shorindo (including the excellent Wayko), a handful from the new Ancient Forest line, scents from Scents of Japan, Nihon Senko Seizo, Saraike Kunbutsudo, Tahodo and I believe Ross will have some words on a few new Daihatsus.

Keigado / Purple Magnolia

From what I can tell with English information, Keigado mostly do three styles of incense: floral blends including smokeless scents, two different meditation long sticks and a standard called Full Moon. Undoubtedly their Japanese catalog is deeper.

In question seems to be one of the only non-smokeless floral incenses, Purple Magnolia. Given 370 3 inch sticks for $16.00-18.00, this is a very inexpensive blend, one that blends a floral and somewhat earthy scent with a backing of slight spice. Purple when it comes to incense invokes for me both violet and spice, and I’m reminded of unusual spice masalas that have an almost Crayola-like note. While Purple Magnolia doesn’t have the same note, the slight spice hints make this a little more alluring than it would be if this was just your average wood-and-flower.

I’m not sure how much this actually smells like purple magnolias or any magnolias for that matter, but it’s very user friendly with just a slight exotic tinge that gives it a bit of character. Ask your supplier for a sampler, as although they don’t seem to retail, it’s how I came across this.