Chimi Poe Jorkhang / Kaar Sur-Poe, Maar Sur-Poe

So after so many Bhutanese incense reviews of red/purple incenses it feels like a bit of a relief to get incenses that are tan colored. Honestly I wondered right away if Kaar Sur-Poe and Maar Sur-Poe were the same incense because only the K/M and the white/pink wrappers were really different. They appear to be the same shade of tan as well, but I had to move them around a bunch in the light to confirm that. In a previous review I was also comparing an incense to a deleted one from long ago and it feels like I need to do that again. Kaar Sur-Poe is described as containing “a special blend of fruits, cereals and medicinal plants with an aroma both woody and spicy and not at all overpowering.” Maar Sur-Poe is described a bit more in detail as containing “an important blend of fruits, cereals, edible medicinal plants, milk, butter, honey,  juice, alcohol and animal fats.” Both blends remind me a lot of the long deleted or unavailable Lung Ta line. The use of food ingredients in these blends give these incenses a rather unique sort of sour and thick scent that I can sense in these incenses as well. So with that said, these are actually quite a bit different than most Bhutanese traditional incenses.

However I started writing this with the possibility they may just be the same incense. And they are indeed so close you really only need one and perhaps so close that the variation I am sensing is tough to assign to either a different incense or just a variation. But I think we have to assume the different list of ingredients sets them apart. But they’re so close I’m going to review them as one and just try and explain how they’re different, As the tan color might imply, both incenses are heavy on the woods, more so than the pink and purple styles. However where the contrasting spice mix in the reds/and purples actually often draw out a distinct sandalwood note, you really don’t get that much in either one of these. The Kaar Sur-Poe seems to be the woodier of the two with some elements that reminds me a bit of cooking spice. The Maar-Sur seems to be a bit more spicy in the whole cinnamon/clove sense you tend to get in so many incenses. And so the latter seems to be a bit tangier, maybe a bit more full bodied of a mix where the former is woodier with perhaps a bit of campfire or reediness in the actual burn. Otherwise they seem to share a great deal more in common, with a base woodiness that leans to the kind of freshly cut smell you get in a woodshop, maybe a bit of a nutty flavor to them, as well as feeling a lot of the woody elements come from trees other than the sandalwood. Neither are perhaps the kind of incense I’d reach for, as they seem perhaps a bit closer to low end Nepalese styles, but they aren’t ultimately unpleasant, just perhaps somewhat unremarkable overall.