Gangri Thökar Nunnery / Snow Mountain Gathers Incense

So I was just talking about the similarity of certain nunnery incenses and how a few of them have an almost amber-ish/balsamic quality to them when one comes up that isn’t quite like that at all. In fact I had to read the fine print at incense-traditions.ca to realize Snow Mountain Gathers Incense was a nunnery-sourced incense, and it sure is a fine one. And hey how wonderful it is to get a rather large ingredients list to look at: black myrobalan, white sandalwood, red sandalwood, clove, nutmeg, saffron, alpiniae katsumadai seed, fructus amomi and herb of tabasheer. I had to look up what half that stuff is, but some of the less seen ingredients seem to impart a number of really interesting new notes for this nose, herbal qualities that mix the fresh and familiar with some neat differences. One of the things I love about these deep Tibetan picks is the aromatic variation and newness, the hope that the monks and nuns are bringing forth some ancient recipe in all of its wonderful, healing glory. And honestly this is one that will keep your sensory apparati busy, it’s rich, full bodied, has both friendly and funkier notes weaving a dance together, and it has that quintessential freshness that is the hallmark of all the best Tibetans. Make no mistake, if the more dangerous Tibetan sticks aren’t to your style, this one may be a bit challenging, but for me it’s just the right amount of balance of sour/dense to high altitude/invigorating and it has a bit of brown sugar spice and sweetness on top that gives you so many places to sense the interactions. Another Hart-curated wonder scent.

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Tibetan Medicine Company of Traditional Tibet / Long Du Relaxing Incense

Like Traditional Tibet Medicine Pharmaceutical Company’s An Shen Tranquility Incense, Tibetan Medicine Company of Traditional Tibet’s Long Du Relaxing Incense is a very different incense from its flagship blend. For one thing it’s a rare, short and stubby little incense, as if they were confident this was going to relax you so fast that they knew you didn’t really need more than the inch or so in the stick before you were off to dreamland. Also like An Shen, Long Du seems to fall roughly into that category of what might be called “Agar 31” incenses due to both the presence of agarwood and the intended effect; however, the only given (36) ingredients are sandalwood, nutmeg, myrobalan, frankincense and clove. I’m not even sure you’d notice the frankincense was there except for this list. Once again, this doesn’t resemble either Holy Land in any way, but unlike An Shen this is a bit more of an noticeable aroma with a nice bit of spice and a little tanginess too. While I understand the need to not get too aromatically invigorating with a relaxing incense, I do like that this still has some personality to it. Plus even though it’s a little box, it’s also priced accordingly. Overall a very decent woody Tibetan blend, with a pleasant and friendly aroma that sits as a good example of a traditional.