Hall of Fame: Tibetan Style Incense (Bhutan, China, India, Nepal, Taiwan)

This is basically an attempt to list great Tibetan-styled incenses under different price categories. Incenses without links have not been reviewed here yet or are newly added to this list, you can also check the Top 10 lists in the index for comments on unreviewed incenses. If you have suggestions to add to this list at any time, please use the comments section.

HIGH END ($20.01+)

MID RANGE ($10.01-$20)

AVERAGE RANGE ($5.01-$10)

$5 or LESS

The category lists for this page have been changed from the Japanese Incense list to better address the variety and price ranges of Tibetan style incenses, as very few of them are priced above the $15 range, and nearly all of these (save Bosen) are Chinese imports, likely containing animal musk. It also gives the opportunity to lower the threshold for good incenses in the lower two ranges, given the prices, and allow the addition of new aromas. For a while this will be something of a test run as I experiment with that threshold. As of the rebuilding of this page (6/3/09), over 20 new incenses have been added and about that many are still under consideration. Incenses marked with an asterix are considered strong starting points and arguably the best for their given category.

16 Comments

  1. Terra Renee said,

    June 3, 2015 at 6:34 pm

    BOSEN’s Blessing is definitely worthy of the spot on this list! It’s a superb incense and one of the best non-resins I’ve ever smelled. I even enjoy this more than Aloeswood. I prefer the (no longer sold) Blessing Coils to the sticks, however. They last longer and seem to have a slightly stronger fragrance to them.

  2. italiano215 said,

    May 1, 2013 at 9:36 pm

    Anyone try this:

    tashi choling monastery incense
    Bought this today have not burned yet,any input is it good,quality?

  3. clv said,

    April 11, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    I got a package today with the Tibetan Medical College Holy Land and Shroff Little Woods I ordered. 😀

    I totally understand what you mean now by a ‘learning curve’ as it relates to incense.

    I opened the Holy Land and held it up to my nose for a sniff and thought “I’ll NEVER be able to burn this”. It was so unlike any incense I’ve ever smelled before and very unusual! Actually, unusual in a not good way for someone who’s addicted to Nag Champas.

    Then I lit a stick and…better. Kind of musky/slightly woodsy. Walked by it a few minutes later and even better!, a little floral! A few minutes later, smelling herbs now!

    It’s burned down about 2 inches now, and I like it very much. I think I may even grow to love it. It actually does smell as if it would be good for you!

    It’s almost as if it’s changing from minute to minute.

    • Mike said,

      April 11, 2011 at 2:15 pm

      My guess is you might find the Kai un Koh unusual at first as well, if only because both it and Holy Land are very different from Indian styles. Anyway I’m glad you stuck with the Holy Land, it’s definitely worth it!

      • clv said,

        April 20, 2011 at 7:29 pm

        The third stick of Holy Land made a believer out of me. Funny how it took that long to realize how amazing this incense is.

        I wish I could express myself as well as you do, Mike. I have so many thoughts about this incense I can’t seem to find words for.

        It’s just…..phenomenal. 🙂

        And so is the Kai un Koh!

        • Mike said,

          April 21, 2011 at 8:11 am

          Holy Land’s one of those few incenses that has a true ineffable quality to it. Lots of Tibetan incenses claim magnificent healing power over multiple conditions, but Holy Land’s the only one I know of that commenters repeatedly speak of as relaxing and calming. The juju is for sure alive at Tibetan Medical College. Anyway it’s been a lot of fun reading your comments over the incenses, seems like we probably have very similar tastes!

          • clv said,

            April 22, 2011 at 7:23 pm

            It is very calming, I found that out today after a very crazy, busy, stressful morning. All the way home I was thinking Holy Land…Holy Land.

            As soon as I walked in the door I lit a stick and had it in a small bowl of sand at my computer desk, practically in my lap and situated so the smoke was wafting right into my face.

            Then I started fretting. What if EOTA runs out of stock? What if, for some reason, Beth couldn’t get any more? Maybe I’d better buy some more, just in case. Maybe I’d better buy a LOT.

            I’ve got it bad. And every stick just gets better.

            • Mike said,

              April 25, 2011 at 3:15 pm

              Well I hope it will be some small comfort to tell you that Beth has restocked Holy Land at least 2 or 3 times since she first got it in and I believe she stocked deep the last time, so you should be good to go (and at worst would probably only have to wait as long as she’d need to restock if she ran out). FWIW, I keep two new boxes of this as backup, so I know the feeling. 🙂

              • Gregg King said,

                September 4, 2012 at 9:19 pm

                I know the death of the Highland has already been covered, but you may soon be writing the epitaph for the TMC brands as well. I recently received fresh samples from a connection that has just finished a 3 month buying trip through China, and what he sent me of all the major brands was very disheartening!! I am forwarding these to Ross, etc. for further opinions, but the change between what EOTA has in stock, purchased over a year ago, and what is being made now is major. These samples did not appear to include any Samye, so maybe there is still hope there, but for the others a very major drop in quality. Both the TMC’s reminded me of the smell one gets when opening or burning the Mindroling #2, no real smell to the stick before burning, not much afterward, no pistaschios or musk anymore, and for some reason, the Nectar now costs more(marginally), than the Holy Land.

  4. Kieran said,

    December 9, 2010 at 2:23 am

    I am wondering if anyone has tried the Five Flying Fairies Chinese Incense, as I am an Incense Crafter, I do not usualy buy Incense unless it is the whole-source product but I am interested in the Fairy references and inspiration and of course the scent. I am concerned that it may have sandalwoods, aloewood/agarwoods, Bing Pian borneol Camphor or other threatened or endangered plants and also animal sourced products as I am Vegan. I happen to be chinese and feel that my craft connects me more to the culture of china which has played a large role in the world of Incense though doesn’t look particularly promising here in the states at the moment…..It was considered one of the 5 fine arts such as calligraphy, floral arrangement, scroll management tea ceremony and one other.

  5. Steve said,

    November 12, 2009 at 7:05 pm

    Considering my love of Tibetan incense, I only just now thought to look at your hall of fame! Your asterisked items are dead on, Mike! (well, I haven’t tried the Bosen or ropes yet, but all the others)

    Highland powder is quite nice and reasonably similar to the sticks. But have you tried the Samye Monastery Samanthabadra powder? – it will curl your toes 😀 It has quite a tanginess to it. It took some time to warm up to it, but now I enjoy it.

    – Steve

    • Mike said,

      November 17, 2009 at 8:57 am

      I’ve never tried the Samanthabadhra powder, is it distinctly different from the stick? I definitely have to check it out if it is, but was always led to believe they were pretty close. I’m terribly fond of most of the incenses that come out of Tibet itself so am always game for more.

      • Steve said,

        November 17, 2009 at 4:29 pm

        The powder does seem a bit different to me. At EotA, Beth has 2 incenses from Samye Monastery – the Samanthabadra sticks and Samye Monastery Incense Powder. I wonder if these are actually two different formulations that I just assumed to be the same? Their brief descriptions share the same ingredients, but the powder doesn’t actually have “Samanthabadra” in its name.

        – Steve

    • Kieran said,

      December 9, 2010 at 5:06 pm

      THough I do not remember the name and not all ropes may be the same, the only time I have tried a rope style incense, it was musky, leafy in the way it is herbaceous and maybe some of that complex cheese or mold kinda pungence. I find them fascinating and like the fact that they use a lot less wood materials many of which can be, unfortunately for conservation, sandalwoods and Lagaarwood

  6. maria said,

    August 10, 2009 at 5:13 am

    hola!!! en mis vacaciones visite una tienda en la que compre un incienso de la india con aroma natural y me encanto el aroma!! seria posible encontrar en navarra ( tudela) una tienda que lo distribulla o en zaragoza( aragon). o ¿hacer pedido por via internet de este producto? natural incense satya. gracias y un saludo


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