Saturday, 20 May 2017

SAC (Sandesh) Rose






This is bright and fresh, and while not particularly rose like or even floral, is quite clean and pleasant with a minor underlying muskiness. It's gentle and unobtrusive, and more refined than the Rose cones by SAC, which I found a little harsh and obviously chemical. A useful everyday incense.


Score: 25

***

SAC (Sandesh)


Best rose incense

Friday, 19 May 2017

Moksh Agarbatti





Moksh Agarbatti of Bangalore was founded in 1996 and makes Swarna Champa, a brand it is proud of, but which doesn't appear to be available in the UK. It claims to be the "world's largest selling agarbatties", with over 35 different fragrances, which they advertise on TV in India - here's a Moksh TV Advert from April 2015. They have three manufacturing unites in Bangalore.

All the sticks I have tried so far have been reasonably pleasant everyday perfume dipped charcoal sticks.  Not special for meditation or for guests, but decent everyday stuff to brighten up and freshen a room.

Reviews


Moksh Akash Phool (Champa)
Score: 33


Moksh Swarna Gulab (Rose)
Score: 29


Moksh Lucky Kewda
Score: 29


Moksh Swarna Chandan
Score: 19

Incense reviewed: 4
Highest score: 33
Lowest score: 19
Average: 29

***

The Best Incense Makers

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Moksh Swarna Chandan






Highly fragranced perfume dipped charcoal stick. Shows its chemical origins a little too obviously. Not a good blend. Pine disinfectant and beeswax are the main scents - I'm not picking up much sandalwood.

It's not an offensive incense, just that it doesn't do much. This is the stuff to use in the toilet to mask bad odours, and outdoors to keep the insects away.


Score: 19
***

Moksh Agarbatti

Nippon Morning Star Cedarwood





Slightly sweet cedarwood scent with hints of seaweed, fresh mushroom and patchouli - or, perhaps more accurately, cannabis resin. Interesting mineral and savoury quality to this - I'm not sure how pleasant I find it, but it is certainly intriguing. Hmm, there's even a hint of tomato ketchup - how odd! This dried paste method of making incense is older than the Indian rolled stick method. This was the method that the Japanese took from China who had taken if from India, but then India discovered the method of rolling the paste onto a bamboo stick, and that quickly gained favour - so much so that there are few dry paste sticks made in India any more - the Panchaveti that I adore being one of them.

This is quite nice, but its not heavenly.  It's OK. A little crude, with some off notes, but quite interesting. It comes complete with a little clay stand to hold one stick at a time, and the sticks are rolled inside a piece of paper giving a little information about the other fragrances Nippon do.


Score: 25





Bhagvati Ppure Nagchampa Black Opium





Ooooh. Nice sweet, musky, heady scent with high floral notes and sweet biscuit dipped in an oily alcohol. Sugary and rich. This is very nice.  There's a rich sensual warmth given off, quite musky and sexual. This is definitely an incense to get into the mood for a night of love. If you invite someone home and burn this, you'll be sending a clear message!  Gosh I love this.


Score: 40



Bhagvati Ppure Nagchampa Patchouli






Has a rich woody scent with a sharp freshness of cedar and pine underpinned with a beeswax warmth. The sticks are powdery and slightly damp.  This is a very decent incense, though it doesn't quite lift me. There isn't much going on with the scent itself and it has the prickle of halmaddi and one stick is enough to start giving me a bit of a headache  so I do hesitate to burn this stuff for close review. It works for me as an incense to burn in a room when I'm not there to give the room a pleasant fragrance to return to. It doesn't have the sweetness or muskiness or earthiness or headiness of patchouli - this is most definitely about the pine and cedar.


Score: 30


Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Stamford Mythical Black Incense Dragon's Fire




There is an immediate warm spice, hints of cinnamon and camphor, from this. I expect dragon's blood has been in the mind of the makers, as there is some elements of that as well. A warm, cleansing and hugely enjoyable scent which is good enough to be used for quiet moments of relaxation or meditation as well as an everyday incense. I am really quite impressed with this.

Score: 40
***

Mythical "Black Magic" cones

Other ratings of incense by Aargee

Stamford Mythical Black Incense Angel's Touch




This has some clean, sharp floral, citric and mineral notes leaning toward pine. It's a fresh good morning scent to wake up the house. It's clean and pleasant - a decent everyday incense useful for bringing some freshness and energy into the house.

Score: 32
***

"Mythical" Black Incense cones


Other ratings of incense by Aargee

Stamford Mythical Black Incense Werewolf's Bite





I have been quiet for a little while, meanwhile more incense is being delivered to the house, and I'm exploring Egyptian and Persian incense, which is somewhat exciting me. But I have a few bits and pieces of incense on my desk that need to be cleared away, including a couple more of the Mythical Black cone series. As with most of the others, the Werewolf's bite has a sweet, slightly musky scent which I find very appealing - this is a sweet woody scent with good hints of frankincense and myrrh that is sensual, yet light and fun. It is flexible enough to be used for a variety of occasions, and is an ideal everyday incense. I love this. Yummy!

Score: 39
***


Mythical "Black Magic" cones


Other ratings of incense by Aargee

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Poundland Coley & Gill Incense Sticks 5PK




Pack of five different scents from Poundland under their Coley & Gill brand. The scent names are the same as their big single packs with free incense holder, though the sticks are of a slightly different composition - the Cotton Fresh for example is perfume-dipped charcoal in this multi pack, but perfume-dipped sawdust in the single packs.  And the lengths are different - the single pack sticks are 10'', and the sticks in these multi packs are 9''.  It is likely that the stick blanks were made by different companies. The box says "Fragrances made in the UK", and there is clear knowledge of the ingredients with lists of the chemicals (such as butylphenyl, methylpropional, benzyl salicylate, etc), so it is likely the blanks were made in India or Asia (possibly Vietnam), then imported to the UK where they were perfume-dipped. Or perhaps the perfume solvents were shipped out to a company in India where the sticks were then dipped. Hmmm.

There are 16 sticks per hex pack, so 5x16 = 80.  The single packs contain 60 sticks - though you do get a stick holder, so it's about the same value.


French Vanilla

Vanilla is an effective and pleasant incense scent, and it works OK here. It's not heavenly, but is certainly better than a toilet cleaner incense. You do get the scent of vanilla rather than just the stick core as you normally do on cheap perfume-dipped incense. This is a very decent everyday incense, and is a damn good price. Contains methylcinnamaldehyde which gives it a woody warmth and coumarin, which gives it an organic sweetness.
Score: 27

Sandalwood

This one is less successful. It bears little resemblance to sandalwood, and is quite clearly chemical based. It is a little sharp and hot and reveals some of the charcoal base. This is not a decent everyday incense, this is basic toilet freshener. Contains 4-tert butylcyclohexyl acetate which is meant to give a woody, cedar like smell, but this scent is higher and cleaner and crisper than wood. It's not offensive, but it's not impressive either.
Score: 19


Strawberry Flower & Lily

Charcoal base dipped in a floral scented solvent - quite sharp and harsh. Some smoke and fruit notes when burning. Hints of cherry, but no strawberry. Contains heliotropine (also known as piperonal)  which would account for the floral and the cherry notes. This is quite acceptable. I quite like this. It's not heavenly, but it smells clean, fresh and with a lively cherry fruit quality, that it would be acceptable as an everyday incense.
Score: 24


Fresh Lavender

The scent is not that strong on this so some of the sharpness and heat of the base charcoal comes through. Contains linalool, which should give it a woody sweetness, but I'm getting getting much of that. Toward the end of the stick I get a creamy rich warth which is quite pleasant, but it's too little too late....
Score: 20

Cotton Fresh

Oooh I like this. Soft, creamy and very yummy, with musky undertones.  Contains a wide range of chemicals that have been blended to create this scent, so this has not been made by some back street manufacturer, but by one of the major companies who have their own laboratories. This is a little removed from romantic images of the artisan incense maker using skills handed on by his father, but the scent is so pleasant and useful and inexpensive for everyday use. I enjoy the variety of types of incense that are available - the rather rough, raw, earthy stuff from Tibet, the sensual Persian tablets, the subtle flowery little Japanese sticks, the everyday perfume dipped cones from the back streets of India as well as the handrolled halmaddi sticks made for the American market.
Score: 36


Overall

This is a decent package, great value for money as everyday incense. There are a range of scents which are OK to burn to freshen up the house, or to cover up a nasty pong in the toilet .Added to which the Cotton Fresh is worth £1 just by itself, so I feel this package is well worth buying again.

Score: 30

***

Top Ten 
Perfume-Dipped Incense

Friday, 7 April 2017

Moksh Lucky Kewda




Kewda or kewra or ketaki is the distilled essence of the screw pine or pandanus plant, which is used as a flavouring in Asian and Indian cooking, particularly biryani. The Lucky part of the name possibly comes from a nickname for Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh, where the plant is mostly grown.

It's an everyday perfume-dipped incense by Moksh, but it's good stuff as the scent is a little unusual. It doesn't smell that impressive on the stick - it has a floor polish sharp solvent nature, though even there some distinctiveness is shown. The bamboo stick is not top quality as it intrudes slightly on burning - there's a little too much of burnt pencil shavings coming through. The charcoal paste has been applied very smoothly and evenly. At first it looks machine made, but looking closely some rolling marks can be seen. The scent is best appreciated in the background. If sniffed too directly, the off notes from the solvent become too apparent, but left to gently inform a room, it does offer pleasant musky floral notes with hints of leather and tamarind.  I like this. It's not one to use for meditation or for when guests are around, but as an everyday incense, it works well. Would I buy it again? Probably not, but it's up there at the top of the everyday incenses.

Score: 29

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

SAC (Sandesh) Sandalwood




I reach into my incense box for some everyday perfume-dipped incense to freshen and brighten up the house after lunch, and also do a quick review before settling down to work find a hex box of SAC, and think that'll do. Open it up and it's a a proper job masala incense. OK, fair enough. I'll give it a go. I like masala incense, but because it tends to be a bit heavy, and I can have a negative reaction to some of the ingredients, particularly halmaddi, I don't burn it as often or as casually as perfume-dipped incense, and review it rarely, because when I do burn it, I prefer to burn it in a different room to me, or burn it when we're going out so we have the benefit of it when we return (masala incense tends to linger longer and more pleasantly than perfume-dipped). Reviewing masala incense I find difficult, because to be close enough to it to do it justice can give me a headache at least, and often also set up a throat irritation.  This incense has a charcoal base onto which is rolled the dried masala ingredients - there is a solvent on top, so this has also been dipped.  Hmmm. Maybe it's not a proper job masala. There is a very thin covering of powder. The scent on the stick is citric and pure alcohol, there's pine, and some vague floral notes. Hmm. I'm just getting a bit of wood - cedar and sandalwood. But this is not a pure, quality sandal;wood. The scent from the burning stick is quite soft and mild, so there doesn't appear to be any halmaddi. The base charcoal comes through first - a little hot and harsh, but there is also an awareness of sandalwood. Hmmm. It's OK, but this is more like a perfume-dipped stick than a proper-job masala. There's a bit of both, but the main scent appears to be driven by the perfume solvent that the stick has been dipped in. It's OK, but it's going into my everyday box rather then my good stuff.

Score:  25
***

SAC (Sandesh)


Sandalwood