Thursday, 26 November 2015

Goloka Patchouli

Goloka are one of my favourite incense makers - they make top quality products with natural ingredients, training and employing widows who would otherwise struggle to survive, and profits are returned to the community to help disadvantaged children. The packaging is made from recycled paper, and uses beautiful designs. The aroma here is soft, seductive, and very pleasant. There are sharp, acidic edges which provide balance and interest to the warm, musky tones. I'm not getting too much of the dark, sweet, sexy patchouli, but there is aromatic sandalwood, which I like. Goloka do use sandalwood well - it's a rich, pine fresh, woody sandalwood that wakes and soothes the senses. Goloka also tend to use halmaddi, though I'm not getting too much of that here - just a hint in the sharp edges and a suggestion of damp sheep's wool.

All in all this is a very rewarding, softly sensual fragrance that will warm up a room and welcome guests. The sticks are thin - a fine masala hand rolled onto a thin charcoal paste over green-dyed bamboo sticks. Top quality stuff. I'm a little disappointed that not much patchouli shows through, but otherwise this is a great little incense. It's not an awesome fragrance to grab your attention, but it does the job in a very classy way.

Score: 36


Wednesday, 25 November 2015

PMS Mister Chef Sandalwood Essence Mosquito Repellent Coil

Cheap, but crap. Burns for ages, but the aroma is faint and vaguely chemical. We burn it in the outhouse where we feed the cats, but it generates so little smoke that we doubt if it would be any use outdoors. The coils are made in pairs, so the first thing you have to do is separate them, which is a VERY TRICKY job, and you are as likely to be successful as you are to break at least one of the coils. Made for PMS International.

Epic fail.

Score: 15

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Unbranded Agarwood

This is an unbranded pack of Agarwood incense that came free with an incense burning box. It's just a cheap, perfume dipped incense, but the fragrance is sweet and divine. Sometimes the cheap and everyday can be more subtle and rewarding than the more expensive artisinal products. It's not really who or how a product is made, or how much it costs, it's really all down to how much you as an individual enjoy it. And I really enjoyed this. Sadness is, that because it's unbranded, I don't know who made it, and so would be unable to buy it again.....

Score: 37

Nandita Dehn Al Oudh

Nandita  make my favourite incense, Nandita Wood Spice, so I am favourably disposed toward them. This is a small sample box, similar to their Nag Champa sample box I reviewed in May.
Agarwood (or oud) is a traditional fragrance made from tree resin. I have had Gaura Aguru, an artisanal incense, and a generic, unbranded Agarwood, that came free with an incense burning box I purchased. I loved the unbranded Agarwood, and would buy that again in copious quantity. It was an unpretentious, everyday cheap perfume dipped incense, yet with a sweet and delicious fragrance. This fragrance, by Nandita, is more halmaddi and sandalwood than agarwood. It's pleasant enough, but doesn't call attention to itself, and burns away unremarkably  in the background. It's made from a masala mix lightly rolled onto a charcoal base, and then dipped in a scent. It's OK, and I'm enjoying it, but I'm not sure that it's special enough,  having tried the sample, to seek out and buy a full box.

Score: 28

Agar - Agarwood, also known as aloeswood, is the resinous heartwood from Aquilaria trees, large evergreens native to southeast Asia. The trees occasionally become infected with mold and begin to produce an aromatic resin in response to this attack. As the infection grows, it results in a very rich, dark resin within the heartwood. Agar was such a common incense ingredient in India, that the word "agar" is used for "incense" in India.

Friday, 13 November 2015

Stamford Red Rose Incence Cones

Modest run-of-the-mill floral fragranced cones. They burn nicely and are inoffensive, but there's nothing special or interesting or high quality about them. I bought a large box for cheap off the internet, there are good deals available if you look on Amazon. While not special, they serve well to lightly fragrance a room with a floral  bouquet  Ideal for the bathroom or toilet.

Score: 23

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Friday, 24 July 2015

Stamford Satin

It's an amusing gimmick. Incense cones packed into little containers designed to look like paint cans. The series is called Satin, and the three fragrances are given paint names: Oriental Red, Sunflower Yellow, and Mandarin Orange. I paid £10 for a big box of these: 12 cans each containing 30 cones - that's 360 cones, working out at less than 3p per cone. And each can contains a cute coloured ceramic cone holder. Brilliant! Except that the perfume on the cones is very faint, and the aroma is mainly of the core organic material. Not good. While at times the cone aroma is simply bland, other times it is acrid and unpleasant. It's fairly random as to what the result will be, and makes no difference which colour/aroma is chosen. It's possible I'll simply end up just throwing the lot away. Made in India for Aargee's Stamford brand.

Sunflower Yellow

Mandarin Orange

Oriental Red


Other ratings of incense by Aargee

Monday, 20 July 2015

Golden Dragon

Fairly basic perfume dipped incense. Poor quality production means the sticks are are varying thickness, and the charcoal paste has been poorly applied. The finished result is misshapen sticks.There seems no pride in the process. The perfume scent is indifferent. and fairly weak. It's not offensive, but there's nothing much here to commend it, other than as a cheap and basic everyday room freshener. Keep in the kitchen or toilet.

Score: 25

Mysore Sugandhi

Mysore Sugandhi

The Mysore Sugandhi Dhoop Factory of Bangalore was formed in 1934, and claims to be the first exporter of incense from India - their name means the fragrant incense factory of Mysore, and their Chandon Dhoop was made under the patronage of the Maharaja of Mysore.

Mysore Sughandi Gateway of India

Score: 29 

Golden Dragon

Score: 25

777 Chandan

 Score: 22

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Fiore D'Oriente Angels Gabriel

Incense made in India to traditional masala methods for an Italian company, Fiore d’Oriente, founded in 1988. They have about 17 ranges - this is from the Angels range. It has a beautiful scent on the stick - musky, sweet, sophisticated. While it has an elemental earthy quality, damp lambs wool and morning mushrooms, there's also something modern and elegant. On burning I can detect there's a bit of  halmaddi in the mix which gives the incense a bit of a sharp edge, but not so much as to overwhelm. I like this. It's soft, subtle and pleasant. I would like to order more Fiore d’Oriente incense, and explore the ranges, but I am hesitant at the prices. They sell for around £6 a pack of 10 sticks.

Score: 39

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Aargee Stamford Moods

Selection packs or gift packs are becoming increasingly popular. This one is titled Moods, and is branded Stamford, Aargee's mainstream brand. It contains six popular aromas, and their accompanying "moods": Sandalwood (Meditation), Aloe Vera (Healing), Frankincense (Spirituality), Jasmine (Divinity), Lavender (Anti Stress), and Vanilla (Calming). All sticks are perfume dipped onto a hand rolled charcoal base, and are of a decent quality. Perfume dipped are not "artisanal" or traditional incense sticks, but are popular in both India and the West, as they are cheap, pleasant, quick and easy to make, and the scents can be more modern, and fine-tuned to the tastes of the target audience. They are also less likely to induce allergic reactions.

All in all this is a slightly better set of scents than might be suspected from the packaging. Yes, chemical perfume dipped, and yes, an unadventurous set of scents, but the scents are accessible and inoffensive, and occasionally quite pleasant.

Overall score: 27

Sandalwood is "Meditation". This is fairly sweet and moderately heady. There's a pleasant weight to it. But it doesn't really smell much of sandalwood, and is quite obviously chemical based. Not an incense to use for meditation, but acceptable as a cheap everyday room freshener.
Score: 25

Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera is "Healing", which is apt, as the sap of the plant is used to cure injuries. Fairly faint aroma, inclining toward moist nettle and gentle white flowers. Inoffensive, but so lacking in presence as to be almost pointless.
Score: 20


Frankincense is "Spirituality", which is appropriate as it is used for church incense. This is a pleasant dipped perfume incense. The aroma is candy sweet frankincense. As frankincense is one of my favourite scents, I'm predisposed to like it.

Jasmine is "Divinity". Fairly chunky sticks with a strawberry jam aroma. There is a sense of the heady, flowery notes of jasmine, but it's rather light. Pleasant enough, though. Flowery, fresh, and with a jasmine aroma. OK.
Score: 31

Lavender is "Anti-stress". This is sweet, heady, fragrant, and very pleasant. It fills a room with lively awakening scent. Attractive little perfume dipped incense. Doesn't really sell of lavender though.
Score: 33

Vanilla is "Calming". The aroma on the stick is divine - like sweet, delicious candy and honey. When burned, the aroma is not quite so exciting, and betrays it's chemical origin, but is still reasonable.
Score: 28

Other ratings of incense by Aargee

Friday, 5 June 2015

Ancient Wisdom Red Dragon Incense Tibetan Musk

I actually like this. I wasn't expecting to because of my previous experiences with Ancient Wisdom incense, but this is delicate and pleasant, and a modern take on the traditional musk scent. 

Score: 31

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Zam Zam Black Velvet

This doesn't work for me. It smells of fresh Virginia tobacco. To be precise, it smells of St Julien's Empire Blend, which used Virginia tobacco grown in South Africa. There is a limited charm to having your room smell of cheap pipe tobacco.

The sticks are made by Zam Zam International, an Islamic company formed in the UK 30 years ago.  They have a range of fragrances which they sell online at £1.20 a pack. They also have a shop in Green Street in London.

Score: 18