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

Score:12



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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
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

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.
Score:30


Jasmine
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
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
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





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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





Tree of Life Opium





initially this is pretty much like the other Tree of Life scent, fairly modest and pleasant. This is, however, the one I like the least. As it burns it becomes a little hot, and a little sharp, with a fragrance like old ladies knickers: scented with cheap artificial rose scented perfume. It catches in the throat. I am not enjoying this.


Score: 20





Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Tree of Life Cannabis




Gorgeous aroma on the stick. Very yummy. Candyfloss sweet. Sandalwood base with a delicate floral perfume. On burning the scent is quite light; and, though very pleasant, is not as yummy as the scent on the stick. I do like this, but as with other Tree of Life incense, I would prefer a bit more presence when burning.


Score: 33




Monday, 1 June 2015

Padmini Gold Statue





Aargee have two Gold Statue incenses, one directly under the Aargee name, and this one, made for them by Goloka under the Padmini brand name. It is a subtle and pleasant scent with sandalwood, rose, vanilla, bergamot, and the merest hint of halmaddi. I like this.

Score: 34


Goloka


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Mystic Incense Pink Sugar






Mystic Incense is Cha Cha Dum Dum's foil wrapped range. This is similar to the Baby Powder - they are both long sticks, machine extruded, with a healthy amount of light brown masala powder covering a thin charcoal core, and then dipped in a modern perfume. The result is a long burning, subtle, modern, refined, and very pleasant incense. The scent is sweet, innocent, gentle, clean, modern, and a bit like candy floss. I find it very attractive. There is sandalwood, vanilla, some bergamot, hints of musk, and all very lightly done. I do like these modern incenses.

Score: 35





Cha Cha Dum Dum

Regent House Angel Wings





25 sticks for £2 from Incense Essentials. The sticks are about average length, though only just over half of the stick is incense. There is a charcoal core, and then a decent layer of light brown masala powder which is dipped into a modern scent. On the stick the modern scent notes are quite clear, with apple tones, and a sense of alcohol solvent with a touch of cat pee. Not inviting. The sticks are made by Aroma World Ltd in Yorkshire, who are trading as Regent House. They are appear to be a small company making fragrance related products, room fresheners, etc, and the "Angel Wings" scent used in this incense is their main product, which they use on most of their range.

The scent is light, modern, and attractive. Clearly synthetic, but then so are the world's most expensive and desired perfumes. Natural is not in itself a guarantee of quality or pleasantness: dog shit is natural, Chanel No 5 is synthetic. I know which I'd prefer to smell. But it's each to their own. My ideal would be to smell something natural and pleasant, but next in line, given a choice of natural and unpleasant or synthetic and pleasant, I'd choose the synthetic. There is much about this scent that reminds me of Cha Cha Dum Dum's Mystic Incense range - Pink Sugar and Baby Powder, and Tree of Life's Shalimar. in that all of them are going for modern, light, subtle scents. Nothing earthy, heavy, or blunt, but delicate, uplifting, refined, and sophisticated. This is a distinct step away from traditional Indian incense, both the ancient tradition of heavy, resin (especially halmaddi) led masala incense, typified by Satya and Mother's India Fragrances, and the modern tradition of perfume dipped incense which relies on the common scents of Rose, Jasmine, White Musk, etc.  The delicacy of these incenses, and the subtle attractiveness of their scents is more in tune with Japanese incense.

I like this scent. I'm not excited by it - it doesn't thrill me or lift me up, but it does intrigue me. I think there are flaws in it - too much of the civet inspired notes, and a little too obviously synthetic with traces of plastic and solvent, but these are not heavy flaws, and I'm liking this rather more than I thought I would. Do I like it enough to buy again? Hmmm. With the Mystic Incense Baby Powder, I kind of liked it, but wasn't overwhelmed and thought that would be the end of it when I finished the pack. But the scent remained in my memory, and I do miss it and want to smell it again. I suspect that could also be the case here.

Score: 35