Sunday, 30 June 2013

Krishan Drakkar Noir 

Krishan Products were founded in 1951, and claim to be India's leading manufacturer and exporter of premium quality incense sticks. They do a range of fruit and other standard scents. I think I bought this quite cheaply from a market stall in Gillingham, though it's also available on the internet really cheaply - an eBay seller is offering 6 mixed Krishan packs for £4.99, including postage. I think that's the same offer I got from the market stall: six boxes for £5. 

Drakkar Noir is a successful male perfume from the 1980s, which is still available on the internet. The aroma on the stick is bergamont and pine with wood and citric notes. The stick is hand-rolled with a charcoal based paste. These aromas are also present when the stick is burned - though are less apparent. However, the overall impression is of a warm, pleasant and sensual aroma. The scent is a little harsh and synthetic in places, but - given the price - this is a decent value, pleasant and inoffensive incense. I like it. Given that I liked the other Krishan incenses, I think I might look into that eBay offer. 

Friday, 28 June 2013

Ganesha incense cones

Attractive small box holds a plastic tray with a selection of six different scents. The cones are quite small, and formed in moulds which leave a little ridge down the side. Bought for £1.99 from my local shop. Can be bought online for between 70p and £1 (plus any postage). Ganesha is one of the most popular Hindu gods, and is easily recognised in his elephant head incarnation. The brand name is used by Cha Cha Dum Dum, an ethnic gifts company founded in Kensington in 1968, who import the cones from India. 

All the cones burn very quickly with a moderate amount of smoke, and low level aroma presence. 


 I love amber, and feel it is not used enough. I have some amber tree resin, and it is a wonderful scent. These cones are dyed black, and the scent on the cone is floral top notes, with the amber notes hidden deep in the base. When burned the aroma is vegetal, smoky, sandalwood and the amber. It feels quite natural, with no suggestion of chemicals,  and is a pleasant aroma. Seems a decent enough scent for the budget price - though the cones do burn quickly.

Score: 28


Green dyed cones with a scent of jasmine. When burned has a base aroma of sandalwood, and top notes of dusky jasmine. Jasmine is not a huge favourite of mine, but it works OK as an incense aroma, and this is a decent jasmine scent.

Score: 27


The selection of six scents in this pack appear to be geared to Western, indeed British, tastes. They are among the most commonly seen scents on incense sold in the UK. They certainly appeal to me - though not all, rose isn't a favourite of mine. Musk is though. The brown dyed cones have the scent of rose, and that does carry through a little into the aroma when burned. There is something synthetic about this scent, and it's my least favourite so far. The aroma is soft with no harsh or hot spots, but the overall scent is a little dull and murky. And there isn't enough musk. It's not offensive or bad, just not very good.

Score: 26


Patchouli oil was my favourite fragrance when I was a young hippy - indeed, I continued to wear it into my twenties.  I've not found it quite so effective as an incense fragrance. The cones, which are dyed yellow, do have a scent that reminds me of patchouli, though less sweet and heady. When burned, the scent is more rooted in sandalwood than patchouli, but does have an attractive musk quality, and an enjoyable sticky sweetness. Overall a decent enough incense.

Score: 29/50


The cones have been dyed a pleasant red colour. The cones have a soft rose scent, and this is repeated when burned. It is not a great scent, but is probably one of the better rose scented incenses I've encountered. Sandalwood base. OK.

Score 28/50


Sandalwood is another favourite of mine. I think I do incline toward the wood based aromas. The colour is "natural" - which is to say it is undyed, and is a sandy colour. The scent on the cone is of sandalwood. When burned the aroma inclines a little too much toward burning plants - rather green plants at that - for my liking, though there is also the warm, sensual, sweet notes of sandalwood present. Overall I quite like it. It smells natural. And it smells nice - apart from the burning wet grass.

Score 29/50

Overall score: 28/50

Incense cones

Cha Cha Dum Dum


Thursday, 27 June 2013

Dawn of Time Of Persian Roses

This was a free sample that came with a packet of Dawn of Time Frankincense & Myrrh. Made in Thailand for the UK based Ancient Wisdom distribution company.  As with the Frankincense & Myrrh, this is a good looking stick. It has been so finely hand-rolled, it looks machine dipped. It is fairly smooth and even all the way along the stick. And then it has been coated in powdered fragrance which gives it an attractive musky/sandalwood aroma. Surprisingly, not roses. But then, this is Ancient Wisdom. When burning, the aroma is of woody plant material. It's not unpleasant, but its not particularly attractive either. It's just - well - burning stuff. Eventually some sense of rose perfume does come through, but swamped somewhat by the base woody material. 

This is the premium quality Ancient Wisdom incense. And I won't be exploring it any further. Ancient Wisdom are a company I shall keep an eye for, to avoid in their many forms. If I see a product code which has an AW in it, I'll run fast in the opposite direction.

Dawn of Time Frankincense & Myrrh

Bought on the internet some time ago, and I've forgotten where. The incense is made in  Thailand for the Ancient Wisdom distribution company. Normally I dislike AW Thailand incense - however, this has been made to a higher standard than normal. The sticks are very finely hand rolled, and then dipped in fragrance powder, giving the appearance of a top quality Goloka or Satya made stick. The aroma on the stick is quite gorgeous, and invites you to keep inhaling, and then to sniff again and again. It's musky, sandalwood, frankincense and myrrh. It's all these top quality, deeply pleasant scents. The packaging is a plastic bag, poorly printed with the brand name and AW's name, and the actual scent name is on a little adhesive strip used to seal the packet. Not impressive. I recall it was sent with a sample of the brand's "Of Persian Roses" scent. That is packed in a piece of hand folded paper, on which the scent name has been written in by hand. That's a good marketing idea - though stamping the name and contact details of the sellers would have been useful. As it stands - I have a free sample,  but I don't know who sent it to me. 

Though the aroma when burning is pleasant enough, as with other AW incense, it doesn't match the aroma on the stick. It's fairly faint, and smells more of burning herbs and plants than it does of fragrance or perfume - and I'm getting little of the Frankincense & Myrrh, though it is there. I think the woody base paste dominates too much, and though there are some attractive scents used to coat the stick, they are not in sufficient quantities to make enough of an impact.

So this is a promising stick, which sadly doesn't quite deliver. Better than your average AW incense, but way below what one would expect of  Goloka or Satya, and even below what one might expect of the average hand-rolled Indian stick. Certainly below that of Japanese incense. 

(Mahendra) Betco Saraswathi

Betco Saraswathi incense sticks ("Incense of the Hindu Gods") - £1.45 for 20 from TribesAndVibes. Betco is the export brand of  Mahendra Perfumery Works of Bangalore who were formed in 1921.

As with Betco Hanuman that I just reviewed, this is a well made incense; hand-rolled from a charcoal paste onto a thick, undyed stick. The problem with thick sticks, is that the incense paste must match the thickness, otherwise the stick ash lingers in a fibre string, which makes it a little awkward if you want to damp out the incense. Ideally, incense and stick should burn at the same rate. Anyway - the stick has a pleasant aroma - a good blend of fruit notes and some soap. It does tend to remind me of washing machine powder, which is a slight downer, and there's a synthetic feel about some of the floral notes, but on the whole it's an OK scent. On burning, the scent is inclined more toward smoke than perfume, and it's a little hot and soapy, but it is decent quality, and is more pleasant than many of the other brands I have tried. The scent is floral - quite rose like, but pleasantly so. It is a perfumed scent, creating an uplifting yet refined mood mood suitable for living room or bedroom.

Saraswathi is another Hindu god, and these sticks appear to be part of a set named after Hindu gods. I think this is a decent and intriguing brand of good quality sticks, and I will search out some more.

Date: June 2013   Score 33

While sorting out my collection of incense  (or rather the mess of packets and boxes everywhere) I came across this packet of Betco's Saraswathi. I had reviewed this product in 2013, the year I started my incense blog, so it is interesting to revisit now, with over three years of  incense burning experience and knowledge acquired. One of the things I have picked up from the few (and now pretty much all closed) other incense blogs, is that perfume-dipped (or rather scented solvent-dipped, as the sticks are not actually dipped in perfume, but a solvent of essential oils and/or chemicals that produce agreeable scents when burned) incense sticks are vulgar and nasty, while incense sticks made the traditional way from natural ingredients ground down into a masala and mixed with a paste that is then rolled onto the stick are heavenly and artistic. And I certainly get where they are coming from. The incense that I tend to get the most enjoyment and satisfaction from is the traditional masala incense. The incense that is the most disappointing and crude is the chemical-dipped sticks. However, what I have found is that now and again there is a dipped stick where the chemists have made a compelling and attractive scent that burns agreeably. I am particularly pleased when this happens, as I am very sensitive to one of the ingredients that is favoured in masala sticks, and that is halmaddi - it tends to cause my eyes to sting, catches in my throat, and gives me trouble breathing. Halmaddi is not present in perfume-dipped sticks, and so I don't get that problem (though I do sometimes object to the bluntly chemical nature of some of the scents, which can also be physically irritating). Anyway, this Saraswathi, is one of those chemical based incense sticks that is attractive. The scent is teasing and attractive, a little wayward - it has floral notes underpinned with something warmer that is almost sandalwood, but not as musky. There is rose, there is some citrus, and there is, sadly, some of the pine disinfectant that all too often appears in the chemical incenses. It's not disagreeable, but it's not a scent that excites or lifts the soul. As with almost all the chemical incense, this is not a stick you would use to create a fine mood, but if, like me, you burn a lot of incense, this is an exceptionally fine everyday stick that lifts itself above the crowd. It's modern, alluring, a little different. I like it.

Date: Feb, 2017   Score: 33

Mahendra Betco - Best of

(Mahendra) Betco Hanuman

Betco Hanuman incense sticks ("Incense of the Hindu Gods") - £1.45 for 20 from TribesAndVibes.  The incense is made by Mahendra Perfumery Works of Bangalore who were formed in 1921. Betco International is their export division.

It's an attractive and decent quality packet, with information about Hanuman, the Hindu god the incense is named after. The sticks have a pleasantly sweet floral aroma with attractive candy notes, and some soapy spots. The sticks are decently thick, and the charcoal based incense has been handrolled onto the sticks in a fairly uniform manner. Produces a reasonable amount of pale blue-grey smoke which burns evenly. The aroma softly embraces the room creating an enticing, seductive and invigorating mood. This is a very pleasant and high quality incense. The aroma is sweet with good quality sandalwood base notes overlaid with dark fruits and summer flowers.

Score: 35/40

Mahendra Betco - Best of

Top Ten Perfume-Dipped
Incense Sticks

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Passion Night Queen

Pack of twenty long sticks bought from local shop for £1.50. They are machine dipped on red dyed sticks. Charcoal based, and smelling slightly synthetic despite stating they use natural essential oils "in the Traditional way". The base aroma on the stick is flowery and pleasant enough in a jammy, plastic, chemical way. The aroma on burning is quite light, and - like the stick aroma - quite acceptable in a flowery, synthetic, indifferent, couldn't care less way.

This is background stuff. It's not offensive, but it's not exactly pleasing either. It doesn't create a mood, and it's not a scent to attract interest or attention. It's one to keep in the toilet to burn after someone's done a nasty.

Score: 20

Nose Delight Wizard Lavender

Pack of 20 picked up cheap from the internet - I can't remember where, and I don't care, as I'm not going to buy them again. They are imported from Thailand by Ancient Wisdom. I've not yet found an Ancient Wisdom incense that I like. They all tend to smell the same - quite nice on the stick, but when burned, it's like the smell of burning herbs. This one is exactly the same.

The sticks are charcoal based on an undyed stick. The charcoal dust comes off on your fingers. The stick aroma is soapy, and smells like cheap stick deodorant. The aroma when burned is very faint - I have tried burning three at a time, and it makes no real difference - the aroma is so faint, you forget that incense is being burned. If you hold the smoke under your nose you can just make out the burning herbs.

Waste of time and money. Companies like Ancient Wisdom just choke the market with their crap. If I know it's Ancient market I'll avoid - but they are often sold under different names, such as this one: Nose Delight.

Date: June 2013   Score: 19

Best of Lavender

Ancient Wisdom