Monday, 25 August 2014

Metro Woods

There's a citric bergamont tang to these sticks, slightly reminiscent of toilet cleaner or antiseptic. They are handrolled with charcoal paste and then perfume dipped in chemical scent.  Made by the Metro Agarbatti Company of Karachi, Pakistan. The scent when burning is best suited to the toilet area. It is a little cold, chemical, and blends in well with toilet cleaning products. This is not an incense to be used in other areas of the house, other than perhaps to cover up cat sick. 

Date: August 2014     Score: 20


Incense by Country

Metro Agarbatti Company of Pakistan

Sunday, 24 August 2014

(Mahendra) Betco Mogra

Artificial mogra (jasmine) perfume dipped sticks from Mahendra Perfumery Works of Bangalore. These are solidly made basic incense sticks. Handrolled from charcoal on chunky sticks which just have the tips dyed green. There's a lack of style or grace about Mahendra's products, but in general they are decent, workable, low cost everyday incense. This one doesn't quite work for me - it's a little too assertive, and in the wrong way. It asserts its chemical origins, and makes the room smell damp and cheap and slightly off.

Score: 20


Mahendra Betco - Best of

Best jasmine incense

Mahendra Gulabi

It's been some years since I last had Gulabi. I burned some last night, and again this morning and I found it reasonably acceptable and attractive. This is not a special incense - it's pretty much run of the mill, but it's not offensive in any way, and the floral scent is OK. It seems a little better than bottom end of the everyday incense, so I'm moving it up a bit.  I had a look around to see where I got this from, but couldn't find this exact box available online - the nearest I could find is Mahendra's Indian Amazon page, selling Gulabi Collection with a range of scents, and a UK website ReallyReaxing, which had two Gulabi Collection scents at a reduced price.

Date June 2018   Score: 23

Strongly perfumed stick by Mahendra Perfumery Works of Bangalore, who also make the Belco range of sticks. Strong box packet, shrink wrapped to keep the sticks fresh. The sticks are chunky and generous. producing a pleasant though fairly average scent. The scent is OK, but nothing special; floral notes, mostly rose, some citric. The perfume is chemical, but not harsh. This is an acceptable everyday incense - slightly sharp, so more of a morning or early afternoon use than anything else. It's not one to create moods, the floral nature inhibits use in the kitchen, and the scent is not strong enough to suggest use for covering up smells. A simple morning scent to liven up the senses seems the best use.

Date: Aug 2014   Score: 20

Mahendra Betco - Best of

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Betco Rose

This is a pleasant rose scented incense stick. There is a distinct rose perfume scent - not sickly, not overpowering, and not too chemical smelling. The sticks burn a decent length of time, with a decent amount of scent that gently perfumes and lifts a room, but does not dominate. The scent is gentle, relaxed, clean, and can be used any time of day, and would suit a variety of moods. As it is a little perfumed and floral, probably not best for the kitchen, but living room, bathroom or bedroom are ideal.

I'd be happy to buy these again.

Score: 30

Mahendra Betco - Best of

Best rose incense

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Tulasi Cannabis

I have reviewed this twice previously - in 2014 and 2017, and thought little of it other than as a toilet cleaner - mainly due to the obvious synthetic nature of the scent, and also it's rather overbearing old fashioned cheap floral scent. Lighting one today, after burning a series of ritual (rather than aesthetic) resins such as dragon's blood and benzoin, and I initially warmed to it, purely because it is a scent designed to please rather than to heal or cleanse. In comparison it suddenly seemed warm, familiar, and friendly. But, yes, it is crude and overbearing, and sharply chemical. It is, in reality, not my sort of incense, any more, I suppose, than a sambrani cup is really my sort of incense; but it has more in common with the sort of incense I like, and though it has flaws for me (aspects which I personally dislike), I inclined toward it. And still incline toward it. It has been burning away while I write this post, and I'm not repelled by it as I was in 2014 and 2017. I recognise its flaws, but in context with the flaws I find in some other incenses which are not for me - ritual incense like benzoin or wet dhoops, I am able to recognise that it has more in its favour for me than I had previously given it credit.  The more we experience. The more we reflect and compare. The more we can recognise those elements by which we hold more store. I think this holds true for most things in life, not just incense. We can reject people because they were born in a different country to us, have a different culture, different religion, different skin colour, different gender or sexual orientation. But with a little reflection we can recognise that we have more in common with these people than we have differences.

Date: June 2018   Score: 20

I reviewed this in 2014 and dismissed it as a toilet cleaner. I got it again when I bought a cheap job lot of random Tulasi incense boxes. There is some very polished marketing going on with Sarathi (the owners of the Tulasi brand) - the box designs and wording are very professional, and the website is smooth and impressive. This is a big operation, aimed largely, it appears, at the West. Though there are products within Sarathi that seem more aimed at the domestic Indian and Asian market - such as the "Dragon Brand"  Naga Durbar, a temple quality masala incense, and the House Cleaning series with "invoking" names such as Call Money, Protection, and Go Away Evil.  This Cannabis is clearly targeted to the West - at ageing hippies who still associate incense with smoking dope. There is a cautious disclaimer on the side that it "does not contain natural cannabis" - indeed, that it does not even "smell of natural cannabis"! But you can still burn it to "explore the deepest of your thoughts and desires".

It's a standard thinly rolled charcoal blank, dipped in a perfumed solution. The aroma is typical of cheap perfume-dipped charcoal sticks. There's some soapy notes, a varying amount of charcoal dust, and crude floral notes that I tend to associate with old ladies knickers. That's a personal thing, others may find it evocatively charming and reminiscent of lavender and roses. Provided I don't get too close to the smoke or attempt to analyse the scent, then it can burn away harmlessly in the background filling the room with a cheap odour.

Sarathi are clearly an intelligent and aware company. They know what they are doing. They are churning out various cheap incense sticks for those who are relatively undemanding, and just want something to freshen up the room, or cover up a bad smell. Within the range of scents they produce, some will be more attractive (or less offensive) than others. I am a sucker for musky, woody scents, and for anything frankincense related, so I will be inclined to favour those scents. I am less keen on these crude floral scents, so this is not one that appeals to me at all.

I am curious that they also do some quality masala incenses, and just wish a few less of these cheap perfume-dipped incenses came over to the UK, and a few more Vidwan and  Naga Durbar made it.

Date: August 2017   Score: 10

The sticks have a lively, piquant soapy floral aroma. When burned there is an initiate heady sweetness, but them the soapy notes dominate, and it becomes unattractively chemical, ending up drenching the room in artificial floral scents that are somewhat old fashioned, ugly, and remind me of old ladies knickers. Not good. Consigned to the toilet for covering up bad smells. Not to be used anywhere else in the house.

Date: August 2014   Score: 10

More Tulasi reviews