How to find good quality incense.
March 21, 2006 10:16 AM   Subscribe

Where do you get good quality incense?
posted by parma to Home & Garden (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Rose Mountain makes good stuff...very aromatic and long-lasting. Their scents seems to have many layers to the aromas - many notes. I like Euphoria and Jasmine, and I prefer the cone to the stick.

I've given several people their DIY kit, and it actually makes great incense.
posted by iconomy at 10:25 AM on March 21, 2006

What do you mean by "quality"?

I have no idea what type of scent you're looking for, but my favorite incense of all time is from L'Occitane's honey vanilla - I don't see it on their website (they list honey, and vanilla, but not honey vanilla) but it's probably available if you go to one of their stores. It's a great scent that doesn't overpower you, and will definitely become addicting the more you use it.
posted by pdb at 10:29 AM on March 21, 2006

ulp. "...favorite incense of all time is L'Occitane's honey vanilla", that should read.
posted by pdb at 10:30 AM on March 21, 2006

For me, you can't beat good ol' reliable Nagchampa, available in smoke shops, drug stores, and streetside blankets everywhere (in San Francisco at least).
posted by donpedro at 10:30 AM on March 21, 2006

Er, I guess it's actually "Nag Champa."
posted by donpedro at 10:31 AM on March 21, 2006

We get some great stuff from our local health foods store. It is from India. I believe it is called HEM and has great scents. Our favorites are Amber and Cedar. They also make Cannabis, Lavender, Jasmine, Clove, Camphor, Vanilla, etc. They come in little boxes.
posted by spakto at 11:03 AM on March 21, 2006

I have had a lot of luck ordering incense from Amazon. There is a vendor called Incense Galore that has a huge selection of good quality, inexpensive incense. They also carry Nag Champa.
posted by elvissa at 11:08 AM on March 21, 2006

I prefer Nippon Kodo brand, especially their "Mainichikoh", in the yellow box on the left here. It has a clean, long-lasting sandalwood scent, and doesn't cost much (~$7 for a 300-stick box that'll last ages). I've also tried Nippon Kodo's Kyara Deluxe, Ka-fuh Bamboo, and Seiun Violet, and they're all equally nice.
posted by vorfeed at 12:44 PM on March 21, 2006 [1 favorite]

Depends on what you are looking for, but I generally prefer Japanese incense, and I have purchased from Shoyeido, Scents of Earth, Sensia, and Ecclecstacy Arts. No problems with any of them. The owner of Ecclecstacy Arts was a really nice guy and his shipping costs were very low, back when I was buying.

The Japanese stuff tends to be woodier and spicier than the often sweeter, more floral stuff from the rest of the world. I have had good experiences with Shoyeido and Baeido, and I mostly prefer the premium lines of the former.

Unfortunately, there seems to be a direct correlation between price and quality. The prices for some of the high quality stuff can be ridiculously, prohibitively high. Shoyeido has a premium sampler that can give you an idea of what's going on at the high end. I'd recommend trying that and their daily incense sampler to get an idea of whether you like that style of incense.

In addition to my preference for Shoyeido's incense, I have a nice story about the organization... My father visited Japan back in the 90s. He returned with a box of temple incense that became a favorite--sort of a signature scent. About a decade later, I noticed that he was carefully rationing his remaining supply and was down to a handful of sticks. I recognized the paper liner in the box as being similar to that in another box of incense that I owned, which made me suspicious that Shyoeido also manufactured the stuff he'd purchased in Japan. I got in touch with Shoyeido and they were able to determine that they did, indeed, make that incense as an off-label brand for the temple he visited. The also indicated that the Japanese arm of the company would be willing to specially import some for me at a very reasonable price. They supplied me with enough incense to last my father a very long time and I was pleased to be able to give him an obscure gift that reminded him of something pleasant.

Good luck
posted by nobodyyouknow at 1:06 PM on March 21, 2006 [2 favorites]

My favorite brand (and I've burned a lot of crappy incense) is Primo Incense. I especially recommend Ancient Cedar (doesn't sound very appealing but smells very delightful) and Night Queen. Looks like their samplers are better deals.
posted by mojabunni at 2:06 PM on March 21, 2006

Fred Soll Incense. It can be a bit smoky because it's actual resin incense, not just sticks soaked in fragrance oils. It's also a bit costly, but I very often burn only one third to half the stick. My personal favorite is Frankincense and Myrhh, though if you have church-going issues, that may not be the one for you.
I also like Nippon Kodo Green Tea sticks.
posted by oneirodynia at 3:01 PM on March 21, 2006

Also, I forgot, this brand is really good: Escential Incense. Can be found here. I recommend Royal African Violet, Purification, Buddhist Temple Blend... many sound enticing though. They come in cones or sticks. This page (if you use drop-down menu) has a better description of what each smells like.
posted by mojabunni at 3:48 PM on March 21, 2006

Looks like some great suggestions so far. Thanks guys. (I tend to like cones more, too.)
posted by parma at 4:26 PM on March 21, 2006

Any Tibetan stick incense is great. It's a natural unscented incense, rolled without a wood core, and it's one of the few that don't bother my allergies.
posted by anadem at 6:27 PM on March 21, 2006

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