New Range of Nagchampa Incenses

Now I'm just crazy about smells.
You can't walk into my bathroom from the enormous range of smelly substances I keep in there - soaps, body lotions, perfumed oils...My bedroom is overflowing with a truly mammoth collection of perfumes and colognes, and I love burning incense. I collect incense from all over the world. My house is the proverbial Bombay brothel. Indeed, I burn incense so often that my books carry a constant perfume, and friends remark on the perfumed nature of everything that comes from my home.
Imagine my pleasure when, yesterday, I discovered that Tree of Life in Newtown is stocking a whole new range of Nagchampa incenses. I don't know if you are aware of Nagchampa, but it is the quintessential hippy incense, and I have been addicted to it since I was a child growing up in the 70s. The Nagchampa smell is distinctive and quite unlike that of almost any other incense coming from India. So I was desperate to see what they would do with a whole range of other scents.
Here's the rundown.
First, I was interested to know that they went with themes rather than specific smells (apart from sandalwood). Generally I'm against this when it comes to incense. I like a distinct aroma that I can pinpoint and select to suit my mood, rather than suffering through someone else's approximation of "Sunrise" or "Romance." But since it was Satya Nagchampa, I was willing to extend a little leeway.

A reasonably cheery blend, "Sunrise" seems to be taking its description literally. I was quite taken with its scent fresh, but when burned the aroma was too subtle for me.

This one's strange. Fresh it doesn't really have much of a sandalwood scent at all (I do enjoy a really heady sandalwood). Burned it has a fluxo-incense aroma, the sandalwood a barely-present undertone. It leaves a slightly sour after-smell. Not a success.

Ordinarily I would never by any kind of scented blend claiming to be "Rainforest" - I mean, it's just silly. I grew up in the rainforest, and can vouch for the fact that it smells variously of rotting plants, batshit and mud. Not the kind of thing I want wafting through the house. But I was prepared to extend my disbelief somewhat. This blend is quite yummy fresh, but with a slightly anonymous smell that one might find in cheap Indian incense everywhere. When burned it is subtle but a bit soapy. No rainforests were harmed in the production of this incense, that much is plainly obvious.

"Midnight" sounds full of promise, doesn't it? This is the kind of blend I would have bought as a teenager, and it is indeed scrumptious fresh. Smooth, rich and, dammit, midnight-ey. I was keen - it seemed a nice rich blend, not one for the subtle types. When burned the richness remains, and it really is very strong - but in a nice way. I'd buy this one again - it stays in the room for quite a while afterwards.

"Fortune" is one for the Chinese market, perhaps? I am always fascinated that the Chinese taste in incense is so very different from the Indian, and wonder why no-one on either side has ever sought to target its product at the other. Note to the manufacturer - it should have red packaging. Very soapy smell fresh, with a strange and unidentifiable sharpness. Very strong burned, though I simply didn't like the smell. The same sharpness continued. It would be effective if you wanted to deodorise a room, however.

"Blessings" is the one that really caught my eye - what a lovely idea for a blend. Very subtle, slightly flowery fresh. The subtlety continues when burned, but I could never detect any particularly doominant note - though it was pleasant enough. Not really worth it.

Aaah, "Romance!" Again, not one I'd get normally, as I don't usually associate incense with romance. But that's just me. Fresh it's terribly soapy, with the tiniest hint of rose. Burned it is actually much more pleasant than you'd expect, stronger and more oriental. One for mum.

So, the clear winner of the range is: Midnight.
Runner up is: Romance.
Back to the drawing board: Sandalwood.


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