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Buying the Perfect Incense – A Guide

April 11, 2013

I’m so pleased to welcome my first guest blogger Rita Rova who wrote this informative article on how to buy the perfect incense. I too love to use incense. I often burn incense when creating and designing my gemstone jewelry.

Incense may be a sort of look into the past, but it is one of the most enjoyed things of today. The right incense can help you relax after a long day, recharge you for the day ahead, send you off into a blissful sleep, get you in the mood for romance, and so on. But there are so many varieties out there. You are literally just a few clicks away from hundreds, if not thousands of different scents and aromas, which is certainly great, but also makes choosing quite difficult. Is there a way to narrow down the options?

I love adding crystals & gemstones to my incense burner. This incenses burner can burn cone or stick incense.

I love adding crystals & gemstones to my incense burner. This incenses burner can burn cone or stick incense.

Before you choose a fragrance, you will first have to choose the shape of the incense. There are three classical shapes and as they all require their own set of equipment, you might want to stick to one after you’ve chosen it. So you have stick, cone and resin. A stick incense is the long thin stick of incense you place in an incense holder (a bowl filled with sand can work too). A cone is almost shaped as a candle and you will need to place it in a small dish (anything that will hold the ash as the cone burns can play that part). Resin incense is a bit trickier as it requires both a censor and charcoal. Moreover, you cannot leave burning resin unsupervised. The great thing about resin is that you can take a couple of different varieties, mix them together and create an entirely new fragrance.

Once you’ve chosen the shape of the incense comes the hard part – the fragrance. Specific advice about each fragrance would require a book to be written, but here are some general rules of thumb:

Choose natural incense only. Purchase the incense that is named after a type of wood, flower, etc. Anything that is called ‘7 wonders’, for example, is probably entirely synthetic and will not only smell bad, but will quite possibly give you a headache.

The best incense comes from Japan, Tibet, Nepal and India. Research your retailer well and check where they are getting their stocks from. If you manage to find a place to buy incense from one of these countries, you will probably enjoy the result.

Although you might choose some of the other available options, here are some of the most widespread incense fragrances. They will be perfect for you if you are just entering the world of incense.

Sandalwood is a very popular ingredient in many perfumes. It combines the age-old aroma of wood with the bright scent of something new and fresh. As a type of incense, it can be quite versatile – it can get you ready for the day ahead in the morning and help you relax when you get home in the evening. In Eastern cultures, sandalwood is known as the divine essence and plays a leading role in medicine.

Frankincense is a very popular type of relaxing incense. It not only sooths your mind, but can have quite the effect on your body as well. Many aroma therapists use frankincense oil to massage the body and the incense to aid in the relief of various aches and pains.

Patchouli is another name you might know from the perfume industry. Its scent is pungent, mossy, powerful and a bit fruity. It is most often an ingredient in men’s fragrances exactly because of the power in its aroma. If you purchase patchouli incense, you will feel happy, energetic and vibrant immediately after you start burning it.

Last but not least – rose incense. As the rose is a flower which is most commonly associated with matters of the heart, it is no wonder that purchasing rose incense would be the perfect choice if you are planning a romantic evening. The rose will alleviate your stress and allow you to focus on the more important things.
Use this guide as a basis, but also be brave and experiment. Personal preference accounts for a big part of your choice, and you may find that you react very differently to the average person when you start trying out different fragrances.

Rita Rova uses incense daily as a way to relax and unwind. She specializes in health and beauty advice and writes health and beauty articles.

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