AUGUST WAS AQ INCENSE MONTH:
FREE SAMPLE OFFERS NOW EXTENDED until 8/9
We declared August to be AQ INCENSE MONTH, and to share the love we delved into the world of incense on our INSTAGRAM & FACEBOOK pages, covering some of the more exotic and unusual types that you may be unfamiliar with - scroll down to see all of our posts to learn more about incense like dhoop, rope, koh, backflow and more.
And so you can begin to expand your incense knowledge and try out something new, we were also offering FREE EXOTIC INCENSE SAMPLES to anyone who placed a website order on over August - read below for the codes & the samples we have to choose from.
WE'VE NOW EXTENDED THE OFFER ANOTHER WEEK, and so until 8th September you can choose ONE FREE SAMPLE when placing any order on our website.
There are 4 CHOICES - just choose which one you'd like us to pop in free with your order, and then type the corresponding code into the ADDITIONAL INFORMATION BOX when you check out.
1. JAPANESE KOH CODE: "FREE KOH SAMPLES PLEASE"
For a couple of Japanese Morning Star incense sticks in SANDALWOOD scent, the most popular of the 20 Morning Star scents we stock. Burn in a suitable burner or stand in a heatproof bowl with some sand or earth (a pot plant works well!).
2. NEPALESE ROPE CODE: "FREE ROPE SAMPLES PLEASE"
We'll pop in a couple of gorgeous Nepalese Rope incense sticks in NAG CHAMPA scent - burn in a heatproof censer or on a layer of sand / earth.
3. RESIN INCENSE CODE: "FREE RESIN SAMPLE PLEASE"
A sample of precious Goloka DRAGONS BLOOD resin from the Socotra Islands - burn on a charcoal tablet in a censer or dish of sand/earth.
4. BACKFLOW INCENSE CODE: "FREE BACKFLOW SAMPLES PLEASE"
We'll add a couple of Goloka WHITE SAGE backflow cones - to achieve the cascading effect of backflow incense you'll need to burn over a backflow burner or similar, which will allow the smoke to flow downwards from the base of the cone.
5. DHOOP INCENSE CODE: "FREE DHOOP SAMPLES PLEASE"
We'll add a couple of sticks of natural Tibetan Nag Champa dhoop. Burn in a dhoop burner box, or stand in a heatproof bowl with some sand or earth (a pot plant works well!).
Visit our INCENSE SECTION HERE or read below to see the posts we shared over August, covering a range of the more unusual and exotic types of incense.
ABOUT INCENSE #1: AGARBATTI STICKS
To start with, the INDIAN INCENSE STICK, or 'AGARBATTI', probably the best known type of incense - a thin bamboo inner stick that holds a substance which will give off a scent when burned.
But there are a number of different types that vary widely in quality and ingredients:
* COMMERCIAL DIPPED STICKS: Many cheap mass-produced sticks are based on sawdust, glue & other flammable materials, pressed around a bamboo stick and dipped in synthetic 'fragrances' & chemicals to enhance the fragrance throw. These are the types that typically cause headaches and are fairly hard in appearance.
* MASALA STICKS: A step above, these involve creating a paste of ground ingredients such as natural wood powders, resins & scented botanicals, along with natural sticky binders, and rolling the paste around an inner stick. Commonly hand-rolled, and have a powdery, loose-surface appearance.
* RESIN STICKS (pictured): Resin sticks take powdered natural resins like Frankincense & Copal, pressed around an inner stick. This is a simpler way to burn pure resins than as pellets on charcoal as they're easy to light and less messy. Resin sticks may cost a little more, but they are also usually larger & thicker (longer burning), and resins are very strong in scent compared to most incense sticks.
CLICK HERE to see our Incense Stick Range including premium quality natural, handmade and resin sticks.
ABOUT INCENSE #2: RESIN INCENSE
RESIN INCENSE is pure and natural gums & resins straight from the plant - usually a tree or shrub - and presented in solid, dried pellet form to be heated as incense. The term 'resin incense' also often refers to botanicals, herbs and plant matter like leaves, barks, flowers and wood pieces, which are burned in a similar way; the phrase 'charcoal incense' is also occasionally used as most types are usually burned over a charcoal bead or tablet.
Resins have been used since Biblical days and most ancient incense was this type. The best known and still the most commonly used incense resin would have to be Frankincense, which comes from a small shrub that originates from the Middle East and yields a natural gum collected by making incisions into the bark. It is often paired with Myrrh as the two scents blend so beautifully. Copal is South America's alternative to Frankincense - with some similarities but a stunning scent of its own. Other resins include red-coloured Dragons Blood, Benzoin, Dammar and Palo Santo.
As well as resin gums, aromatic botanicals used as incense include sandalwood or palo santo wood flakes or chips, styrax bark, or even dried herbs such as lavender flowers or sage leaves. Many resin incense blends include a selection of the different types, chosen to complement each other for their scent, or perhaps a purpose such as meditation or protection, or an Ayurvedic blend.
Today we burn resins over easy-light charcoal tablets, in a heatproof burner (or Censer). As the gums melt or the botanicals heat, they emit their scented smoke. It is usually very strong, so only a few small pellets are needed to scent a room.
To learn how to burn resins, visit our LEARN MORE pages on our website where we have a step-by-step walkthrough - CLICK HERE.
See our RESIN INCENSE RANGE HERE.
ABOUT INCENSE #3: INCENSE CONES
Incense cones fit under the category of 'DHOOP', which is similar to Agarbatti sticks, except instead of compressing the ingredients around an inner stick, the ingredients are pressed into a stand-alone mould.
In the case of cones, the mould is a cone / pyramid shape: a paste made of various scented ingredients is pressed into the mould to form the simple easy-to-light shape most of us are familar with, then allowed to dry.
Cones can vary in quality depending on the ingredients used - there are plenty of cheaper types available along with higher quality cones that use naturally scented botanicals & resins ground into a paste.
This type of incense is often considered to be purer than sticks containing the bamboo inner core, as the scent of burning bamboo may adulterate the fragrance of the stick.
Cones are a popular choice as being a solid shape, they're not as delicate as spaghetti-like dhoop sticks so don't need any special care from breakage. They also make less mess than sticks as the ash is concentrated into a small area.
Incense cones need to be burned on a heat-proof stand as they will burn right through to the base of the incense before extinguishing themselves - most decent quality incense cones come with a simple plate or tile, or you can use a purpose-made cone burner with a metal stand.
To light an incense cone, hold a flame to the tip in the same way you would an incense stick. Wait until it has caught alight and is starting to glow red, then blow out the flame and allow to smoke. Once it has finished, wait for the ash to cool before disposing.
See our INCENSE CONES RANGE HERE.
ABOUT INCENSE #4: ROPE INCENSE
Nepalese Rope Incense is one of the most unique incense types you're likely to come across, handmade using traditional methods.
Dried herbs and other naturally scented botanicals are finely powdered and wrapped in a thin strip of hand-prepared Nepali lokta paper, which is then braided to form a rope-like dhoop stick around 9 or 10cm in length.
To burn Rope Incense, just light the intertwined ends and once it's alight, blow out the flame to allow the stick to smoulder like you would with incense sticks or cones. Rest the lit stick in a heatproof dish of sand or ash, in a suitable censer, or over a purpose-made Burner Box that has horizontal metal bars in a grid that the rope can lie on as it burns (these also work for Japanese incense or dhoop sticks that don't have an inner bamboo stick and so can't be burned on standard incense stick burners).
As rope sticks only gently smoulder, we've found that each stick will burn up to 30 - 40 minutes depending on the breeze and burning conditions - as with all incense (or anything burning), the more breeze or wind, the quicker they will burn.
Rope incense is available in a number of different scents, from traditional recipes and blends, to rose, sandalwood, patchouli, nag champa or lemongrass.
See our ROPE INCENSE RANGE HERE.
ABOUT INCENSE #5: BACKFLOW CONES
A relatively new addition, Backflow incense is about mixing the scent of incense with the visual appeal of downwards-flowing smoke, which cascades over specialised backflow burners like a waterfall.
Backflow cones are semi-hollow, and have an open hole at the base which aligns with a hole or channel on your backflow burner. When lit, the cone behaves normally, with the smoke travelling upwards, until the burning section reaches the hollow part. The smoke, which is slightly 'heavier' than normal incense cones, will then begin to flow downwards through the hole in the base - usually following a channel or route down over the design of your backflow burner. The smoke pattern is mesmerising and calming, making it excellent for yoga or meditation, or just relaxing. Just avoid breezes, which will spoil the flow of the smoke.
Some people are put off by the 'cheap' quality of some backflow cones, but there are now higher quality handmade cones available which are a step above - we stock ethical GOLOKA brand in 8 scents, so much nicer than the synthetic fragrances found in most backflow cones.
Burning backflow incense is as easy as regular cones - just remember that you need specialised backflow cones or you won't see the cascading effect, and you'll need a backflow burner that is designed around the hole in the base of the cone. You can burn regular cones on a backflow burner, but you won't see any waterfall effect.
See our backflow incense and burners HERE.
ABOUT INCENSE #6: JAPANESE KOH
Japanese 'koh' differs from Indian sticks in that it doesn't have an inner bamboo stick: picture a delicate spaghetti-like stick with no protruding wood. The result is a beautifully subtle, purer scent with less smoke than you'd find with most Indian 'agarbatti' sticks. This makes them the perfect choice if you'd prefer a less smoky space, or want to use relaxing incense in a smaller room such as by the bath.
For a stronger scent you can burn a couple of sticks at a time, or even try burning a mix of different scents at once to create your own signature scent.
As koh doesn't have the inner bamboo stick and burns all the way to the end, it generally can't be used with ashcatchers or other burners that are designed to have the bamboo inserted into the holder. Instead, Japanese incense like Morning Star comes with its own ceramic burning tile - place the tile on a heatproof plate or bowl and lean the stick in the tile's hole. There are also specialised burner boxes available, with a grid of metal slats to lie koh, dhoop or rope incense on while burning.
As koh is quite thin, most packs have 40 or 50 sticks which means plenty of burning time per pack.
See our Japanese Incense section HERE.
ABOUT INCENSE #7: DHOOP INCENSE
Chances are you already know what 'Dhoop Incense' is, without even being aware of it. Want a sample? Read below.
Dhoop incense is similar to Agarbatti sticks except instead of compressing the ingredients around an inner stick, the ingredients are pressed into a stand-alone mould such as a cone, or as in the case of 'joss sticks' or Tibetan incense sticks, rolled or extruded into a long cylinder resembling a thick piece of spaghetti.
This type of incense is considered to be purer than sticks containing the bamboo inner core, as the scent of burning bamboo may arguably adulterate the fragrance of the stick. However it's a bit of a trade-off as without the inner stick for strength, dhoop sticks are also more delicate as they can snap more easily.
While Agarbatti (bamboo) sticks extinguish themselves when they hit the uncoated bamboo, dhoop incense burns right through to the base or end of the incense before going out. This means they need to be burned on a heat-proof stand - many mini dhoop sticks or packs of cones come with their own little burning tile or plate. For larger sticks you can burn on a burner box that has horizontal metal slats for the incense to lie on while it burns, or at a pinch try inserting a stick into a bowl of damp sand or earth (eg a plant pot) to hold it until it burns down.
To light a cone or dhoop stick, just hold a flame to the tip in the same way you would a traditional incense stick, wait until it's caught and is starting to glow red, then blow out the flame and allow the fragrant smoke to fill the air.
WANT A FREE SAMPLE of our handmade Tibetan dhoop? Place any order on our Aussie website over this weekend (31/8 - 1/9) and enter 'FREE DHOOP SAMPLE PLEASE' into the additional details, and we'll pop a couple of sticks in with your order to try out. See our website home page to see what other incense samples you can choose from as we finish up our August Incense Month.
See all our DHOOP incense HERE.
ABOUT INCENSE #8: INCENSE CENSERS
So what on earth is a Censer? It sounds a bit exotic but it just means 'a container in which incense is burnt during a religious ceremony'.
Censers are typically used for burning incense resins like Frankincense, Myrrh or Copal on charcoal beads, though depending on the shape or design they can also be used as incense cone, dhoop or rope burners, or smudge pots for your smudge sticks.
Popular designs include 'screen' censers which have a metal grid to either place your charcoal in (or over - they can be inverted), or simple bowl types.
The majority tend to be made of brass or metal, which means they can heat up with a red-hot charcoal tablet inside them, so the safest way to use them is by adding a layer of sand or earth into the base, which will insulate the burner from the heat. Regardless of the design, always place censers on a heat proof surface or coaster and keep little hands or paws out of reach during use!
Censers are a great way to personalise and enhance your incense time with something beautiful and practical
See all our Censers and other burners HERE.
If you're looking to try burning resins for the first time click here to see our step-by-step tutorial on how to do it HERE.
Plenty of starter and gift packs are also available, with instructions and everything you'll need to try this beautiful type of incense out. See our RESIN INCENSE HERE.