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February 22, 2022 5 min read
The answer lies in the ingredients.
Three decades ago, people made incense differently from what they do currently.
Let me begin with a story.
Saigon (now is Ho Chi Minh City), in the 1970s, my mom had been rolling incense for a living in a local incense manufacturer. There was no fragrance oil, no industrial glue, and dyeing colour in the incense making process.
The aroma of a burning fragrant wood incense smelled just like the aroma of burning a fragrant wood. It was just a little less intense.
In a small local incense making factory, where my mom used to work, workers only made incenses with three prominent aromas: Pine Wood, Sandalwood and Agarwood.
Within these three types of incenses, two different grades depended on the actual main ingredients. The higher the main components, the more expensive the incense was.
In any of these three types of fragrant wood incense: there were only three things:
The plant-based adhesive is Litsea glutinosa (the locals called it "bời lời").
To prevent the workers from stealing the trade secrets, the owner had these ingredients pre-mixed with a specific ratio in a secret room that he was the only one who could access.
The workers'' jobs are to roll this mixture in a bamboo stick one by one.
Once the rolling finished, the workers dried them under the sun for several hours before packing them up.
Back then, when you burn a sandalwood incense stick, you will smell the sandalwood aroma. Just like when you burn a piece of Sandalwood, you smell Sandalwood.
But it has not been the case recently.
As the cost of harvesting wild resources increased significantly and forest protection from governments increased, these ingredients became rarer.
These ingredients were between $50 to several hundred per kg in the 1970s
Their price jumped up to several thousand per kg.
The retail price is going up several times.
The problem is: only a few people wanted to buy these old-school made incense.
Many manufacturers had to find a new way to lower their costs to meet the demand to survive.
So, they replaced the fragrant wood with low-cost incense fragrance oil (LCIFO)
Let me make it clear: I am not saying synthetic is cheap. I am saying these incenses are made of low-cost one because it is cheap to make. People can afford it.
So it is sawdust, incense fragrance oil and bamboo stick.
Sawdust: these are incense fillers collected from carpenters, woodworkers. Their use is to prolong the burning time and lower the cost of incense making.
People used bamboo sticks because they are generally safe and sustainable. Besides, a bamboo stick acts as a core for the incense powder to stick on it.
So, the LCIFO (low-cost incense fragrance oil) is what you smell when you burn this type of incense.
Like you drink orange flavour soft drinks, you are not drinking real orange juice. You are consuming orange-flavoured sugar.
The smoke from this type of incense was probably too strong for you.
Instead of relaxing you, it stressed you even more. It causes tears in your eyes.
Although some people could tolerate it, others found it unbearable. These fragrance oil incense could make you sick or nauseous.
Because of this reason, you don't like incense anymore.
I understand this feeling, and you are not alone.
Growing up with incense, I felt the differences of fragrant wood incense from an LCIFO (low-cost incense fragrance oil). With fragrant wood incense, you smell the actual fragrant wood. It rarely causes tears in your eyes.
When you burn fragrant wood incense, you will have a different view on incense enjoyment.
Some people like Pinewood, Cedarwood while some enjoy Sandalwood.
Agarwood is a precious incense material. If you heated these wood chips, you would experience a very holy moment.
You feel satisfied and pleased. You become more alert to your surrounding.
That is one of the main reasons people burned agarwood incense when guests arrived at their house in the east.
But as these chips' cost is high (between several hundred to tens of thousands of dollars per kg), enjoying them in a short time is not something that incense lovers want to do.
I have one customer who told me: "I felt like burning money".
And I don't blame him because
If something costs thousands of dollars per kg, not everyone can afford to do it daily.
He loves Agarwood so much and cannot afford to burn these chips every day.
If this story resonated with you, then we are on the same page. You want something that smells as good but lasts longer.
So my family creates these incenses just for this purpose. We create it so you CAN enjoy Agarwood every day.
You see, burning a small piece of agarwood chip (1g) would only last you around 5 to 10 minutes.
What if you could experience a 15 to 20-burn time?
You will get the intense woody smell at first, and then you probably want more because it was so "divine."
If this is what you want, please click here to get the chips.
But if you like something that lasts longer, then read on because I have something for you.
The raw material is here.
I can let you know that there are only three things in this incense.
Post-distilled wood, cultivated agarwood chips and the plant-based adhesive
But I am unable to tell you the ratio of these three.
Because it is a trade secret
And this is the ratio that makes this incense smell great.
Material: made from the Wood Of God: Agarwood from Aquilaria Crassna and natural binder
There are two sizes available,
Net Weight (without package): 10 g (approx 62-65 sticks)
Net Weight (without package): 10 g (around 32 sticks)
1mm: you will have a longer burning time. The incense is fragile need to handle with care. But it will last longer.
2mm: The incense is thicker, which is easier to handle. If you have a big hand, select this option.
Burning time length each stick: approx 15 to 20 mins
Scent: subtle woodsy with a touch of spicy and bitter notes.
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