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"Why does your incense smell weak? Are you selling fake incenses?"

December 12, 2016

If you have ever used joss stick incenses recently, you might  experience tears in your eyes. The smell could create headache or nose numbing. The ash from burning stays on the stick forever unless it is touched.

The scent is very intensive, so sharp that could make you walk away. It is constant and monotone.

These incenses were made from saw dust submersed with low-quality synthetic oil with a price of $2 per litre. You might ask where we get this figure from? Well, it was sold openly in Kim Bien market Ho Chi Minh City (most "oil" originated from China)

Price for 50g package is around 50 cents retail in HCM city and $3 in Australia? So cheap and smell so good? 

Recently, a customer told us that our incenses were expensive and smelled "weak" compared to the $2 one. Worst, they asked for a refund and even lectured us how incenses should smell. Sadly, we know he/she is not prepared to listen. Since this incident, we now attempt to show how you could identify quality incenses

  •  Binding agent:

You could tell the craftsmanship  of the images above, chemical or fragrant oil incenses use saw dust and inferior binding agent which will melt under direct sunlight after two hours, the oil vaporises, leaving the remaining the "joss stick" only. The below image is the saw dust incense after 2 weeks staying on a table under normal room temperature, as you could see, the sawdust layer was peeled off by itself as the adhesive substance melted. 

incense saw dust and fragrant oil

Genuine incenses could not be produced cheaply, it was made with real ingredient without any fragrant oil which makes it smell "weaker". The binding agent is superior, made from natural adhesive from a specie called  Litsea Glutinosa when pressed will produce a sticky substance, scentless when burn. 

As fine incenses use real ingredients, there is no need to use "joss stick" as base. With good binding agent, the incense is strong enough to stand by itself and without having to burn the "stick", you would experience minimum burn note.

  •  Scent

At room temperature, fragrant oil incenses already have a sharp smell like soap synthetic room spray. 

Genuine incense  offers a smooth and pleasant aroma.  If it is a sandalwood incense, you would smell sandalwood NOT fragrant oil sandalwood. Similarly, if it is a agarwood incense, it should assemble some oud smell.

When burn, the smoke should not irritate your eyes or noses. High quality incenses produce minimum burn note but light and pleasant experience. You could easily tell what you are actually burning. For example, frankincense incenses will have similar trait of the raw resin but lighter as it is now in powder form.

In contrast, with fragrant oil incenses, to some people, it smells good. However, most people will find they are tangy, especially eye-watering experience when stay close to the stick..

  • Cost

Depends on the ingredient, but generally speaking, if it is too good to be true, then it is. Check reputable incense brand, you would have a good idea.


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