Mr.P

oud<3er
Hey I just felt like putting somewhere on this forum a note to encourage people to experiment with costus root in their incense mixes (and perfume/ attar). The more I pay attention to this root the more I realize it has a subtle but critical role in many Japanese incense. I feel like baieido uses it to great advantage. Also it's a really wild material that is worth experimenting with it in your blending. Adds very interesting musky notes. This material is challenging at first because initially it smells a little bit like unwashed human hair but that aspect of the aroma seems to vanish when it is used in incense or perfume.

Be picky when buying root though. I have bought some from some reputable suppliers of incense materials that are the sliced kind that are processed with sulfates for Chinese medicine. I would consider those second rate, altered a bit by the processing so see if you can get roots from places that are processing them with incense in mind like yamada matsu. The TCM material is still usable if the "incense grade" cannot be obtained but in mine there are accessory notes that are not costus per se
 
Last edited:

zahir

Ouducation Student
For those of you who have made their own pure agarwood incense sticks, what is the minimum to maximum % of agarwood that goes into formula? Especially for those sticks which utilize both a binder plus charcoal. Just trying to gauge how many agarwood there is in the pure agarwood sticks sold by the likes of KZ, Ken, Dr. Incense, etc.
@Mr.P @Oudamberlove @Taesik Yun
 

Mr.P

oud<3er
Hey you know I never perfected ratios for making sticks although at one point I had started figuring it out. I had a kid and so my routines all switched up and that got left behind along with the details.

One thing is if you're creating mixtures to extrude, you can do a whole lot of experimentation while it's still in the dry powdered state. mix up the entire thing everything except the water. Grind it to a uniform consistency and completely blend it.

if you get a small incense bowl and fill it with rice chaff ash or some other fine incense ash, you can test your blends on the bed of ash.

One option is to create a shallow impression in the ash and fill that impression with incense powder and light one end and observe. I think you can find folks selling you a little thing to print a little path in the ash, but it's not so hard to cook it up yourself and you can do some crazy things if you have a 3-D printer I imagine. :)

Another is to use a stencil to create a raised trail on top of the tamped ash. Purchase online or 3-D print your own

This allows for some rapid testing so you can figure out what creates a pleasant and consistent burn. I think when you have very high resin content (sinking wood for example) would it will tend to self extinguish without some kind lighter wood or herbs or accelerant like clove.
 

zahir

Ouducation Student
Thanks a lot guys. @Mr.P I was more interested in the % of agarwood in the sticks to determine the value of my money when purchasing the pure agarwood incense sticks and so that I may better decide if I should purchase sticks vs straight up agarwood for those prices. I am holding myself back from going down the rabbit hole of incense making... And distillation... and creating my own blends/perfumes... although I may conjure up some musk based pastes! Just the sound of it gets me excited 🤤
 

zahir

Ouducation Student
@zahir you can save money by just using raw agarwood. incense stick isn't the ideal form to enjoy the purist scent of agarwood. when you're purchasing incense sticks you're mostly paying for the artisan's creativity, plus your subjective value.
The convenience can't be beat. Plus some of the sticks that I've purchased are much richer in olfactory profile compared to price per gram that similar agarwood may be available for sale online. Eg: Sticks made from sinking agarwood being offered at 15-20 usd per gram is a much better deal than paying 50-60 usd per gram for similar wood available online to purchase.
 

Mr.P

oud<3er
Yeah I would agree with Taesik - much higher value from wood than from sticks in my experience, if the aroma of oud is what you seek.

If you're looking for the mixture/ masala of incense sticks or convenience is the primary concern, that's a different thing of course.

With a subitism I would say heating wood is more convenient than burning an incense stick tho... no ash, no need to hunt down a lighter, instant cleanup etc..

I'm starting to feel like a salesman now haha
 
Top