These all-natural incense sticks are crafted using only Agar wood, also known as Aloes wood. Each 21cm-long stick will burn for around 40 minutes, and each blue tube contains 20 sticks to bring beauty and balance to your home.
These incense sticks are coreless - they do not have the usual reed or bamboo stick at their centre - which means you are only smelling the Agarwood, and have much less ash to deal with. They do not contain any fillers, artificial fragrances or colours.
Each stick can be burned in a regular cored-stick holder, however, for best results use a burn-resistant dish or holder to burn them lying flat. Simply light one end, blow it out, lay the incense down and enjoy the delicate aroma as it slowly fills the room.
Incense is something I have been familiar with all my life, from the strong variety used in dedicated metal censers at funerals to the spice-laden scents that permeate ethnic clothing stores in various parts of the world to the more delicate perfume of lightly floral joss sticks. I have placed a lighted stick on a shrine in a Buddhist temple and used a tiny purpose-made spoon to add incense powder to a small home burner. In short, I am probably well qualified to comment on a new product - at least, I thought I was! But I am nothing if not flexible, so I was prepared to test this new product out - despite having my doubts!
Lighting the sticks was easier than I had expected. Because of their unique shape (small, thin, and coreless, and with no means of standing them up or inserting them into a burner) I balanced them against the rim of a dish so that they were at a slight angle, and lit the free end. I thought this would inhibit the burning process, but it was hassle free. The sticks lit readily and as they burned down they slid gracefully into the bowl without losing power. Once the flame had died down, they continued to glow and give off a light silvery smoke. Despite their small size, two of them burned for well over half an hour - the same as a conventional joss stick, and much longer than cone incense. The third went out halfway through so I had to relight it - it then continued to burn completely.
The scent was sweet and pleasant - even my cat approved, sniffing it from a safe distance and then curling up and going to sleep on the table beside the dish! She was cautious, not approaching the burning sticks too closely, although I still kept my eye on her just in case she decided it was something worth biffing! Needless to say, I had first checked to ensure the scent was safe for cats; I was reassured to find that agarwood is completely non-toxic to animals so can safely be used around household pets. However, I don't think the house flies knew that; there was one buzzing round earlier and it made a fast exit as soon as it sensed the smoke.
Apart from being sweetish, the scent might be best described as woody with hints of various spices. I know that people perceive scents differently, and that my reaction might be completely different from another person's, but I was reminded of a small cedarwood box that had belonged to my mother. It was hand carved and had a lovely smell when the lid was raised. She had used it for jewellery and trinkets, and years after she died it still retained its scent. The burning sticks gave off a similar pungent odour which hopefully will permeate the surrounding furniture and stick around for a while. My other impression was that of a baked coconut custard which is highly aromatic when first taken out of the oven, sharing a combination of spices like vanilla, allspice, and nutmeg.
The price is quite high, but given the cost of the raw product, it is understandable - you pay for what you get! However, I found that the effect lasted long after the sticks had been reduced to ash. There were resinous streaks on the dish where the sticks had burned; I smeared some on my fingertip and sniffed it. There was an instant thought that the resin might be wonderful spread on food ready for the barbecue; it had a full, smoky smell that I recognised from marinades! I won't try it; there would not be enough anyway, but it was not something I had expected from a product like this. Meanwhile I have a very happy cat, still fast asleep as if mesmerised by the experience.
I like incense, I like nice smelling things, but thanks to my sensitive lungs I have had to abstain from having any incense going (it is bad enough to the point that the kids aren't able to have any going in their rooms at all). My dad used to use a lot of them when I lived with him, so I know the ins and outs (not that it is a complicated process) but had never come across ones like this before, with no core. Because there is no core to these, they break very easy if you want to snap it in half, but they are surprisingly durable as there were no little bits or shorter sticks in my container.
I thought this would be nice and easy, since it says that you don't need to have a traditional incense holder, just a flat, burn resistant dish (and according to the information above, they will burn better flat than in a holder). I tried several times to have one of these laying down flat but each time they 'died' within a minute or two, and this was despite me trying a few different surfaces. In the end I borrowed a holder from my mum and it worked perfectly fine - though this does mean you will end up with a small amount wasted as it can't be burnt. I liked the scent enough that I will use the rest of the packet up, it wasn't too strong to affect my breathing though I did find that half a stick is the best amount for me to use to get both a nice scent and no negative affect on myself.
While these are going to be more expensive in the long run, halving each stick means it will last me twice as long and my daughter is now happy to have one she can light without worrying about me (she loves watching the smoke).
I first started using incense back in my Uni days - the joys of having the odd smoker for a flatmate on and off. I found it was also useful during meditation sessions where I couldn't 'get out of my head' to better see the day's problems from a different point of view - watching the smoke slowly drifting, morphing shape and diffusing gave me something visual to lock onto and that would often help a lot. So... yes, I think I know a little bit, but not much, about incense.
Which is why coming across it in a coreless stick format was such a surprise - I have only ever known sticks to have a bamboo core for stability, and the only coreless format I have used has been cones. I was not at all sure how I would burn these - standing them up in a holder or bowl of sand would mean that whatever was not in open-air likely wouldn't burn, but laying a stick down on a wooden surface would likely damage the surface. However, a visit to a local opp shop and I had a 20c saucer big enough to hold a full stick without any hanging over the edge.
I found these sticks incredibly easy to light - not having the bamboo core means ignition is instant, and a quick puff of breath will put out any lingering flame. And so, the smoke began.
For me, scent is not always the key factor - sometimes I want something in the air to help me wake up, fall asleep, remain alert, chill out... so whatever will do the job will get the job, whether I find the smell particularly pleasant or not. (Sometimes a bad smell is the plan - to 'encourage' me to get outdoors. ) Having never sniffed agarwood before, I was curious to note that, fresh out of the tube, it didn't have any particularly strong smell for me. This only made me more curious to find out what sort of smell and effects it would have on me once it was lit.
The scent that wafted up after a few moments was lightly smokey, as expected, but sweet with it, and there was a definite hint of something almost fruity in there for me. It made me think of the times I have visited the Redwood Forest in Rotorua, shortly after rain when the petrichor is just starting to fade off again. It's a smell that instantly brought on a memory of peace and communing with nature, while at the same time lifted my mood somewhat. Though that may have been from the memories associated with that forest - I have enjoyed many visits to the elevated Treewalk and the Altitude Zipline Tours that operate from that location.
Each tube has 20 sticks, and while they look slim and like they will flash-burn in seconds, they don't. They last for anywhere between 30-45 minutes depending on the environment, and they burn low and slow. While it is not advised to pick one up by the glowing spark, there's no fear of it catching fire unless you dump pure oxygen on it - it burns so cool that you can't light another stick off the embers of one, unlike sparklers for example. This is again due to the lack of a bamboo core, which burns hotter.
Overall, this was an education and a revelation for me - full of firsts; first encounter with agarwood (Which is now very high on my list of acceptable chill-vibes scents), first encounter with a coreless stick and first time burning incense laying flat. One thing that is definitely worth noting - these are made by hand, in small batches, by teams of makers - almost every stick will have a slight variation to the colours, due to minute variations in the ingredients and the manufacturing process - this is not machine-made stuff. A little high on the price tag for every use, this is an exceptional product I will recommend to anyone who wants the best and understands that you get what you pay for.
Full disclosure my husband and youngest and I all have the flu. Where as I am on the mend I am still quite foggy so even though I feel so silly for taking so long to open the tube I have an excuse. I am used to having cabs on my incense sticks and I spent quite a while trying to figure out how to open it. I even contemplated used scissors. Looking back I can't believe how silly I was because there was this sticker in the middle of the tube that I completely over looked. I assumed it was from KIWIreviews because it was quite crooked. After a couple of minutes it dawned on my to peal the sticker and that is when I found the opening - so silly.
The next thing I found is the incense sticks are very flimsy and can snap very easily. I selected the one I wanted to use and it just broke in my hand. No matter where I placed my hand it just broke. I went thru two sticks before I just let it rest in my palm.
I put it into my incense holder and realised that there is no exact place to burn, it didn't matter what end you burnt. Usually I have a stick and an area that you light but this one the whole stick burns and it doesn't matter how you place it in the holder. Lighting it was easily and blowing the flame out was also very simple. I love watching the smoke makes shapes as it burnt down rather quickly. It did not leave much ash which is great as have had some in the past that made quite a mess.
The smell does not linger the way I like it just kinda faded away. It is not over powering either. Its a sweet smell. My initial reason for getting is we have (had) a kitten who was having a few accidents around his potty and I wanted something to help disguise the smell. Unfortunately Zim was killed a week ago by a car - my two girls are good with the potty but I still have placed the holder close to the area.
It is nice but not quite the incense stick for me. I like stronger smells and I don't think this is the right scent for me either. I will continue to use them, as you never know it might grow on me.
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