One of the advantages of selling incense is the free samples from manufacturers and distributors that arrive now and then in my mailbox. Friday I received a sample of Gonesh Sandalwood from Genieco’s “Extra Rich” collection. I love the scent of Sandalwood but I had never tried the Gonesh version so I thought it would be a good idea to record my first impressions here.
I have to admit that the moment I opened the inner package the first thought that came to mind was “delicious”. It is unmistakably Sandalwood, and yet somehow more sensual and a bit less spicy before ignition than other offerings. I was annoyed just a bit at the fact that the sticks come in two bundles of ten secured by paper tape on the incense part of the stick as well as the stick itself. I realize of course that it has nothing to do with the scent itself and there is probably a very good reason that Genieco chooses to package them this way, but I like to just be able to pull out a stick without having to worry with any sort of securing apparatus.
When I review an incense stick I always burn them in a vertical position in a small bowl of sand rather than in a box type burner or a boat style. I feel that it is the best representation of the scent, free from oils left in the burner previously or burning hotter due to the horizontal position. So with the stick safely in the upright position I proceeded to light it. Wondering of course if it would be much different from lighting a punk or pulp based stick since I have had that problem in the past with other charcoal based sticks. Fortunately ignition of the stick was no problem at all and in moments the warm fragrance of Sandalwood began to permeate the air.
If my first thought was “delicious” upon initially opening the package then my first thoughts upon smelling the smoke were (strangely) Al Stewarts “Year of The Cat” and a music store I frequented in the late 1970’s that also happened to sell incense and accessories. Scent has a powerful effect on memory and although I can’t for the life of my fully explain why those two things would be the first things I thought of, it did nothing to detract from the positively wonderful scent now filling my testing area.
The scent is warm, sensual and with a slight spicy note right at the end that makes this the most pleasant Sandalwood incense I have experienced so far. It makes me think of warm places and soft blankets. Summer nights and (inexplicably) well dressed society women. I can only speculate as to why it would bring to mind the last. I think I am stereotyping because more expensive perfumes (the kind you are likely to find worn by wealthy women) have less alcohol and other “sharp” scents associated with them just as this incense has virtually no “sharp” scent associated with it.
I find the scent to be warm, comforting and easy to daydream with. I am not sure I would choose this incense to meditate with as it stirs my scent memory so much. Perhaps after I have experienced it more than the one time it would be easier to keep those memories from distracting me while sitting Zazen.
For now I have four sticks of it sitting unlit and vertical in a bowl of sand on my desk. It makes an absolutely wonderful potpourri and more creative people than myself could easily insert into a flower arrangement. Overall I it to be a wonderful incense and whatever debate I have heard about charcoal versus pulp sticks has been laid to rest. Try as I might, I could detect no unpleasant notes from the charcoal in this particular stick.
So I will be using this incense far more in the future and I hope this little review encourages you to give it a try. Especially if you are a fan of Sandalwood. I think you will be very pleased and delighted with it.