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How Do I Choose The Right Incense?

We are very lucky in these modern times to have access to an incredible variety of incenses.  Incense comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes, and we can now purchase incense from all over the globe with just a few clicks of of a button.  Although on the one hand all this variety can be exciting and fun, on the other hand it can be a little bit overwhelming.  There are so many different styles and scents of incense, how do you know which one is the one for you?

Shopping on an internet website can make incense selection even more confusing, as you won't even be able to smell the incense in person (although the scent of a incense before it is burned can differ greatly from the scent after it is lit).  So how to you choose the right incense?  After all, you don't want to place an order and end up with an incense that you can't burn or that doesn't give off the type of scent you want.  Fortunately, even though you can't smell incense in an online shop before you buy it, there are a few ways to figure out how to end up with an incense that you will love to use!

The very first thing you need to consider when purchasing an incense is the form it comes in.  This is discussed in more depth in our Choosing an Incense Form article, but I will go over it here briefly as well.  The form of incense you select will dictate what type of incense burner you will need, and you don't want to end up with something that you can't burn.

The easiest types of incense to burn are cone and stick incense.  To burn cone incense, all you will need is a stone or ceramic disk to catch the ash from the cone and to ensure fire safety.  For stick incense, you can purchase an incense holder almost anywhere in pretty much any style you like, and some incenses, like our Morning Star Incense, comes with a small ceramic holder that fits perfectly.  When it comes to stick and cone incense, you can also fill a bowl or a cup with rice, sand or ash and stick the incense inside it or put a cone on top.  Therefore, if you want an incense that requires little to no special equipment to burn, these are the styles that you will want to go with.

If you don't mind purchasing equipment, or if you already own a censer and charcoal, then resin incense is something that you might want to try out.  Resin incense has the advantage of being eminently customizable.  You can purchase a variety of different resins and mix them to create exactly the scent you want, something that you can't do with stick or cone incense.  However, resin incense, and other loose incense, requires a censer and charcoal to burn.  Burning this type of incense also requires a fair amount of supervision, and is much more time consuming than burning than stick incense.  So, just be careful to keep this in mind.  If you want to try out the amazing, pure scents of resin incense without dealing with the complicated aspects of loose resin, you may want to try out our resin stick incense, which lets you burn resins just as easily as you would stick incense.

Once you have selected the form of incense that you want, you will want to figure out what kind of scent suits you the best.  If you enjoy working with aromatherapy, you might want to try our Resin Sticks or Aromacology incenses, which use essential oils and natural plant resins to release a natural, healing scent with which you can specifically alter and purify your environment.  We also offer Paine's cedar and pine incenses, which are made from pure plant material and can fill your home with the scent of these beautiful, holy trees.

If you are looking for a very specific scent to change the mood in your space, you might want to consider the Gonesh incense that we carry.  They offer both beautiful blends and very specific single-note scents that are easily recognizable, so you will know even before you order just what you will get.  With scents such as vanilla, jasmine and coconut, you will have a good idea of what kind of scent you are going to receive and won't end up with any unpleasant surprises.  Gonesh also offers blends for holiday and devotional purposes.

If you are looking for a mild, calming and meditative scent, then Japanese incense might work well for you.  Japanese incense is generally uncluttered and beautifully simple, producing a lovely, purifying scent that will not overpower your space.  We carry a vast variety of Japanese incense, so you are sure to find something you like.  If you are unsure as to what scent will suit you best, we also carry assorted Japanese incense sets, so you can try out a variety of scents with one order!  Japanese incense scents are geared towards clear and simple floral and woody scents.

If you are looking for a more intense and powerful scent, you may want to consider Indian or Tibetan incense.  Both of these styles of incense have the benefit of being based in thousands of years of medicinal usage, and so will have a very therapeutic effect.  Indian incense is generally more floral and sweet in nature.  If you have ever smelled the very popular Nag Champa style of incense, you will understand the basic nature of Indian incense.  It is generally rich and somewhat sweet, and produces a very powerful scent that will overpower pretty much anything else.

Tibetan incense is at least as powerful as Indian incense, but lacks the sweet tones that you find in Indian incense.  Tibetan incense is generally very woody and herbal in nature, and makes one think of ancient Buddhist temples.  It is very useful for creating a meditative state and for bringing one in to a healing space.

Hopefully, the above information will help you to understand the different types of incense that are available and will help you to pick the ones that will suit your needs.  If you have any questions at all, please don't hesitate to drop us a line here at Spiritual Scents - we have years of experience working with incense and we would love to help you find the one that is perfect for you!
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