Berk - Blue Line 2 - Flowery Dreams

Holy Smokes – Blue Line: Assortment 2 “Flowery Dreams”

The Blue Line by Holy Smokes is extremely extensive and is divided into three sample assortments: “1 Secret Visions”, “2 Flowery Dreams”, “3 Loving Fantasies”. Those contain 2 sticks of 9 varieties each. An assortment costs around €6-7.
The regular packs cost €3-3.50 (often offered at a higher price) containing 10g.
I would categorize all of them as dry Masala. The typical powder coating on these sticks is less a wood flour than a very fine powder, which sometimes makes the sticks look a bit marbled. They are 20.5cm long, the bare bamboo varies greatly in length from variety to variety – from approx. 2.5cm to 5cm.

I was able to get all 3 assortments second-hand but unopened for cheap over a year ago. It took me a lot longer to get to grips with all of them than I expected (and I’m still not completely through it) because I soon realized that there wasn’t much left of my previous enthusiasm for this brand.
From what I remember, the scents smelled much better. Has my taste changed, or the quality?

What I noticed overall is that I found the sticks to smell very smoky, especially at the beginning. Another observation is the almost omnipresent vanilla sweetness, which nearly all the incense sticks in this line have in common.

2.4I thought Jasmine was pretty bad the first time. Overly sweet and little of the namesake flower to be found. I would have rated it 1.1.
Apparently a little cooler weather does this smell a lot of good because now in autumn, I found it sweet, but no longer unpleasant. They are floral, but I still can’t really recognize the smell as jasmine. The vanilla note is over-present and perhaps distorts the impression a bit. The overall impression is sweet, floral and aromatic with a warm appearance.
2.2I like Lavender less than Jasmine, which is surprising. Here, the sweet note not only steals the show from the variety’s namesake, it has a negative impact on it. The direct smoke is particularly unpleasant. The tart, herbaceous lavender combines with something of the vanilla to form a smell that reminds me of the sweetish, charred smell of burning hair. Lots of fresh air improves it and as it progresses the lavender becomes more prominent, but the scent never becomes really rounded.
Nag Champa in this line is a real oddball. For me, the smell has close to nothing to do with what is normally served under this name.
There’s a vaguely tart floral note that might be champaka, but that’s it.
The sticks are smeary sweet, with a kinda chewy balsaminess. Its spiciness is unspecific and a little woody. It quickly becomes a nuisance for me.
2.6In my opinion, Orange Blossom don’t hit the mark either. The smell is there, but you have to look for it occasionally. In summer, it took a while for their aroma to emerge, in cooler weather it was almost the opposite. These sticks have a little less of the over-present vanilla. They are a little spicier and overall quite pleasant. The after smell is mainly sweet.
2.9Patchouli are the only ones from this sampler that stand on their own and have their own character. They are warm and earthy, spicy in a dark way and have a slightly tart, sour and resinous note that gives the smell some depth and complexity. There is also a mildly sweet, somewhat balsamic component that rounds everything off.
I find them pleasant, soft and calming.
Nevertheless, I still miss something in their profile that would make them one of the really good ones.
1-2Patchouli Garden – I usually really like patchouli, but these don’t do much for me. In the summer I found them smoky and smeary-sweet, now in the fall they seem generally more balanced to me, but at the same time a bit weak. The smell starts out earthy and deep, then the vanilla joins in, which harmonizes quite well, but there is another note that I absolutely cannot place. My first attempts to describe it were along the lines of “cosmetic but dry”, but somehow the smell also reminds me of “electro smog” or ozone. Very strange indeed.
The after-smell drags the rating down further because the aroma degenerates into a burnt smell.
2.7+Rose are less sweet than most of the others. Of all the floral scents, I think this is the most successful. The rose is clearly recognizable and has a certain level of complexity. It’s not just the purely sweet smell of roses, but also has a fresh and almost green, herbaceous-spicy component. The vanilla stays mostly in the background and only serves as an accentuation. The composition seems balanced to me.
The after-smell is rather sweet, but also has a bit of a spicier rose note.
I didn’t have a chance to compare them directly, but I definitely think I like them better than Queen of Roses by Happy Hari.
These sticks have a slightly thinner masala application than the others. Maybe a batch variation.
Sometimes, I perceive Tibet Lotus as quite flat, sometimes as more defined, which makes it difficult to evaluate. At first, I found it a bit musty – like something that had been lying in an old cupboard for a long time; then that developed into an earthy note. In any case, they are rather dark. Sometimes I notice the floral note more clearly, on other days it’s the vanilla and a sweet, slightly burnt smell come in the foreground again, which I described as “burnt milk” the first time I noted it.
I generally recognize a scent profile that is related to “Blue Lotus” incense. This combination of dark/earthy and floral-bright is also in BERK‘s Ambrosia, only there it is worked out beautifully, here it is only hinted at.
or lower
Lemon has a pretty generic incense smell. The lemon is present, but very hidden between the general aromatic masala character and the vanilla sweetness. If they had been called “lemon cake,” I would find it far more apt.
The first time I burned it, I noticed an unpleasant smoky after-smell, almost like an ashtray.

Approximate average rating: 2.3

Patchouli is the only variety from this sampler that I would consider buying a box of. (If I liked rose scent more, it would be at least 2.) However, they don’t come close to the two patchoulis that I already have in my collection, which doesn’t make the appeal particularly high.
This is the only variety from this sampler that I remember having before, and I must have bought it several times back then. Patchouli Garden was around as well, but I don’t know if I ever tried it. There were likely others from this series available at the time, the only names that seem new to me are in the Loving Fantasies package, in which they all have fantasy names.
I can remember a variety called Champa Flowers that seemed to have disappeared from the Blue Line, but reappeared in the Green Line, which has coreless sticks and did not exist at that time. When I’m through with the Blue Line, I’ll get a sampler of them as well.

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