Pure - Nepal Musk

Pure Incense – Absolute Nepal Musk

I had already flirted with Nepal Musk at the beginning of last year, when I ordered from Padma Store for my birthday, but then left it out so as not to exceed my budget.
At Padma Store a 10g pack costs €4.45; At Pure Incense 20g costs £6.95, 50g costs £10.95 and there are also 250g packs.
I ended up ordering it from Pure directly via an acquaintance.

On pure-incense.com, the description of the 20g boxes says: “Our Nepal Musk is a high musky green fresh note.” and for the other two sizes you can read “Stunning incense very musky almost like moss. Celestial exotic scent, very opulent and potent.”
On Padma Store, the scent is described as follows: “Absolute Nepal Musk by Pure Incense are Indian incense sticks with a heavy, sweet and slightly vanilla aroma. (…)”
Mr. Kapur (the owner) also points out that musk is to be understood as a fragrance genre and that there are several plant-based substitutes for animal musk.

I love musky scents, that’s why I was so curious about this one. I haven’t had much experience with Pure at that time, just a few samples that I got from the same person who was nice enough to include some things for me when they placed an order.

As with many Pure incense sticks, my initial problem with Nepal Musk was that I found it too vanilla-dominant. I also found it to be anything but typical of musk.
At first, I had great difficulty finding anything “green” in the smell as well. I thought they were sweet, almost too sweet. The inner bag smelled more like tonka beans than vanilla.
Over time, the very sweet vanilla note was joined by a burned herbal note, which in my head developed increasingly towards interpreting it as sweetgrass. My enthusiasm was limited.
I hadn’t paid any attention to them for a few months until a few days ago.
When I smelled them again, my first association was: “Woodruff Jelly.” You may laugh or raise your eyebrows in disbelief – in such moments I can often just shake my head and be amused.
But the perception persists: the green jelly.
Sweetgrass and woodruff (and also tonka) share a scent component: coumarin. Its scent is generally described as vanilla or hay-like. Coumarin is very popular in the perfume and cosmetics industry, and is also used as a fragrance in incense and even as a flavouring in tobacco products.
Coumarin also occurs naturally in many other plants, so it is entirely plausible that it comes from plant material in these incense sticks. Whether it’s sweetgrass or something else is anyone’s guess.
But why woodruff jelly?
In addition to this special, sweet aroma, woodruff also has something green and at least the jelly has a certain freshness due to the addition of citric acid.
Whatever is in these incense sticks, it recreates this combination for me.
I’ve lit Nepal Musk a few times since then and the impression remains the same. I’m now even slowly starting to recognize and understand the “musk” in it.

What a strange composition!
I don’t think they will ever be one of my favourites, but this surprising note caught me off guard so much that I now find them interesting and am curious to see how they develop in my perception.

At least this batch is noticeably thin and therefore burns down quite quickly.

Rating: 2.7

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