Regenbogen Rauchfahne

Shanthimalai – Nag Champa

Another sample from the incense swap with Steve Pereira. I link to his review of these incense sticks here.

Shanthimalai – Nag Champa often receives praise on r/Incense, and my friend Silver is also very fond of them, so I was happy to finally try them – they are practically impossible to find here in Germany. Only very rarely do you come across individual offers on eBay at outrageous prices.

These Nag Champa definitely have their own character, and I fear that one sample stick isn’t quite enough to fully capture it.
The scent focus is on the deep, woody notes. I find the fragrance dry and a bit earthy. There’s a peculiar, fruity note in the scent. Someone on Reddit once described it as “quinces”; for me, it’s more like rowan berries (Sorbus aucuparia), having something high and slightly pungent. This gives them a certain overlap with Himalayan Flower – Golden Nagchampa and NGR – Nag Champa, but in both of those, the note is very strong, whereas here it’s not at all.
The floral aspect is present, but far less prominent than in other Nag Champas I’m familiar with.
Additionally, I smell a waxy note, which I’ve certainly detected in other Nag Champas. I’ve previously associated this waxy scent with champaca (Michelia champaca) because I always notice it in Nag Champas, but I’m starting to wonder if it might also be Halmaddi. Steve often describes Halmaddi as “prickles of warm lamb’s wool,” which doesn’t sound too far off from a wax scent to me. On the other hand, I often don’t detect this note in incense sticks that are supposed to contain Halmaddi. Perhaps the scent arises from a particular combination?

In any case, Shanthimalai – Nag Champa is interesting, but not immediately one of my favourites. However, I have the impression that they might be like Shroff’s dry masalas: the more time I spend with them, the more I grow to like them.

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