Bhagwan Incense

Out of thin air, a novel brand emerged in 2023: Bhagwan Incense, offering a substantial assortment of premium incense sticks at affordable prices.
It uses the renowned name Happy Hari to advertise its quality and also seems to repeat the story of the person behind Happy Hari – Paul Eagle. A man who travels to India to find outstanding incense made by the best manufacturers, to sell these under his own brand name in the West.
A story too good to be true – or a story that repeats itself?

As is often the case, I became aware of Bhagwan through Reddit.
About 2 months ago (September 2023) a post appeared on r/Incense, about this new incense dealer in the EU. The poster wondered if there was actually a connection to Happy Hari and if he should perhaps place a small test order.
The post also included links to some Blog articles on the Bhagwan homepage, which upon closer inspection I recognized as copies from Incense in The Wind. (They have since been removed from the Bhagwan site.) Consequently, I emailed Steve, the author of Incense in The Wind, to ask if he had given his consent.
Meanwhile, the discussion in the comments section became increasingly heated and controversial. Speculations were made about the source of supply and parallels were drawn with other brands. I, myself, criticized Bhagwan quite harshly in the comments; my sense of justice had been awakened as I had become friends with Steve over the last few months, which made things a bit personal. Steve couldn’t immediately recall the name Bhagwan, which led me to jump to conclusions and suspect that the site operator had just blatantly copied the articles, which made me question the overall honesty of the company.
In the end, it turned out that the man behind Bhagwan Incense is Eugene Andrushchenko, who is actually a friend of Steve’s and Steve just couldn’t remember the brand name. The articles were actually used with permission, and the small details that previously seemed like evidence against Bhagwan turned out to be mere formal errors.
An apology was due, and Steve had offered to put the two of us in touch.
Regardless of that, I decided I owed Bhagwan, or more specifically Eugene, an unbiased, honest opinion on his incense sticks, and so I placed an order.
It turned out that Eugene is a reader of my blog. After receiving my order, he offered to send me samples of all the things I hadn’t included in my order. A generous offer that I gladly accepted.
Eugene and I have been in sporadic email contact ever since.

Eugene is mentioned several times on Steve’s blog, initially only as a reader who sent him some samples that he brought home from one of his trips to India.
At this point, Eugene was already building his company and the Bhagwan brand. His journeys focused on finding good to outstanding incense sticks and establishing business relationships with their manufacturers. But he also knew some of them beforehand. He travelled to India for the first time around the turn of the millennium, and not long after that, he went there at least once a year.
“When you stay in places for longer than a usual tourist, you start getting to know the culture from within, and the ways of an Indian society. And you spend a lot of time roaming Indian markets.”, he wrote to me. He also told me, that he had been thinking about starting an incense business for a while, but the security of a regular job with a good income kept him from taking the risk.
It was only after the beginning of the war in his home country, Ukraine, and the resulting bankruptcy of his employer in England, that he took the step into the unknown and turned his long-held dream into reality. So it is that now Eugene (who also has English citizenship), offers first-class incense sticks for the EU market from his new residence in France (the warehouse, however, is in Romania).
Eugene currently gets his incense sticks from five different companies – and the trend is rising: his next trip to India is planned for January, and he already has a promising new source in mind.

By the way, Bhagwan is not Eugene’s only project; under the brand name Good Incense, he offers those incense sticks, which do not quite meet the high standards of the Bhagwan range, at reasonable prices in simple packaging.

I’ve only just started looking into the Bhagwan range and I’m not sure how many reviews I’ll get to this year. It has gotten cold and my “incense season” is the summer, when I can leave some windows open.
What I can say so far is that Bhagwan has a fairly wide range of styles to offer. Not all of it is to my taste, but an impressive percentage of what I’ve tried so far has genuinely impressed me.

Update 2024-02-29
In late January of this year, Eugene posted a Video on YouTube, talking about his current trip to India and the new incense he will add to both of his brands. There will be 12 new scents for Bhagwan Incense and 20 or more for Good Incense. A release date has not been published yet.

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