Chaitanya’s – Kesar Chandan

I received three of these Dry Masala incense sticks as a sample in mid-2022 from someone I bought incense sticks from on Kleinanzeigen.de.
They told me that they regularly order a large pack of 250g of these incense sticks directly from India. Furthermore, they offered to share the contact with me but warned that the minimum order value is €25 + customs and that you should be prepared for anything when ordering from India.
After a while of googling, I found krishnastore.eu, which stocks them in 100g and 250g packs. There is a minimum order value of €15. There is no overview of the shipping costs; they only become apparent during the ordering process. For me, the system showed approximately €10 in shipping costs, with a note that additional customs fees might apply. It is unclear where the items are shipped from; the help pages only mention that some items are shipped from the USA. There is no terms and conditions page or a mention of the headquarters of Hare Krishna Store Limited.
I didn’t order, so I can’t comment on the quality of the shop.

This is perhaps less of a review, but rather a little anecdote about how scent perception can develop and change.
I think these Kesar Chandan were my first encounter with Kesar (=saffron) incense sticks. Even though I found the smell of the unlit sticks interesting and quite delicious: creamy, floral, and slightly sweet – my enthusiasm faded as soon as I lit the first one. I found the scent very smoky, pungent and piercing; it reminded me of gunpowder or toy revolver ammunition (those red plastic rings).
The second attempt wasn’t much better. I burned the rest of the first stick outside, on the balcony. Still, I found the scent harsh, but at least I could detect a slight, aromatic-tart sweetness in the fresh air, which I described as ‘amaretto’.
It wasn’t until the middle of this year, after I had been burning Shroff‘s Dry Masalas for a while, that I brought out these Kesar Chandan again. Their sweetness was much better noticeable for me this time, and creamier, like marzipan.
Recently, Bhagwan‘s Saffron Sandalwood again reminded me of these incense sticks and prompted me to finally write this review. Now, when I smell Kesar Chandan, their tart-spicy, somewhat piercing note reminds me of the scent that occurs when ironing new fabric. At the same time, it also has an almost soft component, slightly creamy. Occasionally, a sweet, floral scent appears, with a nectar tone that has a parallel to Suraj Brand – Mysore Sandal Bathi which I recently reviewed. I’m annoyed that I didn’t think to compare them.

I’m slowly starting to understand what some people like in Kesar incense sticks. It’s one of those scents that I don’t find inherently good, but somehow interesting. Just as a tactile sensory impression doesn’t have to be pleasant and soft to be appealing.

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