Happy Hari – King of Saffron

This dry masala incense stick was part of the Happy Hari sample set from Padma Store, which I bought in 2022. The set contains one stick per variety (13 in total) and cost €14.95 at the time. (The price has since increased by €1.)
A single pack with 10g currently costs €4.25. The burning time per stick is stated to be 30 minutes.

King of Saffron, for me, is very close in scent to Chaitanya’s Kesar Chandan, only much rounder and more pleasant. (Kesar is the Indian term for saffron, Chandan means sandalwood.) They also look very similar, with the Happy Hari sticks being only slightly thicker and the bamboo stick a tiny bit thicker as well.
Around the time I got this sample, Mike (ORS) also published a review of King of Saffron. He notes that there was an earlier version of this variety that was very different and that such completely yellow sticks are often sold under the name ‘Saffron Sandalwood’.
Like Chaitanya’s, the spicy-tart scent in King of Saffron reminds me of ironed fabric; my initial notes also mentioned leather and toy revolver ammunition. However, its scent is softer and more creamy-sweet compared to Kesar Chandan. This stronger pronounced, palatable softness combined with the tart aspect of saffron creates a complex that reminds me a little bit of Amaretto. In Kesar Chandan, this tartness is stronger pronounced and sharper. In return, there is a very lovely, honey or nectar-like sweetness that occasionally appears in Kesar Chandan, which I did not find in King of Saffron. When it does appear, it is very distinct, like an unexpected warm ray of sunshine breaking through thick clouds. Unfortunately, it also disappears just as quickly. Perhaps this is a sign that the dough was not thoroughly mixed, and a sweet ingredient is getting released in a concentrated burst rather than being evenly distributed and making the overall scent sweeter. Whether one sees this as a quality flaw or an interesting feature is up to personal interpretation.

I think King of Saffron strikes a good balance between the tart and sweet aspects of the genre. Not a bad choice if you want to try saffron incense sticks, and those who like Kesar incense will probably not be disappointed either. 😊

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