Bhagwan - Patchouli

Bhagwan – Patchouli

I purchased this pack of incense sticks directly from Bhagwan Incense, in September 2023. The boxes of all varieties contain 15g, but since they come from different sources (currently five) and their styles are very different, the quantities contained vary greatly. Patchouli are rolled rather thinly, the 15g in my pack corresponded to 15 sticks. The current price is €4.95 – that’s 35ct per stick. When I bought it, the price was €5.95.

Disclosure: Due to my history and friendly relationship with Eugene, the owner of Bhagwan Incense, I would like to point out that I cannot write reviews of this brand with complete impartiality. I write a lot of the Bhagwan reviews based on samples that were given to me – these are labelled accordingly.
All reviews are unpaid and reflect my honest opinion, but you are welcome to consider them as advertising.

This Patchouli is very sweet and has a prominent Vanilla note. I’m actually surprised it’s not called Patchouli & Vanilla, as intense as the vanilla is. Not that this is a bad thing! Vanilla and patchouli is a wonderful combination, it’s just not what I expected.
The smell takes me back to my early 20s when I mixed my own “perfume” from patchouli and vanilla essential oils, and therefore has a strong nostalgia about it. But given that, is also a scent from my past that I no longer actively seek out.

The patchouli smell in these sticks is earthy but not heavy; it feels slim, elegant even, but has none of the minty freshness that I find in some other patchouli scents.
The olfactory volume is mainly contributed by the vanilla, which does not appear as a one-dimensional sweetness, but rather as a very complex aspect of this composition. Combined with the base, it forms a wide, round bed on which the unmistakably dark note of patchouli oil rests.
Eugene talks about a wine-like note in his description, and I’m starting to see what he means. There’s a velvety, vaguely fruity undertone. I have noticed a certain fermentation smell (like that of black tea) in other patchouli incense sticks before. Perhaps this note combines with an aspect of vanilla or another ingredient here and creates this association.
If you give the smell a lot of space and air, the patchouli becomes a little more prominent, but it never stands alone. If I think about Patchouli as a single note, I definitely find the vanilla too prominent. But putting that thought aside, I would describe the scent profile as round and harmonious.
Also in the afterscent, the vanilla remains very dominant for a long time. For hours, I smell soft, aromatic vanilla sweetness with a hint of patchouli in the background. Only after about half a day, my perception changes and I perceive a deep note of patchouli, framed by a vague, sweet spiciness.

I can’t help but notice how identical these Patchouli sticks look to Pure – Absolute Patchouli. I don’t know if they smell the same because I’ve never tried the ones by Pure before. But even without this visual similarity, my first thought was that these incense sticks must come from HMS, from whom (among others) Pure Incense source their incense sticks. So a similarity is at least very likely.
Some readers might be familiar with Pure (or Gokula – both based in the UK), but most of my fellow Germans might rather know the vanilla-heavy base from the Blue Line incense sticks by BERK‘s brand Holy Smokes. Compared to their Patchouli Garden, Bhagwan – Patchouli is a significant upgrade because it smells a lot richer.

If you are looking for a dark, herbaceous and strongly earthy patchouli scent, you won’t find it with Bhagwan – Patchouli. But if you’re looking for a sweet, warm and friendly vanilla and patchouli combination, these incense sticks might be the best I currently know of.

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