Paropakaram – Olibanum

This is one of the samples that Sascha (owner of Indiaroma.de) sent me from his private collection at the end of 2023. (Purely by chance, almost all can be found in his shop as well.)
At Indiaroma, a pack of 10 of the 23cm long, almost 2g heavy sticks costs €6.89. Apart from them, only one other shop in Germany seems to sell them: Weltenrauch.com, where they cost €6.90. The brand is significantly better represented in Switzerland.

Paropakaram is a brand that was entirely unknown to me before. After a little research, I found out that the trademark owner appears to be an association in Switzerland. According to their homepage, the term “paropakaram” describes the principle or practice of caring for the well-being of others.
They advertise naturalness, fair trade and environmentally friendly packaging made from recycled cardboard and newspaper. They don’t seem to have a certificate. It is not clear where exactly the incense sticks come from, but a video suggests it might be Mysore.

Paropakaram - Olibanum

‘Olibanum’ is the Latin word for frankincense in the sense of “resin from Boswellia trees”. In many languages, the word for frankincense is a somewhat ambiguous, as it not only refers to this specific resin but is also used more generally, like ‘incense’; the term ‘olibanum’, however, is specific.

Olibanum does not have a pure frankincense scent for me, but it smells very interesting.
I can detect a clear frankincense note; resinous and balsamic. There is also a sweetness that, in my opinion, does not come from a frankincense, but also doesn’t seem to come from benzoin or either vanilla/vanillin. The scent has a powdery softness that is both floral and somewhat musky. This combines very pleasantly with the fresh, slightly tart resinousness of the frankincense.
The interplay of scents reminds me a bit of Fred Soll’s Sweet Frankincense, which as well has a distinct floral quality, although Olibanum does not reach their potency.
With the last few centimetres of the sample, I discover another note: a kind of acidity that I cannot place, but which adds another facet to the scent.

For people looking for pure frankincense scents, I wouldn’t particularly recommend Olibanum. For everyone else, these sticks promise a harmonious, balanced scent that offers more complexity than one can capture with a single burn.

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