Tag Archive | Home Fragrances

The Worlds Favorite Natural Fragrances

Whether you have a love for lavender or an obsession with opium, here at ScentSationals By Ms. Carmen we have an enormous range of wonderfully natural fragrances to choose from including some the world’s favourites. Naturally sourced from locations around the world, natural fragrances are the fundamentals behind some of the most loved perfumes in today’s shops. From flowers to new-born babies, we have a huge collection of various incense products including candles, incense sticks and microwavable soft toys. The perfect treat for any of your loved ones this Christmas, give them something they will use time and time again.

Lavender

One of the most popular, if not the most popular, natural fragrance around, Lavender is a lovely and delicate scent used in areas such as medicinal, culinary and especially in perfumes. Often, associated with a feminine scent, its clean and fresh aroma is infused in many fragrance products and loved by millions around the world.

Vanilla

Only really discovered as a perfumery product in the early 1990’s, Vanilla is now a significant ingredient in popular perfumes today. Bringing back fond childhood memories of a busy kitchen and a warm home, vanilla is seen to be a very positive scent in our lives and has now been transformed into an everyday fragrance used in many different ways.

Jasmine

Believed to have a euphoric calming effect, the wonderful note of Jasmine is a beautifully delicate fragrance found in many of today’s fragrances. Thought to be an enchanting scent, Jasmine continues to be a firm favourite in households all around the world and can be found in hundreds of different varieties.

Nag Champa

Nag Champa is considered a truly spiritual fragrance and can be found in many different forms all around the world. The most notorious form of Nag Champa are incense sticks and incense cones. Due to their important mixture of pure extracts and fine scented oils, these incense products are commonly burnt during religious ceremonies such as Poojas and Aartis.

Here at ScentSationals By Ms. Carmen, we have an enormous selection of fragrances to compliment any personality and any home. From pretty floral notes to hard-hitting woody scents, you are sure to find our own personal favorite in the way that’s right for you.

How to Choose Home Fragrance for Yourself or for a Gift

The great news is that home fragrance is much easier to buy than personal fragrance because you don’t have to contend with body chemistry changing the scent as it contacts the skin. This makes giving gifts of home fragrance highly desirable and more foolproof.

There are 6 popular scent families and almost all fragrances fit into one or more of these families. We’ve cross-referenced the fragrance families with popular colognes and recommended scents for each family:

Floral~The largest, most popular fragrance family makes up more than half of all cologne sold

  • Cologne: Beautiful, Miracle, D&G Pour Femme, Joy, Pleasures, Island Michael Kors, Ungaro
  • Personality/Lifestyle Traits: Light-hearted, romantic, youthful, playful
  • Time/Season: Round the Clock, Spring/Summer to Year Round

 

Woodsy-Mossy/Chypre (sounds like SHIP-ruh)~Dry fragrance with minimal sweetness

  • Cologne: Lovely, Cashmere Mist, Pure Turquoise, Fendi for Him, Envy, Romance, Narciso Rodriguez, Prada, Green Irish Tweed, Aramis
  • Personality/Lifestyle Traits: Classicly elegant with a twist, sophisticated, unconventional, uninhibited, natural
  • Time/Season: Round the Clock, Fall/Winter

Oriental/Spicy~The heaviest of the scent families includes cloves, amber and musk

  • Cologne: Le Feu D’Issey, Escada, Gucci, Bijan, Shalimar, Obsession, Opium, Youth Dew, Princess, Paco Rabanne for Men, Joop! Homme
  • Personality/Lifestyle Traits: Sensuous, decadent, exotic, daring, independent
  • Time/Season: Evening, Fall/Winter

Citrus/Fruity~Tangy, refreshing and gender neutral—these are among the oldest known scents

  • Cologne: Happy, Burberry Brit, Acqua di Parma, D&G Light Blue, DKNY Red Delicious, Acqua Di Gio, D&G, Armani, Drakkar Noir
  • Personality/Lifestyle Traits: Creative, decisive, honorable, irresistible, tantalizing
  • Time/Season: Round the Clock, Spring/Summer

Food~Eat dessert first! Research has shown that men are particularly drawn to food scents

  • Cologne: Angel, Pink Sugar, Hanae Mori Butterfly, Chocolovers, Serendipitous, Angel Men
  • Personality/Lifestyle Traits: hedonistic, adventurous, alluring, innocent, sweet, sassy, welcoming
  • Time/Season: After Dark, Year Round

Green~Clean herbal, grassy, leafy scents

  • Cologne: Green Tea, Jess, Escape, Sung, Safari, Chanel No. 19
  • Personality/Lifestyle Traits: Energetic, sporty, outdoorsy, down to earth, fresh
  • Time/Season: Daytime, Spring/Summer

Fragrance blending notes: I often get comments from customers that they usually don’t like vanilla, but in our combination with lavender, they love it. Frequently, I get the same type of comment about lavender, fennel, coconut and ylang ylang. This is no accident, and therefore one of my favorite compliments to receive. The sweetness of vanilla knocks the sharp edge off lavender and vice versa. I did the first round of scent blending based on the principles of aromachology, but took it the next step further working with a master perfumer until the scents exactly matched my vision—mood balancing scents with wide appeal.

These fragrances are available for your room diffusers at www.scentzsogood.com

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Make your home irresistible to family and friends with scents

When we talk about “home fragrance,” we often think of kitchens, baths and living spaces that we like to keep smelling fresh. It’s important to remember that we spend the majority of our time in our workplaces (if we work outside the home) and in our bedrooms. Many of us spend time traveling for work or leisure and many spend hours commuting each week. So as we venture further afield, so must our “home” fragrance.

Fragrance adds a rich, luxurious dimension to life and is an important aspect of the spa lifestyle. Instead of just letting smells happen, it’s empowering to put a personal stamp on indoor environments by choosing fragrances that soothe the spirit, sharpen creativity or lend excitement to a time or place

In the typical home here you will find room sprays, toilet sprays and cheap fragrance dispensers. These do a really basic job of masking odours. However, they do not purify the air or ‘beautify’ it very well. In fact, many of them have a rather harsh or unpleasant smell of their own.

The more exclusive diffusers and fragrances available in the United States – clean the air in your home and, at the same time, impart a lovely fragrance to the room.

There is a range of fragrances available so you are able to choose the one which will create the precise ambience you want. Or you can choose to influence the mood you wish to be in.

We’ll start with the simplest form of home scenting – a perfumed candle.

These come in all shapes and sizes, the more refined ones in a glass container and with a very sophisticated fragrance.

Next is a simple diffuser that normally consists of a glass container filled with fragrance essence.

Rattan sticks help vaporise the scent into the air.  The top end diffusers of this type have an elegant bottle design which complements the décor of your entrance hall, living room, bathroom or toilet.  Their fragrances, too, are out of this world.

Next is a Smelly Jelly diffuser that normally consists of a glass container filled with fragrance essence beads

Next is the  popular electric room diffuser that normally consists of a decorative glass container that heats up your with fragrance essence by way of a halogen bulb

These are just a few ways that you can scent your home. Always keep in mind, the fragrance describes you.

Find your favorite , www.scentzsogood.com

Perfume Vs. Body Oil- Which Do You Prefer?

 

 Perfume Vs. Body Oil- Which One Do You Prefer? 

Even in good times, purchasing perfumes or colognes is sometimes considered a bad purchase. They can be overpriced, diluted, and overbearing. On the other hand, perfume oils can also be the best purchase you make. These oils contain no alcohol (perfumes and colognes have at least eighty to ninety percent alcohol content), are reasonably priced, and are not overbearing. These perfumes are a smart buy, because they do not contain alcohol, fillers and over-hyped packaging.

Here is an interesting tidbit of information: when a perfume or cologne is created, the name and the packaging are trademarked but the scent is not. This is a Supreme Court decision- the scent belongs to nature, not to the manufacturer. As long as a disclaimer is presented explaining that the product is not the original perfume or cologne, it is one hundred percent legal to copy a scent. So anyone can copy the scent, but the key is using the right instruments and raw materials (essential oils) to create quality perfume oil. Unfortunately, from the Seventies to the present, cheap imitations and replicas have given the public a negative impression when comparing these scents to the originals.

Here is a comparison chart that will illustrate the differences between perfumes and perfume oils:

Perfume Oils 

Reasonably priced
Alcohol-free
Less likely to cause allergic reactions
Long-lasting (6-15 hours)
A cleaner, richer, and truer scent
Longer shelf-life
Scent more constant
Growing in popularity
Majority are non-flammable

Vs.

Perfume 
(Based on designer perfumes)

Overpriced
80-97 percent alcohol
Not long-lasting (only 1-3 hours)
Harsh, overbearing, and overpowering scent
A short shelf-life due to alcohol evaporation
“Sophisticated” packaging in fact has a negative effect on the environment
High chance of causing allergic reactions
Many low-quality imitations and duplications
Highly flammable

Yet “Grade A” perfumes are different. These “Grade A” perfumes and colognes are created from perfume oils, so they not only smell exactly like the originals but are actually better. They are becoming the hottest alternative to perfumes and colognes- the public has caught on and the demand is growing. Perfume oils are now a mainstream product. For about 1/20 of the price, consumers are a buying a product that is purer, longer-lasting and not overbearing. Consumers that purchase perfume oils rarely buy perfumes and colognes again. Since perfume oils are reasonably priced, it is not unusual for someone to have between ten and thirty perfume oils in their collection, from hard-to-find classics and discontinued scents, to recent releases. An additional advantage of perfume oils is that those consumers that are allergic to perfumes and colognes are rarely allergic to perfume oils. People may be allergic to perfumes and colognes due to the high content of alcohol found in the product.

Body or Perfume oils are a mainstream product and are growing in popularity each day. I won’t judge other companies but I believe there are only a few companies selling mediocre oils . What I did find out that many of these companies are claiming that they have the best oils, or that they are #1 on the web. Some have no phone numbers, no address or other crucial information, or are open only a few hours a day.  The only way one can tell if they are receiving quality oils would be, try them on.  There is no other way. Looking at it, shaking for bubbles, seeing how thick it is, or holding it to the light are all methods that are a waste of time and ineffective. All perfume oils have three notes, what you smell on your body immediately is the first note, 15 minutes to 30 minutes after putting it on your skin is the second note, and the final note, which takes about 2 hours, is what can be considered the actual scent that is produced on your skin.  Excellent quality body oils will show themselves over time. Time is the best indicator, and customers will come back for more, and a reputation will be earned and built.

When looking on the Internet, I made another observation: some companies sell two different grades of oil.  Companies are selling the oils at high end price, i.e. $120-$200 an ounce, claiming it to be the most natural, purest and best grade on the market. Of course, everyone is entitled to a living and there is a market for everyone, but even the best perfume oils at retail prices should not be that high.

So the best advice to everyone that I would offer is to buy small at first to test the oils or see if you can request or buy samples to compare. Now some companies will not do this for many reasons, so use your best judgment. Also, ask around or read comments and blogs on the net to see which companies are selling the best quality body oils. Like everything else in life, eventually you will find the best form.

Enjoy your favorite fragrance, Oil or Perfume!

How to Store your Body Oils

Fragrance Oil, like other cosmetics, has a shelf life if you are not mindful of how to preserve it. But unlike most makeup, it can be hard to replace, extremely expensive, and once something happens to it, there’s no putting it back together. Because fragrance oil is so vulnerable to degradation from a number of factors, smart storage practices are important. Many distributors may cut the fragrance with an additive. No need to worry, ScentSationals believes in PURE product! Want to know how to keep your favorite fragrance oil smelling exactly as they should for as long as possible? Here’s what to do.

  • Do not transfer it to a plastic container of any kind. The glass bottle will keep your fragrance potent
  • Keep them away from temperature extremes. The best temperature is a good bit colder than a comfortable room, around 55-60 degrees. If you want the perfect conditions, try storing your fragrance in a drawer.
  • Don’t put them in your bathroom. It makes sense to put your favorite perfume on your sink, but it’s actually not a good idea. Bathrooms are hot and humid, which makes them prime areas for breaking down the fragrance’s molecules and introducing bacteria.
  • Keep your stuff in the dark. Light exposure degrades lots of molecules, including those in most fragrances. So keeping your scents somewhere with little to no light exposure is best.
  • Keep Caps on the bottles. Keep the caps on the bottles after each use so that it will not to affect the fragrance ingredients.


What type of Incense are You Buying?

Incense materials are available in various forms and degrees of processing. They can generally be separated into “direct-burning” and “indirect-burning” types depending on use. Preference for one form or another varies with culture, tradition, and personal taste. Although the production of direct- and indirect-burning incense are both blended to produce a pleasant smell when burned, the two differ in their composition due to the former’s requirement for even, stable, and sustained burning.

Indirect-burning Incense

Indirect-burning frankincense on a hot coal

Indirect-burning incense, also called “non-combustible incense”,is a combination of aromatic ingredients that are not prepared in any particular way or encouraged into any particular form, leaving it mostly unsuitable for direct combustion. The use of this class of incense requires a separate heat source since it does not generally kindle a fire capable of burning itself and may not ignite at all under normal conditions. This incense can vary in the duration of its burning with the texture of the material. Finer ingredients tend to burn more rapidly, while coarsely ground or whole chunks may be consumed very gradually as they have less total surface area. The heat is traditionally provided by charcoal or glowing embers.

In the West, the best known incense materials of this type are frankincense and myrrh, likely due to their many mentions in the Christian Bible. In fact, the word forfrankincense in many European languages also alludes to any form of incense.

  • Whole: The incense material is burned directly in its raw unprocessed form on top of coal embers.
  • Powdered or granulated: The incense material is broken down into finer bits. This incense burns quickly and provides a short period of intense smells.
  • Paste: The powdered or granulated incense material is mixed with a sticky and incombustible binder, such as dried fruit, honey, or a soft resin and then formed to balls or small pastilles. These may then be allowed to mature in a controlled environment where the fragrances can commingle and unite. Much Arabian incense, also called “Bukhoor” or “Bakhoor”, is of this type (Bakhoor, actually refers to frankincense in both Lebanese and Arabic, and Japan has a history of kneaded incense, called nerikō or awasekō, using this method.Within the Eastern Orthodox Christian tradition, raw frankincense is ground into a fine powder and then mixed with various sweet-smelling essential oils.

Production

Indirect burning incense does not have any stringent requirements except for achieving a pleasant smell when lit. Mixture of incense materials can be joined by powdering the raw materials and then mixing them together with a binder to form pastes, which are then cut and dried into pellets.

Incense of the Athonite Orthodox Christian tradition are made using similar methods by powdering frankincense or fir resin, mixing it with essential oils. Floral fragrances are the most common, but citrus such as lemon is not uncommon. The incense mixture is then rolled out into a slab approximately 1 cm thick and left until the slab has firmed. It is then cut into small cubes, coated with clay powder to prevent adhesion, and allowed to fully harden and dry. The product visually resemble cubes of Loukoum. In Greece this rolled incense resin is called ‘Moskolibano’, and generally comes in either a pink or green colour denoting the fragrance, with pink being rose and green being jasmine.

Direct-burning Incense

Incense coils hanging from the ceiling of an East Asian temple

Direct-burning incense also called “combustible incense”, generally requires little preparation prior to its use. When lit directly by a flame (hence the appellation) and then fanned out, the glowing ember on the incense will continue to smoulder and burn away the rest of the incense without continued application of heat or flame from an outside source. This class of incense is made from a moldable substrate of fragrant finely ground (or liquid) incense materials and odourless binder.The composition must be adjusted to provide fragrance in the proper concentration and to make sure even burning. The following types of direct-burning incense are commonly encountered, though the material itself can take almost any form, according to expediency or whimsy:

  • Coil: Extruded and shaped into a coil without a core. This type of incense is able to burn for an extended period, from hours to days, and is commonly produced and used by Chinese culture
  • Cone: Incense in this form burns relatively fast. Incense cones were invented in Japan in the 1800s.
  • Cored stick: This form of stick incense has a supporting core of bamboo. Higher quality varieties of this form have fragrant sandalwood cores. The core is coated by a thick layer of incense material that burns away with the core. This type of incense is commonly produced in India and China. When used for worship in Chinese folk religion, cored incensed sticks are sometimes known as “joss sticks”.
  • Solid stick: This stick incense has no supporting core and is completely made of incense material. Easily broken into pieces, it allows one to determine the specific amount of incense they wish to burn. This is the most commonly produced form of incense in Japan and Tibet.
  • Powder: The loose incense powder used for making indirect burning incense is sometimes burned without further processing. They are typically packed into long trails on top of wood ash using a stencil and burned in special censers or incense clocks.
  • Paper: Paper infused with incense, folded accordion style, lit and blown out. Examples are Carta d’Armenia and Papier d’Arménie.
  • Rope: The incense powder is rolled into paper sheets, which are then rolled into ropes, twisted tightly, then doubled over and twisted again, yielding a two-strand rope. The larger end is the bight, and may be stood vertically, in a shallow dish of sand or pebbles. The smaller (pointed) end is lit. This type of incense is highly transportable and stays fresh for extremely long periods. It has been used for centuries in Tibet and Nepal.

Direct-burning incense of these forms is either extruded, pressed into forms, or coated onto a supporting material.

The disks of powdered mugwort called ‘moxa’ sold in Chinese shops and herbalists are used in Traditional Chinese medicine for moxibustion treatment. Moxa tablets are not incenses; the treatment relies on heat rather than fragrance.

Joss sticks

Picture of joss sticks in a Chinese temple

Joss sticks are used for a variety of purposes associated with ritual and religious devotion in China and India. They are used in Chinese influenced East Asian and Southeast Asian countries, traditionally burned before the threshold of a home or business, before an image of a Chinese popular religion divinity or spirit of place, or in small and humble or large and elaborate shrine found at the main entrance to each and every village. Here the earth god is propitiated in the hope of bringing wealth and health to the village. They can also be burned in front of a door, or open window as an offering toheaven, or devas. The Chinese word “joss” for Joss (god) is derived from the Latin deus (god) via Portuguese.

Big Dragon joss sticks.

Joss-stick burning is an everyday practice in traditional Chinese religion. There are many different types of joss sticks used for different purposes or on different festive days. Many of them are long and thin and are mostly colored yellow, red, and more rarely, black. Thick joss sticks are used for special ceremonies, such as funerals. Spiral joss sticks are also used on a regular basis, which are found hanging above temple ceilings, with burn times that are exceedingly long. In some states, such as Taiwan, Singapore, or Malaysia, where they celebrate the Ghost Festival, large, pillar-like dragon joss sticks are sometimes used. These generate such a massive amount of smoke and heat that they are only ever burned outside.

Chinese incense sticks for use in popular religion are generally without aroma or only the slightest trace of jasmine or rose, since it is the smoke, not the scent, which is important in conveying the prayers of the faithful to heaven. They are composed of the dried powdered bark of a non-scented species of Cinnamon native to Cambodia, Cinnamomum cambodianum. Inexpensive packs of 300 are often found for sale in Chinese supermarkets. Despite that they contain no sandalwood at all, they often include the Chinese character for sandalwood on the label, as a generic term for incense.

Highly scented Chinese incense sticks are only used by some Buddhists. These are often quite expensive due to the use of large amounts of sandalwood, aloeswood, or floral scents used. The Sandalwood used in Chinese incenses does not come from India, its native home, but rather from groves planted within Chinese territory. Sites such as belonging to Tzu Chi, Chung Tai Shan, Buddhism in Sri Lanka, Buddhism in Burma and Korean Buddhism do not use incense.

The History Of Incense

 


Incense (from Latin incendere “to burn”)is composed of aromatic biotic materials, which release fragrant smoke when burned. The term incense refers to the substance itself, rather than to the odor that it produces. It is used in religious ceremonies, ritual purification, aromatherapy, meditation, for creating a spiritual atmosphere, and for masking unpleasant odors.

Incense is composed of aromatic plant materials, often combined with essential oils. The forms taken by incense differ with the underlying culture, and have changed with advances in technology and increasing diversity in the reasons for burning it. Incense can generally be separated into two main types: “indirect-burning” and “direct-burning.” Indirect-burning incense (or “non-combustible incense”) is not capable of burning on its own, and requires a separate heat source. Direct-burning incense (or “combustible incense”) is lit directly by a flame and then fanned or blown out, leaving a glowing ember that smoulders and releases fragrance. Direct-burning incense comes in several forms, including incense sticks (or “joss sticks”), cones, and pyramids.

Incense was used by Chinese cultures from Neolithic times and became more widespread in the Xia, Shang, and Zhoudynasties. The earliest recorded use of incense comes from the ancient Chinese, who used incense from herbs and plant products (such as cassia, cinnamon, styrax, sandalwood, amongst others) during the rites of formal ceremonies.Eventually, the Hindus adopted the use of incense from the Chinese, but they were the first to also use roots for incense.

Incense was used by the ancient Egyptians, not only to counteract unpleasant odours, but also to drive away demons and please the gods.They thought that Resin balls were found in many prehistoric Egyptian tombs in El Mahasna. The oldest incense burner found dates back the 5th dynasty.The Temple of Deir-el-Bahari in Egypt contains a series of carvings that depict an expedition for incense.

Some of the oldest references of incense appear to be within the Vedas (ancient Hindu texts) themselves, especially the Atharva Veda, indicating that the use of incense is quite old, dating back at least 3500 years and more likely closer to 6000 to 8500 years old at a minimum.

At around 2000 BC, Ancient China was the first civilization who began the use of incense in the religious sense, namely for worship.

The Babylonians used incense while offering prayers to divining oracles. Incense spread from there to Greece and Rome.

The Indus Civilization used incense burners. Evidence suggests oils were used mainly for their aroma.

Brought to Japan in the 6th century by Korean Buddhist monks, who used the mystical aromas in their purification rites, the delicate scents of Koh (high-quality Japanese incense) became a source of amusement and entertainment with nobles in the Imperial Court during the Heian Era 200 years later.

In China, incense usage reached its peak during the Song Dynasty with many buildings erected specifically for incense ceremonies.

During the 14th century Shogunate, a samurai warrior might perfume his helmet and armor with incense to achieve an aura of invincibility (as well as to make a noble gesture to whomever might take his head in battle). It wasn’t until the Muromachi Era during the 15th and 16th century that incense appreciation (Kōdō) spread to the upper and middle classes of Japanese society.

Composition

Some commonly used raw incense and incense-making materials (from top down, left to right) Makko powder (抹香;Machilus thunbergii), Borneolcamphor (Dryobalanops aromatica), Sumatra Benzoin(Styrax benzoin), Omanifrankincense (Boswellia sacra), Guggul (Commiphora wightii), Golden Frankincense (Boswellia papyrifera), the new world Tolu balsam (Myroxylon toluifera) from South America, Somali myrrh(Commiphora myrrha), Labdanum(Cistus villosus), Opoponax(Commiphora opoponax), and white Indian sandalwood powder (Santalum album)

Throughout history, a wide variety of materials have been used in making incense. Historically there has been a preference for using locally available ingredients. For example, sage and cedar were used by the indigenous peoples of North America. This was a preference, and ancient trading in incense materials from one area to another comprised a major part of commerce along the Silk Road and other trade routes, one notably called theIncense Route.

The same could be said for the techniques used to make incense. Local knowledge and tools were extremely influential on the style, but methods were also influenced by migrations of foreigners, among them clergy and physicians who were both familiar with incense arts.

Natural Solid Aromatics

The following fragrance materials can be employed in either direct- or indirect-burning incense. They are commonly used in religious ceremonies, and many of them are considered quite valuable. Essential oils or other extracted fractions of these materials may also be isolated and used to make incense. The resulting incense is sometimes considered to lack the aromatic complexity or authenticity of incense made from raw materials not infused or fortified with extracts.

 

Woods and barks

  • Aloeswood
  • Cassia
  • Cedar
  • Cinnamon
  • Cypress
  • Juniper
  • Sandalwood

Seeds and fruits

  • Cardamom
  • Coriander
  • Juniper
  • Nutmeg
  • Star anise
  • Vanilla
Resins and gums

  • Amber
  • Bdellium
  • Benzoin
  • Camphor
  • Copal
  • Dragon’s blood (a plant resin)
  • Elemi
  • Frankincense
  • Galbanum
  • Guggul (Indian Myrrh)
  • Kauri Gum
  • Labdanum
  • Mastic (plant resin)
  • Myrrh
  • Opoponax
  • Sandarac
  • Storax
  • Tolu balsam
Leaves

  • Balsam
  • Bay
  • Patchouli
  • Sage
  • Tea

Roots and rhizomes

  • Calamus
  • Costus
  • Galangal
  • Orris
  • Spikenard
  • Vetiver
Flowers and buds

  • Clove
  • Lavender
  • Saffron
  • Rose

Animal-derived materials

  • Ambergris
  • Civet
  • Musk
  • Operculum

Combustible base

A charcoal-based incense cone

The combustible base of a direct burning incense mixture not only binds the fragrant material together but also allows the produced incense to burn with a self-sustained ember, which propagates slowly and evenly through an entire piece of incense with such regularity that it can be used to mark time. The base is chosen such that it does not produce a perceptible smell. Commercially, two types of incense base predominate:

  • Fuel and oxidizer mixtures: Charcoal or wood powder forms the fuel for the combustion. Gums such as Gum Arabicor Gum Tragacanth are used to bind the mixture together while an oxidizer such as sodium nitrate or potassium nitratesustains the burning of the incense. Fragrant materials are combined into the base prior to formation as in the case of powdered incense materials or after formation as in the case of essential oils. The formula for the charcoal-based incense is superficially similar to black powder, though it lacks the sulfur.
  • Natural plant-based binders: Mucilaginous material, which can be derived from many botanical sources, is mixed with fragrant materials and water. The mucilage from the wet binding powder holds the fragrant material together while the cellulose in the powder combusts to form a stable ember when lit. The dry binding powder usually comprises about 10% of the dry weight in the finished incense. This includes:
    • Makko (抹香・末香 incense powder): made from the bark of various trees from the Persea such as Persea thunbergii (Jpn. 椨の木; たぶのき; Tabu-no-ki)
    • Xiangnan pi (香楠皮): made from the brak of Phoebe genus trees such as Phoebe nanmu (楠木), Persea zuihoensis (香楠).
    • Jigit: a resin based binder used in India
    • Laha or Dar: bark based powders used in Nepal, Tibet, and other East Asian countries.