Search For The Worlds Best Incense:

by Carole Bourne

Smell is a potent wizard that transports you across thousands of miles and all the years you have lived”  Helen Keller

First thing in the morning I mindfully light an incense stick, almost like a meditative practice. It’s my way of blessing the energy in my home and sending lots of  good vibes out ahead into my day.

The wonderful smell from the floating smoke instantly triggers joyful memories held in every cell of my body.  I feel happy – as I’m transported gently back to the nourishing and smiling energies of Bali.
Yes, my favourite incense at the moment happens to be “Temple Spice” which I always buy in Bali.

Some incenses gives people headaches which I’m guessing is because they are mostly synthetic.

The Temple Spice incense however, is far from artificial.  It’s the “real thing” of the incense world and hand made with Balinese fingers.

The label reads “This incense (dupa) is a blend of flowers, barks, herbs, oils, nuts and spaces, using no synthetics or endangered plants.  Hand made with fair trading and internature principles”.

Introducing Kim purveyor of great incense:

The universe works in wonderful ways and therefore I firstly must give a huge thanks to Christine a facebook friend who found Kim for me.

Kim in her search for the best Japanese incense in the world – not only found it with a 12th generation incense maker – but also started an incense shop in Greville Street, Melbourne (Australia) and along the way discovered other ancient and traditional incense makers around the world.

And yes, Kim does sell the “Temple Spice” incense from Ubud. The great news for you (if you’re an incense lover) Kim is offering a whopping 25% discount to all Rejuvenation Lounge readers.  Yeah Kim, but more on that later.

So, if you are like me and interested in finding good quality incense then I’m sure you’ll love the following interview I had with Kim recently. I was super keen to understand and learn more about incense, particularly the story behind some top of the range incense  that sells for around $40.00.  I can only dream and imagine what beautiful energy – top of the range incense would bring into my home.  Perhaps one day I’ll be able to experience this wonderful Japanese incense.

Five interesting facts about incense:

Question:  Kim, please share some lesser known facts about incense:

1. Incense is used in ceremonies, worship and daily life by over two thirds of the world’s people.
2. Roman Emperor Nero burned one year’s supply of frankincense all at once to commemorate the death of his wife, Poppea. This was hugely extravagant and expensive – at the time, frankincense held a similar value to gold, and massive quantities were involved!
3. Traditionally, Japanese women would perfume their hair by sleeping with it draped over a slotted box containing burning incense.
4. Australia is world’s largest exporter of sandalwood - over 1000 tonnes annually, mostly to China and India for the production of incense and oil.
5. The smell receptors in our nose connect directly with the area of the brain responsible for emotion and memory - one whiff of a familiar smell can transport us to another place and time. (This is not strictly an incense fact, but I find it fascinating!)


Question:  Aren’t all incense basically the same?

Essentially, incense is aromatic, naturally derived material that is burned to release its aroma. Incense is used throughout the world in traditional health care, for religious ceremonies and rituals, for purification, meditation and other spiritual purposes … and also for pure enjoyment. The composition and form of incense varies considerably – just as with coffee, wine and perfume, the quality of the incense depends on the quality of its ingredients and the manufacturing process. Think of the difference between instant coffee and a great single origin prepared by your favourite barista … or the difference between cheap cask wine and a top quality aged shiraz … a market stall ‘just like Chanel’ perfume and the genuine article …

Many of the inexpensive varieties of incense commonly available are made with artificial fillers, chemical binders, and synthetic fragrances. These ingredients may cause irritation and headaches, and the fragrance they produce … well, it’s not always pleasant. Natural incense gives an entirely different experience – less smoke, less likelihood of irritation and a pure fragrance that’s not overpowering.

Question: Apart from a wonderful smell are there any other benefits to burning incense?

Good quality incense has many benefits, apart from the obvious one of not inhaling chemical irritants! Different types of incense are used for different purposes – for example, sandalwood is often used to aid meditation and spiritual connection, frankincense is used for its calming and relaxing qualities, and white sage is used for clearing or cleansing spaces, particularly when people move to a new home. Green tea incense (with a charcoal base) is excellent for eliminating cooking smells, and incense made from lemongrass and citronella (both grasses of the Cymbopogon family) is an excellent insect repellent!

Question:  Kym, could you briefly take us through the process of hand rolled/made incense?

The ingredients – usually sandalwood or other aromatic woods, leaves and flowers – are ground to a fine powder then mixed with binding agents to form a dough. Natural incense is bound with oils, tree gums and bark, and sometimes honey. This dough is rolled around bamboo sticks, then laid out to dry before packaging. There are many variations on this process depending on the country, and region and style of incense, resulting in sticks having different appearances and scent characteristics. For example, in Japan, no bamboo stick is used. The aromatic dough is rolled out or extruded (much like pasta making), then laid on trays to dry for a few weeks. Then of course, there are the other types of incense, including cones, pellets and granulated incense – there are many styles of incense!

Questions:  What is the most expensive incense in your shop and why?

There are a few things that will affect the price of incense, just like coffee, wine or clothing:
1. whether it is made from high quality, natural ingredients or cheap, artificial ingredients;
2. whether it is mass produced in a factory or hand made by artisans; and
3. whether the ingredients are plentiful (and therefore cheaper) or harder to obtain (and therefore more expensive).
In Japan, incense connoisseurs pay very prices for top quality incense – many hundreds of dollars a box, in some cases

My favourite incense – Temple Spice from Ubud:

Click here for  my favourite Balinese incense Temple Spice.


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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

AubreyZ November 30, 2011 at 11:18 am

Wow, this is so cool! I have several perfumes that smell like incense (that way, I can take the peaceful meditative effect of incense with me at work). I was googling for better incense to burn in my room and stumbled on this page. Pretty cool! And thanks for hosting the giveaway! I hope that I can win and try some of those incense that I haven’t been able to try before.

PS – Kim, you should check out the Comme des Garcons line of perfumes called “Incense”. I have been looking for incense to burn at home that smell like their Kyoto version.


Kara November 30, 2011 at 2:45 pm

Thanks for the article, and the giveaway. It is so amazing how scent can always take us instantly back to a place and time of memory, or transport us into a deeper meditation. I always learn something new and useful from your blog.



Noelle December 3, 2011 at 12:17 pm

I LOVE incense, have a drawerful of differet fragrances and choose one according to mood. Thanks for the giveaway!


dianne leach January 9, 2013 at 11:48 pm

Hello Kim
Just looked at your video.. Love your furbaby!! Just wondering why you don’t have a list of the smells of incense available.. I used to get natural oil incense from the Vic Market but that was 20 years ago and it probably wasn’t all natural anyway. Made locally on a farm if I remember.
Do you have patchouli and rose-musk available please.
Looking forward to hearing from you asap
Kind regards,


how to make herbal incense June 29, 2013 at 2:36 pm

Great blog you’ve got here.. It’s hard to find excellent writing like yours these days.
I seriously appreciate individuals like you!
Take care!!


Nickelle January 29, 2014 at 7:36 am

Do you have an online store where we can order incense? None of the links on this page work. They all say the page cannot be found. I would really like to get some of the Temple Incense though, if you can direct me to where I am able to buy it.


Carole Fogarty January 30, 2014 at 11:16 am
Aarti February 8, 2014 at 9:00 am

I am a regular reader of your posts. Every time I learn something new and fascinating. Thanks for your wonderful work….


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