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The Art Of Incense Making

Discussion in 'Al Shareef Oudh' started by Al Shareef Oudh, Jan 21, 2019.

  1. Al Shareef Oudh

    Al Shareef Oudh Resident Artisan

    When working with fragrant oils to compose a blend the behaviour of the ingredients are well understood. Furthermore once the blend is completed it is easily and quickly able to be tested on the skin. The oils become one, and it is only a matter of getting the progression and evolution of notes right, and that is a piece for another day.

    When composing incense it is a total different ball game. First of all the ingredients do not fuse together as do oils. Each ingredient still remains in its form, woods, herbs, spices, resins; how then to make these a harmonious orchestra? when each item has a different burning life, temperature, rising points for the notes, time when it turns acrid and so on...yet the scent is composed on these unique ingredients and then the test isn't on the skin but by lighting the incense. This is a different level of skill, to organise the concentration of the ingredients, the size to which they are ground, the length and thickness of the sticks, amount of binder, combustion material and density of sticks so that when the stick is burning the notes are released in a manner that is beautiful.

    Now pause there for a moment, and imagine a burning stick releasing notes in the manner of an oil on your skin, not any random oil, but the famous Al Ghaliyah where the constituents are animal matter (musk and ambergris), woods (oudhs), Plants( rose) etc...

    Al Ghaliyah - The Sticks
    Ghaliyah sticks.jpg

    #master@work #boutiquescents #alshareefoudh
    Ashfaque and jensz like this.
  2. Al Shareef Oudh

    Al Shareef Oudh Resident Artisan


    ‘GHALIYAH - The Incense'
    Over 360 hours of creative effort, passion and love were spent in the composition of this olfactory wonder. It is one thing to compose a perfume which can be easily applied and tested but it is totally a different ball game when crafting incense sticks.These incense sticks are something to behold. They make you reflect, they arose ones feelings, they engage the mind and senses, it awakens you.

    Ashfaque, F4R1d0uX and jensz like this.
  3. Al Shareef Oudh

    Al Shareef Oudh Resident Artisan

    SOLD OUT, Alhamdulillah.
    Dan, Alkhadra and F4R1d0uX like this.
  4. Sproaty

    Sproaty Sproudy Staff Member

    that was fast! Congrats :)
    F4R1d0uX likes this.
  5. Joe King

    Joe King AttitOud

    Was thinking of buying some..... decision made.
  6. Al Shareef Oudh

    Al Shareef Oudh Resident Artisan

    Apologies to those who missed out, clients and followers are loving the premium quality and composition of our incense and demand is growing for them.

    Incense making is a difficult art and very time consuming, further more exquisite compositions such Ghaliyah require the best of the best in ingredients. High quality top end ingredients are not come by easily. These two factors limit how much of the incense we can produce.

    People have asked how to get their hands on the experience, the closest is Layal, by trying Layal you will get glimpses of Ghaliyah the Incense.

    Once again thank you for all the love it is humbling to be the pioneer in ME+Tibetan+Chinese fusion sticks and to receive the love you guys pour our way.

    Watch this space for new compositions and behind the scenes
    Dan, jensz and Sproaty like this.
  7. jensz

    jensz Administrator Staff Member

    Wow, sold in a matter of hours! Congrats to ASO and to all the lucky incense lovers!
    Will be quicker next time lol!
    Alkhadra and Sproaty like this.
  8. Al Shareef Oudh

    Al Shareef Oudh Resident Artisan

    My mentor would tell me that hand crafting incense sticks becomes a personal affair and I never used to get it. Now that I have been composing my own sticks for some time I am starting to see where he is coming from. When you spend hours grinding a single ingredient you do tend to become a bit obsessive, a little attached, a bit eccentric about your work, maybe even a bit coo coo :S that cant be a bad thing, most artists are a bit coo coo :p

    As every step is drawn out and time consuming we all have some little tricks we employ to test and check to make sure everything meets our personal requirements before move to the next step. All great incense makers have it, they all call it something different but they all have it. I was asked to name mine so called mine 'moments of truth'. These moments of truth are my little gate checks before i spend hours onto the next step, these checks saves me from wasting time if there is anything that I feel isn't upto my taste I can make those changes before moving on. Here is a photo of one such check using a simple syringe dispenser to extrude a couple of sticks to see if the dough holds right and perfect firmness. Then I will allow these to dry and test them. Once they pass the drying and burning test there after, then the batch will be extruded.

    These are incense crafted from wild Maleki (Royal) grade hindi wood of yesteryear. I was cleaning up the wood vault and the trays that held wild hindis from the old timers times, i took some of the broken chips and bits and ground them to make these sticks. Due to the resin content they were a bit tricky to balance with the binder, it is a fine art to ensure all the notes are captured true to the wood. After testing the two sticks, i made one other adjustment and then all was good to go. So the time to load my little hand extruder and churn them out;

    and then rolling them out one by one into nice straight sticks. You will note my sticks are not as thin as some of the other sticks from the Japanese houses and elsewhere. This is because I have been trained in the Tibetan style and the general style is larger and usually not always coarser. There are of course exceptions to the size and fineness as well.

    and when its all done and waiting to dry up

    These will be coming out on Thursday 23rd of May 2019, they are a very limited amount. These woods to me are more valuable than kyara. Kyara you can now get from certain plantations. These hindis are nowhere to be found, I am lucky to have these in the family. If you are lucky enough to get some of these sticks and smell them you will see what I mean with regards to their uniqueness and captivating scent.
    Oudamberlove, Martin, Sproaty and 2 others like this.
  9. Al Shareef Oudh

    Al Shareef Oudh Resident Artisan


    ‘5 Rivers - Maleki Hindi Sticks'
    Mandalee was for the Arabs as Kyara is for the Japanese or Kinam is for the Chinese. According to our tradition Mandalee is considered “the best of Indian Oudh wood” – an Oudh for which poets even sung couplets. These are single origin oudh sticks of a different level, crafted from oudhs of yesteryear.

    You will note from the video below the density of the smoke, this is from the resin and oil content of the wood and how it rises like an arrow and does not bloom like cheap or fire smoke.

    Joe King, Dan and Rai Munir like this.
  10. Martin

    Martin Oud Novice

    Looking forward to burning the first stick! TY.
    Al Shareef Oudh and Dan like this.
  11. Al Shareef Oudh

    Al Shareef Oudh Resident Artisan


    Dan likes this.
  12. Martin

    Martin Oud Novice

    My order of the ASO Five Rivers incense sticks have safely arrived. Nicely packaged I might add. Looking forward to burning a stick this evening. Thanks for the samples too!
    Dan and Oudamberlove like this.
  13. Al Shareef Oudh

    Al Shareef Oudh Resident Artisan

    Much appreciated Martin, looking forward to your impressions
  14. Al Shareef Oudh

    Al Shareef Oudh Resident Artisan


    ‘7 Orchards - Incense Sticks'
    The core ingredients to achieve this work of art is not citrus but rather Royal Hojari Frankincense from Oman and Somali Myrrh. Working with resins is never easy, and incense composition that includes resin isn’t an exception. Royal Green and White Omani Hojari freshly harvested is soft and malleable, impossible to ground into a powder and a powder is needed if we are going to make sticks! The Somali myrrh used in this composition I had been aging for some 5 years so it was nice and dry, easily milled into powder. The delicate issue however with the myrrh is that so little of it can over take the whole composition, and if not enough of it then as an ingredient it may work as a back drop for an array of other ingredients. My aim was to have the myrrh and frankincense work together to give a citrus and citron vibe, with the richness of the leaves, trees and fruits included.
    The composition I employed is an old formula for blending resins with woods. It was a 5-month journey and a very labours and difficult composition. 7 Orchards is a pure toil of love as the cost could never recover the time and tears spent on these amazing expressions of perfumery art.

    <<click here>> to get yours now
  15. Al Shareef Oudh

    Al Shareef Oudh Resident Artisan

    The Arab traveller Ibn Batuta and the Arab Geographer Al-Idrisi referred to Sri Lanka as "SERENDIB". It is believed that this was the Arabic version of Sidhaleepa, meaning “the dwelling place of lion’s island”, a term used by the Indian traders whom the Arab sailors interacted with. Some records also say that it also meant “Island of Rubies”. This beautiful Island is also home to the agarwood species Gyrinops Walla, famously known as Walla Patta.

    Our Serendib Incense sticks is a fragrant motion ‘video’ on the 3 different rare occurrences of resin structures in the Walla Patta. These three rare types are sinking grade chips from the trunk of the tree, sinking grade chips from the trunk that have been buried, and the immediate area around the first fungus infection on the tree, some call this section the ‘Kyara’ of Walla Patta and it can be soft like a mud cake.

    Whilst the goal and vision were clear; to give a fragrant motion of these unique sections of the wonderful walla patta, capturing the scent of each of these unique presentations of agarwood wasn’t. Even if one was to heat up pieces from each of the chips the overall scent would be a culmination of all rather than the individual beauties of each. This is one of the reasons the Chinese valued incense making as an appreciative art form. It allowed fragrant materials to be presented in a multi-dimensional presentation with the aromas each broken into layers and notes one coming after the other like a well composed orchestra.

    *Sticks may not look identical to photo.

    Serendib will undoubtedly be the most fragrantly sophisticated Walla Patta sticks I have composed to date. I have spent over 4 months of constant reflection, labour and testing. Whilst the actual sticks are not physically pretty the content is, and the scent is absolutely phenomenal, please don’t take my word for it, try them.

    Arsalan, Oudamberlove and Grega like this.

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