Upon Review: Incense by myInsens is quality stuff

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Would you just look at this tomato lady? I did, for hours.

I grew up associating incense with my parents’ funny parties, and the carved wooden box from which the parties seemed to materialize. Beneath its hinged lid the box seemed to contain, but couldn’t have, cones and sticks of incense and burners; carmel candies in light and dark options; a variety of feathered hair clips and weird scissors that didn’t work; the album art of Skeletons from the Closet, Waiting for Columbus, and  Rumours; whole guitars, delicate papers, lighters, a large, blue, gurgling vase, and of course the mysterious baggie of herbs, from which my mom carefully separated out seeds and stems. I was always disappointed (mad) to eventually be sent to bed before this obviously super fun and important ritual really got underway. Lovely smells and so much laughter drifted up to my bedroom, as I lay there angrily cast out and knowing all the banana bread would be gone in the morning no matter what they promised.

So my parents were hippies, though a little late to the game. My mom looked like Stevie Nicks (to me) and worked at Waterbeds ‘n’ Stuff, selling incense and pipes and the occasional waterbed to OSU students and heads (and catching shoplifters, too). We lived with spider plants, a Thonet Bentwood Rocker, and I’m Ok, You’re Ok. Incense was part of the ambiance.

A few weeks ago I received an invitation to review some incense. Here was my chat about it with my friend Cynical Bob.

me: someone is sending me free incense to review.

bob: hahahahahahaha

But this incense is serious! It claimed to be natural, hand-rolled, and fair-traded, by villagers in the Indian state of Gujarat.  Knowing nothing about incense, I accepted, and then a lovely package arrived in the mail. It looked like this:

Fancy.

Fancy.

The package came in a velvet box with a wooden ash-catcher and three sticks each of six varieties of scents. They’re not called by names that describe what they are, which I think are nag champa, sandalwood, frankincense & patchouli, lavender & vanilla, and rose & raspberry, but rather by the feelings they are supposed to invoke, and thus, myZen, myJoy, mySerenity, mySensuality, mySpark, and myMantra. So, mySensuality is supposed to “create that romantic atmosphere and arouse your bodily appetites.” Hee.

I was having trouble writing this review, frankly because although I’ve been enjoying the incense, Katelyn’s only liked a couple of the scents. She has other incense from India that she seems to like better. So, I wrote the nice owner of myInsens, Kaivan Dave, basically asking what makes his product special.

Me:
hello Kaivan,
so, i’m having a little trouble reviewing myInsens. can you tell me, is incense not usually hand-rolled and fair-traded? are they not usually “natural?”  is that normally a problem in the incense industry? what is the “percentage” that goes back to the villagers, with myInsens purchases?

i mean, these smell pretty nice, but i can’t really differentiate them from others.

Kaivan Dave:
Hey Jenny,
Thank you so much for asking me all these questions.

No majority off incense are made via machine and they are not “natural” at all — 90% off the incense are dipped in alcohol, perfume and DEP. Also there are only handful off incense companies which are based out of USA — everyone else just imports and sells it in the states. We are the first company in US who sells natural hand-rolled incense while doing fair trade.  We officially just signed a deal with this non-profit 501(c)3 called Yoga Gives Back where will be donating 3% from our net profits.

That works for me. These sticks are long-burning, and most of them are agreeable. I especially like mySerenity (“Calm the mind, relieve nervous tension and attain peace of mind”), which is vanilla and lavender. Not a hit was mySpark, but you know, aromas are really a personal preference. I haven’t tried mySensuality yet but I’ll let you know how it goes.

For $15, including shipping, you get 24 sticks of one variety, with the burner and box to boot. For $20 enjoy a sampling: eight sticks of three types of your choosing. But if you already have a burner, and if you’re not giving this to someone as a gift, I recommend you go for the refills at $10 for 24 sticks. Keep it simple with minimal packaging and fuss. And know you’re purchasing environmentally and socially conscious incense! You yoga hippie. TRY IT!

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4 responses to “Upon Review: Incense by myInsens is quality stuff”

  1. jackie says :

    I just ordered mine 🙂

  2. Jill says :

    Not sure about the incense but I’ll buy a couple boxes of your entertaining storytelling.

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