Let’s be honest with ourselves. There is no ‘best smelling incense stick’. We all enjoy different scents and blends. Our personal preferences make us unique and help to define us. However, people who are new to burning incense may not know very much about all of the various styles, so having a guide or reference sheet of some sort may help decide what type of incense they would like to try. As some of you may know, I often write more detailed incense reviews. However, I’m going to try a different take here and be a little less broad in my approach. Below is a list of some of the best smelling incense sticks in the world and a little information about each one.

Shrinivas Sugandhalaya ‘Satya’ Blue Box Nag Champa Incense Sticks

Satya blue box nag champa is probably the most popular incense in the world. Almost everybody I know who burns incense has tried this incense stick. It’s a well-balanced incense stick with a non-offensive scent, however, it lacks the true sandalwood undertones. Definitely some synthetic fragrances in play here. The general consensus is that it used to be a lot better, many years ago.  I would definitely agree with this. Apparently due to halmaddi shortages, and with them being such a large manufacturer, they were forced to change their recipe. To make matters even worse, after the business was passed on, two brothers were unable to come to an agreement and the result was each of them operating different factories and both producing incense under the Satya name. The incense coming from each of these factories is definitely different from the other. Personally, I feel this company remains popular primarily due to their name and history. It’s also pretty cheap, so I guess that helps.

Satya incense sticks are made by Shrinivas Sugandhalaya in India.

Goloka Nag Champa Incense Sticks

Many people who feel dissatisfied with the Satya blue box nag champa often ask me what I would recommend instead. That’s a tough question, but I feel that Goloka nag champa, in the orange box, is a great substitute. It has a distinct, and strong champa scent, woody sandalwood undertones, and that halmaddi scent that seems to be lacking in Satya nowadays. Shanthimalai red box nag champa is pretty good too, and a tough contender, but based on my personal preferences, I would give the current nag champa crown to Goloka. Perhaps there are better, more expensive brands, but this good enough for me.

These nag champa incense sticks are made by Goloka in India.

Balaji Chandan Incense Sticks (Sandalwood)

Balaji is another well-known Indian incense manufacturer. They produce a lot of quality products, but my favorite from their line would be their classic chandan incense stick. It has a deep woody fragrance, and unless you’re buying an expensive Japanese variety made with real sandalwood, then it might be difficult to find a better sandalwood stick then this one.

Balaji incense sticks are made by Balaji Agarbatti Company in India.

Baieido Regular Kobunboku Incense Sticks

Baieido is a premier Japanese incense manufacturer. They don’t take shortcuts during production or use synthetic fragrances. When you buy a Baieido product, you know you’re getting a quality product. They have been involved in the incense business since 1657. Their Kobunboku line is no different. It displays a distinct expression of plum trees, with traditional Japanese backing notes of aloeswood, sandalwood, and cinnamon. You may find these similar to ‘plum blossoms’ by Shoyeido.

Kobunboku is made by Baieido in Japan.

Nippon Kodo Kayuragi Sandalwood Incense Sticks

What incense list would be complete without mentioning Nippon Kodo? Their incense was originally used by the Japanese ruling class, including an Emperor over 400 years ago. Their incense recipes are considered close-guarded secrets and they take much care in selecting their materials, as they have quite a reputation to uphold. Their incense is also sold at many Disneylands throughout the world.

These incense sticks may cost a bit more then Indian varieties, but they are a bit higher quality and smell like a true sandalwood.

Kayuragi is made by Nippon Kodo in Japan.

I hope you found this information beneficial.

Thomas Reed

This is a guest post by Thomas Reed.
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