Incense: still my least favorite home scent vehicle

You do follow The Strategist, right? It's a bit like Consumer Reports and the Wirecutter, but less serious. Like if your cool friend from college who lives in New York decided to start a blog about what they're buying. Unabashedly consumerist yet discerningly so: one can only fit so much in that tiny NYC apartment, you know. Yet not above buying stuff because they are on sale (to wit, their "Things on sale that you'll actually want to buy" series). Like me!

Nippon Kodo Kayuragi Incense in Aloeswood: $12.00

Not long ago the site proclaimed the world's best incense was Nippon Kodo, specifically the Aloeswood scent. I googled around and found out that Bodhi Tree had them on sale for $9.50 and (at the time) had free shipping on all orders, so, you know me. It was like one-seventh the price of a Byredo candle! (I really shouldn't start referring to the cost of all home scents in terms of Byredo candles to justify my spending habits.)

So, now that the price is back up to a whopping twelve dollars, would I recommend it? Well, the scent certainly lasts a long time. But it doesn't smell like a dewy forest to me. And although aloeswood is apparently where oud comes from, it doesn't smell anything like any oud fragrance I've tried (and I've tried a lot of them). It straight up smells like...well, incense, specifically that of a Thai temple. A meditating-inside rather than meditating-outside scent. It's not really how I want my home to smell. But if that sounds good to you, by all means go for it. But get a separate incense holder: the one included is this clay square that fits the incense only loosely, so you'll get ash all over the furniture you put your holder on. Ugh.

Juniper Ridge Campfire Incense in Douglas Fir, $12.00

On the other end of the tenacity spectrum is another incense I got on sale from Bodhi Tree, Juniper Ridge Douglas Fir. I had high hopes for this one because they make colognes that smell like Yosemite National Park, but this smells like almost nothing, just a very faint whiff of firewood that dissipates right after it's burned. If you don't believe me, just find a pack at a brick and mortar store and sniff the package. It'll be the only incense you've ever encountered that doesn't smell like much when unburned.

Incienso De Santa Fe Log Cabin Burner With Pinon Natural Wood Incense, $9.83

If you want your home to smell like a campfire, a better option would be Incienso de Santa Fe. Rather than the typical stick, it comes as a brick that is somewhat difficult to keep lit at first: you kind of need to baby it, kind of like when you're actually building a campfire. But once you do, it works, and the scent lasts. OK real talk, the main reason I got this was the fucking adorable holder: I almost got the dog at the fireplace, but since I felt a bit like I would be cheating on my own doggy I ended up with the log cabin. It's also more practical than your typical incense holder, since the top prevents the ash from flying everywhere when you, say, put on your coat or sneeze. All that said, the scent (I got pinon, the type that comes with the holder) is a bit one-note. So I'll continue with my candle obsession and keep on using my essential oil diffuser, and occasionally use my log cabin whenever I want either to smell more woodsy.

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