Near the beginning of this summer, I was approached by a friend about collaborating on an incense blend. A retreat in Utah was to host an event focusing on various aspects of wellness. I wanted to give the incense a traditional yoga theme, inspired by the sandalwood heavy blends of India, but also incorporating elements of the flora of the American West, especially its forested and mountainous regions.
Copal and their relatives are often the building blocks of my incense blends at the moment. Especially the members of Bursera, one of the most important sources of incense in the Americas. Copal blanco from Mexico was blended with numerous coniferous tree resins including two species of pine from Utah, spruce, and possibly a Pinus originating Copal from Tulum. Small amounts of other ingredients where finally added to sweeten the background of the base. While I do have other ingredients which would have been local to the setting, I decided against them as they have such heavy, smokey and wintery characteristics.
Halmaddi is an essential ingredient when working with Indian inspired blends, which was further mixed with other exotic exudates. Various herbs and roots bring their green, earthy, herbal qualities without leaving the "burnt leaf" aroma, as their whole forms would. Finished with top-shelf quality propolis...
Next, various dried woods and fragrant herbs needed to be blended as close to a powder as achievable. Sandalwood, birch, lavender, homegrown sweetgrass and others made up this base. Then the final floral and classic incense notes were mixed into the powder, absorbing the essential oils into the mix.
Finally, it was time to combine all of the ingredients. Using so many conifer resins, the mix was difficult to work with. Thus needing to be frozen and then blended numerous times to finally create the proper consistency.
After weeks of experimenting, planning, testing, blending, and creating the illustration for the label, the incense is now complete. A small space was left for the names of those attending the class focusing on natural aromatics.
The blend itself was a pleasure to work with. Maybe what I liked most about creating this blend specifically is that it allowed me to work with different scenery, one which was far removed from my current seaside themes. There is a high probability that I will take what I have learned here and transform this into a "coastal meditation" blend for our shop.
Now, off to my next incense project for the 15th Annual SWFL Peace Day Festival!
August 26, 2022
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