More Incense

30 03 2008

As so many people enjoy talking about incense and other smelly stuff, I will share some more favorite recipes.

Frankincense, Myrrh, Benzoin, Copal, are literally tree-resins, which you can burn in small granules on charcoal blocks. basically any kind of container can be used, they have to be capable of holding very hot coals. It helps a lot if you fill the container with sand.

Here are two small incense burners; the one on the left is Chinese; filled with sand, the one on the right has a metal mesh on which the coal rests.


The plant on the right is the mint I had to buy after American-Bedu gave us the recipe for Saudi-Champagne. I now use a lot of mint.

You can easily blend your own incenses, remember that once burnt many herbs and stuff smell very differently. According to aroma-therapy smell has a great influence on us. If that is so it makes sense to have different incenses for different purposes. With incense it’s the same as with cooking: as soon as you get used to the idea you start changing the recipes, or make up your own. Usually you want to keep the proportions of dried stuff much smaller than the resins. However, the second recipe turns that rule around, and is yet a very nice one.

The recipes usually use essential oils. Here are some of my ingredients. From right to left: Dragons-blood-resin, Copal, Frankincense, Camphor, (empty, that stuff has just completely disappeared!!!) Sandalwood, more Frankincense, Bezoïn, Myrrh and Storax.


It is best to grind the ingredients as fine as possible, and dragonsblood for example comes in large chunks, But I usually leave the resins as granules. Here are my two pestles, a course, and a fine one. I am here making the violet dusting powder. (without the violets, but I’m using extra lavender ground very fine)


As I cannot give the recipes other than tea-spoons and drops and dashes, I’ve photographed the ingredients to give an idea of the proportions.

Sweet Incense


  • three teaspoons of Frankincense
  • one teaspoon of Myrrh
  • one teaspoon of dried rose-petals
  • three drops of amber essential oil

This is a very simple and sweet smelling incense, crush the dried rose-petals into small bits, mix everything together, and add the drops of amber. Store in a tight lidded box.

Incense for Romance


From the top, clockwise

  • Three teaspoons of sandalwood
  • one teaspoon cinnamon
  • one teaspoon galangal
  • two teaspoons rosepetals
  • three drops neroli essential oil
  • one teaspoon dragonsblood resin

Crush the rose petals and dragonsblood resin, mix everything together, and add three drops of neroli. It’s such a small vial because it’s so bloody expensive!

This is a very unusual scent, it’s herby, spicy and sweet. Defenitely for the evening. It should get you and your mate’s blood running. Please inform me if it is so!

The proof of the incense is in the smelling! I’ve just tried them, and; lovely! But I think a little goes a long way, so for me these two will last me quite a long time.


Romantic body-oil

With all these essential oils you can also make yourself some lovely smelling body-oil for after your bath. This one is for women, it makes you even more attractive, and is supposed to work as a magnet for men, so you might want to be careful when to use it!!! As a base you can use either Jojoba or almond oil. You can make it on friday (venus’s day) But then I just made it on a Sunday, and it still smells lovely. 🙂 With recipes for scents, I think you should look at the recipe, but blend until it seems right to you! For use as a perfume, use just a tiny bit of base-oil, and then add the essential oils.

Blending fragances is an aquired art, and takes a keen sense of smell, but it gets easier with practise.


  • Jasmine
  • Red rose
  • one drop of lavender (not more)
  • drop of musk
  • and Ylang-ylang. be very careful with the Ylang-ylang, while it is lovely in a blend, too much smells (strangely) like cheap soap.

For men!

Very earthy and passionate, be prepared for anything! And according to my book it also works as an aphrodisiac with amazing results! Hum, if anybody actually is going to make this, and gets these amazing results, I would love to get a report of it!!!

Start with a base of Musk, and Patchouli. Add cinnamon, carnation and vanilla. Blend and add until the scent is right for you.


Next time I will post a list of what different scents are supposed to do, and share some more recipes.



17 responses

30 03 2008

Again, you’ve brightened my day with simple, colorful, photos of
lovely shapes and designs. I can almost smell the incense.

Yesterday I helped my daughter clean her basement, and I found a silver bowl just like yours, only on a single pedastal! I was amazed. My daughter didn’t want it, so I took it. I’ll clean it up, put sand in it, and then burn some incense.

Or maybe I’ll drop some essential oils in the sand for smoke-free incense. what do you think?

30 03 2008

It wouldn’t work in the sand. but you can fill the bowl with a pot pourri. All these herbs and stuff don’t really smell that much, so you can just put some drops of your favorite oil on it. The herbs will soak up the oils and when the smell becomes too faint you can refresh it.

Are you going to post a photo? I’m quite curious!!! 🙂

30 03 2008

Oh, Aafke, you’ve put such effort into this lovely post. I have no idea about resins for burning, only oils, so this is a great explanation about it. I saw frankincense and other such things on my travels and never knew what to do with them. I’m sure that they are five times the prices and a quarter the quality here than overseas.

A beautiful and wonderful!

30 03 2008

Oops, that should be ‘A beautiful and wonderful post!’ 🙂

31 03 2008
Umm Ibrahim

Beautiful post indeed! I’m curious… where do you buy all the raw ingredients in Europe?? I have seen them in the souqs here in Riyadh but I think I’d need to work on translations before going shopping. I guess frankincense and myrrh would be easy to find translations of but others… 😕 … camphor, dragonsblood, galangal… Umm Ibrahim

31 03 2008

Aliyah; I don’t think the pure resins are that expensive, I pay about €3,75 or €5,- for a fairly large bag wich lasts me for months!
You just have to pay attention to what you’r buying. There are granules about which are not pure resin, and they don’t smell so good. But they are easy to spot. I will put in an extra post so I can show you in photographs.
The charcoal blocks are expensive! Apperantly you can buy them cheaper in bulk at Catholic supplies shops, but we don’t have them: the north is firmly protestant!

I have never been to the middle East but if I ever go one of my first goals would be to go to a good spice market! 😀

If you like I’ll mix you a nice incense and send it to you.

Umm Ibrahim: I buy most of the incenses at sort of ”new age” shops. and the Esoteric bookshop. They are great shops anyway for little boxes, incense burners and charcoal. And buddah statues and books, etc.

In holland we have lots of people of different origins, and we dutch also like to experiment in different cuisines. Besides, several indonesian dishes are now staple diet in Holland. So you can buy the most exotic spices easily, even prepacked in supermarkets. But of course I don’t think much of the quality of those. One shop were I could get the orris-root has closed. But I buy most of my stuff at the market: there is one lady who has almost anything, and in excellent quality.

Dragonsblood is very hard to get hold of and very expensive. I have now found an American company who have really everything you can imagine, and all organically grown, or handpicked (sustainable) from nature, and their dragonsblood was also the cheapest I found! I’ll just have to write another post 😀

I’d love to have some oud (hint, hint) never heard of that before, and never saw it anywhere.

31 03 2008

It’s very beautiful post. I can even smell the fragrance of incense. You’re very natural woman. Me too. I like natural things.
My grandma has many kinds of recipes like this. I have to go and ask her about it. 😛

31 03 2008

oh, yes, pleeeaaaase!!!! shahrzad! 😀 😛

31 03 2008

AA Aafke,

Mosh’Allah your such a romantic! I love your pics so much! Your such a lovely artist! I really like the view from your kitchen window. I also like all of your trays and little trinket boxes that you keep all your incense in. Where do you find all of the ingredients for the fragrances you make? I’m not sure I would know where to find them.

31 03 2008

Tina: I will post on that soon!
If you need boxes and pots to store stuff in I always look for nice ones, why not? Why use ugly things, while, if you’re patient, you will always stumble upon something nice!

31 03 2008

Thanks for the recipies. I MUST try making something. I love good smelling stuff and am very particular about the house smelling nice. I think my sense of smell is very strong. For example, I can stop talking to someone for life if they have poor oral hygiene 🙂

Love the pictures. Thank you!

31 03 2008

Achelois: I once sat behind somebody who had used generous helpings of ”green apple shampoo” wich is a weird synthetic smell I absolutely abhor! I’ll never forget it; it spoiled the whole opera for me! An opera takes four hours!!!! Four hours in that smell! Arrrggghhh!!!

I am absolutely frantic that my house will smell of dogs and cats! Zora gets washed, with an organic dog shampoo, and I have a spray based on natural rose-oils in the car!

I also have memories attached to smells. I love horse smells and have no problem with horse-manure!
When my parents died and we went home, it had just been through a complete springcleaning, there was no familiar house smell left. It broke my heart. The only thing that smelled like my mother was a cardigan that hung on her chair in her workroom I wore that for months. And I found a bathrobe of my father that smelled of his aftershave, I’ve kept that in a closed bag.

Achelois, I’ve brought cardamom seeds and it does give you a lovely fresh spicy feeling if you nibble the insides!!

31 03 2008
Susie of Arabia

Next time I’m at the souk, I will take my list (courtesy of you) and I’m going to start collecting ingredients so I can make my own incense – yay!!! Thanks for the great photos and the beautiful and informative post!

31 03 2008

Ahhh interesting! I love incense sticks and usually buy them – Rose or Egyptian Musk although my mum gets a headache from the smell.

I’ll definitely try making them myself! Where does one get dragonsblood from?

31 03 2008

Sumera; For making sticks, or cones, you can buy incense powder, but I very much prefere the real pure incense or a good mix, anyway, the stuff you burn on charcoal.

I will post soon on where to buy stuff, but then I live in the Netherlands.
The dragonsblood I brought from an American site: Mountain Rose.

I will also make up a list of basics to start with.
And a list of aromatherapy effects!

1 04 2008

I am impressed with your smells skills. Here’s my question. Can you make incense that smells like a ham sandwich? That’s the kind I would want!

1 04 2008

No you don’t checkers, just think: the constant mouthwatering smell of a ham-sandwich, and not getting any! Just stick to a real one every now and then!
Come to me… I promise you regular ham-sandwiches!

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