Making Scents



By now you may have realized that I have a ravenous olfactory sense. At one point my obsession with rich fragrances led me to thoroughly investigate whether or not smells have a caloric value. (Matt is endlessly amused by this but I swear at the time it seemed like a perfectly valid question to ask.) I was surprised to find that they do not.

Aside from people smelling good, there’s nothing like the end of the day at home, lights dimmed, and the other-worldly scent of Nag Champa filling the room. I don’t know what it is about this stuff that seems to sweep away every molecule of stress, worry, and annoyance, but whenever I’m feeling a bit over the edge, I light up a stick and it all seems to burn away.

I first smelled Nag Champa with a meditation teacher I had in high school. Then, about five years ago I traveled through India and realized that the entire country smells like this stuff. Maybe that’s why no one seemed the least bit miffed by the inexplicable lack of speed limits, absence of paved roads, proliferation of stand-up toilets, and the herd of cows lying down in the middle of the airport intersection. It’s like the entire nation is high on this stuff. After a few weeks there, the mood of the Nag Chapa-ed populace started to wear off on me too. Everything that you think would drive you insane about India seems to fade away into sweet sandalwood clouds.

After a particularly relaxing Nag Champa evening recently, I decided to look into how they make this stuff. The best information I could find on the manufacturing of Nag Champa explained that it contains a very high concentration of pure Mysore Sandalwood Oil and a fine blending of rare champa flowers, spices, resins and some rare fragrant gums native to Indian trees. This combination of ingredients creates “a suitable atmosphere for meditation and the attaction of sacred thoughts.” Hell yes.

The only brand to buy is Satya Sai Baba Nag Champa.

Get it here.


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