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zankoku_zen

The Challenge of the Ascetic

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I keep sniffing this one and feeling almost hypnotized, which has made it hard to write a review because I just want to smell it again and exhale deeply and bliss out. I can do this! I am strong!

 

Can we just talk about the bottle art for a second? The Challenge of the Ascetic is seriously one of the cutest, quirkiest Shunga labels ever and I am so here for it. That adorable tiny ascetic and his fleshly vigil. I didn't know I needed this in my life but I do.

 

Okay. Cap comes off. It's quiet. No surprise there. But an appealing soft incense nonetheless. Time to test. Ooooo. This...this is some good stuff. This is not your run-of-the-mill incense. I have sandalwood and frankincense essential oils, and neither one jump out at me from the blend here. Aloeswood (aka agarwood aka oud) is perhaps the creamy wood I am smelling? (Zero whiff of barnyard, thank the stars.) And the ti leaf is definitely the chilled-out, dark green peacefulness-of-the-garden vibe that permeates the gentle resins.

 

Put them all together, I'm inhaling the calmest, most bewitching woods and incense in the world. Where most have a warmth that brings to mind burning incense, The Challenge goes in the opposite direction; it suggests a cool, dark forest, meditating alone. The longer it dries down, the more the creaminess of the aloeswood resin does the thing that good oud does, and becomes absolutely heavenly. I am just fine with the quiet throw of this blend; it fits the mood perfectly, and it lasts for hours and hours. 

 

I want to slather in this and do yoga. I am in love. Knocked it out of the park, Ascetic!

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It's a unique one I will probably layer with. Smells like fragrant air, if that makes sense. Probably the Ti & Frankincense. Light, uplifting, kinda green. Very different from what I'm used to in a good way.

Edited by Rane.
added *from what I'm

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I can identify sandalwood and sweet frankincense (the waxy, non-balsamic variety) if I really pay attention, but this scent is better described as an overall impression. Sweet, lightly green, and very lightly woody - it's not heavy or burning incense. In fact, I hesitate to describe it as incense at all. This is the skin-scent of the ascetic himself. It reminds me of a grown-up version of... the smell of a new-born baby.

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Aloe, sweet frankincense and sandalwood. This is a light aloe and woodsy scent, with the frankincense adding some body and sweetness. Medium throw and wear length.

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Ascetic is a soft, serene incense blend. Calming, and also quite understated. This could be a meditation chamber scent, and it would do so as a gentle ambiance that seems to rise off the room's natural materials rather than as a perfume additive.

 

This is mainly aloe on my skin, with sandalwood, frankincense, and a little dry ti leaf blending in. 

 

Upon drying, it softens further, and leans sweeter and more woody, but is otherwise similar.

 

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Challenge of the Ascetic is a breath of clear air in a calm fresh space.

On my skin, it’s a translucent pale green over the translucent gold of frankincense, like a multi-layered stained glass window.  It does go somewhat powdery for me pretty quickly, through retains its meditative tone. It’s unfortunate, because I can see the beauty and the calming effect, and I also don’t really like to wear powdery scents. Bummer... maybe aging will shift the effect. 
The label art is so sweet, and the notes sounded delightful, I was close to blind-bottling. Now that I got a tester, I’d only get a bottle if I find it discounted. A low partial bottle would be even better for me, so I can enjoy the picture and sniff the bottle. :P 
 

Definitely similar to the Monk RPG scent. 

Edited by artisjok

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When first applied, there's this green, leafy note with the soft sandalwood and frankincense. On the drydown, it's waxy and warm, with a light woody-resinous base.

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I suppose I'm the unlucky one who gets the indolic scent from the aloeswood. I was hoping this wouldn't be the case and took a chance. I will wait to let it age a bit but honestly, I'm not smelling any of the other notes...at all. 

 

ETA: I keep smelling jasmine (grandiflorum, not sambac) and I'm not sure what I'm smelling anymore. It certainly isn't unpleasant, it just isn't at all what I expected. I'm crossing my fingers that sandalwood and frankincense come out at some point.

 

ETA2: This one wins the crown for morphing. It took an hour of sniffing, eh, sniffing, eh, and then whoa, that smells pretty great but nothing like it did an hour ago. Maybe mine is bipolar? Whatever happened, I'm really excited. I will set this guy aside to age, possibly till next Lupers come around. Yay!

Edited by HerbGirl

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