About a month ago, I reviewed DSH Perfumes Cardamom & Khyphi perfume. This sparked my interest in khyphi or kyphi. I couldn’t find any mass produced kyphi but I did find numerous recipes. I found a recipe on-line, on Green Chi Café. Could incense really be this simple to make? Having 90% of the ingredients already stored away in apothecary jars, I decided to give it a try.
About me: I never use recipes. I only use cook books or recipes for inspiration. I rarely ever follow a recipe verbatim. I’m a rebel, I know. All the good cooks I grew up around didn’t use recipes…it was all in their head, a mix of art and experience. After getting all my ingredients out and ready, I thought I needed more. What about cardamom, like in DSH Perfume? This could really benefit from some nutmeg, should I throw that in? My husband, for some strange reason, became very interested in this little incense making experiment. (He did work at an oil/incense shop as a teen). He urged me to follow the recipe exactly and then note changes I would like to make in the future. This was very difficult for me, but in the end, this is what I did.
So, I followed the on-line recipe exactly. OK, I’m lying. I can’t follow a recipe exactly. I used 6 raisins (instead of 4) and soaked them in $2 Chuck merlot overnight in a test tube vial. This made this really feel like an experiment. I followed the rest of the steps exactly. My husband was really into the pulverizing of resins. It is amazing how these resins get powdery so quickly. He was like “Damn, this is the most ancient thing I’ve ever done.” Pulverizing resins for incense is damn ancient.
The ingredients were mixed and formed into balls. OK, excuse me, but I didn’t read the “pea sized” balls statement very thoroughly. As you see above, we made marbles or something about the size of a walnut! In our world, more is always better. This is not so. I’ll explain later. Anyways, we stored the incense on a book shelf in our dark, menacing great room that nobody ever goes into. I turned them daily for 2 weeks. These babies are not cute. They look gross and remind me of owl pellets that middle school students would dissect. David, my husband, calls them the property of dung beetles. Gross, but so true.
So, time to burn these babies. This recipe is non-combustible. You have to find a way to burn them. Info here of your options. I wanted a fancy Japanese incense burner, but I couldn’t find one that I like, yet. And I couldn’t wait. I’m curious. So, we walked down to the local seedy hookah shop and bought some charcoal pellets. I assume this is what I needed. We went home, put the charcoal in an oyster shell on a non-burn surface and lit the charcoal. OK, more DIY dummy lessons, use sand around the charcoal. I didn’t experience anything catastrophic, but I should be safe while burning stuff in my house. Common sense over common scents. Within minutes, my house was smelling of sweet khyphi. It went through stages. I would pick up on the juniper, the fruity wine, the honey spice. It is good. However, within 10 minutes, my house looked like I had Cheech and Chong over. There was lots of smoke, but the alarm never went off. (I did check the batteries after this and all was OK, it was not set on the “bake out” option). Why was there so much smoke? Because my khyphi balls are 10 times the size of what was recommended! Ooops. Well, the sweet fragrance of khyphi lingered in my house, both upstairs and downstairs, for a few days. Thank goodness, that I like the scent.
Overall, this was fun and I’m working on my own batches/experiments sans recipe. I have learned from my first experience that less is more. Make pea sized non-combustible incense balls unless you are burning this outside during some ceremony or inside when you want to run off your in-laws. Have a safe method of burning incense, don’t leave it unattended. Also, you should check your smoke alarm batteries before your house is filled with smoky haze. It’s disturbing to have a house filled with smoke with no annoying alarm going off.
I hope that my other recipes are successful, when you don’t use recipes you’re bound to have some failures. If they work out, I’ll share them with you. Have a good weekend! I’m off to the Market to buy more woods and resins.