Blackbird's incense is in good company in this nifty feature over on Hello Real Life.
By Mindy White on December 8, 2017
Now that The Beach Boys are stuck in your head, what I really want to talk about is energy. Ever since I was little, I’ve been intrigued with magic, energy, angels, spirits, faith—you name it—I was always curious. I think it’s just the unknown itself that fascinates me, especially energy.
There’s a lot more to the saying “good vibes only.” It’s because we, as in humans, people, plants and objects constantly give off vibrations. We’ve all been around people that have a negative vibe, been to a place with amazing energy (like the ocean or a park), and met someone with addictive spirit that we want to be around more and more. That’s energy working. And, that’s why it’s important to learn how to control your own energy so you’re not as easily affected by other’s. That’s where things like crystals, oils, smudges, and other metaphysical findings come into play. In a similar way that people wear crosses around their necks, when used correctly and spiritually, these items can help you control, deflect, and even attract certain energies. Not to mention, they’re just beautiful and comforting to have around.
Visit the blog post to view the entire gift guide.
Joshua's Magazine is an aesthetically beautiful and thought-provoking men's lifestyle magazine out of the UK that aims to present aspirational designers and creators from a huge variety of different fields. Its content is curated to celebrate brands and individuals doing exceptional, progressive work that might be of interest to any guy living anywhere in the world.
In its latest issue, Joshua's Magazine wrote a feature on incense briefly tracking its history and how history has led to the next step forward, Blackbird Incense.
Click on the image to read the full article.
Pick up a copy of Joshua's Magazine at various newsagents around NYC, or at Barnes & Noble across the US.
A little backstory: Zuriick was one of our all-time favorite shoe brands we carried at Blackbird. We still get customers emailing asking where to find their impeccably designed, unique silhouettes.
Zuriick opened their flagship shop not too long ago in their base of Salt Lake City, and its absolutely gorgeous. And they carry almost all of our Blackbird products.
But that's not really news. Here's the news:
Barber Kit Stiefel, a fully functioning old school barber, just opened inside of Zuriick. So now in addition to being the top shopping destination in Salt Lake City, Zuriick will now also cut your hair and make sure you're looking completely sharp for whatever the day or night holds.
If you find yourself in Salt Lake, find your way into Zuriick and see the good barber. Get yourself a hot lather shave. You deserve it.
Frankincense, a precious resin obtained from several different trees of the Boswellia genus, sometimes goes by the name olibanum from Arabic al-luban meaning "that which results from milking". It is most popularly known in Western culture as one of the three gifts brought by wise men for Jesus at his birth, but its history goes way further back (trading of frankincense has been recorded for more than 8000 years) and the ingredient is still a precious and widely used commodity today. Some of the best frankincense comes from Yemen and Somalia, where much incense used in Catholic mass is produced, and much frankincense also comes from Ethiopia. Dhofar, a region of Oman, is known for producing the best frankincense in the world.
Boswellia Sacra, translating loosely to religious or sacred Boswellia, is commonly known as the frankincense or olibanum tree and is known for its ability to grow in uncommonly unforgiving territory, even occasionally known to sprout from solid rock. Attaching to these rocks helps the tree stay planted during tumultuous storms. The trees grow abundantly in Oman and southern Yemen, and they typically reach a height of 2 to 8 meters with one or more trunks. The trees don't actually begin producing resin until they are about 8 to 10 years old.
Frankincense is available in four different grades depending on when the harvest happens. It is accessed by making an incision on the trunk or branches of the Boswellia trees and removing a narrow strip of bark, letting the resin bleed out as a milky substance and become hard upon contact with air, creating frankincense "tears." This process is then repeated making a deeper incision until enough frankincense has been produced at the right consistency, usually over a three month period. The best quality comes from the 2nd or 3rd annual bleeding of the tree, and generally speaking the more opaque resins are higher quality. Silver and Hojari are generally the highest grades of incense, and there is some dispute as to which type is better. The highest quality of frankincense from Oman is purchased by His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said, the ruler of Oman, and is almost impossible for western buyers to identify and purchase.
Frankincense comes from the Old French word, "franc encens," meaning high quality incense. The greeks and romans, babylonians and assyrians used frankincense in religious ceremony to make offerings to the gods, and it was very popular for this use, but it was also used in state and domestic affairs. Egyptian women used crushed, burnt frankincense like eyeliner to paint their eyelids, although it was also used to scent rooms in the colder months, served as insect repellent, salves for wounds and sores, and was used as a key ingredient in the embalming process.
Frankincense resin is edible and is sometimes used as medicine for digestion and healthy skin. For internal consumption, only translucent frankincense is recommended, with no black or brown impurities. It is often light yellow with a very slight greenish tint and it is often chewed like gum, but it is stickier. Indian frankincense, commonly called dhoop, has been used for hundreds of years for treating arthritis, healing wounds, strengthening the female hormone system, and purifying the air. It is suggested that burning frankincense daily in the house brings good health. Frankincense smoke has been shown in some preliminary studies to relieve depression and anxiety, and consumption of the extract has been shown in some preliminary studies to improve arthritis in as little as seven days. In 2009 it was reported that Frankincense oil appears to distinguish cancerous cells from normal bladder cells and suppress cancer cell viability. In antiquity it has been known to be used for leprosy, and toothaches, and more recently it has been proven to possess antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. Frankincense has also been investigated as a potential treatment for ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease, anxiety and asthma.
Recently a component of frankincense, AKBA, shown to kill cancer cells in brain tumors and particular cells affected by leukemia or colon cancer, has been successfully isolated. That said, the component has not yet been tested on humans and the claims of the Omani media that a cure for cancer has been found have been denied by the researchers behind the project.
Unfortunately, like so many important pieces of plant and animal life, frankincense is at risk of becoming significantly less prevalent (decreasing by 90%) due to over harvesting. When a frankincense tree is milked, it produces less seeds, and because of the world's high demand for frankincense, a huge number of these trees are being milked several times a year and as a result they are not reproducing as much as they would naturally. If we don't adopt more sustainable harvesting methods, we may not have frankincense for very much longer (tear).
Frankincense smells balsamic-spicy-sweet, with a slightly lemon-like fragrance of incense and a conifer-like undertone. As a perfume ingredient, frankincense is one of our absolute favorite materials to work with due to its incredibly rich, unique, and pleasant fragrance, but we have also employed the ingredient in our products for some of its other beneficial traits. You can try frankincense today in the following Blackbird products:
This month we saw a lot of love for the Blackbird Incense, which makes sense since we're moving into the ultimate time of year for incense burning. Take a look at the latest Blackbird gossip.
We met The Goodsmellas back at Elements and we've been buddies ever since. They put together this recently surfaced interview with one of our Blackbird product masters, Liz, who does an awesome job explaining what we do. We also talked a little bit about Seattle-based perfume line Olympic Orchids. Thanks to Carlos and all of the Goodsmellas!
Ape to Gentleman, one of the clear leaders in the men's grooming blogosphere, gave an excellent write-up for our Blackbird Incense. They remembered that we were not the first to create incense ("incense has been burned since the new stone age, in c.10,000 BC"), but remarked that we are "leading the evolution." For the record, only Ex-Blackbird employees have ended up on the Darwin awards.
Lottie and Doof, based in Chicago, burned Blood Countess on Halloween. Honestly it doesn't smell as scary as it sounds.
The Grooming Guru is on the same page as us, sharing our penchant for fire and burning things. The incense is especially perfect for lending a fitting fragrance to your sterile marble citadel, but as a bonus design feature pointed out by Lee, will also effectively cover up for your smelly cat.
Remodelista featured our May 18th Soap as part of their 10 Favorites: The Best of Black Soap. No, it won't stain your bath tub.
Cool Material pretty much nailed it on guys and soap. I've known several that shampoo with Ivory (bar soap). As they point out, you can now forego the trip to Duane Reade / Walgreens and take care of your soap requirement with the click of a button thanks to our May 18th Soap. Plus, the May 18th Soap smells and feels spectacular.
Welcome to Movember! Beast.com spotted our Beard Oil and now's the time for it guys. Say goodbye to itchy beard face.
Baxtton in France covered our Black Licorice Hand Soap and even captured a little bit of our history in the process. Pictured in their post is our old bottle, but the graphic and idea is the same.
Dragon's Blood is rad for many reasons, one of which being that it actually looks like how you might expect "Dragon's Blood" to look. The resin was named after its red appearance that when heated or used as incense, bubbles and boils red like blood, and was accompanied by a common belief that Dragon's Blood actually came from the blood of elephants and dragons who had died in combat.
Dragon's Blood is a bright red resin that is produced by several different species of trees that's use has been documented as far back as the 15th century. One type of Dragon's Blood tree produces a berry about the size of a cherry and when ripe, they are covered with a reddish, resinous substance. Other types of Dragon's Blood trees produce Dragon's Blood resin directly through their sap. These trees have been known to grow in the Canary Islands, Morocco, Sumatra, and other locations, and Dragon's Blood made its way into Europe largely by the Incense Road.
It has been implemented throughout history for a surprising number of uses, including being used to make varnish for violinmakers, dye, toothpaste, ink for posters in China, as well as to make medicines because of its large list of perceived health benefits and in witchcraft, shamansim, and folk magic for its "magical properties."
On top of all of the various uses listed above, the most important piece of information to us is the scent of dragon's blood. Dragon's Blood smells sweet and soft, slightly amber-like but more natural and less sticky/sweet smelling than common amber. It is extremely rich and does an excellent job setting a calming mood to a space.
Try Dragon's Blood today in our Blood Countess Incense, and let us know what you think!
Or you can bathe in Dragon's Blood with our new Australian red reef clay Blood Countess Square Soap.
By offering one of the most extensive collections of men's grooming advice alongside some of the best men's grooming products available in an environment that feels comfortable and cool, Niven & Joshua has established themselves as the premier online grooming destination for men. As one of our long-time favorite websites, we couldn't be happier that Niven & Joshua recently added our Blackbird Incense to their assortment of exceptional products.
We want you to be aware of Niven & Joshua not only as a website you can use to purchase your favorite grooming products, but also as an invaluable resource for all things men's grooming related. Take a look at these guides to get an idea of what we're talking about:
If you think those are helpful, its just the tip of the iceberg. You can also check out the complete Niven & Joshua Grooming Guide or their assortment of Men's Grooming Concerns presented next to several functional remedies to make sure you get the best treatment you deserve.
Enjoy, and thank you to Niven & Joshua for the expertise!