Incense has been used traditionally in different forms for thousands of years. The most common form is to burn woods, herbs, spices, resins, directly or over a piece of charcoal. For example, one can burn Frankincense 'tears' and Myrrh rocks by this method. Chips of woods such as sandalwood and Agarwood (Aloeswood, Jinko can be burned directly in a burner. More complex incense can be made by applying powders of various herbs, roots, woods etc., onto a wooden stick. The powders are held together and stick to the wooden stick using a natural binding glue. These type of incense sticks are called Masala incense sticks or Masala batti. The word 'batti' denotes something that is lighted. The word Agarbatti probably originated from an incense stick made of Agarwood, hence the word Agarbatti - 'Agar' + 'Batti'.
The two most common type of incense sticks available are charcoal incense sticks and 'punk' sticks. Charcoal incense sticks are made by applying charcoal onto wooden sticks using a binder to stick the charcoal to the stick. The punk stick is made by applying wooden sawdust or wood particles to the stick using a binder. The incense sticks made by applying the charcoal or wood dust are Unscented incense sticks. The unscented incense sticks are also called blanks. These sticks can then by dipped into fragrance oils to make scented incense sticks. The fragrance oil is absorbed into the charcoal or wooden particles. When the incense stick is lighted, the fragrance oil burns along with the charcoal or wooden particles releasing the fragrance.
The charcoal incense sticks are clean burning, that is, they do not give off as much smoke as the punk incense sticks that are made from wood powder. The fragrance produced during burning of the charcoal is also closer to the fragrance oil. The wooden particles of the punk sticks give off their own odor on burning thereby disturbing the true fragrance of the fragrance oil. Therefore, charcoal incense sticks are of better quality than punk incense sticks for making scented incense sticks.
We have a selection of especially formulated incense oils called the 'A' series incense oils. These oils have been formulated to give pleasant odors on burning. Unscented Incense sticks can be dipped in these oils for scenting them. The fragrance strength of the oils can be decreased by diluting them with a base oil such as dipropylene glycol (DPG). As a rule of thumb, 1 kilogram of unscented charcoal incense sticks absorb about 300 gms (about 11oz) of incense oil. 1 kilogram of 8 ¼" long charcoal sticks is equivalent to about 1400 sticks. The number of sticks per kilogram can vary depending on the size and thickness of the sticks. We recommend that you use these oils with charcoal incense sticks. The charcoal sticks absorb the incense oils quickly, within a few minutes.
The incense sticks usually come in bundles. The incense sticks can be fragranced by dipping them in a container of the incense oil and then pulling them out and letting the oil drip back into the container. The charcoal incense sticks absorb the fragrance oil quickly, within a minute. The bundle of 'fragrance dipped' incense stick should be left to dry overnight. The dry incense sticks can then be put in incense bags for resale.
During the process for making scented incense sticks, wear appropriate dust mask or other protective masks to prevent breathing in the charcoal dust or wooden dust. Also keep the place well ventilated while making scented incense sticks.