Happy Hari's Incense was run by Paul Eagle. A strong and colourful character who was liked by some as being a straight talker, and disliked by others for being a little bit too pushy and assertive. He had been out to India and become enthusiastic about some of the masala incenses he found out there being made by a cottage industry that could be bought and imported to the UK at little cost. He started out as Small Happy Eagle Enterprises, morphing into Kings of Incense, and then Happy Hari - the names sometimes being used all at the same time. Some people thought that he himself was called Hari (or Harry), though that, apparently, was the name of his son in India, who he would visit regularly.
|Paul Eagle, owner of Happy Hari, (1956-2016)|
I bought a packet of Happy Hari's Gold Nag Champa, and wrote a positive review, which Paul read, and he got in touch. He really sounded interesting, and he was about my age, and seemed like an old hippy like me. I was curious as to how he had started up his incense business back in the 1990s. We talked about doing an interview for this blog, and he sent me some incense samples to review. Unfortunately he became busy, and I became busy, so we weren't able to schedule a date for the interview, but he sent me a link to an interview he'd done for a local London radio show, Resonance, in Sept 2014, and also a link to a video he made of his first batch of Nag Champa Gold being made. I had to concentrate on other things for a while, so stopped working on this blog, then when I came back to incense I discovered that Paul had closed down his business, and it eventually emerged that he killed himself on Christmas Day 2016.
The incense he imported is still being made in India. I don't recall that he told me who his source was, but whoever it was, that person will still be making the same incense, and perhaps it will make its way into the UK under other names. Meanwhile his own branded incense is still available in various shops both on the streets and online. Though when stocks are gone, they may not be replaced. There was a suggestion that the Dhuni brand he took over in 2013, would continue in America, but that appears to have been simply a confusion over the name Dhuni. Corey Topel of Absolute Bliss incense in the USA has been in touch to tell me that not only does he have stocks of Happy Hari incense, but he also has details of Paul's supplier. Corey assures me that the Happy Hari he has at this store is the same as that which Paul was selling. Holly Paige of Cultures of Eden, for which Paul supplied Cultures of Eden branded incense, is now trading as Food For Consciousness, and she continues to sell Paul's incense, and says "through serendipitous connections" she has "a source of incense from the Happy Hari suppliers, plus new scents from one of his apprentices". It's all looking quite interesting, and quite hopeful. I suspect, given the similarity I am discovering between Paul's Cultures of Eden branded incense, and some of the incense sold by the small British distributors Gokula, that what Holly has serendipitously discovered as a supplier is Gokula, or perhaps the Indian supplier that Gokula uses.
Paul Eagle imported quality incense into the UK for over 20 years. Opinions are divided about his character and the incense he imported, but most people who have experienced the incenses have found at least one that is among the most enjoyable they have ever had. The most popular are Dhuni, Nag Champa Gold, Queen of Lotus, and Meena Supreme. I love the Oudh Masala.
|Happy Hari Oudh Masala|
|Kings of Incense Queen of Lotus|
|Cultures of Eden Darshan Flora|
(also see Gopala Darshan Flora)
|Happy Hari's Nag Champa Gold|
|Kings of Incense King of Amber|
|Kings of Incense King of Frankincense|
|Kings of Incense King of Sandalwood|
|Gokula Vrindavan Flower)|
|Cultures of Eden Kerala Flower |
|Kings of Incense King of Myrrh|
|Cultures of Eden Green Garden Incense|
Scents tried: 11
Conclusion: Paul Eagle found a quality incense maker, and for over 20 years imported decent incense into the UK. I have enjoyed the incenses I have tried - they are certainly above average, and I am now attempting to grab those scents I haven't yet tried, and to buy a few packets of those scents I like.
Rest in peace, Paul.