Is Camphor on its own good? Been curious seeing these:
camphor or borneol is responsible for the "cooling minty" note in incenses.. on its own, it doesnt have much of a strong penetrating nor well defined smell that can cover large areas unless used in large amounts, might be a little boring smell on its own i.e. smelling like deep heat rub or some medicinal cream so its usually blended with other woods.
borneol and camphor differs just by one oxido-reduction reaction chemically, in chinese medicine, the effects are drastically different, but when used in incense, both smell the same
I smelled a Japanese ink block that was impregnated with borneol- it smelled really nice :-) (MrP told me about that). I read that sometimes sandalwood is used to add fragrance to ink but I've never come across a sandalwood-scented block.
I asked Mr. google about fragrance materials in Japanese ink blocks. First, the smell of the glue (added to solidify the ink) is not attractive, so fragrant materials are added. In the past, natural materials used were spikenard, sandalwood, borneol, plum blossoms and deer musk. Nowadays, artificial forms of these are used, although natural borneol is still sometimes used. I think you need to hunt down a serious collector or specialty shop to find anything more exotic than borneol/camphor.
Ink block is another expensive hobby if one is into calligraphy and the chinese/japanese arts..
historically the making of ink blocks is pretty much using ingredients that people would find in a medicinal hall, and the binder that is used to hold the ink together in a nice block's usually hide glue, donkey hide, turtle shell origin etc. these days such glues are still sold in blocks like ink blocks.. and can be quite expensive.
in chinese history such as some famous inks i.e. 一得阁 etc are scented with borneol and musk. i've yet to come across sandalwood scented ones though, but probably it wont be easy as the sandalwood oil present may affect the quality of the ink, i.e. the hydrophillicity/hydrophobicity that may affect also the writing process.. so the person blending the ink and making the block will need to have the expertise on the amount and the correct manufacturing step to add in the sandalwood scent
For those wishing to experience true borneol camphor, MerMadeArts offers borneol camphor in crystalline form: