Got in a sampler order from shoyeido.com If you order over $25 worth of merchandise they give you two free samplers with your first order. Anyway this company writes the book on fine incense. After about a centimeter sample from each stick, maybe 30 or so fragrances, I’d have to say the work they do is astonishing, and I wasn’t going through the premium sampler this time around as I’d already gone through it (which led to a further sample of their Kyo-jiman line, which is fabulous stuff). Anyway, overall I really liked their Daily lines, especially for the price. The White Cloud, top of the daily line, reminds me of a buddhist temple blend resin I’ve long loved and the Kyoto Autumn Leaves, Golden Pavilion and others are really nice. I went and splurged on full boxes of the whole line. The Horin line is great as well, and at least on a first go around I seemed to like the cheapest two of the five, which is unusual, especially as there’s kyara in the top line of the five. They originate from coil incense and with the fetching colors, it’s going to be hard not to want to get a box or two of those as well. Their Xiang-Do line presents unlikely candidates for incense such as Mixed Fruit and Marine, but even these are at surprising quality levels, with a perfect blend of various spices. Perfect sort of thing to mix it up occasionally, especially since diversity in scent enlivens the whole experience.
And a slight warning note for some of the links in previous articles, one of the companies linked to is causing me some concern on the customer service front and I’m stating this mildly because other than that there really aren’t any complaints. Having five unknown sticks that I consider totally glorious stuff is frustrating to say the least, unfortunately they’ll be remaining unknown until I chance upon it elsewhere. But I think I have a pretty good idea what it is…. Anyway I mostly mention this because, Scented Mountain and Shoyeido aside, my on line incense buying experience hasn’t been perfect so I’m trying out other companies.