More Nippon Kodo incense

If discovering the Yume-no Yume line from Nippon Kodo was the only thing I got from Zanzibar Tribal Arts, I’d be a very happy man.

But first of all, a little more Kayuragi. I picked up the Bitter Orange, which was the one I wanted next after the Pomegranate, but the owner of the store assured me the best in the line was Osmanthus, which he was out of stock on, although he gave me a stick of it. A very honeysuckle like scent, sweet, mellow, a little citrus and floral, extremely nice and one of those that really mixes up your options. Suffice it to say next order will find a box in it. The Bitter Orange was not quite what I’d expected, although nice in its own right, a very woody blend overall with the sandalwood almost as up front as the floral nature. Very little true orange or citrus in this one.

Discovered my first five scents in the Fragrance Memories (apparently it used to be NK Style) line, which is a Nippon Kodo brand whose scents are based on travels and so represent a very wide variety of ideas from all over the world. The first was Santa Fe Breeze, a cranberry, cactus and, yes, green chili blend. Sounds more like food almost. This line, overall, uses a similar process to the Xiang-Do line from Shoyeido, which that company calls pressed incense, it leaves a different type of ash behind it when burned, quite firm overall. But there tends to be a similar sort of base for all of them, a lighter one than in regular sticks, probably to allow some of these unusual scents to come off in a less “woody” sort of base. Anyway Santa Fre Breeze, like the entire line, mixes the three main ingredients almost equally so that the snap of the chili is a note and the cactus and cranberry kind of meld together.

Happy Valley was the one I liked the least of the five, although in this case the cactus comes through quite a bit more and is somewhat interesting. Here the other two ingredients, stone pine and lime seem more one of a kind. It didn’t strike me as a particularly powerful blend and I almost made the mistake of thinking the whole line would be like this.

So when I started up a Siesta Siesta, I wasn’t prepared for what a powerful scent it was and an unusual one, made up of blood orange, tomato and sangria. I’m not sure of the sangria note in the scent but the blood orange and the tomato are quite strong, the tomato, of course, being more like the vine or plant than something you would think of cooking wise. It made for a very exotic blend and one I thought might be too much, although since this line is about a 20 minute burn time, it’s probably about right. Quite impressive overall and one with that constant refrain, “I’ve never smelled anything like that before.”

My favorite of the five, as a coffee drinker, was the Paris Cafe blend, with chocolate, cinnamon and coffee. This blend is just dead on perfect like smelling the best cup of mocha you’ve ever had, in fact there was one time I nearly reached for a cup it was so real. Not a single note that breaks the illusion on this one. Of the three chocolate based incenses (all NK) I’ve tried lately, this is definitely the best one.

Tequila Sunrise is more like the first two I mentioned in potency, a combo of aloe (assumedly the plant rather than the wood), bergamot and lime. Surprisingly not quite as citrus-y as you might expect, this one really brought out the travel thoughts, for me this reminded me of fish cookouts in Florida and the like, even if it was based on a different locale. Another good one for a mix up. Possibly one for margarita fans.

And finally the Yume-No Yume line, which is extremely awesome, certainly nothing like I would have expected. They’re also of this pressed sort of variety although they’re heavily fragranced, so much so that just leaving the sticks out would give the room the hints. I picked up the Butterfly, which is a combo of geranium, cinnamon and vanilla. This one reminded me a lot of Shoyeido’s Horin Nijo coils which I really like, but even better and strangely almost amber-like in some hints. Comes with some sparkly dust, which I think might be the conch shell they use to lock the fragrance in. Anyway this was the best in the recent bunch, a truly incredible scent.

So I looked forward to other one I brought home, the Bamboo Leaf, which is actually a Green Tea incense with yuzu citrus and lemon flower. It reminded me quite a bit of some of the sweet green patchouli sticks, but even better with the sweet green tea hints, very nice, evoking memories of the very first time I ran across some premium Indian incense. I’m pleased to note that these scents come in very affordable coils (just over a buck a piece), so I can imagine wanting to grab some soon.


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