Gyokushodo / Jinko Yomei

One characteristic of incense that I find fairly important when purchasing is that of distinctiveness. “Something readily distinguishable from all others” my dictionary states. In incense, what I mean is a type of incense that is virtually unique in that there aren’t any other manufacturers who create an incense that is similar.

Jinko Yomei (fifth item down) is a good example of an incense I’d consider very distinctive, both when the incense is fresh and when burning. I discovered the incense while looking for premium aloeswood sticks, and while Yomei is certainly a higher end aloeswood stick, it does not give off an aroma I’d consider woody at all, in fact most of the “play” of this incense is in the oil that seems to be the top note. This is a scent that seems far more apparent on the fresh stick than when burning, a scent that marks a middle between the sweet and spicy.

The color of the packaging blends black and midnight blue and it’s similar to the color of the stick, a black stick that at times strikes me as having hints of color. While the wood is certainly at base, it’s more an extra note for the spice, which comes on with slight hints of anise and fennel and a distinctive, exotic floral to it that’s somewhat reminiscent of lotus, passion flower or something even rarer.

Jinko Yomei didn’t impress me right off the bat, but it has improved with time, especially in comparison to other, less distinctive aloeswood/floral blends. In fact it has a similar sultry note to it that Kyukyodo’s Sho Ran Ko shares, although both incenses are very different. Yomei is likely to run one between $35 and $40 a roll, but it’s a rather packed roll, meaning one is likely to last you a long while.

[Edited on 5/7/08 to reflect company name]


  1. jagolsby said,

    October 8, 2016 at 10:52 am

    I get something like a lotus/orchid floral off this. In a strange way, it’s a cooling scent. Not cooling in the same sense as camphor (though I do get whiffs of both camphor and borneol from this stick), but somehow different… like it would be a good incense for warm summer nights, or mid-day in early autumn.

    That’s unusual for such a heavy floral perfume! Usually when I think of a summer incense, I think of a light sandalwood with maybe a green tea, or a lighter floral like in Tennendo’s Renzan. But somehow this thick, jungle-flower scent seems perfect for a 75° night — and not a night spent alone, for that matter.

  2. January 18, 2010 at 6:51 pm

    […] it deserves here. You can refer to the other write ups we have done on the company here, here.and […]

  3. January 15, 2009 at 9:50 am

    […] oils are quite memorable. As of today, nine Gyokushodo incenses are exported to the US, one of these I covered a while back. Two of these incenses are in the green “every day” sandalwood style, three are […]

  4. koinu7 said,

    January 11, 2009 at 7:29 pm

    Hoen will be in my next order. I’m interested in how that will compare to the Yomei. I am always on the lookout for new scents. I noticed on EOTA tonight that Keiunko was added. Its description says sweet aloes, very spicy, and Oriental in scent. Sounds very similar to Yomei, and also appears to be a black stick. This was my first outing with Gyokushodo and I’ll be waiting for your overview on the company.


  5. koinu7 said,

    January 10, 2009 at 11:22 pm

    This is an extremely distinct incense! I really didn’t know what to expect with this one, as there aren’t many descriptions out there. I’ve had to burn quite a few sticks just to form a basic opinion on it. It’s unlike any other incense that I have. The aloes is sweet (my preference) and there is a wonderful bouquet of flowers. It almost touches the realm of perfume, but refrains from being obnoxious. The oil is definitely the dominant characteristic, the aloes is more of a background. There is a very strong Oriental vibe, and I seem to find some different facet each stick. Overall, I’m impressed. It’s fairly inexpensive, and definitely worth a try if you’re in the mood for something wild.


    • Mike said,

      January 11, 2009 at 4:03 pm

      Hi Dana, definitely give Jinko Hoen a try as well, it’s similar but a lot woodier, perhaps a bit less deluxe as far as the same oil goes but a really fine incense. In fact I’ll have a Gyokushodo overview coming up hopefully this week and if not, the following week that will revisit Yomei and cover eight other incenses by the same company. I do love Yomei, for its price range its really the closest you can get in a perfume sense to the high end Shoyeidos.

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