The East Meets West incense series by Nippon Kodo includes three different incenses created by a modern French perfumer and inspired by the art of Simo Neri. All three incenses come in both stick and coil form and both versions are created in two different colors, based on Simo Neri’s technique of combining two different images. The packaging is striking and all boxes come with a burner. I was actually very pleased with the coil burner that came with my set, as it’s more useful and sturdy than the ones that come with Shoyeido’s Horin coils.
Unfortunately, at least based on the Scandinavian Nature incense, the incense is not nearly as impressive as the presentation. The fragrance as described by Nippon Kodo is “soft vanilla with cool mint notes” and the key notes are vanilla, mint and musk. So it came as a great surprise to me to find that, during the burn, this incense didn’t remind me of any of those descriptions. Sure, there’s definitely a mint note on the fresh incense, it comes off the package pretty noticeably, but it seemed fairly absent from the incense scent while burning. I was even more surprised to remember that this was supposed to be more of a vanilla-musk scent, but I found both elements to be sublimated by a somewhat fruitier scent, although one I’m not sure I can specifically name. I thought the Yume-no-yume Whooping Crane captured this sort of combination a lot more successfully.
I admire Nippon Kodo’s ambition in creating such a work and, as in the case of the Yume-No-Yume line, their ambition can lead to great success. But I was so disappointed by this scent, particularly in that it seems to be of the “pressed” variety and thus more expensive. I suppose it’s possible that some of the scent had dissipated from the incense before I bought it, but given that this isn’t a very old line, I’m inclined to say that it was more a failed experiment than a brilliant new concept.