Nippon Kodo / Mori no Koh (Scents of Forest)

Some of my earliest and most embedded memories of scent come from when I first bought incense as a teenager. I can’t remember the company who released the (Indian) incense I loved back then, but I do remember being particularly fond of piney, foresty scents and certain scents in this direction (most notably for me this would be the Xiang-Do Forest blend) bring up 20 year old memories for me.

While Nippon Kodo’s series of exceptional incenses, like most companies, tend to center around higher end sandalwood and aloeswood blends, all of them packaged in nice looking Pawlonia boxes with ceramic burners, they also released this sampler set of three different forest scents: Fir (blue-green color), Japanese Cypress (green) and Conifer (deep green).

All three of these scents are very accessible and user friendly and I’d be surprised if most wouldn’t enjoy these as they’re very pleasant aromas that will remind one of nature, cool forests, even the winter season due to the evergreens. Both Fir and Conifer are very close in scents, fresh piney and invigorating with the Fir perhaps being the lighter of the two and the Conifer slightly richer. Both are very nice and scratch the evergreen itch. The Japanese Cypress incense here is a little more potent than you tend to find in most hinoki incenses and while I thought after a couple sticks that it was similar enough, I’ve actually come to think of this as my favorite Cypress stick, it just has a little more presence, enough to dominate the binder rather than share time with it.

And the little boxes do make wonderful gifts even if they’re not really the best storage devices. The little hook that holds the “book” together does not always tighten it enough where the incense is safe and I’ve had several sticks break just because I picked up the box and sticks had gotten caught in the gap. Even the styorofoam and paper inserts don’t help this issue. And unlike the rest of the exceptional series, these scents aren’t currently available in any other, longer stick format. I’d be pleased to see any of these in their own packages as they’re among the best incenses of this type, which isn’t something I’d necessarily say for the rest of the line.

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