Tennendo / Enkuu-Horizon

[NOTE: 9/27/21 – While I don’t think this review is wrong in any way, to my nose Tennendo’s stock of aloeswood has changed the profile a little on this compared to the old days. It’s still a high quality aloeswood incense, but I feel like some of its more sublime qualities, perhaps not mentioned here, are not as present anymore. It’s one of those changes that feels more a result of variation in natural ingredients than anything severe].  It may be even more true for incense than anything else that you get what you pay for, at least if you have an appreciation for aloeswood. The higher the quality of the wood in the incense, the better the opportunity for a more complex and sophisticated incense. Aloeswood, depending on quality and variety, can impart widely divergent qualities to the aroma from resinous, hoary age to tantalizing sweetness, from spice to qualities best described as lacquer/turpentine like in their intensity. Tennendo’s high end, long stick Enkuu-Horizon covers nearly all of these qualities in one very intense and complex incense.

I’d only recommend this to those who don’t mind some of the stronger aspects of aloeswood, particularly the resinous qualities that might bring to mind turpentine or other wood resin-based chemicals. Not that this incense is unrefined by any means, but it will wallop you with its intensity. The closest scent that reminds me of Enkuu is Shoyeido/Horin’s Muro-machi incense, which combined the heavy aloeswood scent with a thicker, almost swelteringly sweet top note. However, where Muro-Machi plays between these two notes, Enkuu is far more complex. For one thing, Enkuu has some of the qualities of greener aloeswood sticks as quieter notes, such a menthol and mint. The wood quality is very high and occasionally it seems that the mix may be leavened with a slight amount of kyara; at the very least it has that sort of smoothness combined with ancient resinous depth.

All these various elements play off each other in an analagous way to Kyuykodo’s Sho-Ran-Ko and make me feel this will always be a surprising and excellent incense, although where Sho-Ran-Ko has a sort of a Mercurian gentleness and humor to it, Enkuu is more like Pan in its ancient, pagan splendor. At first Enkuu is likely to be overwhelming, but with each stick its careful and complex composition reveals itself, making it a taste worth acquiring.



  1. glennjf said,

    December 10, 2010 at 12:11 am

    I’d been asking in the Ask the Olfactory Rescue Service
    section if there was indeed Kyara in Enkuu as there were conflicting reports about this depending where I looked and what I read.

    I have since emailed with Tennendo in Japan asking if there was any Kyara 伽羅 in their Enkuu 圓空 and they have replied…

    “I’m afraid there is no 伽羅 in the 圓空. But please be remind it that contains the excellent 沈香 inside.”

    So, using the website suggested by Uoruta in this “ask” comment ie http://jisho.org/

    I entered… 沈香
    I got back…jinko aloeswood; agarwood; eaglewood

    Sorted 🙂

    A wonderful incense this one!

  2. greg said,

    December 6, 2010 at 8:58 am

    Without a doubt (at least in my mind) Enkuu is one of the greats with the added feature of being a great value for quality. it has more in common with the Seijudo line than Shoyeido’s shokaku, the latter being at the pinnacle of the incense maker’s art – but you pay for it.

  3. August 12, 2010 at 9:28 am

    […] Tennendo / Enkuu – If newness wasn’t such a variable factor for these top 10 lists, Enkuu would likely make it every month, it’s quite simply one of my favorite incenses. I’m finding with some of the intense high enders like this that a little goes a very long way and have been finding myself taking out a stick and putting it in a burner and then burning it by thirds. Usually a third of the way down it’s scented the room like most incenses after a full stick. Shoyeido Sho-kaku is also perfect for this and could have interchanged with this selection easily. No doubt that one will be on next month’s again just based on one stick over the last few days. […]

  4. December 15, 2008 at 10:13 am

    […] Tennendo/Enkuu – Arguably one of the best incenses in the world. A favorite here at ORS. Wonderful high grade aloeswood mixed with spices and herbs. Sharp, dry-ish and oh so elegant. Not to be missed. (Ross) […]

  5. May 27, 2008 at 7:30 am

    […] Tennendo / Enkuu-Horizon – Terribly trusty this one. Sometimes when I pull it out I think of a stick created like a mosaic, small three dimensional puzzle pieces that all contribute to such an intricate aroma. So dry and multifaceted and such a favorite I’m starting to stock ahead. […]

  6. March 25, 2008 at 8:24 am

    […] by Mike on March 25, 2008 If Enkuu-Horizon is the current top line being exported to the US via Tennendo, then this series of three aloeswood […]

  7. January 30, 2008 at 3:39 pm

    […] more of a blend. Kuukai is the highest end aloeswood in this “rolls” sequence (So far Enkuu-Horizon is the highest end Tennendo incense in the US market). I’ve been trying to come up with a […]

  8. Mike said,

    January 9, 2008 at 8:44 am

    I have to say, this is fast becoming one of my all time favorite incenses. It’s so complex and dense that I still feel like I’m unconvering nuances. Highly recommended.

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