Where I enthused yesterday about Shoyeido’s fabulous 12 months series (aka Karuno Na Haori), I’m going to have to take a bit of an opposite tactic with another one of their lines, LISN (basically “listen”). It is true that this does happen to be one aimed more at modern consumers and it’s not always easy to realize that LISN is connected to Shoyeido (without the fine print).
My experience in the incense world in terms of looking at opinion is that most feel natural=good and synthetic=bad and as a general rule of thumb it’s not a bad one. However, the more recent collaborations between French perfume companies and Japanese incense companies as well as the inspiration such a merging has in creating new scents is not even usually a bad thing, after all what we don’t want is headaches from poor materials. With these sorts of Japanese incenses, despite the fact we don’t usually ever know for sure what’s natural and what’s not unless a company comes out and claims so, you don’t have to worry about poor materials and wherever LISN stands in this range, the scents are clean, although a bit too much on the perfumey side for my tastes, just about through the whole range (I’m not including the subrange of LISN Visible here).
My favorites of the 15 varieties were probably Morning Breeze (a nice musky one), Hit My Soul and Crystal Winter (perfectly captured). While the sticks seem to be roughly in the same sort of mold as Horin, 12 Months etc, they’re a little skinnier and actually have the name of the incense printed on the stick, something you rarely see. On the flip side, the perfumy floral nature of blends like Showering Spring, Saving Your Heart and Sound on a Wave all turned me off quite a bit, while at the same time thinking they’re the sort of scents that a totally different set of tastes might appreciate nonetheless.
I’ve got one stick of each left from the sampler, but unfortunately they probably won’t inspire me to go on and buy boxes of individual scents, so it’s unlikely I’ll be getting back to a full analysis on these any time soon. I finished with Mystic Nolstagia, the one I was most looking forward to because of its spicy evergreen and camphor description, but it ended up being disappointing due to the weird floral notes involved.