Ever tried to figure out the Shoyeido catalog when it comes to their Floral World line? There are a few things one ascertains immediately, that the series has various grades, ranging from the low end “Gold,” through “Echo” and “Royal” to the high end “Star.” Each 60 stick (or 36 cone) package comes with three aromas, while there’s also single aroma cone packages (Gold/Violet, Echo/Sandalwood, Royal/Rose, Star/Jasmine)that we can only assume represent one aroma from the combo packages. We can also assume due to the fact that certain aromas have different color sticks depending on how deluxe the box is that what is Violet in the Gold set differs in quality from the Violet in the Star set.
As someone more drawn to woody and spicy incenses, I was initially hesitant to try out the line, which is why I started with the deluxe Star rather than working my way up the line. And it’s a good thing I did because these are three of the finest floral incenses I’ve ever encountered, light years away from most Japanese floral incense, let alone the many bitter and offputting Indian rose and jasmine masalas. They’d likely make a convert out of anyone.
All the 60 stick/36 cone combos are packaged like the Incense Road sampler and resemble the Horin line in size and very slightly in base. I’m definitely an enthusiast of this style of incense which often strikes me as midway between traditional and the modern “pressed” varieties of incense. That is, the aromas are very rich and often seem concentrated.
The two “obviously” floral incenses in the box are both the finest I’ve ever experienced in either the jasmine or violet categories. The Star jasmine combines that Horin richness with very high quality jasmine oil for a rich and slightly spicy experience that leaves most jasmine sticks far behind. The violet is beyond belief, the oil creating the aroma is so finely detailed that one can imagine being buried in a mountain of violet flowers, almost like one is smelling a pure essential oil except with that same rich base. While the other two incenses in the box took me a couple to get used to them, the violet knocked me out right the start.
The final incense, the sandalwood, as you might guess isn’t really anything like most sandalwoods. It’s a slightly different shade of green from the sandalwood found in the Incense Road line, and far different in aroma being something like a floral bouquet with only the barest hint of wood.
I’m now willing to check out the Royal box next time, especially since it includes the most deluxe rose incense in the line. Having not met a rose incense I’ve liked, I’m now hoping to become a convert there too.