Ranjatai (Shunkohdo) vs. Ranjatai (Kunmeido Onkun Koh long stick)

If you click here and scroll down to the bottom of the page, you’ll see what is a slightly iconic picture of what may be the most famous chunk of wood on the planet. One can only imagine that being within 20 feet of the scent from this wood would create spontaneous orgasms, heal millions, tear down the Veil of Maya and make kyara smell like swamp gas. Ranjatai, I covet thee.

So it’s not a surprise that this name would find its way to incense and in the US market it’s something you now see on two incenses, one the (apparently) company-less Jinko Ranjatai (scroll down third from bottom) and the other Shunkodo’s top line Ranjatai. And since this contest is stacked from the beginning, it’s easy to say it’s the latter that’s the most impressive. Unless you’re talking about cost, in which case it’s the opposite.

The label I have on the back of the box shows Jinko Ranjatai hailing from the Incense Sampler and since that’s not where I purchased it I’d assume that’s the incense’s US gateway. I’ve seen some “generic” Japanese incenses that have the same exactly boxes as some scents that aren’t exported to the US, so my guess is this is marketed differently depending on the incense’s destination. Jinko Ranjatai is a long stick and unlike you’d expect the aloeswood is really just part of a blend of a number of ingredients, sandalwood and spices, all making up what is a really nice and pleasant, woody, spicy blend with very little in the way of a front note. No, it won’t resurrect the dead or end world hunger like that piece of wood might, but it’s an excellent, affordable (approx $15 a roll) incense that I ought to burn more often.

Shunkodo Ranjatai on the other end is their deluxe exported line and will cost you a pretty penny (it might be worth taking a look at Japan Incense who are selling the long stick version a little cheaper). This incense tends to the aristocratic, bitter, heavily woody side of aloeswood, which initially made me compare it with Minorien’s Aloeswood incense, but Ranjatai is much more complex and is about as deep as the company claims. I’m still, after months of burning this, catching wafts I hadn’t before, some deeply musky, the occasional spice and that sort of wide range really good aloeswood has. Shunkodo Ranjatai may not cure cancer or solve the drug problems in urban areas, but it’ll definitely make you a little happier if this style of incense appeals to you.

The score, like the price: Shunkodo Ranjatai 100 – Jinko Ranjatai 15

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9 Comments

  1. April 15, 2009 at 12:01 pm

    […] that only with experience does one learn how great they are. We’ve covered their high ends, their not so high ends, and some mid to high ends in the past. Like with Baieido, if I was to review some of […]

  2. October 23, 2008 at 8:57 am

    […] aromatic quality that follows the line all the way up to Asuka (perhaps the only one missing it is Onkun Koh aka Jinko Ranjatai). It’s a sweet, spicy and tangy aroma that is not only pleasant at first but starts to become […]

  3. Mike said,

    April 14, 2008 at 10:09 am

    LOL excellent. 🙂 And when it comes to the “growth” factor there may be no better incense. In fact if I’d have done this review yesterday I’d have been far more hyperbolic about it.

  4. Steve said,

    April 14, 2008 at 9:59 am

    After a morning of sampling a few uninspired new sticks from various manufacturers, I am now burning my first Shunkodo Ranjatai. It really is as good as you say, Mike – maybe not a cure for cancer, but I believe it has reduced my cholesterol and cleared up a couple of facial blemishes 🙂 At the very least, it has reminded me of how good, and addictive, a well-crafted incense can be.

    Steve

  5. March 20, 2008 at 9:07 am

    […] reviewed both Zuika and Ranjatai in the past, which are two of three highest end Shunkodo incenses currently exported from Japan. […]

  6. Mike said,

    February 20, 2008 at 6:49 am

    Hi Ross, very glad you like the Ranjatai, it’s an incense whose depth really makes it notable, every once in a while I still notice something new about it. And yes, the packaging at JI is truly special!

    Seok-Hyang is a really nice incense. Sometimes I think of Korean incense as something of a combo of Tibetan, Southwest and Japanese styles and in particular Seok-Hyang has that spicy, almost peppery blend that reminds me of some Tibetan incenses.

    I think my favorite of the Koreans is probably the Bo Rim (the Ja-Keum is close!), at times I find it very addicting due its somewhat tangy base. It’s something common to most Korean incenses, especially the premium ones. I love those little wooden tubes as well, great for travelling with.

    Definitely soaking wet here! 🙂

    mike

  7. Ross Urrere said,

    February 19, 2008 at 10:43 pm

    Hello Mike
    The Shunkodo Ranjatai came today from Japan Incense.
    Besides haveing a really beautiful book of its own, JI had taken the time to wrap it in a very eleigent paper tie these green and pink cords around it. When i opened the shipping box and saw this I momentarly forgot i had bought it and thought they had sent me a present!
    have burned 1 whole stick and can tell its going to be love. It’s really good and first bit and just stays that way. It’s going to be a great week of scent. Thanks for the tip.
    By the way, have you tried the Korean SEOK-HYANG STICKS from EOA? Not your average sandlewood here. It seems to be the red sandlewood and has a very strong note, very spicy and totally different from anything else in sandles i have tried yet. Plus the ash wood tube it comes in is almost worth the price(21.00) on its own.
    Bo Rim and JA-KEUM tomarrow.
    thanks again and stay dry( its raining in Berkeley which I assume will get to you)

    Ross

  8. Mike said,

    February 17, 2008 at 4:12 am

    Hi Ross, thanks for the comments and look forward to hearing what you think of the Ranjatai. Nice to know it’s doing well for JI, couldn’t happen to nicer folks. – mike

  9. Anonymous said,

    February 17, 2008 at 1:38 am

    Hello Mike
    Just ordered the Shunkodo’s Ranjatai from Japan Incense. The guy I talked to said that they had had a huge, unexpected run on the less expensive size because of your blog. This, of course, has made them happy. They also gave me a break on the price of the regular size box. Nice people.
    Love your collume and I will let you know the results of this coming weeks Ranjatai burning.

    Ross Urrere
    Berkeley CA


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