Incense News/Shoyeido Price Increases

Japan Incense, at the bottom of their home page, has the full list of affected incenses, all of which are high end (Shun-Yo or higher) aloeswood incenses or aloeswood and sandalwood chips. As you might have read in the comment threads earlier, these prices are required of all US sellers across the line, so this is probably your last chance to get any of the incenses at current prices through the end of the month. Shoyeido’s home page also has not reflected these changes yet, but it is assumed that prices will be normalized

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22 Comments

  1. Mike said,

    April 22, 2008 at 7:13 am

    I think with some of those higher end incenses it depends how much you’re around the aroma. I’m at the end of one of those 8 stick packages of Sho-ka-ku, but have more Myo-Ho. Both of them seem to improve with more use, but having used Myo-Ho more I like it more. Also I think you get part of the Sho-ka-ku experience in the Myo-Ho anyway and given it’s significantly less expensive it’s no wonder it’s the better seller.

    Good luck on your trip to Japan, I can imagine wanting to do that at some point myself, coming home with two full luggage cases of incense. 🙂

  2. Ross said,

    April 21, 2008 at 10:31 pm

    Yes there really does seem to be something that happens “within” when there is Kyara involved. So far Myo-ho is still my favorite, even over Tran lucent Path. I know now that the spices that are added have a huge effect in the perception and that it can really come down to individual tastes and body/brain chemistry, but still, Myo-ho has that certain combination of playfulness, smell and presence that really justs hits home. Of course it could also be that my nose is just not yet able to discern the real wonders of SHO-KAKU or Biaeido’s KOH SHI BOKU.
    Some people are saving up for a house or great car. Me, I’m saving up for a trip to Japan and a major buying spree. There are pages on some of the Google translations of Japanese sites that mention sticks with both green and purple Kyara in them. The mind just sort of stops and refuses to go further, right up until you see the box/roll of incense from Nippon Kodo at $18,000.00. I have to assume that this is an instant gateway to the Celestial Heavens 😮 )

  3. ibn said,

    April 21, 2008 at 7:48 pm

    “One wonders where ethnopharmacological research might be with higher quality aloeswood”

    Wonder on 🙂

  4. Mike said,

    April 21, 2008 at 7:20 pm

    I take it that you mean fugitiveness sort of like fleeting, maybe? I would think the merit of that might be a certain quality maybe out of reach of description?

    It’s definitely a fascinating element of the whole experience, that in a certain direction you kind of reach that realm of ineffability. Lower quality incense you almost think of just as the aroma itself, but these premium aloeswoods seem to have so many aromatic constituents that it feels like one’s being is working overtime processing the experience by firing up old memories. One can only imagine how something like this increases with the pieces of wood so high quality they never make it to the market.

    I used to have similar experiences with the old Mermade blends, but I know some of them had unusual and possibly psychoactive ingredients like datura and the like that may have been taken out in later blends. One wonders where ethnopharmalogical research might be with higher quality aloeswood. Probably broke. 😀

  5. ibn said,

    April 21, 2008 at 5:18 pm

    “The aroma is following me around like deja-vu this morning even though I’m nowhere near my incense.”

    The measure of a scent’s fugitiveness or its opposite, persistence of aroma is one measure i use when assessing aloeswood based incenses. I burn a bit of wood over charcoal now and then. When entering a room the next day in which good wood has been burned, a most luxurious and deeply stilling fragrance lingers, often more beautiful and rich than the original scent of the night before. Only the very very best aloeswood incenses seem to do this.

    On the other hand, fugitiveness is a feauture of some types of aloeswood, and considered by some to be of merit.

  6. Mike said,

    April 21, 2008 at 7:01 am

    “Definitely tickles something in the higher mind.”

    Indeed, that’s a really great way of putting it. I am truly impressed with Myo-ho. I practically lived with two sticks over the weekend (and as an aside it reminded me that those Shoyeido boxes are actually 37 sticks, usually), burning them in inches at various times and just marvelling at the ocean trench-like depth of the aroma, complex oil marrying complex wood and continually playing off of each other in what seems like infinitely variant ways. The aroma is following me around like deja-vu this morning even though I’m nowhere near my incense…

    I hear ya on Enkuu too.

  7. ibn said,

    April 19, 2008 at 8:33 pm

    Let us not depart without a nod to Tennendo Enkuu-Horizon too !
    I am burning one now. Something about it takes the breath away !
    Sublime.

  8. ibn said,

    April 19, 2008 at 8:25 pm

    Interesting comment Mike. My interests were aroused at the Refinement level. Generally agree with your overall assessment though. Definitely tickles something in the higher mind. In the Baieido line, i found it started happening at Kun Sho. At the Sho Kaku, Infinity, Myo-hyu level we are splitting subtle nuances. Its a grace being able to experience the creations of those who are heir to many centuries of experience and knowledge of these things. I fear that in not too many years this special knowledge will be lost.

  9. Mike said,

    April 18, 2008 at 6:41 pm

    “When I first tried the Shoyeido Premium sampler, I was just as impressed by the #2 and #3 kyaras, which is probably because I’d need time to detail the differences. But the corresponding drops probably make those worth going to. Myo-ho’s apparently one of their best sellers and I can imagine that $160 difference probably had a lot to do with it.”

    To follow up on this – I’d say that Myo-ho reminds me of a cross between Sho-kaku and Jinko Yomei. The top oil is so strong, by far one of the most intense, decadent, mirage-like perfumes I’ve encountered in incense. The kyara’s not as strong as it is in Sho-kaku, but it hums beautifully as a base behind this oil. Sho-kaku’s strength is definitely the wood scent, which is definitely electric at that quality, but Myo-ho is just as impressive at the perfume level. I’d say Kyukyodo Sho-Ran-Ko, Tennendo Kuukai and Yomei are the only incenses in its league with this sort of dreamtime-like depth to the oil. Some incenses smell good, others, like these, seem to almost have an effect on one’s consciousness. I wonder if I should start rating these by number of strata…

  10. ibn said,

    April 17, 2008 at 11:09 am

    mahalo Mike !

  11. Mike said,

    April 17, 2008 at 9:51 am

    Sorry, ibn, for some reason the Akismet spam filter caught two of your comment posts. They are recovered.

  12. Steve said,

    April 17, 2008 at 5:21 am

    I’m still having difficulty making heads-or-tails of the translated site. Is Akira Akira the same thing as Sho-kaku? If so, then the bundle is under $300 US, right?!

    A bit off topic, but a fun, short read I stumbled upon regarding Shoyeido’s U.S. operation (it’s a bit dated):

    http://nikkeiview.com/nv/clips/shoyeido062203.htm

    BTW, if you buy the large Sho-kaku 90-stick bundle for $1,399, you bring your cost down from $2.04 to $1.59/inch! Now that’s what ya call economical 🙂

    Steve

  13. ibn said,

    April 16, 2008 at 6:19 pm

    Corrections to 2 of the links above:

    Shoyeido’s premium line, detailed info:

    http://209.85.135.104/translate_c?hl=en&langpair=ja%7Cen&u=http://www2.shoyeido.co.jp/koukyuu/index.html

    Baieido’s tokusen Syukohkoku:

    http://209.85.135.104/translate_c?hl=en&langpair=ja%7Cen&u=http://item.rakuten.co.jp/kohgen/594305/

    apologies for the mixup

  14. ibn said,

    April 16, 2008 at 6:11 pm

    Correction to the link i posted above in #4 for Shoyeido’s premium line information.
    This works better:

    http://209.85.135.104/translate_c?hl=en&langpair=ja%7Cen&u=http://www2.shoyeido.co.jp/koukyuu/index.html

  15. ibn said,

    April 16, 2008 at 5:59 pm

    And a last one, just for grins, this looks like Baieido Tokusen Syukohkoku in a 150 gram box for 10,500 yen. The 50 gram US box is around USD80 …

    http://www.google.com/translate?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.rakuten.ne.jp%2Fgold%2Fkohgen%2F&langpair=ja%7Cen&hl=en&ie=UTF8

    Price increases indeed …

  16. Mike said,

    April 16, 2008 at 5:46 pm

    It’s fascinating reading even the translations of these pages. The first thing that came to mind is that either the incense creator or the place where it’s made seems to be very important data on these pages, data that does not make it to the US.

    Thanks for posting!

  17. ibn said,

    April 16, 2008 at 5:37 pm

    Here is a link to what appears to be a bundle of 35 sticks of Sho-Kaku for 31,500 yen

    http://www.google.com/translate?u=http%3A%2F%2Fitem.rakuten.co.jp%2Fkohgen%2F594839%2F&langpair=ja%7Cen&hl=en&ie=UTF8

  18. ibn said,

    April 16, 2008 at 5:33 pm

    For reference, i think the yen is about 100 to the dollar, more or less.

  19. ibn said,

    April 16, 2008 at 5:32 pm

    I’ve been looking around at Shoyeido’s Japanese store with the help of the google translation engine. Here is a link to information on their premium line in Japan:

    http://www.google.com/translate?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.shoyeido.co.jp%2Fmenu.html&langpair=ja%7Cen&hl=en&ie=UTF8

    Scroll down and click on the boxes of interest for detailed information.

    Here is another interesting Japanese internet incense vendor. This page, translated by google, appears to show Baieido’s Koh Shi Boku.

    http://www.google.com/translate?u=http%3A%2F%2Fitem.rakuten.co.jp%2Fkohgen%2F594846%2F&langpair=ja%7Cen&hl=en&ie=UTF8

  20. Mike said,

    April 16, 2008 at 5:00 pm

    Shokaku is definitely a truly fabulous incense and really the question whether it’s worth it or not is definitely more of a budget question (if I made more money, I’d definitely burn it more frequently). A while back I bought one of the 8 stick samplers (the sticks are shorter than normal on these iirc) and I burn them when I have company or for special occasions and even then rarely a full stick before I put it out. I’m now down to less than 3. If I could afford it more often it would probably be in my monthly top 10 permanently.

    When I first tried the Shoyeido Premium sampler, I was just as impressed by the #2 and #3 kyaras, which is probably because I’d need time to detail the differences. But the corresponding drops probably make those worth going to. Myo-ho’s apparently one of their best sellers and I can imagine that $160 difference probably had a lot to do with it.

  21. Steve said,

    April 16, 2008 at 4:37 pm

    Looking closer at the Shoyeido price increase notice on the Japan Incense site, it’s interesting how non-linear the increases are across products. Sho-kaku is “only” a 20% increase. The wood chips listed are often more than doubling in price. So has anyone jumped on a premium Shoyeido purchase to beat the impending increase?

    I really struggled today with the Sho-kaku purchase decision, but 35 sticks for $499 ($2.04/inch) just seems too extravagant considering the pleasure I get from the Heian Kohs ($.18/inch), Kai un Kohs ($.05/inch) and Sho Ran Kohs ($.11/inch) of the world.

    Please no one tell me the Sho-kaku is truly worth it 🙂

    Steve

  22. Mike said,

    April 15, 2008 at 9:05 pm

    It’s odd not to see the Horin Gen-roku, Muro-machi and Ten-Pyo on this list.


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