Best Incense – May 2008

[For previous Top 10 lists, please click on the Incense Review Index tab above or the Top Ten Lists category on the left.]

  1. Minorien / Fu-in Kyara Ryugen – Jin-koh means incense that sinks in water. That would make the kyara used here seem like an anchor dropped off a ship. There’s a density of scent here with a subconscious level of depth to it. This is an incense that demands one’s attention constantly during the burn. I’m thinking of the way snowflakes are all different, Ryugen constantly spins off different combinations and levels of the aroma, as if it was looking for the right buttons to press on your memory. Like some exotic night blooming flower only found in the most remote areas of the jungle, this is dark, beautiful and mysterious all at once.
  2. Shoyeido / Premium / Ga-Ho – This utterly fantastic scent that is the highest non-kyara incense in the Shoyeido Premium line takes quite a bit longer to adjust to than Sho-kaku, Ga-Ho and Go-un, but the more I burn it the more it’s hard not to see it in the same class. For one thing it’s the head of the Premium Greens, as I call them and in many ways there are similarities among the four, from Ga-Ho down to Matsu-no-tomo. But as good as the rest are, none of them have this hoary and powerful level of resin to it, matched with a latent floral oil and a more refined masala spice than even Misho. It’s like seeing an origami of a tree only to realize with a few folds, the origami turns into the whole forest.
  3. Shoyeido / Premium / Sho-kaku – It’s a tribute to this masterwork of incense that an inch or two of burning can chart it on my top 10. Few incenses are this startling and powerful, but few incenses are this expensive for the price. Is it worth it? Excruciatingly so. It’s the incense that tied anise and licorice aromas to kyara and led me to believe an incense could come really close to inducing ecstacy. The difference between the #1 and #3 this week is about $13 a stick (maybe $10 adjusting for length). But I bet it’s completely absent from this list next month. But if I was made of money…
  4. Shoyeido / Premium / Myo-Ho – I suspect the high charting on Shoyeido premiums this month has a lot to do with increased use, as I had an incense appreciative friend in town over the weekend and pulled out the big guns. This is like incense electricity to me. I think of it as taking the woody qualities of Sho-kaku, muting them to more of a background and creating a new and decadent oil on the top.
  5. Les Encens du Monde / Guiding Light (bottom of page) – Agarwood, 7 essential oils and 8 powdered woods go in to making this extraordinary temple/meditation incense, manufactured, I think, by Kunjudo. Like many scents this deluxe, the aromas seem fairly concentrated with as much oil as wood, but between all the aromatics there’s a beautiful spice to it. It does have a somewhat insular quality about it that implies a great deal of depth I’m not used to yet. And the best thing I can say at this point is that you can now buy this in the USA. More to report on this later this week…
  6. 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.
  7. Kunjudo / Karin (may also be Encens du Monde / Karin / Forest of Flowers) – One of the truly great inexpensive incenses, I’m still fairly surprised I discovered this so late in the game. It’s got everything: wood, amber hints, spice and floral, for a sweet and fairly complex aroma that is as quality as many incenses 2 or 3 times the price. Another similar incense, although maybe with more amber and wood hints would be Gyokushodo’s Kojurin. Karin may go down as one of my favorite inexpensive incenses, although some ingredients lists do have agarwood on it, which might explain something.
  8. Shoyeido / Premium Daily / Sei-Fu – When I first tried these as part of the Premium Sampler, perhaps my nose was so blunted by all the high enders that I barely noticed this one, which would have seriously been to my detriment. To be honest, while the Premium Daily incenses look like the bridge from the Daily to Premium lines, I’d say they overlap. Sei-Fu I’d probably put above Matsu-no-Tomo and Ohyja-Koh, just barely. While I do wonder if it’s traditional (I’ll elaborate more when I review these), it’s got a distinct aloeswood and spice note that I found addictive right out of the box. Could become a major favorite and its sister incense, En-Mei might have charted #11 or #12 on this list.
  9. Les Encens du Monde / Kunjudo / Karin / Golden Waves (Vagues Dorees) – I went over and took a look for this over at the EdM home site and couldn’t find it, making me think this and the Royal Nave aromas have either been deleted from the line or moved (there’s also a much more expensive Temple version of this incense). It’s a shame because in many ways this may be the most deluxe aroma in the EdM line other than the Prince of Awajii Kyara. It’s got an almost hazelnut quality overlying the agarwood and spices that gives it a sweet and richly decadent aroma to it. To be honest, having this in one of those small Karin boxes is kind of weird, you’d really expect something this good to be in Pawlonia.
  10. Baieido / Kobunboku – I’ve gotten in quite a bit of Baieido incense of late. I find many of their incenses to have the steepest learning curves in the business, which while making them a bit vague at first, means they’re likely to be favorites for a long time coming. I was really surprised, revisiting this one, that I actually preferred it to the Tokusen and Kaden versions. There’s something exceedingly fresh about this sandalwood and spice Plum Blossom incense that makes it, possibly, the best of its style and I was going back to this fairly often over the last week or so.

I could have almost done a Top 20 this time around, something probably obvious from the lack of certain perennials in the list.



  1. June 6, 2008 at 9:58 am

    …”G”ee!! … is there a problem with my spelling?? : )

    Thanks for the heads up. My spelling error is history.


  2. Steve said,

    June 6, 2008 at 9:22 am

    Quick question – is it Minorien Fu-in Kyara Ryugen or Ryuen? Just double checking before I place an order…


  3. Steve said,

    June 4, 2008 at 8:24 pm

    Here’s mine, Kohdude. They are in no particular order…

    1. Kunmeido Heian Koh
    2. Kyukyodo Sho Ran Ko
    3. Baieido Kai Un Koh
    4. Shunkodo Ka-Cho-Fu-Getsu
    5. Kyukyodo Shiun
    6. Kunmeido Reiryo Koh
    7. Kyukyodo Ikaruga
    8. Baieido Tokusen Syukohkoku
    9. Tennendo Enkuu-Horizon
    10. Kyukyodo Ryuhinko

    1. Tibetan Monastery Incense
    2. Yog-Sadhana
    3. Ganesh Dhoop (Essence of the Ages)
    4. Snow Lion Tibetan
    5. Himalayan Herbal Incense
    6. Relaxense

  4. Kohdude said,

    June 4, 2008 at 1:13 pm

    Here is my top ten for May in no perticular order.I would like to see others do a top ten as well , just to get a feel for the tastes of what is being admired. Thank You…………………Kohdude

    1.Baieido-Koh En
    2.Baieido-Tokusen Syukohkoku
    3.Baieido-Jinkoya Sakubei Horyu Koh
    4.Kyukyodo-Sho Ran Ko
    7.Ecclecstacy Arts-Vietnamese new super premium aloeswood-PVXX

  5. Mike said,

    June 4, 2008 at 4:52 am

    Feel free to cut and paste if you’d like Kohdude.

  6. Kohdude said,

    June 4, 2008 at 4:46 am

    Can you put my info on Kunjudo from your Prattle site on this one.If not it is under comments 25 at the Prattle site, if any one is interested. I like this new site. It is easier to navigate.Thanks Mike……………Kohdude

  7. Mike said,

    May 30, 2008 at 4:43 pm

    Kohdude, I hope you don’t mind me reminding you that we still don’t know where all these other Kunjudo incenses are sold in the US. I hope you’ll tell us.

    I have friends and family that live in LA and none of them resemble this mysterious group of people you’re talking about that only care about trends, and one of them works in a major LA music studio. Perhaps I’m fortunate in not knowing the lemmings who actually engage in activities just to impress other people, but I’m more inclined to see them as strawmen for your theories.

    And I hope you remember your comment about integrity next time you start waving accusations of bias around. Thanks. 🙂 – Mike

  8. Kohdude said,

    May 30, 2008 at 4:30 pm

    What I have been talking about is people burning Japanese incense if it is the in thing to have, regardless of it’s true appeal.Steve hit on it with Vodka and Scotch.So many people don’t even like it but they will drink it because of shi-shi hype.You ever been to L.A.,this town is a joke that way. These have been my concerns that a good thing gets exploited and becomes cheesy.I think you know what I’m talking about.Remember cigars? and most of the people weren’t even liking them but it was shi-shi pop so they did it.Japanese incense could very well become the same kind of thing.What I say is do what truly is appealing to you and not what is a shi-shi pop culture thing.I feel everyone on here has true integrity,but many people do what has been deemed upscale posh because of some hype that has been manufactured.Stay grounded in truth and integrity my fellow incense brethren!!!! Peace & Love …………Kohdude

  9. Mike said,

    May 30, 2008 at 9:09 am

    Hey Steve, I’m enjoying your rambles and comments, they’re always appreciated! I think you’re quite right about the similarities of both Buddhism and incense in terms of its assistance in self-reflection. Of course there’s the big connection with meditation here, at which so much incense is marketed for, which is probably the one in/activity that crosses all reflective or mystical paradigms.

  10. Steve said,

    May 30, 2008 at 8:49 am

    Good points, Mike. I especially like the scenario of expensive wine versus expensive incense at a business function and the associated, likely perceptions. A very interesting scene to contemplate and I think I agree with your conclusions about it. I wholeheartedly agree with (and like) your associating incense appreciation with the mindset one would likely have who is interested in Buddhism. While I cannot call myself a true Buddhist (probably drink too much, not great at the whole right mind, right speech…) I definitely am a layperson and enjoy study of its offerings. But again, I would almost classify this, like incense, as an appreciation in nuances and fine control that can lead to personal insights, enjoyment and peace. If food and beverage appreciation hits and refines taste, incense hits and refines smell, exercise hits and refines the body, then Buddhism could certainly be seen as the attentiveness taken to refine the (noisy) mind.

    I seem to be awfully rambly these days – perhaps I need an expensive kyara to center my attentiveness and refine the concentration 🙂


  11. Mike said,

    May 30, 2008 at 7:46 am

    Personally I think incense is a LONG way from any sort of mass or even chic popularity. 3 out of 4 people I talk to wrinkle their nose thinking of bad patchouli oil or hippies covering up their dope. I have friends whose reaction to the most fabulous kyara is no different to what it would be if I’d lit a Gonesh Strawberry stick. And while there are people who might take to incense immediately, for the Westerner I’d say it’s usually an acquired taste that often entails the sort of aesthetic that abuts the 60s psychedelic movement, the New Age, or Buddhism, areas that could be described as fringe, subversive, or esoteric. And definitely not mainstream. At a business meeting noone will think twice when the buyer asks for a $500 bottle of wine, but my guess is if he pulled a stick of Myo-Ho out, while it might impress a few at the table I think it’s just as likely to make the rest uncomfortable.

  12. Steve said,

    May 30, 2008 at 6:18 am

    Um – meant “Sure hope incense DOESN’T follow pursuit of the martini!” 🙂


  13. Steve said,

    May 30, 2008 at 6:15 am

    Can’t say what may become of Japanese incense appreciation here in the states, though I guess I can imagine any kind of crafted consumable luxury item as a target for fakery and idolatry. Certainly, if Brad and Angelina were filmed in a scene burning the stuff, or quoted in some rag magazine praising koh, I could see where Kohdude’s fears might be possible. I think martinis are a very good example of this, starting with their humble origins but plunged into stardom largely due to Bond, James Bond. But at least his were still clear – gin/vodka, vermouth and an olive. The drink has been so bastardized today – multi-colored fruity concoctions, light-emitting swizzle sticks and ice cubes – simply because many “wanna be-s” liked the perceived sophistication of the drink, but didn’t actually have the tastes to enjoy the true drink, which frankly is basically a super chilled shot of alcohol. Nowadays, if it’s in the martini glass, it’s called a martini. Call me a snob about it, but if it ain’t clear, it ain’t a martini and it does strike me as phony seeing the martini-posers out there. Now, I perceive drinking scotch, too, as sophisticated – but just can’t acquire a taste for the stuff. I sure wouldn’t mix it with grenadine and diet coke, put it in a scotch glass, and call myself a scotch drinker.

    Sure hope incense does follow pursuit of the martini!


  14. Mike said,

    May 30, 2008 at 5:51 am

    Beth – Sounds like a great cat 🙂

    Kohdude – I’m still wondering what other US dealers sell the same EdM incenses as you alluded to earlier. I hope you’ll back up your claim. Personally I think you’re connecting too many dots in your theories.

  15. Kohdude said,

    May 29, 2008 at 11:36 pm

    No disrespect to Essences of the Ages and her business.It is EdM that I question.Rapackages and different labeling is to me kind of shady and presenting something slightly dishonest. I see what they are trying to do,and it is trying to create some kind of mystique to western market on French product.I have seen these tactics before with other luxury items.I hope things don’t go and end up where I see them going in the future.Yes I get opinionated but paranoid ,no. I can tell stories from the past where a good thing went astray in luxury items.What I am doing is alerting, not creating fear based propaganda.Time will tell how correct that I have been in my statements and I speak from experience, being that I grew up with the so called luxury items and have seen much exploits since the 1980’s.All I am trying to do is look out for the unsuspecting consumers.So many people are being taken for rides on products.I reside in L.A.,this is the home of it.In L.A. it is monkey see monkey do on what ever flavor of the month trend is being marketed to the blinded sheep in L.A. You have to witness it to believe it.It is truly surreal.Enough on Hell A.,or New Gammora as I also call it.I think it maybe I am really not wanting Japanese incense to become a part of the phony culture. That is where I see it headed in the not so far off future. Please God save me from this. I remember alot of things before they were trendy and or phony.Please not Japanese incense. …….Kohdude

  16. May 29, 2008 at 5:22 pm

    …seriously, you have no idea! 🙂 It has gone beyond scary! And I love every box!

    I got in some new incense samples from India today … the cat smells fabulous tonight. Her fur just absorbs the incense smoke. She wears rajchampa like most women wear Chanel #5! 🙂


  17. Steve said,

    May 29, 2008 at 2:53 pm

    We want pictures, Beth!!! You gotta show us your massive inventory – I can only imagine how amazing it must be with thousands(?) of boxes of olfactory gold stacked about. And fragrant cat, too 🙂


  18. Mike said,

    May 29, 2008 at 1:36 pm

    Thanks for weighing in Beth. You do have to tell me about this fragrant cat some time. 😀

  19. May 29, 2008 at 12:37 pm

    Hi guys! I really feel no need to defend myself but I’m going to put in my two cents anyway. :). Concerning EdM, I did do my research. For over a year I tried to find the various incenses that they offer by some other source. If you even check out my site in the EdM area I say that some of their incenses are made by Shoyeido, Baieido, Kunjodo, and as I have found out, Kokando. However, some of the Shoyeido incenses are not available in the US (MT. Fuji is one). Others I have discerned once they arrived at my door (Golden Pavilion, Autumn Leaves). If you check in earlier posts I was the one who identified one of EdM’s incenses as that of Baieido. I have not brought that product in through Edm. There are also other incenses offered by EdM that are by lesser known Japanese incense companies that make the incense for EdM exclusively.

    I LOVE incense and want to bring that world to my customers. I search to find the finest incenses … sometimes I succeed.

    May I also say that Mike and I are not in ‘cahoots’ with each other. I run Essence of the Ages completely by myself. Mike is an INCREDIBLE resource for me also as I do not have the time I would like to sit and savor the depths of the incenses the way that he does. I send customers to his blog all the time so they can get a better perspective on what they might like.

    I too would be interested in the new incense from Japan that you say is poised to enter the US very shortly. I would also be interested in the other places that you have found Japanese incense. … did I mention I LOVE incense?

    Thanks for letting me ramble. And thanks Steve and Mike for the votes of confidence. It’s much appreciated.

    Blessings and best regards,

    Beth Johns
    Essence of the Ages

  20. Mike said,

    May 29, 2008 at 10:51 am

    Those are good points Steve. In the music field, I feel strongly that one of the best ways to “get” an album is to listen to it with friends who really like it. Because enthusiasm is contagious. But I think I mentioned the same thing with my Sei-Fu experience, compared to many of the other Premiums in the package they’re hard to even register. On its own it’s a lot more noticeable.

  21. Steve said,

    May 29, 2008 at 10:26 am

    OK – all this talk about Sei-fu forced me to burn another inch from my Shoyeido sampler. I originally rated this about a 6 out of 10 a few months ago. Of course, this was on a day of heavy sampling – at least a dozen new incenses in quick succession – and I’m sure I was experiencing fragrance fatigue. Today, Sei-fu was much better than I recalled and immediately was added to my next purchase list. I know this concept has been mentioned here before – the power of suggestion! Now I’m wondering how much positive comments set me up to want to like a fragrance. Can I trust my own sense of smell? It’s also a common topic here that mood can make a vast difference in perception, too. I can relate to Kohdude’s comment above about stress induced by too many fine choices! It seems like I can get caught up in acquiring all the great incenses and begin to feel more like an aroma analyst/accountant than simply one who enjoys the burn. For the record, being out of town for 3 weeks with just 3 trusty incenses was a relaxing experience – I really got to recognize each and admire their differences – and no overwhelming need to constantly contrast, compare, log thoughts in journal, etc..

    Hmmmm – was their a coherent thought in there somewhere? 🙂 Well, to summarize: 1) Sei-fu good – must buy 2) aroma O.C.D. bad – must quit.


  22. Mike said,

    May 29, 2008 at 8:54 am

    Thanks very much Steve. Another point worth making is that as a resource, I don’t intend to be persuasive to the point where I think people should only see it my way. If my picks seem like they don’t match up with your own, then I think it’s better to take that as a difference in aesthetics or subjective taste. It may mean the site isn’t useful to someone, and I can live with that. Nevertheless it should be the reviews that do this, not the Top 10 lists which I’ve always said are not a personal, overall top 10, they’re just a way of bringing up other incenses I haven’t reviewed yet and stimulating discussion. To read more out of them (especially assuming bias rather than absence) is a questionable practice.

    The other thing to keep in mind is that it’s possible that the very existence of many of these Encense du Monde incenses makes it difficult or problematic for Kunjudo to provide these incenses directly to, say, Scents of Japan. Encens du Monde do offer the series of Kunjudos that include Tea Garden, Fruits Garden, etc. but you’ll notice that higher priced versions of these via EdM were not added to Beth’s catalog. Other then Karin, the only two obvious overlaps I noticed were two Shoyeido Daily incenses in the long rolls. But even with all these supposed price increases and the like (I just don’t buy this idea that everyone in the incense industry is greedy, it’s contrary to everything I’ve seen when it comes to small niche interests like this and the small businesses involved with them), I think the prices are still quite good for the quality of work you’re getting. If we were getting them without EdM in the loop, I’d probably be saying you’re getting really good bang for the buck.

    As to samples, nearly everyone throws in samples, so it’s basically an even playing field here. It’s true that I’ve been given samples to review by various companies, but I think they know I’m still going to try and evaluate the incense fairly, the only difference is the company that sends me the sample will be linked to in the review.

    One more comment about Ecclecstacy. It was one of the first incense companies I did business with. If I had had a better experience, it’s likely I wouldn’t have moved on to other businesses, at least not immediately. I still think it’s my responsibility to check out other companies to see if they’re reputable, but the lion’s share of my business is going to go to who I trust. Better relationships are likely to evolve from these situations and it would be just as dishonest for me to play these down when they exist. As this is really the only blog of its kind so far, a symbiosis will develop between it and reputable businesses.

  23. Steve said,

    May 29, 2008 at 7:31 am

    Hey Kohdude! I generally find your comments eloquent and insightful and I’ve picked up a thing or two from ya over the months. This most recent markup/repackaging thing with Les Encens du Monde has even gotten me to strike Guiding Light from my “next purchase” list. Something there just isn’t sitting right with me, even if its original-manufacturer-version isn’t readily available here in the U.S. That being said, I do think it’s a bit harsh to imply our dear blog owner is being bamboozled, seduced, cajoled or otherwise bribed to push incense or suppliers. I’m sure you’ll agree that Mike has almost single handedly helped promote online Japanese incense appreciation and has probably done more to further our collective education on the matter than anyone else. And I’m also sure you have at least a handful of Mike’s picks that you cherish as he does. As I’ve said here before, his reviews have saved me hundreds of dollars in pointless hit-or-miss experimentation. I can honestly say I have, since finding Mike, spent nearly $1,000 on Japanese and Tibetan incense. Every one was just as he described and I feel every dollar was intelligently and fruitfully spent because of him – that is a huge service!

    We all have our experiences with online vendors. If you love Ecclecstacy, great. Mike has never presented anything but a fair, unheated presentation of his experience with them. And it was enough to keep him from recommending them to us, his trusting readers. For the record, if you find his post on Ecclecstacy, you will see that I, too, had a nearly identical experience with them – and would agree with Mike’s inability to offer them as a reliable source. Just our opinions, but I think he is trying his best to steer us to the most positive incense enjoying experience possible. By all means sing Ecclecstacy’s praises if that’s how you feel. Mike’s just letting us know how he feels, too, and I respect his decisions about the Incense Reources links – at least I know I can trust them. By the way, Beth is a person worth getting to know at Essence of the Ages, if you haven’t already. A good person who runs an honest business out of her home (with a very fragrant cat!) Frankly, I would see no problem whatsoever with Mike being offered discounted goods for review purposes. As I mentioned above, Mike has indirectly given Beth hundreds of dollars of my business. But I have never doubted his integrity – he even was quite frank about Essence of the Ages higher prices on certain Shoyeido products earlier this spring. By the way, Beth usually throws in samples, too, based on what she thinks you may like (got turned on to Palo Santo wood chips this way).

    Anyhoo, I think I’m beginning to ramble. Keep up the interesting comments Kohdude and keep faith in our fragrant leader 🙂 Keep up the great, unbiased, reviews Mike and thanks again for your energies spent to help us all.


  24. Mike said,

    May 29, 2008 at 6:48 am

    Well it wouldn’t be a monthly top 10 without Kohdude questioning my motives and claiming I’m biased. So let me address this. I’m very biased to companies who treat me well, who don’t screw me around, who are fair and courteous, and who also seem like they work cooperatively with other businesses in the industry. With these things in mind Essence of the Ages gets full marks, as does Japan Incense. But as to the accusation that I’m somehow getting better treatment or being paid under the table or getting discounts from any of these companies, that’s false. I would think if such an arrangement was true, I wouldn’t still be adding other companies to my links. And if it really was I would say so here.

    As to Kunjudo products that EdM distributes being available in the US anywhere else, I’m sure you’d be happy to tell me where one can find them. While I’m sure there is some overlap with what is already here, my count is that well over 80% of these incenses have actually not been sold here before. In the cases where they do overlap, I’ll mention it, as I already did with Karin in my most recent Kunjudo review.

    And instead of making the assumption that perhaps I actually haven’t tried the Shunkodo kyaras (I tried my first one last night as a matter of fact) and that that is the reason they’re not in the Top 10 list, you prefer to think I’m being bamboozled by a company. I’ll let other readers decide which explanation is the more reasonable.

    As to Ecclecstacy, feel free to search the archives for my opinions on their business. You will also find the opinions of others in the comments.

  25. Kohdude said,

    May 28, 2008 at 10:03 pm

    I did my research and found that I can get Japanese Kunjudo and others for a lot less than Les Encens Du Monde and it is the same stuff. Skip the EdM brand and just buy them from the original companies.It is at least 25 percent cheaper.EdM is a over priced repackage of other companies incense.Buyer beware and save your money.Other Japanese incense is in the works to be coming to the U.S. that are original companies,not repackage scams out of Europe.I am aware of one company in Japan that has a huge line that may be in the U.S. soon.I hope it is unique and has a different style like what sets Shoyeido, Baieido and others a part from each other.I noticed that no Shunkohdo Kyaras made the top ten, are they not good or is it that EdM has got you bamboozled with there trickery. Obviously Essences of the Ages should do there homework or are you two in cohoots somehow with ratings and brands.Are they giving you incense or highly discounting it. It seems like you two conspire somehow.They still can’t touch Ecclecstacy for knowledge,price,pure aloeswoods and sample selections.I don’t know how you could have snubbed them when they have been the best service in the business and some of the companies on your site are sub par.They have the best sample selection period.Some stuff you can ask for and they will even sample it, if it is not listed, like high end selections.I have always received my incense within days and there is usually a couple samples they toss in for free.Why they are not on your list of companies is silly.More Kyaras are coming from other companies to the U.S. and I hope they are reasonable like the ones we have seen recently.Sorry to go off on a tangent,but I call it like I see it. ……Kohdude

  26. Mike said,

    May 28, 2008 at 5:46 am

    I’m not sure you’ll find a lot of the high enders you like in the Encens du Monde line other than Prince of Awajii. Most of EdM’s lines do appear to be made by Kunjudo, but there are some Shoyeido and Baieidos mixed in there. I’d say the next scent down from Awajii is probably the Golden Waves. I don’t think they really do pure aloeswoods as much as they mix them with other elements. Guiding Light has a lot of different ingredients but no dominating aloeswood presence, just all part of a symphony. Flight of the Swallow’s also got a noticeable aloeswood presence but it’s also kind of decadent and sweet as well. My guess is there is some perfumery at work in some of these. – Mike

  27. Kohdude said,

    May 28, 2008 at 12:46 am

    I think some of Les Encens Du Monde incense is made by Shoyeido.The names Autumn Leaves and others have the same English names and the same blends.They must have contracts with a few companies.I am cautious about buying $50 incense from them when I may be able to get the Japanese version for less money. I would like to sample Guiding Light and other high enders before buying a whole box.It seems weird Kunjudo makes alot of the stuff for them ,being most of Kunjudo is very inexpensive.Is the high end stuff Kunjudo, another company or a mix of companies?Is this stuff in the league of other Japanese premiums. The price is great if it is in the same class.Is Guiding Light the top incense other than Prince of Awajii? Lately it has been,so much incense and so little time. I am almost overwhelmed by all the incense that has been brought to the U.S. in a short period of time.My bank account can vouch for this.It is nice to have all these selections to choose from at lower than usual prices. A year ago things were much different.I have so much high end incense now ,I hardly know where to start when I go to choose a stick. My choices are getting long and contemplative.Incense I thought should be relaxing,but the choosing has almost become stressful.When I go to get a stick I have so many choices it is almost like I could blindfold my self and pick out something from my supply and it would be simpler.I hope I don’t become a snob like some wine people are.This incense thing has the ability to get and become highly pretentious and phony.I definately am watching and checking my self so I don’t. Incense is great,but I keep things in perspective. The stuff I burn is a luxury to my senses and I appreciate that I am receiving such gracefulness in what most take for granted or have little value or gratitude and appreciation for. To me nothing compares to Japanese incense in all of its nuances. How could someone burn anything else after burning Japanese incense.I have converted many to” The Good News” of Japanese incense and they now are firm faithful believers. Halleluyah!!!!! Many have been saved from the stuff they used before and many more are being saved almost dayly.This is my testament to all my fellow brothers and sisters in good faith. Selah…………. Kohdude

  28. Mike said,

    May 27, 2008 at 4:52 pm

    Hi Kohdude – that is a funny coincidence. I’m really over the moon with Sei-Fu myself and definitely would go for a box when I’m ready. My guess is the reason why it has a really noticeable aloeswood scent may be due to the oil, it strikes me as something of a marriage of the traditional and modern, like a cross between the Premium and Horin lines.

    As to whether Shoyeido prices are too high or not, I think that will always be an open question. As good as many other companies’ scents are, I’m not sure there’s anyone really doing the same sort of thing that Shoyeido are doing with their top 4 or 5 incenses because I think there’s probably a lot more oil and perfume work in these that may add to some of the costs. On the other hand I don’t see Shoyeido doing anything really woody like Baieido does. Overall it’s a good thing to have these differences. – Mike

  29. Anonymous said,

    May 27, 2008 at 4:39 pm

    I agree on the Sei-Fu, it is better than some other Shoyeido premiums. It could be packaged in a higher end way also. The aloeswood in it is premium for sure and the price is also.I feel if it was packaged different it would be over $10 or more per roll. To me this may be Shoyeidos best bang for your buck premium considering what you get for the price. It is a very impressive blend with alot of aloeswood upfront.I just happen to get a roll of it today from a book store I was in that I had a gift card for $20.This was the highest end incense they had for around $20. This stuff is well worth the price. It falls under my top ten for incenses in its price range and even ones above. Shoyeido has always fascinated me with pricing and packaging.It is wild how I bought this today and It was on your top ten. I had stayed away from this in the past because of the place where Shoyeido put it in the Premium line.I had under rated it somehow in the past,but now I find it to be very premium.I hope the price of this stays where its at.This to me could be put in one of the silk fancy boxes and sold for alot more.Thank you Shoyeido for keeping this reasonably priced.I think the packaging has to do with that.I have a Shoyeido that I can truly say is worth its price.It was hard to say that in the past and the new premium price hike made it even harder.I remember Misho a couple of years ago was $40, and now its $60.The price on Sei-Fu is the same as it was then.I wish I would have made this discovery on Sei-Fu being so nice a long time ago. To me its there with Misho,and it seems a little more resiny aloeswoody,but different in character than Misho.This is more in your face woody ,but in a good way.Maybe not as complex as some other Shoyeido premiums, but the wood is just as good.It smells like the wood used in the silk box premiums. It is good that you can get a high end Shoyeido for under $50.This secret is out now ,as Mike and I have both found out.I should have not over looked this one. Thanks for the review Mike, I think we have found Shoyeidos reasonably priced little hidden treasure. I may be buying boxes instead of bundles of this one. Thank You Mike…… Kohdude

  30. Mike said,

    May 27, 2008 at 3:14 pm

    Slight error on #9, both Golden Waves and Royal Nave are available still as part of the Temple and Ceremony lines. Putting some comments at Simply Incense together with their absence from the Karin line and the US, my guess is these long stick, deluxe boxes are about as common as some of the very high end NK kyaras.

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