Coming up…

Every once in a while I like to write up a preview section to let the list know the various scents I’m working on. This changes periodically for all sorts of reasons of course, but should give some idea of what’s coming up.

Shoyeido Heart Series (probably today)
Nippon Kodo – Elemense (Sampler Notes)
Dhoop Factory – Ausadha (may redux Akanishta too)
Lung-Ta (4 incenses)
Thrangu Tara Abbey
Kunmeido – 4 Floral Coils
Baieido – Honey, Coffee, Black Coffee, Green Tea, Koh, Hinoki, Izumi

Soon After:

Shoyeido Premium Green (Matsu-no-tomo, Kyo-jiman, Misho, Ga-Ho)
Shoyeido Premium Tan (Ohjya-Koh, Shun-Yo, Nan-Kun)
Shoyeido Premium Daily (En-Mei, Sei-Fu)
Shunkodo – Chinsoku-Koh, Shun Koh Sen, Houshou, Ka-Cho-Fu-Getsu
Shoyeido – Zen Sampler Notes
Korean Premium Incense plus
Joyoko Temple Blend + Kinjo Koh
Mermade Magickal Arts – Loose Blends

(and feel free to submit your requests here as well)



  1. glennjf said,

    September 30, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    Great testimonies contained in these comments 🙂

  2. Steve said,

    June 9, 2008 at 4:20 pm

    Bernd – I often let my concerns for accounting, describing, comparing, ranking and logging a fragrance undermine my simple direct experience of it. Your words are brilliant.


  3. Bernd Sandner said,

    June 9, 2008 at 4:10 pm

    Thank you Ross for pointing out this website.
    I know them, and found them to be reliable.

  4. Bernd Sandner said,

    June 9, 2008 at 4:08 pm

    thank you for your kind thoughts.

    The question is: are words helpful in discovering the greatness of incense?
    If you don’t find the right words to describe your experience of smelling incense,
    it does not mean you don’t experience it’s greatness or vastness.
    Maybe you are overwhelmed, and just cannot express it.

    On the other hand, I remember one of my teachers in music. He would say: listen what happens, when this new line of notes joins the main melodie. Or: listen how this one note in the bass, changes the atmosphere completly.
    So with his words, he would give a direction, where to focus my attention.
    This was a great help for me, to discover music.

    But in the end, I had to get rid of any kind of focus, and just listen to what is happening. So the important quality for me now is the freshness of the experience. Just listening, or smelling, if it was the first time to do so.
    Easy to say, hard to do, if you keep questioning, how.
    Easy to do, if those kind of thoughts are boring to you.
    The direct experience of happening is never boring.
    That you could call the method: just stick with the unknown, the adventurous, the new.
    Now I sound like one of the new age teachers. Please forgive me.
    I am sure there is no need to tell you all this!
    But to summarize, I would say, words can be helpful, if I am not hypnotised.
    And who can claim to be free from hypnosis?

    Best wishes and greetings! Bernd

  5. Mike said,

    June 7, 2008 at 11:54 am

    A buyer’s club’s not a bad idea, although you’d need a volunteer who could coordinate the dividing of bundles and such which can be pretty time consuming. I’m happy to facilitate the discussion though, even start its own page if enough people think it’s a good idea.

  6. Ross Urrere said,

    June 6, 2008 at 7:58 pm

    hello Bernd
    Love your insight and the way you can communicate. Plus I too think it would be great to see more people chiming in. Incense is such a subjective and at times personal experience. It can open up so many doorways inside of ones space. There are no real wrong ways to look at it, it is there to be used and enjoyed. I do not consider myself a very good writer, but I have noticed that I have a lot more fun writing about incense and because its fun I open up more.

    Found this website in Germany, while doing a search for Gyokuranko, from your comments above.

    You probley have already seen it, but if not, happy surfing!


  7. ibn said,

    June 6, 2008 at 7:29 pm

    its almost as much fun reading the comments as your reviews mike. i’m thinking you might want to consider starting some kind of buyer’s club that can combine purchasing power to get a good deal on a variety of different incense that you’ve reviewed and then splits up the rolls into samplers. just a thought …

  8. Mike said,

    June 5, 2008 at 6:03 am

    Hey Bernd, great to hear from you. The icons now are basically the alternative to not having any at all (or a mystery man icon like it used to be), as the other two maps were little monster creatures (one faces, others full creatures) which seemed even less appropriate. At least with icons it makes it easier to scan down a list for a comment, but I will keep my eyes open for a better map.

    It’s interesting your comments on sandalwood because I seem to be having a better appreciation for it lately and I’m not sure why. Baieido Kobunboku probably as I think that’s such a masterful use of sandalwood in the context of plum blossom. Maybe I’m noticing the tricks more or maybe I’ve gotten better appreciation for it with better scents (Karin, Kojurin). I’ve avoided Yumemachi for the same reason it sounded like you did, but I will have to give in one of these days. Gyokuranko I’d buy in a heartbeat! Your comments are as enlightening as always.

    And any encouragement to hear from new readers has my full support! Making an incense dedicated site seemed rational as I was finding myself less and less likely to write on anything else given how the audience changed, so now I’ll be able to do so over at MP while keeping the focus here.

    Best, Mike

  9. Bernd Sandner said,

    June 5, 2008 at 5:25 am

    Dear Mike.
    It is refreshing, to see all the good work, that has been done by you, since I last tuned in. I find it a good idea of yours, to create an extra site, concerning incense only. I like the appearence, exept, if I may say, for the icons, that go with the comments. I think they do not match the style. Also, I agree with all the positive comments, and will not add anything to that.

    Above you mentioned Yumemachi.
    Since I visited India many years ago, I developed a special favor for sandalwood.
    So, over the years, I was always trying new sticks, indian, chinese, taiwnese,
    until my meeting with good japanese incense turned my interest into other directions. But still today, sometimes my memory works, and reminds me to light some sandalwood. One day Yumemachi was recomended to me. I tried it, and liked it, but was not overwhelmed, because I found it to be too much like the pure, or the old mountain sandalwood sticks.
    Today this has changed completely. Sandalwood usually has got, at least for me, somekind of warm freshness, as if it were cool and warm together. At the same time, it seems to have some cleansing effect. Kyukyodo has managed to add some spices, that enhance the freshness, and, in the same moment, make it softer. It is hard for me to find good words, to describe this effect on me. It just is like this: Now I love Yumemachi, and although it is considered a daily incense, I think it is exquisite and great.
    I can see again, that sometimes it takes a long while, to really appreciate a good incense.
    Another world, of course is Gyokuranko. I think you could call it premium.
    Here in Germany one box with 30 sticks will cost allmost 40 Euro. I consider it sandalwood also, but it is so subtle, that sometimes I forget the sandalwoodness.

    Dear Kohdude. If Buddha would be perplexed, we probably would not call him Buddha, the awakened one. He found the ever-changing to be his home. No big surprises anymore, and at the same time, everything is new.

    I also want to say, I am happy about the regular writers of comments in this blog (they feel like a part of my incense world). But sometimes there appears a new writer, and this fact makes me believe, there are a lot more readers that writers, and I would like to encourage them, to give a sign of life. The community of incense lovers is not so big, and I would like to see more of it.

    I hope, Mike, this is in accordance with your thoughts. If not, please forgive me, and just delete this last comment.

    Best wishes! Bernd

  10. Kohdude said,

    June 4, 2008 at 9:42 am

    I know where you are coming from on Baieido high end aloeswood.It is like some kind of fractal. So complex. Ch Ch Ch Ch Changes. I think that is why they are my favorite. So much to meditate on. Buddha would be perplexed at all the complexity I think. But thats what I get for thinking. Thank You ……..Kohdude

  11. Mike said,

    June 4, 2008 at 9:25 am

    They’re definitely in the queue, although I still need the first two. I’ve had a lot of trouble with Kunsho Koh and have had a box for a year or longer, but I seem to be getting it better now. A lot of Baieido’s aloeswoods are like looking into a bottomless well, it’s very difficult to reach the bottom with them as they have such sublime and even for Japanese incense, very fine qualities.

  12. Kohdude said,

    June 4, 2008 at 9:08 am

    I highly recommend a review being done on the Jinkoya line by Baieido in the near future. Primo stuff!!! Great value to boot. Thank You……….Kohdude

  13. Mike said,

    June 4, 2008 at 5:08 am

    The first time I took a sniff, I thought someone had slipped me a Baieido incense, but after that delay, the Shunkodo-ness started coming out more. It really does seem to be a good one, very woody with latent spice. I’m really impressed with their Aioi No Matsu kyara as well, but still have a lot to learn about that one, probably more than my sample can last.

  14. Steve said,

    June 4, 2008 at 5:05 am

    Looking forward to your thoughts on the Ka-Cho-Fu-Getsu, Mike. It was a random purchase I made a couple of months ago (Beth featured it on her homepage and I gave it a try) that has become a favorite. I kinda think of it as being similar to Reiryo Koh, Ryuhinko and Kai Un Koh – and even more affordable than the latter two. A good, guilt-free daily incense…


  15. Mike said,

    June 4, 2008 at 12:28 am

    I also wanted to mention that I’ve still got the Gyokushodos in the pipeline. Thanks to Kotaro at Japan Incense, I’ve managed to get an idea of what the entire, currently exported line looks like which is:

    Jinko Yomei, Jinko Hoen, Jinko Kojurin, Kojurin, Keiunko, Eisenko, Hanabishi, Tokiwa and Koin

    So there’s still a few low enders I need to check out, but my expectations are high given the rest of the line.

  16. Mike said,

    June 4, 2008 at 12:23 am

    Hi Rob, I had realized over the weekend that I’m still missing coverage on three Kyukyodos: Yumemachi, Ryuhinko and Shiun. I wanted to do them together, but Yumemachi as a purer sandalwood isn’t high up my priority list at the moment. So the other two, both hall of fame blends (I just added Ryuhinko) have been in the queue for a while. Shiun is constantly surprising to me, in a totally different way it seems to have some mutable characteristics. Sometimes I think of the scent as a cherry scented lower end aloeswood, which I think is roughly its style, but there’s a really nice quality of wood that comes out that puts it in a higher class.

    Thanks for the word on the Shroffs. I realize I’ve kinda let the Indian incenses lapse since so much of this list came out of Japanese incense exploration, but I hope to fix that eventually. I’ve never tried the Shroffs so your high praise is definitely noted, especially as I know what you mean about the heavily artificial notes. – Mike

  17. Robert said,

    June 4, 2008 at 12:14 am

    Mike –
    Congratulations on the new site – very handsome indeed!
    I just got a new order from Essence of the Ages and they are all superb. Thank you for recommending Jinko Yomei and Kyukyodo’s Shiun which I am greatly enjoying. Excellent fragrances!
    I noticed that Beth is now carrying the Shroff line of agarbattis. These are in my opinion and best of the Indian incenses – very natural smelling without the heavily artificial notes of some others. And she has a much larger selection of these than I have seen before.
    I look forward to your future comments and recommendations.
    Thanks again, Mike and best wishes with the new site.
    Rob M.

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