Ho Ryu Aloeswood from Thailand.
Very clean, smooth, wonderful.
Sharp, with some hints of sweetness. It’s the kind of scent that you just keep fanning towards your nose, trying to “get it”, knowing at the first taste that that is not going to happen for quite awhile, but there is just no stopping one from trying. People around you may start to wonder at your actions!
Slight hint of camphor in the burn ala Baieido and their very traditional take on incense. If it is not broken, don’t fix it! Its about the wood, actually all three of these are about the woods. Everything else in these sticks is there to enhance the wood and bring out the almost infinite nuances.
Very pleasant, lot of things going on within the smoke. Long, long learning curve here. Saw a site in Japan that listed this as “an experts only” level incense and while that is a bit stand offish, there is a lot truth to this. But it never hurts to start the educational process early!
Kun Sho “The Rising Scent” Cambodian Aloeswood
Camphor when opening the box, like almost all Baieido incenses that use Aloeswood.
Almost sweet at first, really pleasant, uplifting (thus, perhaps, the name).
The smell of the resins is at the fore front, very deep. Makes me think of exotic fruits in the jungles of Asia, but there is no fruit smell here, it’s just the image invoked. It is easy to picture sitting outdoors on a porch in Asia around sunrise watching the world come into being around you as the light levels increase. A certain, almost mist like, quality to the scent coming by now, again reminding me of morning time and a new day. You find yourself trying to follow the scent up higher to stay with it. This is not real “in your face” incense, rather, it is within your mind. There is at the same time, something completely satisfying and almost addictive about the scent. It puts you at ease and into an inward looking modality. Not melancholy, rather to see what new ideas might be being presented to you. It is a combination of so many of the aromatic qualities of fine Aloeswoods.
This is not your everyday incense, it takes some attention, some listening or tasting to even start to get it. Perhaps the necessity of owning a few moments out of the day for yourself to have the time to enjoy and understand the scent. The “Rising Scent” is a very good description. A master piece of the art, thank you Baieido!
Kokonoe Aloeswood and florals from Indonesia.
It is described as an expression of the Imperial Palace and the flower gardens within. The floral quality is really very slight (at least to me). It might be what gives this stick a softer, more approachable personality then the other two. It’s really nice. It’s also half the price so using a stick is just easier. It’s a smooth, middle ground sort of incense firmly rooted in the Aloeswood that must be the bulk of the stick. I find myself burning this more then the other two just because of these qualities. You can burn it and still do other stuff, not have to come to a complete stand still in a desperate desire to drink it all in. It is a great incense, and also a good place to start with Aloeswood and not break the bank.
Baieido seems to constantly be the place to get quality Aloeswood for a reasonable price. They tend to stick to a traditional set of formulas (at least what we see in this country, saw a box of what I think was Strawberry flavored Baieido incense at a Japanese site, but that for another story 🙂 ). They are very, very good at what they do, maybe the best. All these have certain similarities between them, There is a very strong smell of camphor when you open the box, which moves into the background when burning the sticks. There are some other spices involved. Maybe the smallest bit of clove and/or cassia. Again, there to enhance the wonderful wood aspects. These are great incenses. I do not really have the nose or words to do them true justice. It makes me feel humble just trying too. You can feel the tradition and depth of skill and learning of the people who make these within each stick. Overall they are works of art and not to be missed.