Starter Incenses (Coming Soon)

To add some more fun and discussion worthy topics to Olfactory Rescue Service, Ross and I are working up aΒ combined top 10 list for various topics. Our first topic, to be aired some time next week, is the Top 10 best starter incenses. I wanted to mention this early in case anyone wanted to chime in on what they might like to see in this direction. Would it be better to aim for inexpensive incenses? A range from high end to low enders? Maybe a Top 10 list that adds up under a certain price? Do let us know and we’ll keep it mind as we work up the list.

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31 Comments

  1. Mike said,

    September 9, 2008 at 3:00 pm

    Hi Jerry. I wouldn’t say that oil = bad so much as I would say that what makes a lot of incenses inferior would be inferior oils, usually created from synthetic aromatics rather than essential oils. The oils are extraordinary in the Shoyeido blends and close with the Tennendos. I’ve experienced the same heaviness of the oils with Indian incense returning back from Japanese exploration, but I think that’s as much the adjustment to the smoke content. With oils the qualities of the aloeswood are often right in your face, where with just the woods they take quite a bit more “listening.”

  2. clairsight said,

    September 8, 2008 at 10:38 pm

    Hey Jerry
    Great comments and observations! One thing i have really started to notice about incense is how my tastes(which equals likes and dislikes ) tend to change over the course of time. Time being a very flexible thing for me, it can be an hour, day, week or month. It could also be based on where my head/soul/spirit or whatever you want to call it is at at the moment. So where for quite awhile i stayed away from anything floral or sweetish I find myself trying and enjoying them now ( however, no synthetics please ). I also have discovered that many sticks I had gotten early on and not understood have become some of my favs. at this point, Baieido’s Jinkoya Sakubei line comes to mind ( review coming soon! ).David Oller ( the North American rep for Baieido once said something like this in his blog : use it till you understand it. Which I think is pretty good advice, might save you some money too!
    I am betting you will love using the heater when you get it, its great fun and you can even easily make up your own mixes from raw ingredients and play incense master at home πŸ™‚
    -Ross

  3. Jerry said,

    September 8, 2008 at 8:16 pm

    I’m getting the impression that “oil” = “bad”. I’ve probably had nothing but oil-based incense for the past 20 years, since as long as I can remember I’ve bought either Indian or cheap hand-dipped incense from the flea market. It was only in the past few years that I’ve been trying to take my love of incense to the next level by sampling every exotic brand of primarily Indian incense I could find on the internet. I think I naturally gravitated towards heavy, smoky styles, because it was giving me that something extra. However, after a couple of weeks with the Japanese sticks, when I go back to my usual Indian sticks I can definitely feel the heaviness of the oils. It’s more noticeable with some than others. I don’t know if I’m ready to abandon my Laxmi Dhoop tar-logs yet, but I think I am finally going down the right path thanks to this starter kit. I am very, very interested in getting a heater and trying out wood chips (aloeswood, sandalwood), and sampling some of those Mermade Magickal blends (thanks to the reviews by Ross). After that, I plan on diving head first into more of the suggestions made by the previous posts (thanks to all for the great ideas). Where has this blog been all my life?!

    PS I’ve stuck with the Minorien Fu-in all day today. Two sticks at a time seems to be working for me. I also think that the extra time has allowed this scent to really sink-in, so to speak. Finding words to describe incense and “smell sensations” is quite difficult, sorry if I can’t make my points more precisely! You guys are much better and more experienced than me, but I’m hanging on every word.

  4. Mike said,

    September 8, 2008 at 6:37 pm

    Jerry, I think to some extent the joys of aloeswood are something of an acquired taste in that at first it can be difficult to know what to “listen” for. Incenses that use oils, perfumes or such, bring the palate up a bit a closer and are a lot easier to “sniff out,” than those that don’t. Oils tend to accentuate the sorts of really subtle tendencies that take a bit more searching when the oils are absent. For instance, my guess is that a lot of the aloeswood “play” in Sei-Fu is more in the oil, while in Kai Un Koh it’s definitely part of the wood. Of the incenses in the kit, the Minorien Fui-un is probably the closest to the wood itself.

  5. Steve said,

    September 8, 2008 at 4:10 pm

    Hey Jerry!

    I’m a convert from Indian incense, too – Mike’s helped a number of us cross to the other side. Have you noticed the slight price differential with Japanese incense vs Indian? πŸ˜€

    You mention “sharp and deep” incense is what you prefer, not “airy and light”, and you sometimes light multiple sticks to get the intensity you want – or to even just adequately smell the incense. Sounds a lot like me. Sei-fu is very nice and I understand why you like it. Enkuu and Sho-Ran-Ko are almost legendary here and are great (not inexpensive, though) additions as Mike has just recommended. I’ll throw out a couple from earlier in my “learning curve” that remain personal favorites:

    Kunmeido’s Rei-Ryoko is a spicy, peppery sandalwood. Very affordable.

    Shunkodo’s Ka-Cho-Fu-Getsu is a great daily incense, very affordable and well-regarded by some of the folks who frequent here.

    I think both of these are in Mike’s Hall of Fame. I think they’ll fit the bill for ya, and their prices make the experiment pretty risk free πŸ˜€

    If you’re willing to try Korean, the Premium Gift Set (8th down from top)

    http://www.essenceoftheages.com/korea/kor1.html

    is very nice. Bo-Rim in particular is a favorite of folks here, and the current sale makes this set even more attractive. I have it – they are all quite good. I will probably buy more with the sale going on.

    If you are really wanting strong aroma, you may find yourself trying the Tibetans before long. Mike has a number of great recommendations. An A-list would include:

    Mandala Trading Co. – Tibetan Monastery Incense
    Tibetan Medical College – Nectar
    Tibetan Medical College – Holy Land
    Tibetan Highland – Highland incense

    Hope this helps!

    Steve

  6. Jerry said,

    September 8, 2008 at 2:28 pm

    Mike, you nailed it on the head, I came over from Indian incense. Coincidentally, I’m burning the Minorien Fu-in today, although I’m burning 2 sticks at once to get more released. This time I’m getting a little more “warmth” and “substance” than I had noticed previously. Could be the learning curve you mentioned? I wonder how I’ll rank those starter incenses in a month? 6 months? I look forward to finding out. I really appreciate your feedback and will experiment with some of your suggestions. Keep the information flowing in the blog (simply invaluable to me in this great hobby), and sign me up for the club! Jerry.

  7. Mike said,

    September 8, 2008 at 1:05 pm

    Hi Jerry, good to get some feedback on the starter kits, we’ve been working in a vacuum so far, especially as the project hasn’t quite gone as we originally envisioned it. Glad you seemed to have enjoyed the aloeswood kit. Your comments imply to me that you’re probably more drawn to the heavier incenses (I’m wondering if perhaps you came over from Indian incense, there’s a definite different in smoke content between J. and I. incenses). I think for the most part few of these use oil materials, although I would guess that Sei-Fu does as well as Renzan. The rest of these sticks are very woody and as such are a lot harder to pick up early on. I think of this as the Shoyeido vs Baieido spectrum, the former incenses are generally oil/perfume enhanced and are immediately noticeable, while Baieido generally stick to woody scents which makes the incenses very hard to pick up at first but give them all long learning curves. In particular, I think the Kokonoe Koh may have one of the longest curves around, it was one of the first Baieido Rolls I tried and I feel I still am growing with it.

    With that said, I’d recommend a) the Shoyeido Premium aloeswood sampler (Sei-Fu’s in this one and it hints at many of the others), b) Sei-Fu’s partner En-Mei, although it too should be in the Premium sampler, c) the Shoyeido Horin sampler (particularly the $20 one) and d) the Tennendo Premium Incense sampler. All of these incenses not only use quality woods for the base but are also bolstered by various oils, which will give all of these the strength you’re looking for. Provided you can afford them, I’d definitely recommend Tennendo Enkuu and Kyukyodo Sho-Ran-Ko as well, I think the latter also comes in an Essence of Ages sampler like many of the others.

    And I was a member of that particular “incense of the month” club for one month and was apparently removed when I complained that they hadn’t fulfilled their end of the deal. I’ve met few who weren’t burned by that company… As to our own club, that will have to be marked for at least 2009 at this point πŸ˜€

  8. Jerry said,

    September 8, 2008 at 12:14 pm

    I also took my first dive into Japanese incense via “Mike’s Japanese Aloeswood Starter Kit”. I’ve had a couple of weeks to let them all sink in, and here is how I would rank these:

    1. Shoyeido — Sei-fu. A little surprising that my favorite would end up being a “daily” incense, but I keep coming back to this little stick over and over. I prefer incense to be sharp and deep, and this Sei-fu consisently does it for me.
    2. Baieido – Kai Un Koh. A tough choice between this and the Sei-fu. I think they are quite similar, but the Kai Un Koh is a bit more mellow, but just a bit.
    3. Tennendo – Renzan. I thought all of the incenses from here down were a little too “light” for “serious” burns, not to imply that they were bad, though. The Renzan has just a hint of what I liked about the top 2, could be good for times when I just want to burn in the “background”.
    4. Minorien – Fu-in. The most expensive incense in the set was just too flighty for me, I found myself double checking that I was actually burning it. Nice, thick sticks however. As I said, my favorites are deep and very up-front.
    5. Baieido – Kokonoe Koh. Same critique I had of the Fu-in, too airy and light for deep burns.

    Based on this feedback, can anyone give some recommendations of where I might go next in my Japanese explorations?

    I thought the starter kit was a great idea, and enjoyed the opportunity to sample something new. I once joined an “incense of the month” club at another website who shall remain nameless. Although the company never lived up to their promises (I got 2 months, and then the packages stopped), I really liked the idea of a “monthly club”…new incense, picked by professionals, arriving every month at my door, billed automatically. I think I could trust Mike and Ross to choose my incense!

  9. Mike said,

    July 16, 2008 at 7:49 am

    Hi Steve, thanks for the list of your “imprint” incenses. πŸ˜€ I’m pretty sure at least two if not more will be in my “demo kit.”

    A hurt/heal page is a good and fun idea. I’ll try to add one this morning.

    Mike

  10. Steve said,

    July 15, 2008 at 7:41 pm

    Oh – meant to mention a very cool poll exercise I saw on a movie site I frequent – it would maybe be fun for the folks who frequent here and could produce a “readers choice” list for you. It’s called hurt-heal I think. You would take your Hall of Fame list and start each incense with 10 points. Now, I could write in and say “Hurt Reiryo Koh and Heal Ikaruga” which would deduct a point from Reiryo Koh and add a point to Ikaruga. They now have 9 points and 11 points respectively. Other folks write in with their “Hurt this Heal that” votes. Over time, the more popular incense gains points and others drop out of the competition (score reduced to 0 and thus eliminated). You would end the exercise when the top 10 are left.

    Just a thought for a way to generate a cool readers’ choice list that folks might have fun with!

    Steve

  11. Steve said,

    July 15, 2008 at 7:10 pm

    Have been watching this thread with great interest – a great idea, the starter list, that I know you’ve had percolating for some time, Mike. I see you and Ross are contemplating various approaches to the list(s) and I know you two will come up with something quite helpful as always. I largely credit you, Mike, for getting me turned on to Japanese incense. You’ve saved me from blindly wandering and wasting money and pointed me towards endearing aromas that piqued my curiosity for more. Perhaps I was lucky, but the first few choices I made from your Hall of Fame and monthly favorites lists made an immediate and long-lasting impact on me and started what I imagine will be a life-long obsession. For what it’s worth, these are the incenses, recommended by you, that I chose for my very first Japanese incense order and that today still stand among my favorites even having added scores more:

    Kunmeido Heian Koh
    Kunmeido Rei Ryoko
    Shoyeido Nan-zan (Gourmet Frankincense)
    Baieido Kai Un Koh
    Kyukyodo Ikaruga
    Baieido Tokusen Syukohkoku
    Tennendo Frankincense
    Shoyeido Muro-machi
    Shoyeido Ten-pyo
    Kyukyodo Sho-Ran-Ko

    All are generally available in small rolls/tubes for affordability (with the exception of Sho-Ran-Ko). I’ve since discovered many, many colors but these early selections are still kind of the fundamental ROYGBIV colors for me!

    Well, didn’t want to go without offering any thoughts for your consideration and hope this has been helpful! Whether these aromas appear in your list(s) or not, you know they have the power to draw you into the world of Japanese incense – that’s exactly what they did to me πŸ™‚

    Steve

  12. Steve Schaffer said,

    July 14, 2008 at 5:25 pm

    Thanks very much Ross. What you say makes a great deal of sense. Luckily, where I happen to live (S.F. Bay, west of the Oakland hills) it’s fairly stable in terms of temps and humidity. So, I’m not too worried about things expanding/contracting and either losing or gaining moisture. And I’m not really too crazy about the heavily perfumed incense types; so loss of fragrance should not be an issue either.

    However, I think your idea of putting the incense in zip-lock type bags is worthwhile (and I guess I can use the argon gas canisters from wine preservation if I’m really concerned though I’d probably want a tightly sealed container of some kind for that).

    Or maybe a cigar humidor is the way to go πŸ˜‰

  13. Ross Urrere said,

    July 14, 2008 at 4:59 pm

    Hello Steve
    I am pretty sure that the longevity of incense is dependent on what its made out of and the climate conditions of where it is being stored plus its age.
    David Oller, the US rep for Baieido, and probably one of the most knowledgeable people in this country on the subject said that the resin based incenses (Aloeswood/kyara) would hold up longer then say a heavily perfumed mix. The resins are pretty much sitting there until they burn, while the perfumes are by nature more volatile and tend to evaporate faster. But he makes it a point to get fresh stock.
    In Japan one of the reasons they put many of them into the wood boxes is because they are designed to swell up in high humidity and effectively seal off the contents(incense) from the heat/humidity outside. Heat and humidity are really not good for the life of incense.
    All this is why many of the sellers ( at least the ones you want to buy from) in this country tend to get fresh stock in as often as possible.
    All that being said, if I was going to buy a bunch or even more then I could use in say the next year or so, I would be ( and am πŸ™‚ ) thinking about air tight containers housed in dry/cool/dark places!
    Air tight or close to it could mean multiple zip lock bags, maybe with an inert gas sprayed in ( OK, a little over the top, but not much extra effort! ).
    The wooden boxes I got from the wood worker (which are really nice) are an attempt to have something a little more presentable then the shopping bags and ziplocks that the stuff was in when I bring it out.
    Hope this helps and please feel free to ask questions.
    Thanks
    -Ross

  14. Mike said,

    July 14, 2008 at 9:23 am

    Well the rough idea would be that each kit would be geared to a particular palate. For example one would be florals (think rose, violet, lavender etc), another created around spicy incenses (heavy in cinnamon, clove, nutmeg etc), another around woody ones (aloeswood, sandalwood) and definitely one that covers some of each. This is all pretty preliminary at this point, I think we’re in the stage where brainstorming leads to more brainstorming, so it’s hard to see the end of the tunnel yet and I think the initial kit would be multipurpose. Will keep in mind in terms of descriptions the idea of how each incense complements or enhances the experience, although that’s a level of detail we’re still working towards and maybe a ways off still as it’s so dependent on the individual.

    Check out this link for storage ideas:

    https://olfactoryrescueservice.wordpress.com/2008/06/15/custom-incense-storage-boxes/

    Incense will lose its luster not stored properly, although I’d say the biggest variable where this is concerned is your geography. I keep mine on bookshelves, although those boxes are indeed very nice!

    mike

  15. Steve Schaffer said,

    July 14, 2008 at 9:11 am

    I like the idea of coming up with “style of incense” groupings. Can you expand on that a bit? I gather each incense starts with a wood variety and these vary based on country origin. And then there’s the application of spices in various types and quantities and means of manufacture. And then there’s the actual form (stick, chips, etc.) that has an impact on how the incense characteristics are released.

    This almost begs some sort of incense wheel, similar to what the wine and coffee industry use in their evaluation and categorizations. As I suggested in my initial comment, how each incense complements or enhances experience would be the icing on the cake.

    By the way, I’ve been searching about on the ‘net and have yet to find anything on the subject of incense storage. I suspect incense is less prone to losing its freshness in the way other products always do (again wine and coffee come immediately to mind). Can you clue me in here?

  16. Mike said,

    July 14, 2008 at 8:45 am

    Hi Steve, that’s a good question, in fact we’re starting to realize that this “starter incense” idea can go in a number of directions. The one Ross and I are considering in specific, is basically a $75 (as well as some smaller and maybe larger kits, not sure yet) package that would introduce someone to a number of excellent-for-the-price incenses from a number of companies. I haven’t finished my kit demo yet, but my plan is to have one high end sampler, and good rolls of sandalwood-based, frankincense, aloeswood and maybe a floral. Of course this also suggests the idea that maybe starter kits based on a certain style of incense (aloeswood, woody, spicy, floral) might be a good idea as well. I think in general the idea (since we’re working on Japanese incense kits as a starter, others may come later) is to introduce someone to a number of very good incenses for the price so they can really get an idea of what’s out there and what paths to take based on the incenses in the kit (and also to start with a healthy stock). I hope that makes a little more sense, I’d have to admit we haven’t really finished the idea yet, so all comments are appreciated and welcome. Thanks.

  17. Steve Schaffer said,

    July 13, 2008 at 12:27 pm

    What do you mean by starter? I’m new to incense but have around long enough to have gotten bitten by the wine and coffee bug — which means I’m fairly well attuned to fragrances and how much they affect our experience and appreciation for what we drink. I think if I’d just thought to “get into” incense I’d probably want to understand the basics. What are the principal sources and uses of incense and how that might matter to me. For example, those who are into wine soon discover that wine tasting, in the absence of combining it with foods, is like choosing a car based on putting its engine on a test bench. Coffee is a bit less of a challenge, since most of us generally drink it without worrying about any complementary foods (unless we must dunk a donut or two).

    I guess what I’d ask everyone of us to consider in building a “starter” set for the “rookie” is what our objective might be. I know I’ve come to enjoy incense at various times of day, whether I’m listening to music, reading, or quietly meditating. My degree of focus (lack of distractions) will either allow or limit my appreciation for the incense I’m burning. Also, if my objective is to use fragrance to alter my current mood will affect my choice.

    This leads me back to understanding how each culture uses incense, which affects the marketplace, and therefore what is offered to us as consumers. A friend of mine off-handedly suggested I see if I could find her “wet dog” since that would remind her of a now deceased pet. Who knows what we all long for in an incense…

  18. clairsight said,

    July 10, 2008 at 9:15 am

    Thanks Bernd!

  19. Mike said,

    July 10, 2008 at 7:50 am

    Fantastic input, Brenda, really appreciate it. I think we’re probably going to have to move this forward a week or two, because we’ve been really inspired by a number of ideas in these posts and still need to plot out. Thanks!

  20. Brenda said,

    July 10, 2008 at 2:38 am

    You’re welcome. I look forward to the lists!

  21. Bernd Sandner said,

    July 10, 2008 at 1:12 am

    Slowly the complexity of the starters list project becomes apparent.
    But still I think it’s a very good thing to do.
    Why? In my opinion, it is a good thing to sometimes reflect on one’s own experiences, like Brenda did, and sort them out, get everything into a meaningful order.

    Ross, you can see the Kunshiko and the Katchiumeko here.
    Just click on the Kyukyodo and scroll down a little bit:

    https://ssl.kundenserver.de/s8503319.shoplite.de/sess/utn1545a4c7f30ca70/shopdata/index.shopscript?main_url=https%3A%2F%2Fssl.kundenserver.de%2Fs8503319.shoplite.de%2Fsess%2Futn1545a4c7f30ca70%2Fshopdata%2Fproduct_overview.shopscript

  22. clairsight said,

    July 9, 2008 at 10:45 pm

    Hello Brenda

    Great that you wrote in, and even better about your experiences. On my first buying run i did get to go into a store and almost killed my bank account!
    We are working on it, and yes, florals will, promise :0 ), be in there. Although it is turning into a larger project then it looked to be at first , but a fun one!

    Thanks again for the input
    Ross

  23. clairsight said,

    July 9, 2008 at 10:40 pm

    Hey Bernd, what do the wrappings on the two from Kyukyodo look like?
    thanks
    Ross

  24. Brenda said,

    July 9, 2008 at 7:15 pm

    As someone relatively new to incense (but gaining a detailed and valuable education via your blog), let me tell you my experience. I first fell in love with incense on a business trip in a hotel in India when I saw how it refreshed the main lobby. Of course, we bought an assortment to bring home. Then, when I needed to order more, I found your website.

    Because I was already familiar with Indian incense, I read your reviews of them and chose some that sounded the best. For that first order, I was looking for a wide variety of items that were inexpensive (so I could try as many as possible) while still being ones that had quality (so I would still appreciate them once my nose had become more discerning). I was also keeping a close eye on shipping costs and wanting to make this a large enough order to make the flat rate shipping worthwhile without accidentally buying a large amount of a brand that I might find that I didn’t enjoy.

    Mostly, I chose samplers like Ramakrishnananda’s variety packs. I included two bigger boxes so I had a foundation of a something familiar in between the many others (and, to lengthen the time before I had to spend the money on a new order’s shipping cost). Those two larger items were the Tibetan Monastery Incense and a box of good ol’ nag champa (neither of which I will order again).

    I paid attention to the incense and its ingredients, and wrote down which ones I enjoyed vs. which I didn’t. I also compared my reactions to each scent to yours to see what more I could learn about what I was smelling. Of course, I examined the rest of your blog, and the more I read your comments about Japanese incense, the more I became curious about the difference between it and Indian.

    So, my next order was a number of samplers of Japanese (Baieido, Shoyeido, and Tennedo). Again, I kept an eye on the price and attempted to get as wide a variety as possible, including a smokeless sampler. I didn’t want to get saddled with a lot of something that I didn’t like, and I wanted to get the most for my shipping. I generally avoided the expensive ones because I know that my nose won’t catch the subtleties yet. But, I am looking for an excellent frankincense, so got the Minorien Fu-in Sampler.

    All that to say — variety is important, cost per stick is important, and keeping the shipping price under control is important. I wish I had an incense store nearby so I could try just a few sticks of a scent or a brand and then decide if I want other similar ones or if I need to switch direction. Since I’m ordering online, I can’t just try a few at a time because $7-9 shipping is too much for that method of experimenting. So, I have to order a bunch and know that there will be some that I regret buying, while others I put on my “reorder” list.

    I also stuck to just sticks so that I didn’t have to invest a lot into equipment yet. Yes, one of these days I want to get my warmer and play with resins. But, for now, I’m taking the time to figure out which sticks I like and limiting my need for more apparatus.

    And, I kept each order at about $50. For something I was just testing, $100 would have been too intimidating to spend.

    Finally, I found that moving from the familiar to the unfamiliar was comfortable to me. Of course, you can’t guess what each reader will be familiar with and provide a list for each starting point. But, maybe you could organize the lists from more common to more exotic. And, from ones that beginners can enjoy to ones that require a more experienced palate to appreciate. Even though a beginner won’t get all he could get from the advanced sticks, it’s important to get a taste of what he will be aiming toward.

    One more thought — I like florals more than you do, so would you please include a few in the lists?

    Thanks!
    Brenda

  25. Mike said,

    July 9, 2008 at 3:46 pm

    Thing about Indian incenses is nearly all of them are very much in the same price range. I would have said that about Tibetans, Nepalese etc, except we’ve been seeing quite a few high enders in the $20-$40 range recently along with all the $4-$6 packages.

    Combining Japanese and Korean isn’t a bad idea although except for maybe Bo Rim, there aren’t too many other Koreans I’d recommend starter pack or otherwise, especially in a Top 10 list. The idea for samplers is excellent though, at least I can get in the 10 stick Shoyeido Premium sampler in there. πŸ™‚

    Thanks again for your ideas!

  26. Bernd Sandner said,

    July 9, 2008 at 2:14 pm

    Good idea, the $100 list. Maybe include some samplers for the high enders.
    My thought: combining japanese and korean in one list, and indian and nepalese incences in another.
    I must say: all in all a difficult task, the starter list, but a very good thing to do.

    P.S.
    Still burning the Kachiumeko right now. It reminds of Sho-Ran-Ko, but much more smooth. It is great!

  27. Mike said,

    July 9, 2008 at 1:58 pm

    Hi Bernd, great to hear from you! Your ideas were good, at least it spells out the task ahead of us. πŸ˜€ I’d have to concur with Ross that maybe a series of a few different lists might achieve the task better. Of course, which list goes first is now the question. πŸ™‚ I was kind of leaning to a top 10 that in total would add up to less than a certain price, for example maybe $100 total. I think overall,we don’t want to just duplicate the categories in the Hall of Fame page, so I was thinking that the list could equal a theoretical budget someone has, in order to end up with, say, 10 great Japanese incenses for $100. That would be the other question, whether we want to combine Indian, Nepalese and Japanese or just do one style at a time.

    Fantastic news on the Kyukyodos – I can’t wait for the day we finally see those over here.

  28. Bernd Sandner said,

    July 9, 2008 at 1:43 pm

    P.P.S

    Ross,
    I read your comment just now. I will think a little more about the starter list,
    and if there a some usable ideas, I will tell you.

  29. Bernd Sandner said,

    July 9, 2008 at 1:39 pm

    P.S.
    Today I got two high enders from Kyukyodo.
    KUNSHIKO (kunshi=noble man), and KACHIUMEKO (vanquish the smell of the plum).
    In these kategories it is hard to tell which is the best, but at least the price surpasses SHO-RAN-KO.
    They are so exquisite. If you know the Sho-Ran-Ko, you would be able to tell, that they are made by Kyukyodo. There is a softness and smoothness about them, especially the Kachiumeko, and at the same time a richness and diversity, as if they were many different sticks packed into one. An impression that most of the great sticks will give.

  30. clairsight said,

    July 9, 2008 at 1:31 pm

    Thanks Bernd, its always good to hear from you, especially when happy πŸ™‚ !
    Yes, it is an interesting task and I am finding my list of things gets even me confused ( not that hard sometimes). So yes more then one list will probley be the answer or something alonfg the lines of a given middle ground price point with low and high options. When I started burning incense I never imaged it getting the complex!

  31. Bernd Sandner said,

    July 9, 2008 at 1:20 pm

    Dear Mike!

    Hope you are well! (Ross also!)
    A very good idea and difficult task.
    Maybe make two TopTen lists. One High end, one low end and middle range.
    Or make 3/4/3 – high end/middle/low end.
    Or a simple starter list from 1 to 10, including all kinds.
    I am afraid, I am no help to you!
    Especially the high enders are often difficult, and it sometimes takes a long time to become familiar with them. So the right advice for starters could be a very good thing.
    Sorry, I am not writing more often, but at the moment my brain is somehow concerned with other topics, and does not generate good ideas. Seems I live in dullness and dumbness. But anyhow, I’m o.k. Sometimes even happy.

    Best to you! Bernd


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