Late last year I wrote about Baieido’s Tokusen Syukohkoku, a premier incense if there ever was one and one I would almost see as more comfortable in the Baieido aloeswood ranges. Included in this same general category at the Baieido website is Kai Un Koh. Syukohkoku completes this fine trio, one that could be considered aloeswood spice blends, except that in this case Baieido’s Ogurayama aloeswood is being used.
Given that Syukohkoku is the lower priced incense compared to the Tokusen (excellent) version, the biggest surprise might be just how high quality the blend is and how close it really is to the Tokusen version. In fact while it’s difficult to say anything definitive about Baieido aloeswood incenses due to their wonderfully long learning curves, the regular Syukohkoku really does smell like the same incense with a sweeter aloeswood. I would guess that there have been some adjustments in the spice to compliment, but like in some Tibetan monastery blends it’s not difficult to see these two as A and B blends. Someone might prefer the sweet aloeswood (Ogurayama) over the spicy (Hakusui) and thus choose one of the two to preference. Where the Tokusen has some slightly wild notes due to the Hakusui aloeswood, the regular Syukohkoku seems a tad more restrained, but overall both are very high quality and if you’re like me you’ll find yourself pleasantly surprised going from the Tokusen to the vanilla. Syukohkoku still has quite the spice content and the richness of any good aloeswood incense.
And of course the thread running through this august company’s fine incense line is just how quality these blends are and how much the natural ingredients truly do the talking. While Baieido incense may seem reserved and contemplative at first in compared to louder and more oil-based incenses, regular users still continue to find more and more aspects of the scents, subtle, ineffable as if one has to wait for each new mnemonic revelation.