This is a very different style of scent properties then the loose incense’s that I have tried before. This style is some of the oldest and most traditional from the Japanese ( or anyone else for that matter). They basically tend to stay with a certain set of traditional ingredients, up until a point, it seems to me, where something like perfumes or essential oil comes into play. I could be completely wrong here( which happens a lot in my life 🙂 ) about this, it is after all, just my nose.
The overall hit I get from these is that there are many different levels at work in each one of them that, like any incense, will require time to figure out. I have keep the price point at the low end ( except for the Hoetsu) so that one does not have to break the bank to try these out.
You can use coals or a heater, I used both my trusty Shoyeido “wood body” as well as the new one from Mermade Magickal Arts( it rocks by the way) I find the ability to regulate the heat to be very handy.
A light, pleasant, semi sweet floral scent, with a little bit of sharpness along the way, You might think of this as being what seems to be catorgized as a “classic Japanese floral” scent as opposed to the more perfumed, modern styles. Based on sandalwood and also, without any noticeable additions of Borneol Camphor. The floral scent seems to get used up pretty fast at higher temperatures.
It reminds me of something along the lines of, say, Kunmeido’s Heian Koh. Not as defined or elegant, but similar.
Similar venue to Tenkun but with more pronounced flavors or scents. There is also what seems to be a very small addition of Camphor notes coming up in this one. It has an overall sharper scent to it then Tenkue but then again, Camphor tends to boost everything up a notch( which is one of the reasons that it gets added to so many different incenses). Given the slight price increase I would think the quality of the ingredients is somewhat higher. Again, a nice, pleasant experience, something you could use to scent an area without smoke.
Sandalwood, Borneol Camphor, possibly clove and cassia and some other floral type scents, at least one seeming to be a perfume( could be wrong about this part). Usually I do not deal well with perfumes in incense, but whatever is in here works for me. There are many, many levels going on here, especially when you get your nose pretty close the “action”. A lot of bang for the buck, as the saying goes. Have become very partial to this one and its also does not hurt that it is pretty inexpensive. I can tell that I will end up getting the others in the line just to see how they progress up the line. I have high hopes 🙂 .
Shoyeido: Reihai-koh Prayer (4th down)
This is very different then the last three. Right off the bat, it is very heavy on the Borneol Camphor. So much so that it tends to dominate the woods and other spices. I could literally feel my sinuses clear up. Not to mention my focus seemed to become sharper, something I have not noticed this way before. Quite interesting and given the “Prayer” in the name sort of makes sense. A little goes a long way. I could see using this to rapidly effect a change in the energy levels of an environment, or to use it in a room first, before lighting other incense, just to clear the air. There is a great spice note behind the camphor, but it takes awhile to get there.
Shoyeido: Hoetsu (9th down)
Shoyeido lists this as having Agarwood, Other sites say Kyara. I have noticed that Shoyeido is a bit “coy” about ingredients. When I first got this, some 2-3 months ago it seemed so strong in floral/spice that for the life of me I could detect nothing except that. Right now there are a lot more levels becoming apparent. There really do seem to be some very good grades of woods in here as well as cloves and other spices. Some camphor and possibly a very (now)small touch of perfume or spice that really makes it special. Once the floral and spice top notes take flight you are left with the very nice wood notes, there is a very apparent scent progression going on here.
Hoetsu means Rapture, which might be pushing it somewhat. However I am having a revelation about this incense at the moment, which is a pretty good trade.
This particular incense is the most costly of the five reviewed here. I think I would have to tell you to start at the less expensive end and work your way up to see if you like this style.