Daihatsu / Myo-jou, Taganohana, Kaizan, Chyo-Sin

Daihatsu are a Japanese company who, like Nippon Kodo, tend strongly to modern styles of incense with the use of perfume blends. Unlike Nippon Kodo, Daihatsu manage to be fairly successful with the format, creating many incenses in the $5-$10 range that are quite good for the price. I’ve sampled the company’s Tanka range in the past; however, it’s this range of four sandalwood based incenses (scroll to bottom) that are a little closer to home in terms of traditional scents, even if these still could be considered modern in that the woods are married with strongly scented perfumes and/or oils to reach their aromas.

The four incenses in question here increase slightly in price for each title starting at $5-6 for Myo-jou and ending at $10-12 with Chyo-sin. All are boxes of approximately 55 sticks at 5 1/2 inches per stick, and the incenses all come in unusualy hexagonal, cardboard rolls within the boxes, rather nice packaging given the prices. All four incenses are sandalwood based, both in the oils and basic stick; however, most of the aromatic play appears to be in the perfume.

Myo-jou is unusual, at least for my tastes, in that it’s not only the most inexpensive incense of the four but it may be the one I prefer the most. It’s possibly the driest of the four incenses, although the top oil is among the most heavily scented of the four. Overall it’s a sort of sandalwood and spice blend where the spices help to bring out those very qualities in the wood. Along with the wood and spice, I smell hints of nougat, talcum powder and candy floss, although the sweetness of these side hints never overwhelm the odor. Like many incenses with so much in the play oils, the aroma is a bit on the shallow side, but it’s well-priced and certainly the best place to start in the Daihatsu catalog.

Taganohana acts almost as a contrast by being the incense of the four with the least strength in the perfume oil, letting some of the woody base play as part of the aroma. Cinnamon and star anise are added to the ingredients chart for this incense and you can get intimations of both, bolstering the spicier elements into a more richer aroma than the Myo-jou. With less of the oil in the play, this incense comes a bit closer to those in the Shoyeido Daily range. Of these four Daihatsus, Taganohana is probably the least sandalwood oriented. Comparing it to a Baieido spice stick like Koh or the Syukohokoku range demonstrates fairly well how different a perfume-fronted spice stick can be from a more traditional blend.

Kaizan seems to move back to an aromatic area closer to Myo-jou in that it’s another sandalwood and spices blend without a list of specific ingredients. It’s probably the most overtly perfumed of the four sandalwoods here with a more floral/vanilla/musk type of blend, soft, sultry and a bit muted. Of the four incenses here I think this was originally the one I liked second best, but over repeated use I’ve found the oil to be just a tad thin, as if it hints at something it never quites reach. On the other hand such a restrained formula keeps the incense from attaining the sorts of harsh, bitter or soapy notes you tend to find in modern and/or synthetic incenses, which, given how inexpensive these sticks are, is no mean feat.

The range’s high ender, Chyo-Sin, gets its price likely due to the presence of some rose oil with the sandalwood. I’m not particularly fond of rosewood sorts of incenses, but this is quite a bit different in the perfume, capturing elements a more natural stick might have missed. Part of this is the spice middle, which helps to balance the floral rose elements and give the incense some extra richness. Giving this a secondary revisit, I might have switched this box out with the Kaizan when I decided to buy two of the four boxes.

I found it interesting that secondary samples of Taganohana and Chyo-Sin both struck me as being a little less strong in aroma than I previously remembered, which I could chalk up either to a muted sense of smell or possibly a little degeneration, which is something a bit more common when the aromatics are carried by perfume. However, I found that this actually helped to bring the wood bases out a little more and improve my opinion of the range. Because overall if you put together affordability, packaging and perfume art success, these four Daihatus incenses actually do a pretty good job at hitting their marks. Given the price range, these tend to be as successful or more so than other modern incenses at the same range, which should make them well worth checking out for the price conscious.



  1. janet said,

    March 6, 2010 at 4:49 pm

    Myo-Jyou has remained my favorite, and Kaizan my second favorite, from among these four…with Myo-Jyou pretty far out in front. Although I burn these types of totally perfume-based incenses rarely, I find Myo-Jyou’s perfume – which I find pretty hard to characterize – has remained attractive and compelling, especially given the price. I also do enjoy Kaizan’s spice-vanilla combination, but it doesn’t seem as interesting as Myo-Jyou. I agree that none of these incenses come off as overtly synthetic or “cheap” smelling.

    • Jeff said,

      March 18, 2016 at 9:56 pm

      The Kaizan is a rather delightful change from the more woodier Japanese fragrances. Definitely perfumed but not over done. The amber and vanilla notes make this scent a good crossover between Indian and Japanese styles. Price, packaging, and fragrance appeal make this is a very nice gift incense.

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