Bosen Hoi-An Aloeswood and Kinam -from Ross

Bosen is a maker and distributor from Tiawan and has started bring their product into the US via Amazon.
A couple of weeks ago I reviewed their Chin-Zhou Aloeswood, which are sourced from Indonesia. Today we get into the Hoi-An or Vietnamese woods. Bosen’s ranking system can be somewhat confusing as all the names tend to communicate the idea of high quality, but which is what? It basically seems to start at Superior, then Reserved, into Top Grade and Finally Kinam or Kyara. Along the way we encounter High Grade, which I am told means entry level, and Premium, which is kind of a wild card signifying a high grade of scent that has not been classified yet. So yes it does get a little confusing, personally I tend to go by price tempered by amount and weight.
These sticks are blends, but not in the manner that we usually think of as a blend. They are composed of a blend of different grades of Aloewoods, balanced and mixed in different ratios of resin content, scent qualities and burn qualities. Sticks with too much resin will not burn very well, if at all. So, no, these are not “pure, single wood sticks but rather, I believe, a mix of different woods from a single region mixed together to create a unified product.
We start at the lower end with the Superior grade sticks (which come in a variety of lengths and coils). There is an excellent flavor of the sweeter style of Vietnamese Aloes here. An almost chocolate middle note come across at times. It is really nice, sweet and clean at the same time. There are no spices or perfumes to deal with here, just the straight up woods, It is very nice and to me a great deal and a great place to start. The price is very reasonable for the quality of the scent.
I am going to jump up to the Kinam (Kyara) which is the top of the line at the moment. It is really superb. Rich, potent, complex and all the other descriptors you want to throw in. There is also a major learning curve here, a lot going on many levels. Not something to be rushed but excellent for reflection. Again it is the straight up wood. I say this because most of us, at these levels, are used to the scent qualities of Shoyeido or Shunkodo where the spices, oils and musk’s play an important roll, not to mention that they are what got here first and have set up the olfactory expectations.( My, but don’t we sound oh so worldly and scientific 🙂 ).
So the Kinam is also into pretty much  the same price league as the high end Shoyeido’s and given the Market cost of high grade woods today that just how it is. In incense high quality really does equate to high cost, depressing but true.
The Reserved and Top Grade fall somewhere between the two end points. They are both very good and each level up has enough of a difference to be unique. To me the line up is pretty much a progression of strength and character as you go up the ladder in cost.
Bosen has mentioned that they are working on samplers of some sort which would obviously make for an easier time of figuring out what works for you.
This would be a very good addition to anyone’s collection as a nice counter point to heavily spiced sticks, you might think of it as a nice neutral place to start out at.
I just noticed that they have added powdered Hoi-An into the line up. This means that you too can concoct your own blends and play junior Koh Master 🙂

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3 Comments

  1. Terra Renee said,

    April 21, 2015 at 2:48 pm

    I have tried all of Bosen’s incenses and my favorite (for the price, amount, scent, and burning time) is the Superior Hoi-An 24 pack 4 hour coils. These smell AMAZING and smell just like the stick, but you get much more out of the coils. They last through an entire meditation session and throughout a small binge watch of a favorite TV show. Regular Hoi An is great too, but Superior just has that something extra that makes it the best.

    Their non-Aloeswood incense has Blessing as my favorite (it is also the cheapest, few cents over $10). I have purchased coils and sticks of Blessing and both were superb, with the coils having a bit stronger scent. Sadly, the coils are sold out now. I contacted the company and they agreed to send me a few coils from their Taiwan factory along with a few samples and some Chin-Zhou coils, but I really hope Bosen brings back the 24 pack 4 hour Blessing coils. I miss them greatly!

  2. apsara said,

    July 11, 2011 at 7:15 pm

    Honni soit qui mal y pense: Some time ago, out of curiosity, I made a tincture with Aloeswood chips (by putting them into perfumer’s alcohol). After two months, the liquid was a little fragrant, but the scent evaporated very fast. For some reason it occurred to me that I could try with the Bosen Kinam, given that it is (supposedly) pure Agarwood. I had the Kinam since a while and sacrificed three sticks for a tincture.

    That tincture immediately turned brownish, and yesterday, i.e. after only a week, I strained it and tested it on a scent strip as well as my arm. What it smelled of was very clearly Benzoin and Labdanum and Vanilla – pure Agarwood? I don’t believe so anymore. I should have spent the money on wood chips instead.

    Today I am repeating the tincture test with some sticks from Scented Mountain, just to see what happens. These should definitely be wood only, plus whatever they use as glue. Interesting experiment.

  3. April 30, 2009 at 11:17 am

    […] company Bosen has had a number of their aloeswood incenses reviewed by Ross here and here. The company also has a number of different blended incenses, several of which are considered to be […]


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