Yamada Matsu is a very old and well established incense maker in Japan. They are very well respected and have a very large catalog. Japan Incense/Kohshi has started to bring some of their line into their retail store in San Francisco. You can only buy them at the store or by calling or emailing the store, no Internet sales as of yet.
This review looks at some of the kneaded styles Yamada Matsu makes, there are also some incense sticks and incense body powders available.
I personally discovered these when dealing with a cold and wanting to smell something beautiful but without the smoke. These came to my rescue. There are around 30-35 balls in each box and they tend to last around 2-3 hours each at a low setting on my electric incense heater. I also have discovered that they somehow seem to revive themselves between heating’s and just keep going.
Umegaka: A combination of Sandalwood and spices with a sweetish deep aroma, almost, but not quite perfume like in its qualities. Very pleasant as well as strong and a great way to scent a room.
Kurogata: Aloeswood and spices with the sweetish scent qualities that seem to be a part of most kneaded styles(the honey that is used as a binder could have something to do with this). A more aristocratic take, deeper with more levels and a sort of aromatic dance between the Aloeswoods, honey, cloves and other spices. Again, strong and long lasting not to mention really good.
Genmyo: This one uses Kyara, Aloeswoods and an assortment of spices. It has the honeyed sweet scent as a backdrop for the woods, is much deeper and “fuller” then the other two. This one sticks me as being much more in the realms of something you would spend quality time with, sort of like the difference between just lighting a stick of incense and “listening to incense”.
These have become some of my favorite incense of late, I find them very pleasant and, well, captivating.
You will need to call or email Kotaro and Jay at Kohshi to get these for your own. Stay tuned for more from Yamada Matsu.