January Top 10

January is drawing to a close and it’s time for this month’s Top 10!   If you were to drop by my office at the ORS Studios™ (I am the first door on the left past the ORS lab), you would likely encounter one of these fine scents wafting from my open door:

 Sho Ran Koh from Kyukyodo has long been my go-to scent for guests.  After some time away from it, I recently rediscovered it, rekindling the love affair.  While we hear of aloeswood frequently, this is an example of the incense actually smelling like aloe – that smooth rich scent in good unscented body lotions.  Throw in wondrous spices and you have the elegant and sublime Sho Ran Koh.  It’s cheaper than you think – you are just forced to buy a very large quantity at once, which will last you a good, long time.  At only about a buck per 10.5″ (!) stick, you’ll see this is a cheaper incense to burn than, say, the next incense on our list:

Nippon Kodo’s Bamboo Leaf is an entry in their Yume-no-Yume line and, if I didn’t know better, would assume was rather a part of Shoyeido’s Incense Road line.  The marketing and packaging of these 2 lines seems quite similar (and trendy) and you pay for that.  Bamboo Leaf can be had for about $6 for a pack, which includes beautiful graphics and a plastic tray which securely and individually holds each of the 12 sticks.  But with sticks only 3.25″ long, this burn is more expensive per inch than Sho Ran Koh (!), yet another (unfortunate) similarity with the Incense Road line.  Price not withstanding, Bamboo Leaf is an indulgent treat and if you are a fan of Shoyeido’s Incense Road Nan-Zan, then just imagine replacing Nan-Zan’s frankincense with green tea, keeping all the sweet underlying richness, and you have Bamboo Leaf.  On the menu of Japanese incense, you’ll find this one under desserts!

 Pearl from Shroff has been arresting my attention of late. The champa brings something familiar and comfortable, yet with a perfume intertwined and pulsing that is new and always captivating to me. A prime example of why Shroff gets the hype they do around here.  Extra cool point – the packaging seems to have a typo, with the incense being called “Peral” – an ominous sounding and entirely offbase A.K.A. if ever there was one.

 If you love sandalwood, then do yourself a favor and pick up a roll of Yumemachi by Kyukyodo.  Everything these folks do is superlative and reasonably priced and Yumemachi is no exception.  Super smooth slightly citrus sandalwood! You’ll be burning handfuls of this stuff before long 😀

 Reiryo-Koh from Kunmeido was part of my very first order of Japanese incense and has been a sentimental favorite ever since.  It’s one of a handful of incenses that just nail the sweet spot – great spicy aroma with a low price that allows you to freely enjoy.  I pack Reiryo-Koh with me whenever I travel and I burn it in my car overnight to scent it, no kidding!

Koh En from Baieido is a classic. While certainly a luxury pleasure, sometimes you just have to allow yourself a few guilt-free sessions and enjoy.  It’s a nice companion while reading, writing or otherwise sedately reposing – when your senses are quiet and aware and the many subtle layers of scent can roll by under your appreciative contemplation.

 Shoyeido’s Seifu is the slightly more premium of Shoyeido’s two Premium Daily Incenses. The darkly colored stick manages to approximate the deep watery-ness found in high-grade aloeswoods (Tennendo’s Enkuu comes to mind here) at a fraction of the price. A great incense to try if you’re new to Japanese incense or if you’re looking to start exploring finer (and more expensive) Japanese offerings.

 There is a tantalizing combination of powdery sweetness (almost talc-like) and woody spiciness to Tennendo’s Kuukai that is intoxicating. Your nose keeps jumping between the two, trying to latch on to one scent just as the other pulls your attention away.  To be safe, you better just pick up the 10-roll box on this one  😀

 If you are a Tibetan-style fan, you owe it to yourself to try Nado Poizokhang Grade A.  It is in the same vein as Tibetan Monastery Incense and equally as good.  I actually have cravings for this one from time to time.  I wrote comments recently on NP Grade A – rather than repeat myself, just take a look at the link here to the review & comments.

 If they’re good enough for the Dalai Lama, then you should certainly enjoy Bo-rim sticks from Korea (I still am unclear who the manufacturer is – ChuiWoon HyangDang or Sam-sung?)  A dry, bitter-yet-smooth stick that evokes both burnt toast and burning leaves, I find the aroma both arresting, focusing and calming.  I see Frank Lloyd Wright working on a new design at his drafting table with this burning in the background.  If you haven’t tried a Korean incense, this is the top notch way to go.  If I had it to do over again, I would take all the $ I spent on Bosen and other Korean incenses and just buy more Bo-rim!

Hope you enjoyed this month’s Top 10, and while I’m at it, a reminder:  Have you subscribed to our RSS Feeds yet?  Make sure you never miss a thing at ORS and have all new Entries and Comments delivered right to you!

– Steve

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57 Comments

  1. May 31, 2010 at 10:56 am

    […] ♦ In Roald Dahl’s “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”, the Wonka factory is a metaphor for Tennendo.  And the illusive Golden Ticket represents Kuukai.  Charlie spent his last dime to get it, and you should too!  It even made my Top 10 in January. […]

  2. Alex said,

    February 2, 2010 at 7:05 am

    Love the addition of Kuukai. It and Tensei have to be at the top of my rather small list of incenses, though I’m currently burning through a fairly large new order.
    I think it’s funny how I made a similar price chart for a bunch of incenses when I was considering what to buy on my last order.

  3. Mike said,

    February 1, 2010 at 9:18 am

    Great list Steve. I really thought it was fascinating to see that Sho-Ran-Koh is a cheaper incense per inch than Bamboo Leaf! I have an excel chart somewhere where I end up getting the per inch price per incense, but it takes a lot of upkeep and I’m just at a loss for time lately. But it’s cool you mention Bamboo Leaf too as I’ve kind of wavered here and there on whether those two NK incenses should even be in the Hall of Fame, but I used to absolutely love them when I first started investigating Japanese incense. I think the idea of them as dessert incenses is not a bad perspective to look at them from.

    I’d also love to underline the love for the Shoyeido Premium Daily incenses. They really do strike a much more deluxe scent for their prices, especially at the bulk box level. They’ve gone over really well with my family too…

    • Steve said,

      February 1, 2010 at 9:47 am

      Thanks Mike! I keep an excel spreadsheet, too, and also have let my price per inch data collection slide lately. But here’s some interesting price points for some of our familiar incenses – it’ll reaffirm that Sho-Ran-Koh is a real bargain! (I did these calcs a while ago, so prices may have changed.)

      Shoyeido Sho-kaku………………..$2.45/inch
      Shunkodo Aioi No Matsu……………$.73/inch
      Baieido Koh En……………………….$.31/inch
      Kunmeido Heian Koh…………………$.21/inch
      Shoyeido Nan-Zan…………………..$.18/inch
      NK Bamboo Leaf……………………..$.16/inch
      Shunkodo Ranjatai…………………..$.13/inch
      Tibetan Highland…………………….$.11/inch
      Kyukyodo Sho-Ran-Koh…………….$.11/inch
      Shoyeido Seifu……………………….$.09/inch
      Holy Land……………………………..$.08/inch
      Kunmeido Reiryo-koh………………..$.02/inch

      • Mike said,

        February 1, 2010 at 10:59 am

        Heh, I still get the mental picture with Shokaku of holding up a lit cone of dollar bills. 🙂 But yeah you’re not kidding on the deal. I always wondered how one might calculate thickness into all of this though.

      • David said,

        February 2, 2010 at 2:47 pm

        Hi Steve,

        I have a couple general questions for you:

        What should the shelf life of incense be?
        Do you find significant variation in a particular incense?

        I recently got a Shoyeido Horin Sampler and the Tenpyo was very different from when I ordered it seperately. In the sampler it had a pheromone like smell, kind of musky, that I can’t stand. When I purchased the Tenpyo by itself it was very nice and nothing like that.
        Any ideas why that might be?

        Best,

        David
        http://www.globalaroundtown.blogspot.com

        • Steve said,

          February 2, 2010 at 3:48 pm

          Hey David!

          The storage question comes up frequently so I’m going to cut & paste my latest response that hopefully helps a little. Regarding your second question about sample vs “full roll” aroma differences, all I can say is that you are not the first to bring this up, but I haven’t heard an explanation – perhaps someone here can offer insight!

          Here’s the shelf-life text (taken from the fathomless depths of comments under “Ask the Olfactory Rescue Service”):
          *********************************************
          Hey Michael!

          Good questions on storage. I wish I could point you to a comprehensive, definitive answer, but I don’t think there’s one out there. But from following folks’ comments here over the past few years, a few observations seem to come up:

          1) Incense with less oils (i.e. closer to true woods) are likely less volatile over time, so may offer longer shelf life and less scent degradation.

          2) Climate, humidity and light controlled environs are probably ideal – my impression is that a typical drawer in a home offers reasonable temperature, humidity and light control.

          3) I have heard that zip-lock bags may not be a good idea. I don’t know why. I can’t remember where I may have heard that. I could possibly have even just made that up 😀 Perhaps it could encourage moisture? [EDIT – ignore me on the zip-locks rumor. I can’t substantiate what I said and it really seems counter-intuitive. I notice that many of my Tibetans came in resealable plastic bags, as did my Minorien Fu-in Kyara Ryugen, and I have had no problems with any of them. Sorry for the misinformation!]

          4) Storing various oil-laden incenses together could possibly lead to some fragrance cross-contamination (i.e. don’t store your prized kyara mixed in the same blue box with your nag-champa!)

          5) Again on contamination, I wouldn’t store incense near mothballs, cedar-blocks, or the like that are often in drawers and chests. And if a chest has a particulary strong-smelling wood (i.e. pine) I might not want to keep incense there, either.

          I poked around a bit here to try to find some words of wisdom. Here’s what little I have found so far. Read comments #5 and #7 for some thoughts on storage:

          https://olfactoryrescueservice.wordpress.com/ask-the-olfactory-rescue-service/comment-page-3/#comments

          If I find any other nuggets of information, I’ll pass them along.

          In my experience, I have noticed zero scent degradation in any of my incense – Indian, Tibetan or Japanese. I have a large wood and glass storage cabinet that houses all my Japanese. A separate wood cabinet to store all my Tibetan. Another cabinet for the Indian. I buy a lot of incense in large quantity, and have had some for a couple of years. Have had no problem whatsoever! Just keep ’em in their original boxes/rolls, out of intense/direct sun, and they should be as comfortable as you are in your home! I have no qualms about buying large quantities and having them sit about for a few years.

          Maybe some others here will give you some more specific info on their storage experiences…

          • Mike said,

            February 2, 2010 at 3:58 pm

            Shoyeido recipes differ a lot, in fact in the Daily Incense thread there’s been a whole conversation today about how the short rolls vs long boxes are different. Horin coils vs sticks are different. Old premiums vs new premiums are different. There are probably lots of reasons for this, but none ultimately satisfying.

            • janet said,

              February 2, 2010 at 6:10 pm

              This might be a good place to insert that just yesterday I had the chance to see what you meant about the difference between the Tenpyo coils and sticks….WOW! Huge difference. The sticks – which I love – seemed *almost* shallow and perfumey in comparison. Are the other Horins as different?

              • Mike said,

                February 3, 2010 at 8:44 am

                Muro-machi is definitely as different as Ten-Pyo is (Muro-machi is simply spectacular in coils, one of the incense greats). Gen-Roku’s also different but not quite as severe (but the coils definitely have the bigger aloeswood hit). The bottom two are slightly different but not as severe since they don’t use aloeswood.

                • Janet said,

                  February 3, 2010 at 9:45 am

                  Hey, Mike….
                  Was one of these meant to be Muro machi?

                  • Mike said,

                    February 3, 2010 at 10:22 am

                    Sorry Janet, I’ll correct the comment cuz you’re right. That’s so weird!

          • Maharani said,

            February 4, 2010 at 7:43 am

            As a genera rule (I am a molecular biologist by training) most biologicals are best stored at 4 degrees C (fridge) or -20 degrees C (freezer). It works well for spices for example (I store all bulk spices in the freezer). It would probably work for incense if you stored it with a desiccant such as silica gel. Just a suggestion, but might be worth a try to see if it works. My worry would be the effect of humidity. Anyone care to try it out with a few sticks?

            Currently I store incense in its boxes, in a cold, dark, dry drawer. I have had some incenses over 4 years and they do not show scent degradation.

            • Mike said,

              February 4, 2010 at 8:23 am

              Bosen incenses are all packaged with silica gel. Course it’s hard to tell if it works as we have no idea when the incenses are made up. But my experience with incense over time is that for the most part it does take a while to age. I have 10 year old Mystic Temple incenses that still retain the greater percentage of their scent (even though the oils must have dissipated to some point). I’d guess with natural wood and spice incenses like Baieido, that don’t use oils, probably last a very long time without losing a lot of the original aroma.

              • Maharani said,

                February 4, 2010 at 8:44 am

                An EZ experiment would be to take 5 stick lots of of the same incense and store at RT, 4C, and -20C, w/wo silica gel, leave them 2 months and compare the scent of each lot. It would not matter when the incense was made as long as you started out with the same lot for your aliquots.

                Now youve got me designing controls….like old times…..

        • Steve said,

          February 2, 2010 at 4:08 pm

          @ David – OK, I might have an idea about the Shoyeido Horin Sampler – the packaging labels are very confusing. If you open the sampler like a book, with the 5 incenses oriented horizontally, 1 above the next, then the labels are correct. In other words, the top incense is Tenpyo and the bottom one is Nijo.

          If you open the sampler so that the incenses stand vertically, the 5 variations going from left to right, then the labels are backwards (i.e. the left most incense is NOT Tenpyo – it’s Nijo)!!! This, unfortunately, would seem the most natural way to open the sampler (it was for me and had me quite confused for awhile).

          Is it possible you mistook Nijo for Tenpyo in your sampler?

          • David said,

            February 2, 2010 at 5:02 pm

            That could be it Steve. But what lousy labeling! Looking at the sampler horizontally, the names of the incenses are labeled from L to R: Tenpyo/Muromachi/Genroku/Horikawa/Nijo. Wouldn’t you think that as you open it up, oriented the same way, that the incense would be lined up accordingly? Vertically this is also not matched properly ie the Tenpyo label is at the bottom and the incense is at the top or vice versa. I am so glad I asked. Otherwise I might have bought coils of precisely what I do not like. Absolutely amazing.

            • Steve said,

              February 2, 2010 at 5:19 pm

              Exactly – VERY confusing! I assume the text inside is clear IF you can read Japanese, but the only English labels are obviously not positioned well! And I noticed that a quick sniff of Nijo fits the musky description you mentioned…

              • David said,

                February 2, 2010 at 5:24 pm

                I never thought I’d meet a Shoyeido I didn’t like. Apparently I have. That Nijo is terrible. At least the one in the middle is in fact, the one in the middle – Genroku.
                Thanks for your help in deciphering this. Somebody should write Shoyeido.

            • janet said,

              February 2, 2010 at 5:30 pm

              If you have any left, David, the colors are Nijo-blue, Hori-Kawa-red roku-green, Muro-machi-tan, and Ten-pyo…uh – other? Dark brownish gray, I guess. That might help orient you.

              • janet said,

                February 2, 2010 at 5:31 pm

                Arrgh. Gen-Roku. Trying to type and eat at the same time!

              • Steve said,

                February 2, 2010 at 5:39 pm

                Yup! I have to remember the one red one is Hori-kawa to re-orient myself whenever I pick up the sampler pack…

              • David said,

                February 2, 2010 at 5:40 pm

                I have yet one glorious Tenpyo left.

                • Steve said,

                  February 2, 2010 at 5:41 pm

                  Indeed – glorious!

                  • janet said,

                    February 2, 2010 at 6:07 pm

                    It surely is…but I like Nijo a lot, too.

                • David said,

                  February 2, 2010 at 5:41 pm

                  And I just called Shoyeido to alert them to this poor labeling.

                  • Steve said,

                    February 2, 2010 at 5:43 pm

                    Very interesting – were they receptive?

  4. BenA said,

    January 31, 2010 at 12:35 pm

    I had just lit a stick of the Nado Poizokhang Grade A when I started reading this list. How nice to see it on your January Top 10. I’ve really been enjoying this incense. I think it’s my favorite of the half-dozen or so Tibetan-style incenses I’ve tried so far. On the whole, I like these less than the Japanese incenses (which speak to my childhood incense “imprinting”), but they’re wonderful on their own very different terms. (Indian incenses are another story. I haven’t tried that many of them so far, but they seem a bit over-the-top to me. If I could dial them down a little I’d burn them more frequently.)

    At any rate, the NP A doesn’t smell quite like any other Tibetan-style stick I’ve tried, including the TMI (which I also like). NP A seems unusually smooth and also has a terrific celery note that I don’t think I’ve smelled in any other incense.

    Do think about reviewing the two NP Riwo Sangchoe incenses. I have the red box (evening) NP RS and I like it a lot. It’s very different from the NP A. It has a sweet, almost lactic quality to it. Another one of my favorite Tibetans.

  5. Hamid said,

    January 31, 2010 at 2:35 am

    Yes nice to see One non Japenese/Tibetan incense among what is for me a largely inaccessable list..I have tried to like Japanese and Tibetan incense..honestly I have..But I dont much. I realise this says more about me than the incenses, but I have the same problem that Anne has with Pure-Incense, all Japanese incense smells the same. I can tell that some have much more refined ingredients and some are synthetic, but they all smell to me like variations on a theme. If you like the theme then you are in clover..as with Pure-Incense. With Tibetan incense its more acute, they all smell like variations on a theme I dont like. Ah me..
    As my old gran used to say, it would be a dull world if we all liked the same things, and I am glad for all incense lovers that there is now such a wide variety to please every palate.

    • Steve said,

      January 31, 2010 at 7:07 am

      Hey Hamid! I think you are right about variations on a theme. There’s a lot of variation out there, but I agree with you that it’s possible a general approach or style just might not register for some folks. As you can probably tell, I prefer woody, spicy, bold incenses so Japanese and Tibetan definitely have a lot to offer someone like me. Now, I know there are a lot of floral fans here, particularly of rose scents, but they just don’t do it for me and I have the same impression you mention – they all smell the same, or at least like variations on a style I don’t particularly enjoy. I have this great analogy running through my head of hamburgers – Blue Cheese, BBQ, Swiss and Mushroom, Teriyaki and Pineapple, Bacon and Cheddar, etc.. If ya just don’t like burgers, then all the talk of the variations falls flat as you order a tuna melt 😀

      • Hamid said,

        January 31, 2010 at 9:30 am

        Maybe its a kind of imprinting Steve, like baby birds and their mothers, my first experiences of stick incense was Indian, and for me that became the acme, the imprimateur, of stick incense. It was a range of sticks from a now defunct chain of shops in London called Indiacraft, If they had been called Japancraft I may have had my taste in incense shaped in a completely different way……….I have actually tried some of the high end Japanese sticks, and I think ” thats nice”….and my hand moves towards the Jivada Hanuman Rose.. But there we are, its a big incense world out there..

        • Steve said,

          January 31, 2010 at 9:57 am

          I think your imprinting comment is right on, Hamid! So much of an incense’s appeal can be the sentimental/emotional reaction it evokes of fond memories. I think that’s why, for instance, many Tibetans are so dear to me – I recall summers as a child playing in the woods or tall grass, heat, the wondrous impression cows & horses leave on a child and the accompanying smells of them and the wood and leather accessories found with them.

          I intentionally “imprint” incense now. For instance, when I got married nearly 2 years ago, I purposefully brought 3 incenses with us to use in our hotel room. Now, whenever we burn them nice memories of our wedding trip come to mind! I do this on all our vacations.

          Anne and I have talked briefly about my dislike for rose scent, and in doing so I realized it triggers thoughts of a funeral for me, so I’m sure that psychology is playing into my distaste. I fully believe your imprinting theory applies to this.

          • janet said,

            January 31, 2010 at 10:03 am

            Just out of curiosity, which three incenses did you take on your honeymoon? And am I nuts, but was that a question you posted here?

            • Steve said,

              January 31, 2010 at 10:12 am

              Hey Janet! I took Reiryo-Koh (shock!), Heian Koh and Kai un Koh – THE THREE KOHS! 😀

              They all remain on my must-have list. I think I have mentioned in the past that I took incense to the hotel for our wedding with the intention of building positive association for the future, but I don’t think I posed it as a question – could be. It would be interesting conversation to hear if others out there do the same thing!

          • Hamid said,

            January 31, 2010 at 10:07 am

            Interesting. I am by the way a psychiatrist in non cyber life. My bill is in the post…….
            Thats a joke. The bill bit.

    • janet said,

      January 31, 2010 at 10:12 am

      Hamid,
      My dear friend left Friday to return to the UK…
      so one of these days I very well may make it to the market in Totnes after all!

      • Hamid said,

        January 31, 2010 at 10:39 am

        If you do Janet, be sure to sniff out Maheshi’s stall, loaded with piles of incense sticks. Follow your nose.
        Steve you might want to try Chintamani therapy, ( see Review Your Incenses ) It is rose-like, but is not a rose, and has all sorts of pine and other overtones. It might desensitise you to rose -like smells.

  6. Pinjie said,

    January 30, 2010 at 9:03 pm

    Great job, Steve! Sho Ran Koh, Kuukai, and Seifu are my all-time favorites. I agree with you on the 10-roll box of Kuukai. You just can’t have too much of this stuff!

    Bo-rim is made by ChuiWoon HyangDang. It says so on the tube. Sorry for sounding smart, but I can actually read the wiggly Chinese characters since I’m Chinese (which explains the occasional mistakes in my written English 🙂 ), and yes, they do use some Chinese characters in the Korean language.

    • Steve said,

      January 30, 2010 at 9:22 pm

      Thanks, Pinjie! We seem to have similar tastes. With brilliant offerings like these out there, it’s so unfortunate and obvious that incense has an image problem here based on dated iconography and a lack of public awareness of the “good stuff”! Hmmm – not sure why I just kinda jumped on that little soapbox just now 😀

      Thanks for clarifying the manufacturer for me, too!

      • Pinjie said,

        January 30, 2010 at 10:24 pm

        You are welcome!

        Stay up on that soapbox since you have a good message to deliver!

        I forgot to mention that I also share the passion for Reiryo Koh with you. It’s one of best under-$10 incense products!

        • Steve said,

          January 31, 2010 at 6:52 am

          Couldn’t agree more with you Pinjie – Reiryo Koh is da bomb! Heck, I burn it in my car – I can’t give a higher endorsement than that 😀

          • Pinjie said,

            February 2, 2010 at 1:32 pm

            Hi, Steve,

            Speaking of Reiryo Koh, have you tried any of the granulated incenses from Kunmeido? In my opinion even the lowest one, Tenkun, is purer and more potent than our beloved Reiryo Koh!

            • Steve said,

              February 2, 2010 at 1:49 pm

              I haven’t Pinjie – I love all the Kunmeido sticks so I guess I should look into the powders. Which have you tried?

              • Mike said,

                February 2, 2010 at 2:16 pm

                You know, the bizarre thing about granulated incenses is that you’d expect them to be the most natural of incenses, but I’d say most companies add more oils and perfumes to these. The Shoyeidos almost make your eyes water as do the Daihatsus. The Baieidos seem the most natural, the Kunmeidos, perhaps between these two, if I remember correctly.

                • Janet said,

                  February 2, 2010 at 3:34 pm

                  As a person new to granulateds, I was wondering about that…..I guess I was assuming since they were so traditional, that there were a minimum amount of perfumes used, and that the stronger scents came from the actual botanical material (as in raw camphor for the Shoyeidos, which do indeed make my eyes water)….is that a bad assumption?
                  I know the bakhoors and a lot of resin incenses have oils….
                  and coming from a person who was nuts about oils before being muts about incense, it’s been interesting for me to try to differentiate.

                  • clairsight said,

                    February 2, 2010 at 10:41 pm

                    I notice that except for Shoyeido(who does use oils/perfumes in their granulated) most of the main companies do not. I recently got to sample the tops of the Baieido and Yamada Matsu lines granulated offerings and they were straight up woods and herbs, I do not think there were even resins in there. Of course the quality of what was in there was “stone killer amazing”! I also noticed that they smelled a lot more potent using a makko trail rather then on a heater, or at least totally different.

              • Pinjie said,

                February 2, 2010 at 2:18 pm

                I’ve tried Tenkun, Kokuichi, and Tenshin. All of them are heavenly! They are not really powders but rather are finely-cut little pieces of woods, spices, and herbs.

  7. janet said,

    January 30, 2010 at 7:17 pm

    ::snicker::
    I had been meaning to ask about the Indian experiment….does the fact that only Pearl shows up on your Top Ten mean you haven’t fallen for all the new entries?

    • Steve said,

      January 30, 2010 at 7:26 pm

      It’s a mixed bag. I got a bunch of Purelands, Pure Incense, Mother’s and Shroff’s at the same time so it’s just a lot to digest. I have some early notions – in time I’ll probably just add my comments to the formal review of each…

  8. janet said,

    January 30, 2010 at 6:55 pm

    Ok, ok. Calm and ready to behave now.
    Great job, Steve!
    I especially love your characterization of the Kuukai, which is a big favorite of mine, and you’ve convinced me that I really really have to make the Bo-Rim a priority (although I gotta tell you, I really like some of the Bosens and wouldn’t want to trade them). “Dry, bitter-yet-smooth” sounds just about perfect!
    Today I spent a little time taking small pieces of the four Baieido premium aloeswoods – having just acquired a roll of Koh En 🙂 – and comparing them, because I had been asking some questions about the characteristics of different aloeswoods….they are all brilliant in their own ways, and Koh En just seems to pull all the best qualities together into one package…at least based on the very limited time I have spent with it.
    Gracias, Esteban!

    • Steve said,

      January 30, 2010 at 7:08 pm

      😀
      Janet – here at ORS Studios™ we actually do have a state-of-the-art aroma test facility and lab. Tours are offered Tuesday afternoons (by appointment) and you need to try to get by for a look-see. Don’t confuse this location with my at-home aroma-confinement test room which I have commented on before here. It’s just a coincidence my wife prefers to refer to this latter test site as the “downstairs guest bathroom”… 😀

      That’s awesome you stocked up on Koh En! As Ross points out in his review, there is a learning curve to it – but a very rewarding one at that!

      • clairsight said,

        January 30, 2010 at 11:15 pm

        Dude
        I hope you remembered to turn off the aromatic transfigurator support system before you left the lab, we do not want to have to rebuild the Cray super computer again after I left it on the last time 🙂

        • Steve said,

          January 31, 2010 at 6:48 am

          Seriously – that was a mess! I dropped by the lab on the way out last night to double check – it was definitely off when I left. I still think the night cleaning crew fiddles with stuff in there when we’re not around. I KNOW we didn’t leave that vial of synthetic pangolin scale just sitting on the counter!

          • Mike said,

            January 31, 2010 at 8:54 am

            I’m still unhappy none of the cleaning crew ever owned up for adding garlic to the team’s kyphi recipe, it took a week just to air out the lab!

  9. janet said,

    January 30, 2010 at 6:44 pm

    I haven’t even read this yet, but I had to stop and drop a note after the first line, because you *must* know what I thought about when I read “ORS lab”!!!!
    Bwahahaha!


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