Awaji Koh-shi Part 2:Sandalwood, Fresh Sandalwood, Orange Osmanthus, Lavender, Scent of Forest (Ross)

This is Part 2 of the new Awaji Koh-shi series from Scents of Japan, for Part 1 go here.

This particular grouping would fall into what could be considered a more  “modern” style of scents. Most of them are either from the Low or Less Smoke styles. There are a lot more people who are attracted to this now days and it is nice to see more choices being made available to them.

Sandalwood(Saraike) A nice quality Sandalwood, sort of in the middle of the Sandalwood pack. A clean, fresh scent, with a slight touch of sweetness(this will appeal to many). Probably something that beginning incense users will really enjoy as opposed to some of the more classically styles Sandalwood like Baieido or Shunkodoh. I say this because I know a lot of people who consider those too strong. This is something you can light and let drift through the room and not really have to think about it. .It simply delivers a very pleasant aroma and would work well in a retail setting as well as at home. The more I smell this one,  the more attractive it becomes.

Fresh Sandalwood (Kogyokudo) Unlit this has a very strong perfume like scent to it. When burning, and it is a Less Smoke style, the perfume scent drops back somewhat and the Sandalwood element comes up towards the top. The overall impression is something of a light floral perfume mixed into Sandalwood oil with a slightly sharp edge to it. This does not have any of the dreaded (to me) syntactic scent to it, so the perfume aspect comes across cleanly(well there is a certain sexy quality at play here) Overall I would lean towards the one above, but that’s just my preferences.

Orange Osmanthus Fragrant Olive(Shochikudo) Osmanthus is a flowering shrub from China that produces a very strong and beautiful scent, The absolute of the distilled flower is stunningly beautiful as well as stunningly expensive( I got to sample some last weekend, great stuff)  The unlit stick smells pretty much like the oil, which has a fruity ripe apricot scent to it. When burning the scent is still there although the smoke(which is very minimal) does get in the way of it to a degree. I notice that after the stick has finished burning the Osmanthus scent still hangs in the air and adds a pleasant aroma to a room for some time. The Olive note is way in the back round of the overall scent and is a nice pairing for the Osmanthus.

Lavender (Taikado Koho) A Low Smoke style stick that has a really interesting scent. A sort of lavender with a hint of cinnamon/spice. I find this pretty intriguing. It was not what I was expecting at all. When I see lavender in the name I am pretty much expecting something along the lines of, say, Fred Solls or one of the Indians, this is totally different and got my attention. There is a degree of sweetness to it that is very nice. I tried this on some people and their reactions were very similar to mine. A good addition to a collection with a modern approach. Collage students would go for this as it would be a good intro into this style and the smoke level is low.

Scent of Forest (Shorindo) This is a low smoke incense that smells very fresh and clean but not particularly like any forest you would find in most of California(where I am). There is a very slight floral back round to this one and that, plus the overall clean quality of the scent, will make it attractive to many. It is a well made back round kind of aroma that is very modern in style and presentation.

I have noticed of late that many people who are interested in the low smoke type incenses are also not going for the “big wood” classic type scents(think Baieido Aloeswoods) or the mega floral or spice types( NK, Shoyeido and, of course, Indian styles). There is a  trend towards generally softer, somewhat perfumed and identifiable scents(Coffee, Green Tea, India Ink, Musk etc.) that work in more modern settings.

Part 3 should be up in a couple of days.    -Ross


  1. August 13, 2015 at 1:58 pm

    Hi, I love that you reviewed these and love even more that the part 3 never came, which means I’m on my own for part 3 as I’m about to embark on.

    The funny thing is I didn’t look these up in a catalog so I never noticed that the stick was named anything more than ‘Fragrant Olive’. I have reviewed all these incenses back to back and found there was a lot of common scents between them and I joke about it here.

    Quoted from my review of ‘Fragrant Olive’:

    8-12-15 8:30 AM – I feel like I have to stretch my imagination to get the Olive intended for this. I’ve smelled and eaten a lot of olives and I even lived on a property with olive trees and none of that smelled like this. This has that ‘Awaji floral’ smell that makes me think the island is constantly under attack from fragrant wild flower monsters that make everything smell of a generic sort of wildflower scent. There is a sort of ‘salty’ smell that could start hinting in the direction of olives, but this salty smell is actually more like the brine of the ocean and I’m wondering why this isn’t in the ‘ocean’ and ‘marine’ scents. Then there is something that smells like a ‘musky’ flower like marigold or similar, and it takes me away from anything olive related.

  2. janet said,

    March 6, 2010 at 4:19 pm

    To me, the Fresh Sandalwood is somewhat reminiscent of the scent of Gyokushodo’s Kojurin.

    • Pinjie said,

      March 7, 2010 at 12:22 pm

      Good call, Janet! I would never have thought of comparing the two, but they ARE similar! Now I like Kojurin even more.

  3. Mike said,

    March 1, 2010 at 11:48 am

    You cleared up one of the most confusing things about this line, thanks! I have a sample that says Fragrant Olive and was missing the Osmanthus that I noticed in the catalogs – that it’s the same incense makes a sort of sense, although I wouldn’t have imagined a pairing of the two. NK’s Kayuragi Osmanthus is quite nice, so I’ll have to get home and give this one a light.

    • johnl said,

      March 5, 2010 at 5:11 pm

      In fact, ‘fragrant olive’ is one of the names for osmanthus in English. Strictly speaking, ‘osmanthus fragrant olive’ is redundant. Also, I suspect there is probably no other olive note in the fragrance.

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