April Top Ten (Ross)

This is more or less what I have been using during April ( OK,thats a lie, there were a bunch more but I only get to talk about ten 🙂  The list is not really in any order ( except for the Kyara Kokoh! ) as I have found that it really does depend on the day and the mood. Enjoy  -Ross

Baieido Kyara Kokoh: OK, it’s not at all practical or even sensible, but damn, it’s good. The closest thing I can think of to compare it to is Baieido’s Koh Shi Boku but there are a whole lot more levels going on in the Kokoh.  You can read the review on it here. It would be really nice if Baieido came out with some kind of sampler, I am sure it would not be inexpensive, but it would put it into the realm of doable.

Baieido Byakudan Kobunboku: Easily one of the best deals in Sandalwood on the market. Nice spice and camphor top notes with a really high quality wood which holds down the finish. If you are looking for Sandalwood be sure to check this one out, it’s a big favorite around here. A slightly dryer alternative might be Shunkodo’s Sarasoju or for the wetter side the Fu-In Sandalwood.

Gyokushodo Saimei koh: I just wish this came in a long stick or coil, I find it to be a great backround scent that can be captivating, yet unobtrusive at the same time, not a bad trick. It also perfect for meditation. The spices and woods are somewhat subtle but very refined, not at all over powering. A very “classic” Japanese incense scent that I find myself using a lot.

Kunmeido Kyara Tenpyo: One of the very best of the “green” note incenses one can find. These guys know how to do it and the addition of Kyara is a beautiful thing. I tend to think of this one as the most refined and polished of the Kunmeido line up, at least that you can  get here. It also comes in a smaller size.

Fred Solls Magical Copal: This is Copal mixed with “additions” which make for a very deep, grounding and meditative scent. This a major dose of resins and is also about as far away from a floral as one could get. Not sweet, very heavy resins and quite wonderful, great stuff. There just happens to be a sale at EothA

Shunkodo Houshou: This is one of those somewhat “hidden” aloeswoods that is a really great deal. The woods play with a somewhat bitter sweet chocolate note that make for a superbly dry style. At around $20 it will not break the bank but does get you a great example of Aloeswood from one of the best incense makers in Japan. You might also consider the Tennendo Bronze.

Koh-shi Japanese Musk: This is actually made by Daihatsu. It has a very dense, deep musky scent overlaid on a wood base note. I find it to be very captivating and it would be pretty easy to go through a box in a hurry. There are also some great spice notes worked into the mix, overall it’s a big winner. Works really well to do up a room to set a mood.

Mermade Goddess Hymn: This is really made to be slowly heated and a electric heater works best. It is a truly beautiful mix of resins with a light rose note mixed in, all of which float over the woods base. This and Golden Bough are my two current favorites in this style. I find myself using them quite a lot and many people I know who can not deal with smoke are big fans of these two.

Seikado Solitude / Hitori-Shizuka: This is a (I am assuming)an  perfume/E.O. scent floated over a Sandalwood base that, to me, is just beautiful. There are no synthetic off notes as so often happens in this style. I use this a lot later in the evening or to go to sleep to. It reminds me of a really well made and elegant perfume, it is also not at all overpowering. Nice clean packaging to, makes for a great gift.

Shroff Channabasappa Amir: I find this incense and in fact the “Natural Incenses” from Shroff to be really unique among  Indian style  incenses. Given the price point of most of the incense from India it is pretty hard for me to believe that there is very much in the way of real Essential Oils in them, and to my nose they generally( not always) have a somewhat synthetic note mixed in. This is not the case here and the price most likely reflects this. It’s worth it. This is a really nice scent and opens this style up for many people. Stunning and gorgeous come to mind as descriptions. You might try the Shamana Gold in the same section also.



  1. Pinjie said,

    May 5, 2010 at 10:56 pm

    Thanks for the great list, Ross! I love Saimei Koh so much that I want to burn it all day! I find it to be quite potent, though. It has a strong spice blend and a very strong, intoxicating aloeswood scent! I’d change a few words of yours to reflect my impression:”The spices and woods are refined but potent, powerful but not over-powering”. 🙂

  2. Mike said,

    May 4, 2010 at 10:46 am

    I’m pretty flipped over Samei Koh as well, I think I’ve burned through almost a quarter of my roll so far. And I totally agree it would be better in a more heavy delivery form, like a Horin like coil or something. Occasionally I burn two sticks at once to get that.

    I’ve also really gotten into the Byakudan Kobunboku. For all the comments about how great Baieido is with aloeswood, they’re at least equally as impressive in the sandalwood area and think they get closer to the real deal than anyone else, even when they’re adding spices and such.

    But right now I’m in the Yama pocket, I just can’t get enough… only get to talk about indeed.

  3. Alex said,

    May 4, 2010 at 5:33 am

    I love the addition of Fred Soll’s copal: definitely my favorite resin. I’ve really leaned towards the Japanese stuff of late, but whenever I’m looking to mix it up I go to Magical Copal or the Ancient Frankincense. I love to switch to it after burning the woody Japanese sticks for a week or so because then the depth of the resin seems even more potent.

  4. Hamid said,

    May 2, 2010 at 12:17 pm

    As It happens I burned part of a stick of Amir this morning. Stunning and gorgeous indeed Ross.

    • Ross said,

      May 2, 2010 at 6:39 pm

      The whole line seems pretty good, with lots of diversity and some gutsy combination’s. Looking at the ingredients list for Amir, I would never guess it would smell that way.

  5. janet said,

    May 2, 2010 at 11:01 am

    Wow, Ross, it’s pretty strange, because I’ve been burning Houshou a lot lately, and just Friday I thought about writing a post singing its praises! O.o
    You know how some Patchouli oils have a chocolatey note? I’ve wondered before if the inclusion of something like that imparted the scent to Houshou….
    Anyhow, it’s wonderful.
    I’ve also been burning a lot of Saimei koh, although I find it reasonably potent – but, yeah, wonderfully spicy and camphorous and and a perfect classic, as you say.
    What a great list! Thanks!

    • Ross said,

      May 2, 2010 at 6:35 pm

      The Houshou just kind of sites there in its paper wrapper and tends to get over shadowed by the cool wood boxes, thus forgotten. Always a treat to go through the drawer and find something like that! Hadn’t thought of Patchouli but you could be right. Thanks-Ross

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