September is here, bringing with it both the Fall Equinox (Sept. 23) and the Funk Equinox (Do you remember…the 21st night of September ?)
Ahem…without further ado, here’s the September Top 10:
♦ Superior Hougary/Hojary Frankincense resin – slightly astringent and citrusy, these frank resins have been merrily melting on my electric burner for weeks (I start at 20 on my Supreme Incense burner). This ebay merchant was mentioned to me by Ross, and the transaction was super smooth. Make sure you look for “superior grade”. Consider buying a couple of pounds or more if you need to justify the shipping cost from Oman. The DHL shipping envelope they arrived in smelled so good I nearly wore it as a hat.
♦ Baieido’s Kaden Kobunboku – the entire Kobunboku lineup is superb and affordable making it tough (and probably unnecessary) to single any one out. But this spicy entry has been grabbing my attention lately. Kaden doesn’t retain the plum tones of the regular Kobunboku and could be described as a thin-stick version of Baieido’s also excellent Kai Un Koh. (Kaden presents just a bit darker and richer than Byakudan Kobunboku, which was almost tied for the Top 10 this month.)
♦ Shoyeido’s Enmei (aka Circle) is a sandalwood, clove & cinnamon blend from their “Selects” line. It’s also considered one of Shoyeido’s two (with Seifu – Fresh Breeze) premium daily incenses. And like it’s sibling, Enmei manages to evoke hints of more deluxe aloeswoods despite a lack of them in the mix. A big leap aromatically from Shoyeido’s regular Daily line and worth the upgrade.
♦ Muro-machi (aka City of Culture) is another offering from Shoyeido, part of its Horin line. Rich caramel laced with wafts of aloeswood, this is an indulgent aroma. The short (about 3″) stick burns for 20 minutes or so and is perfect to drift off to sleep by. I hear the coil version of this (and any of the Horin line) is even more deluxe, though I haven’t tried it yet myself.
♦ Ikaruga, from Kyukyodo, is a sharp and sweet blend of sandalwood, frankincense and oils. The frank component is quite like Tennendo’s frankincense – bright and fruity. The remaining ingredients add a strong ‘green’ note that makes for a rich and satisfying whole. A Hall-of-Famer that takes a bit of effort to lay your hands on these days, but well worth the difficulty.
♦ Holy Land – this Tibetan offering from Tibetan Medical College is finally back in stock at Essence of the Ages. It is the finest Tibetan incense I’ve encountered, with a rich, musky hit that is beyond intoxicating. It never fails to send electrifying waves of deja vu through me.
♦ Guiding Light – speaking of deja vu (deja vu about deja vu?), this incense from Les Encens du Monde also triggers all sorts of time travel and nostalgic ripples for me. It makes one of those rare first impressions that surpasses “very nice” and immediately has you thinking about buying a larger supply. There are numerous oils, woods and spices at work here and somewhere within this rich, dense floral/wood/perfumed collage I have commented on a distinct musk note that absolutely evokes TMC’s Holy Land (does anyone else notice this?)
♦ Jungle Prince – It’s hard to go wrong with anything from Shroff. I’ve burned this one a few times lately – with the shadows getting longer and a coolness returning to the evening breeze, it’s only natural to reach for incense with a bit more weight and punch. A nag champa wearing cologne…
♦ Heian Koh – is one of a couple of green aloeswood offerings from Kunmeido. It was one of my earliest purchases and has remained stocked ever since. A Hall-Of-Famer and a must-have for green fanatics. (BTW – Asuka, Kunmeido’s other green stick, is oh-so similar but packaged in larger lots so its entry fee is considerably more. If you break them down to $/inch, Heian Koh and Asuka are actually both around $.20).
♦ After a 2006 trip to Peru, I was briefly interested in all-things-Peruvian and discovered Palo Santo Wood Chips (see bottom of page). These homogeneous, rice-sized chips may be burned on a makko trail or charcoal, but the electric burner is the tool of choice for eliminating smoke, eliminating any harshness from burning, and fully releasing their bouquet (I start at about 30 on my Supreme Incense burner). Palo Santo is a truly unique scent that is both warm and energizing. It has a wonderful and pervasive sweetness with the slightest hint of cedar in the top and an effervescent spearmint-like middle. If you are looking for something new and different to try on your burner, Palo Santo is a refreshing change of pace. It’s very inexpensive and a perfect companion for the arrival of autumn!