April 2011 Top Ten

Tennendo: Enkuu: Dry, austere and intriguing. The perfect meditation scent (well, for some of us). A long time favorite here and with good reason. This is not a simple scent, there are a great many levels to it; it can become a fascinating study listening to it.

Baieido: Kun Sho: This is Cambodian Aloeswood with the subtle addition of a supporting caste of a few other traditional Japanese incense materials. The whole idea here is to showcase the Aloeswood and of all the incense makers I think Baieido does this the best. I reach for this box quite a lot.

Yamada Matsu: Hyofu: This incense relies on a very good grade of Aloeswood, probably Vietnamese, to produce this sort of ultra light floral/clean note (which might be Jasmine) that mixes in with the woods and produces a scent that is very hard to describe and also very intriguing. It has an interesting property of cutting through other scents even though it really is a seemingly light scent. Great for meditation or as something to subtly scent a room. This one also takes a long time to even start to figure out  🙂

Kyukyodo: Kinbato: A very nice Aloeswoods base with some sandalwood added in over which rides a beautiful floral with hints of spice. I find this to be a real favorite of mine the more I pull it out. Kyukyodo is shaping up to be the masters at these types of Japanese floral/perfume scented incense. It probably does not hurt that many of these recipes apparently come from the Japanese Imperial Court and its past  incense masters.

Dhuni: Khus:  I burn this in small amounts as I find it strong. That being said I also really like the somewhat greenish and uplifting qualities it has. There are a lot of the Indians that are simply too much for me but this one works quite well. Great stuff and not to be missed. I figure Dhuni (who seems fairly new) is already one of the best around and look forward to new releases. I would really like to see them go for a big woods line.

Minorien  Kanzeon: This is very different from the standard Minorien’s we have had in the past, you can check out my review on this and Daijyoukoh for all the tasting notes, but in general I find this a very refreshing and clean scent, just the thing for Spring time.

Minorien: Granulated Kyara or Sandalwood: These are in a granulated or loose style and while they work well on an electric heater they really cut loose on a makko trail. The Kyara is somewhat reminiscent of their Kyara stick incense, but it is also much more potent and “in your face”. Very deep, almost musty at times, not used lightly! The sandalwood is altogether different with a wonderful sandalwood scent combined with camphor and spices; it’s an upbeat scent that is very fresh and spicy. Available at Japan Incense/Kohshi

These next three are all from small makers; most of them are limited editions or small batch runs. They all use the best of completely natural materials. These are the real deal in hand made aromatic art and every one of them is a treasure.

Mermade: Incense Kisses: These emit a wonderful coco/chocolate scent for all you foodies, very different from anything else I have tried, anywhere. Don’t miss these; they are really fun and something of a real show stopper. You might also try Spring Sutra, which uses a very special Attar(something like 50 different ingredients distilled into in just this). Got a feeling this is very limited. A stunning romance floral.

Nathaniel Musselman: High Temple: Nathaniel does quite a lot of research and goes to great lengths to source the materials for his blends; most of them are also very labor intensive. This one is great on a heater with a great, rich resin scent. It really does justice to the name as it’s very easy to picture something along these lines in ancient temples in Egypt and surrounding areas. It has a very clean and open feel to it. I find that using it on a heater or charcoal, letting it simmer and coming back into the room after about ten to fifteen minutes is a wonderful experience.

Parfume Phyto:  Rose Neriko: Neriko are incense balls made to be gently heated, not burned. When done correctly they will last at least an hour, with enough scent left in them to use again. These are a sort of East meets West scent, using traditional Japanese incense materials and techniques with the addition of assorted forms of rose added. They are delicate, gentle and at the same time come with quite a lot of depth. Not overpowering but they do get the point across. Plus they are smokeless and totally hand made from first class ingredients.


  1. glennjf said,

    November 1, 2012 at 4:04 pm

    Yuko’s Rose Neriko has been my introduction to incense balls and what an exceptionally rewarding experience it has been, I am delighted, to put it lightly.

    I choose to gently heat a ball using a prepared Kodo cup, one configured with rice ash, japanese charcoal and a mica plate. I’ll be looking into the world of traditional neriko now I’ve had my eyes opened, thanks Ross and thank you Yuko.

    Shoyeido Japan has two “how to” videos to watch them click here. One shows how to heat neriko using rice ash with just a charcoal briquette, the other shows the preparation of a Kodo cup.

    I followed the second video placing a neriko ball atop the mica plate. Looking forward to the next time when I’ll warm a ball using my electric heater.

  2. April 21, 2012 at 12:34 am

    Hyohfuh yes I like it. Suifuh is also great.
    Yamadasan has new coils Seiryoh, not like the other, sandalwood type. Also another new daily incense.
    Do you know the relative of Yamadasan? He makes great incense! and also one for the Catidussa Sanga that helps developing countries. One box can provide 21 lunches! Nice Sandalwood mix. The wood incenses just use the ingrtedient, tabu and water! really simple and natural. They have small boxes of like 5 sticks if I remember well.

  3. Lars Olav said,

    May 9, 2011 at 7:24 am

    The incense kisses are lovely.
    Just lovely!

    I checked mermade today, and Katlyn is bringing back Dreaming Lotus and Faery Call.
    I am a new costumer and haven’t tried it when the reviews of them were written.
    But from your reviews it looks like it should be good.
    But, everything I’ve sampled from her is fabulous!
    I will make an order next week.

  4. Ross Urrere said,

    May 2, 2011 at 8:52 am

    Thats a good place to start. It seems to me that all the heaters, nomatter which one, are like ovens, each is a little different; Start low and see how it works for you. The cool thing about neriko is that you can keep reusing it, far more times then you would(well, at least me) would expect. Somehow it seems to revive itself when it has a chance to cool down and rest.

  5. Laurie said,

    May 2, 2011 at 6:39 am

    What setting do you suggest heating neriko and the like at on that one electric heater we all seem to have? 10?

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