August Top Ten 2011

Minorien  FU-IN® Kyara Ryugen: This is Minorien’s top of the line(at least here in the US)  Kyara blend. If you are familiar with the companies style then you will see that this is the end result of ever increasing refinement. The balance of all the differing elements and the way they have been mixed is truly remarkable. Not to be missed and you can pick up a small box for around $40.00.

Keigado East Temple (Ansoku): Sandalwood with a spice note that is also somewhat (a little) perfume like. This is a very pleasant and usable “everyday” incense. I find myself giving away a lot of this just to show people that you can get good Japanese incense and not blow away your bank account.

Kyukyodo Akikaze : No one does this style like Kyukyodo. There are notes that are floral married up with perfumes and all this rides across a quality Aloeswood base. One of the masterpieces of the incense maker’s art. It’s available from Kohshi by special order. Not inexpensive, but worth it.

Kunmeido Shoryu Koh (Rising Dragon): A great Aloeswood mixed with a wonderful “green” note, which seems (to me at least) to be this companies signature style. This one is much more forward in all these elements but also smoother than their Reiryo koh blend and costs much less than their upper tier blends. A nice balance point.

Seijudo Shiragiku White Chrysanthemum: One of the great deals in incense, with a distinctive “high end” style that mimics the much more expensive real Kyara sticks that this company also produces. It’s rich, powerful and you would swear, loaded with Kyara and musk. This is not the case but it is a great introduction to that world. This is a great treat for one’s self.

Shoyeido Muromachi: This has seemingly gone though some changes over the years but is still great incense and also a pretty unique scent. Nice, almost caramel note which is mixed into the woods. I use the coils, which seem to me to have a slightly woodsier note going for them then the sticks.

Nu Essence ABRA MELIN: These are small tins packed with a lot of scent. This blend has a strong rose note along with frankincense and other resins. There is a wonderful interplay between all the different ingredients and the scent can change depending on the length of time on the heater. Very nice to scent a room and a little goes a long way. I have encluded the makers link as it’s a very informative site.

Mermade Arts Pan’s Earth: Deep resin scent mixed in with the woods and the addition of Patchouli and Vetivert, which adds a lot more depth to the mix. There is also a slight edge to this incense, which reflects the idea of Pan to me. Pan’s Earth is always a winner but I think this batch is one of the best.

Deep Earth Premium-2011: These incense balls or nuggets have been aged for quite awhile which adds complexity and depth to the scent. They are very resinous with wood notes as well as a subtle blending of spices. There is a slightly sweet side to the whole thing and it is best used in an electric heater at a low setting.  This is a good choice for reflection and meditation.

Baieido Kokonoe Koh: I find this to be a really good and classic Baieido style stick. It has a great combination of Aloesood, Sandalwood and spices and is also very reasonably priced. This would make a nice gift for someone who is not into the sweet or floral scented incense’s. This is one of my “go to” or must have sticks.

Awaji-Baikundo Jihi – Amacha kou: One of the best amber scents around and it also has some serious Boral camphor along for the ride. It’s quite distinctive and very good. I use it a lot late at night. The scent lasts a long time and also works well for scenting clothing.

– Ross



  1. greg said,

    January 21, 2012 at 9:53 pm

    i totally agree with David and Ross in that Baieido’s austere woody profile is best appreciated in cooler weather and always in a well ventilated room. much like taking in air while teasing out the various flavor elements of a quality wine, incense is best appreciated with a large intake of fresh air. burning a stick in my patio (i live in the desert) on a cool evening is an incredible experience. kokonoe is one of my favorites and it is the cheapest of the wooden box blends offered by Baieido – price is not always an indicator of quality.

    • January 22, 2012 at 12:32 am

      Thanks for posting Greg. One of the best incense experiences I have ever had, a real eye opener for the Baieido line for me, was in the Lake Tahoe area at about 6000 ft. Outside in a large tent at night. There were whole new scent profiles to explore, great stuff. Kokonoe is a great buy and one of my fav’s also, in fact its time to restock!

    • apsara said,

      January 22, 2012 at 9:45 pm

      Was just pondering earlier that I still do not get these. I am in the desert as well, it’s rather cool outside, and I shall light a stick right now and sit with it outside.

  2. David Oller said,

    September 12, 2011 at 11:43 am

    Well, I have to say: First, sorry you didn’t like Kun Sho (My personal favorite) and Koh En. May I suggest you try them again as times, seasons, and even our own biology alter our perception of a scent.

    May I also suggest you try them on a cold winter night and then tell me how you feel about them. As far as “Not what they used to be” neither has changed since they were first imported into the USA. I guess that’s getting close to 20 years now.

    David Oller
    Baieido USA

    • apsara said,

      September 13, 2011 at 8:45 pm

      Thanks, David. Sometimes I ask provocative questions, or ask in a direct way, and very glad to have received a clear answer from you, about Baieido not having changed the formulas of these.

      “Trying them on a cold winter night”…will do.

    • Ross said,

      September 13, 2011 at 9:06 pm

      I have noticed, especially with Kun Sho, that the environment and setting can play a huge role. It smells totally different (to me) when burned at home in Berkeley as opposed to, say, Lake Tahoe (elevation 6000 ft) on a chilly night in my tent. Actually I think this might be true of almost any incense or scent.
      Thanks for the feedback David.

  3. apsara said,

    September 11, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    Quite a few years ago, I got the Kokonoe and liked it a lot, and I still have some. Eventually, I also wanted to try the cambodian and thai aloeswood incenses from this series, and I just got Baieido’s “kun sho” and “ho ryu”.

    I am disappointed in these, I am finding them neither subtle nor aloeswood-y. I find them rough and acrid and perfume-y.

    After sampling more of the high end japanese incenses lately, I am of the opinion that the more expensive Japanese incenses are not what they used to be. I have almost come to the conclusion that they are not worth their price anymore.

    I like the Minorien Fu-In that is reviewed here ten times better then any Baieidos that I have tried.

    • apsara said,

      September 14, 2011 at 10:02 pm

      I have to correct myself. I have Aloeswood sticks in a red cardboard tube, about half inch in diameter, 7 inches long, with a small silver & green shiny label. I got it 4 years ago, but I did not remember what it was and used it only occasionally to make it last.

      I just studied the characters, and I’m sure it says Bai – Ei – Do —– The Do character looks like a house.

      The tube looks different from today’s Hakusui sticks, which EotA has in stock again, but I think that’s what it is.

      In any case, this is a Baieido incense I like a lot. Infact, this is one that I could have going morning to night, every day of the week !!

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