Top Ten November 2011

1. Akikaze from Kyukyodo: This is part of what I think of as the “The Heavy Hitters in Wood Boxes” from Kyukyodo. You can get an idea about them at this page in our blog. With luck I will get a review of them out in a week or two. This one is a reasonable price (for what one is getting) with a really beautiful perfume note on top of the woods and a light musk back note. You can check with Kohshi/Japan Incense for availability. I think Kyukyodo does this type of style (perfumed floral’s mixed with quality wood) really well and it very hard to beat here.

2. Kyara Seiran from Seijudo: This is number two in Seijudo’s high end line up, based mostly on price point, not scent. I think it is a little less strong and more likable then the Kyara Enju while still being heavily laced with a very strong set of wood notes and spices with musk undertones. If you are in the market for a Kyara blend this is a great one. I find myself liking it more in the cooler months; it is also very relaxing and quite nice in the evening. It is right up there at the pinnacle of this style and not to be missed; it also comes in a number of different sizes and price points.

3. Byakudan Kokoh from Baieido: This is one of the very best of the “straight up” Sandalwoods, in other words, no perfumes and minimal spices or herbs. It is pretty dry in scent but very true to Sandalwood’s nature. Great for reflection or the post work chilling. Baieido really does the woods oh so well, it is hard to go wrong with them and this is a real winner in a old Japan incense style.

4. Enkuu from Tennendo: You can check in the blog for the notes on this one, it has always been a favorite here at ORS and with good reason. It is very much on the dry side of the scent spectrum, it is also has a very clean (not pine or camphor) set of notes to it combined with a very unique and clear wood base of Aloeswood.

5. Cracked Earth from Aluwwah:  Aluwwah is a Canadian Oud  oil and wood seller as well as an incense maker. He has a number of styles of real, hand made Bakhoors at his site. They use real ingredients and quality woods and oils. This one has a nice resinous note mixed with some woods and ambers. It is somewhat lighter in scent then the Bakhoors that I have tried before, which I like as it tends to allow me to check out the different aspects of the mix. There was also a mix called Deer’s Breath that was a huge floral/musk/oud master piece. It’s out of stock but I hear tell that a successor called Lamb’s Breath is in the works.

6.Deep Earth 2011 from Mermade Incense: For the incense heater or coals, but for sure made to be slowly heated up. Stunning deep resin notes wrapped around woods and herbs, I think the name pretty much says it all. Perfect for Fall into Winter.

7. Evergreen Forest Incense from Mermade Incense: This is, again, for an incense heater, you could also try Sacred Grove if you wanted something along the lines of a cone. Either produce a wonderful “in the forest” scent that freshens up the atmosphere and generates a wonderfully clean and very green scent. Very much a Winter forest scent and just a wonderful treat for the senses.

8. Jihi – Amacha kou from Awaji-Baikundo: Very strong and beautiful amber note with borneal camphor added as well as Hydrangea Tea. I think this is one of the most beautiful amber’s on the market, no matter what country you are from. It is a very clean and warm offering that really livens up a space and would also be great to scent ones clothing with. Very long lasting scent.

9. Meena Supreme from  Happy Hari: Easily one of the very best of the Indian incenses and in general this company looks to be a real winner all around. I have not gotten to try the newer releases yet but you can see Mike’s notes within the blog. This has all the deep floral’s along with the woods and spices. There is also enough separation between the notes to make it really interesting. It is pretty strong; you might not want to start here if you are going to be going through a number of different sticks at one setting.

10. Genmyo from Yamada Matsu: These are in the kneaded style or incense balls. These happen to have Kyara and Aloeswoods plus a spice and oil (I think) blended together for a more modern take on this style. There a sort of amber and caramel mix that rides across the woods. There are three different blends from YM that Kohshi has at their retail outlet in San Francisco. The Aloeswood blend has this same set of notes but the amber/caramel notes are stronger and the woods more backed off. It sort of depends on the day as to which I like more.


  1. Hisham said,

    December 6, 2011 at 11:36 am

    Aluwwah’s cracked earth’s ingredients unfold nicely as the harden resin is warmed revealing the frankincense and ridding over the sandalwood. sitting back and smelling it is like reading “One thousand nights and One”…many little stories making up a great larger picture. I have tried every single one of Aluwwah Bakhor and it was an eye opening experience for me after years of burning synthetic and only God knows what’s in it Bakhoors from the large Arabian perfume Houses. This is clean scents and by “clean” I mean that my nose does not pick any synthetic perfumes that irritate and itches the nose. while some of scents linger long after it has extinguished it has no Off putting notes. I would highly recommend Bakhoor Al Aroosa for early morning room scenting (reminds me of the incense burned in weddings in North Africa (Libya, Tunisia and Algeria). The Somalian Uunsi is like smelling the foam caused by sea waves. has almost an ambergris scent to it. Bakhoor Daad is truly for the Brave. It will definitely kick out any bad spirits that might be hanging around 🙂 I have not tried any of the oils or Mukhalats that’s on offer but I trust they are as good. The maker of those Bakhoors commented one time that his creative process is 100% inspirational and after smelling those incenses I have to agree with him. They are inspired.

  2. Lars Olav said,

    December 6, 2011 at 5:54 am

    Interesting Top-Ten Ross!
    I haven’t tried most of these except Mermade’s or Meena Supreme.
    Hopefully Ocean of Night and Sandalwood and Ambergris will be in my top-ten of 2011 😉

  3. Marian said,

    December 1, 2011 at 11:43 pm

    Jihi sounds very unusual and also tempting 🙂 I wouldn’t have thought of combining camphor and amber but I imagine camphor cuts through the amber’s sweetness and makes it feel a little lively. It’s a little hard to imagine but I can see how the juxtaposition of scents I think of as almost opposites could be very compelling.
    Quite a few Indian incenses feel kind of suffocating to me but Meena Supreme, though strong, doesn’t feel at all oppressive. It’s the first Indian incense I enjoyed without reservation.
    I also particularly like Aluwwah’s Cracked Earth. Because of its texture I expected a dry and dusty scent but the balsamic notes from frankincense really give it a predominantly balsamic feeling. I think this will be nice to burn around the Christmas holidays.

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