Kousaido seems to be a fairly new incense company in Japan ( in other words less than 50 years). They also seem to be directing their line towards the newer styles of scents coming out of Japan. They very skillfully use a variety of materials to create some very fresh takes on many classic ideas for incense.
I do not think any of the three that I reviewed here are based on classic sandalwood or aloeswood formulas, rather than that they are designed to present a scent that is built to showcase an idea or concept, a sort of scent picture of the name of each incense.
Lighting a stick of the Bamboo and closing your eyes finds one sitting within a bamboo grove, it’s soft with a slight green note, a little sweetness (just a touch) and very real. There are none of the harsh or chemical smells that so often underlay this type of scent. It is really nicely done.
The Lotus truly gets the idea across of what you would think of as a lotus scent. Somewhat sweet with floral notes, not like jasmine or the other “white flower” scents. There is a slight edge to it that really brings the “lotus” note home, without the almost latex aspect of lotus.
Ocean smells like a very clean beach, probably cleaner than most you can find. Ocean scents or aquatic scents were all the rage at one point in the perfume world, most of them ended up smelling like a chemical bath in a chroming factory. This incense is completely devoid of those notes and is really a great mood changer in a room. Clean surf at a secluded beach, just the ticket to lighten up the atmosphere in a city environment.
The other great aspect about these is that the price is very good and one gets quite a lot of sticks. To the best of my knowledge Kohshi /Japan Incense in San Francisco are the only people selling these in the US and they have pretty large selection to choose from. -Ross