July Top Ten

So really I burn a lot more then just these but ya got ta draw the line somewhere 🙂

Yamadamatsu Kouboku Senshu Sandalwood: This is straight up high-grade sandalwood and not much else. I think it is one of the very best sandalwood scents one can get, assuming, of course, that you are not interested in a sandalwood blend. Japanincense.com sells this, sometimes it comes in a box by itself and sometimes they stock it in a three-way combo pack with an aloeswood as well as a kyara blend. To me the other two are a bit much, but I know many people who would be very happy with them.

Baieido Byakudan (Sandalwood) Kobunboku: Recently got a new box of this and was very happy with it. I think it is one of the best sandalwood “woody blend” style sticks around, along with Shunkohdo’s. They are both relying on the wood and not oils, which makes for a very different experience.

Seijudo Kyara Seiran: All of the three kyara blends from Seijudo are very good and really it probably comes down to which day as to which one I like the most. These are loaded with the scents of kyara, musk and a number of other “secret ingredients” that make for  real show stoppers. I can think of at least three to four times where I have lit one of these for someone and literally watched them lock up in amazement, me being one of them.

Shunkohdo Ranjatai: Shunkohdo tends to make pretty traditional scents, when I light a stick of this I always get a sense of going back to a different era, it is sort of like instant time travel to Old Japan. It is very elegant and at the same time primeval with the scent of the musk wrapped around a very good aloeswood. As an added attraction there are a lot of sticks in the box. This is on many of our Top 10’s with good reason.

Daihatsu Chips or Slices: So if you really want to smell sandalwood and you have some sort of incense heater or even good quality Japanese coals, this is it. It does not get any better that I have found. I like the slices, if for no other reason that they look cool. Shunkohdo also makes these and they are very similar in scent.  Given the increase in sandalwood prices as well as it continuing decline in availability these are a great thing to have and hold onto.

Kunmeido Kyara Tenpyo: This is a beautiful kyara blend that is ultra refined and more or less the top of Kunmeido’s line. The woods really stand out with just a faint hint of the Reiryo Koh scent in the backround. It is very uplifting and refreshing and also makes for an interesting choice for meditation, especially during Summer. Not as expensive as the Seijudo’s and also probably not as much kyara.

Kunlha’s Lotus Pema & Loong Po: One of our readers wrote in about these (thanks IO) and I ordered a bunch recently. So far I have found myself using the Loong Po and Lotus Pema quite a lot. The sticks are much thinner then the standard Tibetan style and there are around 20 per box. They seem to be made without any animal ingredients (not 100% sure about this) but do use what seems to be very good quality materials. They may also be formulated with a more “Western” audience in mind. The Lotus Pema has a very nice clean juniper scent to it and is quite uplifting. The Loong Po has a subtle green herbal scent with a very light but noticeable clean floral/perfume-ish top note riding over the whole thing. This is a pretty unique combination (at least to me) and one that works for my nose. Both of these sticks have enough complexity to keep them interesting although they are lacking in the funk factor.

Mermade Magickal Frankincense: Mermade has a great line up of frankincense’s at the moment, and they are all different smelling. I am particularly fond of the Superior Hougary and the Black Frankincense, their lemon lime and orange smells are truly wonderful . At Christmas we burn frankincense for the 24 hours before Midnight Mass, I really am looking forward to this one.

Fred Soll’s Honey Amber: I do not know of another stick quite like this one. It is a great blend of scents that just work well together with a very deep and almost hypnotic scent quality that does a great job at scenting a room.  Great stuff at a good price.

Baieido Sawayka Kobunboku: I love cinnamon and this has lots. This is really good in the morning when getting up and getting it together enough to make it out the door to work. It also gives an interesting scent to ones clothing and/or hair. I got both this and the Koh at the same time and at this point am not to sure if they are the same thing, I am leaning towards two different mix’s but could be wrong. Maybe David Oller will chime in with some insight 🙂


  1. David Oller said,

    August 27, 2013 at 1:39 pm

    Hi Ross, I’m sorry I don’t seem to have enough time to read this blog as I would like. I do enjoy reading when I’m able though, although often I find it better not to comment.

    I hope everyone feels free to call me with questions anytime. We have a toll free number 877-552-1328 and I will try not to talk your ear off.

    Koh & Cinnamon are both a traditional incense called Sawayaka Kobunboku. When I proposed the Imagine line to Baieido we began first selecting the incense to be packaged as Imagine. We conferenced on package design, and I wrote most of the promotion work. Sawayaka means “Clean or Fresh” and it is regular kobunboku with Mysore Sandalwood and an extra portion of Cinnamon. The Name was change due to a copyright infringement from Koh to Cinnamon.

  2. italiano215 said,

    August 11, 2012 at 3:10 am

    How do you rate & like the Aloeswood & Kyara in the Kouboku Senshu mix ?
    Is the Aloeswood and Kyara in the Kouboku Senshu Mix as good as Minoriens Fu-In Kyara & Aloeswood?

    • August 12, 2012 at 5:57 pm

      They are very different, I think that the YM might be “stronger” in scent but also goes in a different direction, using some different materials.

      • italiano215 said,

        August 13, 2012 at 1:52 pm

        How do you rate ScentedMountains chips and sticks? Are the pretty good quality for the money?

  3. Marian said,

    August 3, 2012 at 6:29 am

    Thanks especially for the sandalwood suggestions, Ross. It surprises me that there aren’t more straight sandalwood sticks. I wonder if that has more to do with availability of materials or how the incense companies gauge the taste of consumers.

    I’m especially fond of the Daihatsu slices you mention because they smell especially creamy. I can almost imagine a piece of sandalwood oozing with oil when I burn a piece. And, the fact that they are actual slices seems incredible. Feeling so in touch with the tree the wood was cut from adds a lot to the whole experience for me.

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