Gyokushodo Jinko Kojurin, Jinko Hoen, Jinko Yozei: Current Stock

All of these have been reviewed some time ago here at ORS but there are a lot of changes going on in the incense world (things like a scarcity of materials as well as huge prices increases in the raw ingredients) so I thought it would be interesting to not so much compare them to the old ones as much as just take a present time look at where some of my favorites are now. I think, in general, that the biggest difference is in the woods and how they are used by many manufactures. But since there is not a lot we can do about that it is a good time to get sample sizes and see what moves you.
Jinko Kojurin: Sort of the start of the agarwoods blends for Gyokushodo it has a somewhat musky base mixed with a light perfume scent. All this floats above the woodnotes. This might be a good place to start if you were very used to Indian style incenses. There is a somewhat sharp or tangy character in the overall scent profile which many will find agreeable.
Jinko Hoen: The classic Japanese incense smell, Agarwood, Sandalwood, Camphor, Cinnamon, Clove. I am sure there are quite a few more things in here but it is so well done that I cannot tell what they are. Just opening the box is a treat in itself. When lit the different materials blend into a very harmonious whole that is much greater than the single parts. This is not a strongly scented stick and I have been known to burn two at once but this seems to be a trait of many of Gyokushodo’s offerings. I think this is a real winner as well as a good buy.
Jinko Yozei:  This is beautiful. Woody, smooth and on the somewhat “sweet” side of agarwood’s scent profiles. Like many of the incenses from this company it is also mild, although a friend(who is Japanese) finds it just right. If you are looking for woody type incense, without too many other additions this would be right up your ally. For sure this and the Jinko Hoen should be in the Hall of Fame, they really are treasures.

8 Comments

  1. Jeff said,

    March 9, 2016 at 9:12 pm

    Recently, I received the 18 fragrance set of Gyokushodo’s lineup. It does not contain the high-end sticks that are listed in the Hall of Fame, so I cannot on those. I’ve been going through it systematically and reading the various comments on ORS.

    I’m a bit disappointed in the Gyokushodo line, in general. I find many of their fragrances underwhelming, some even fairly absent with their large, low smoke offerings. So far, I’m not sure I would call any of them great, although, there are some that stand out to me as good daily burners, if they weren’t priced out of the ‘daily burner’ price range. It’s not that there is anything wrong with their lineup. It may even be the case that it is ‘too Japanese’ for the westerner to appreciate, but I don’t really buy that kind of thinking.

    Jinko Kojurin, an agarwood/sandlwood blend is the only one of these sticks that I would say deserve to be on that Hall Of Fame lineup. It certainly got my attention and I was immediately reminded of the Sanjusangendo that I bought at the temple, a mere $7 a box!

    Kojurin, a sandalwood fragrance, is also a worthy daily burner, sweeter and quite a bit different than let’s say Nippon Kodo’s Mainichi Sandalwood which is more complex.

    Jinko Denpu and Jinsui Kanrin, both low smoke, agarwood blends, were surprisingly good. Kanrin is the more expensive of the two.

    Jinko Yozei and Jinko Yomei, agarwood blends, were both underwhelming for me and I don’t understand their inclusion into a Hall Of Fame category. They both just don’t communicate enough to me to take seriously. Perhaps I need more time with them.

    Jinko Hoen, another agarwood blend, was the preferable one of these three for me, but I’m not sure I like it better than the Jinko Kojurin.

    Koin, a sandalwood based stick, is very nice and very accessible. The dry stick has an unusual scent that reminds me of umeboshi. Very exotic aroma when not burning.

    All this has me thinking that the various companies may have an overriding personality (style) that the buyer may or may not really take a liking to. I wonder if those who are in love with Japanese incense have a take on the various companies and their styles? I would love to hear more on this.

    • Gregg said,

      March 10, 2016 at 11:45 am

      As to the Jinko Yomei and Yozei, they are designed more for the scenting of clothing, as a Japanese version of a Bakhoor more than anything else, and at that they are very effective. The agarwood is a marginal component. As noted elsewhere many times of late, the formulas used for these sticks in every companies offerings has changed, sometimes greatly, over the last several years. Therefore, if you are looking at a review done even 2 years ago, the formula may have changed by now. Some companies are dealing with their commodity shortage by cutting back on the amount of agarwood in the stick, or by switching to a cheaper sandalwood. Other companies just stop making that particular stick or drop components and say nothing.

      • Jeff said,

        March 11, 2016 at 9:54 pm

        Gregg, thanks for your reply. Because I value the information on this site, I always try to give the incense a fair amount of time to reveal themselves to me. I have a lot to learn and that also extends to my own body chemistry which seems to go in cycles. Sometimes taste and smell go through periods of muddiness, not as sharp and bright as they can be. I think this has been the case with the Yozei, Yomei, and Hoen sticks. The next morning after I read your comments, I began noticing my nose was much sharper and so began the re-ignition of these sticks. The Yozei became a maze of mystery in the sense that there were so many elements that were present and powerfully so. Perhaps a bit unfocused, but deep and slightly acrid/woody. The Yomei is also very good and even more accessible to me than the Yozei, sweeter. The Hoen was the one that was more immediately pleasurable to me. Something that didn’t make me work at experiencing it. And, once again, the Koin is something that really will appeal to those who want a nice Sandal fragrance. All worth one’s time.

        I know this site requires a lot of work. Updating the HOF and other reviews will hopefully take priority as it will influence a lot of readers in the direction that they point. Getting it up to date will be greatly appreciated.

        • Ross said,

          March 12, 2016 at 11:15 am

          Just so you know, the HOF was composed over many years and at an out of pocket expense of the reviewers of literally many thousands of dollars. Not to mention hundreds of hours writing up reviews. Also as Gregg mentioned, things have changed in the incense world, materials are much more expensive and sometimes near impossible to get, so formulas are changing all the time and prices, especially on higher end materials are only going to go up.
          If you find something you like now, buy extra and store it very well.😮 )

          • Ross said,

            March 12, 2016 at 11:16 am

            All that said I do have at least three reviews coming up on KyaraZen, Yamadamatsu and Nu Essence!

          • Gregg said,

            March 13, 2016 at 2:44 am

            Getting a sponsor with deep pockets to finance ORS would no doubt be appreciated:-) Just mentally adding up what is in my retirement box of incense, or boxes, comes to over one years pay, and I do not by any means have all of the high end choices out there. Throw in the box of wood and incense making supplies, well, heck of a lot of money, and as mentioned well by others, updating ORS every year to keep track of formula changes would perhaps be impossible. 10-15 years ago, the market was stable, supplies were good, and it was a lot easier to lock down the properties of each stick for sale. Looking forward to your Yamadamatsu review, so I can comment on their changes as well.

  2. clairsight said,

    April 30, 2014 at 9:47 pm

    Pretty good place to start, both the incense and Japan😮 )

  3. changofthesand said,

    April 27, 2014 at 1:26 pm

    Jinko Kojurin is what got me hooked on incense. It is still hands down one of my top favorites, and brings back scent memories of temples I visited in japan. I was out exploring Osaka with a friend and we stopped into a Buddhist supply shop. I bought some sandalwood incense and a incense stand and the owner literally gave us an armload full of samples of jinko kojurin! needless to say, I think he knew I would get hooked on it:)


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