Tennendo / Propolis

So while I believe Ross wrote about this incense in an article or top 10 list somewhere else on the site and I also mentioned it in my 14 One of a Kind Japanese Incenses article from February, I wanted to get an official review up, simply because I really, really like this incense. Information on what propolis is is best explained both at Japan Incense’s Tennendo Propolis page and this Wikipedia article. So rather than paraphrasing any of that here, I would recommend reading these articles as it’s a really fascinating substance. After sampling Tennendo’s incense, it just made me wonder why it’s not more commonly incorporated as an incense ingredient, like Mermade did with Sweet Medicine. It’s not that it’s just highly pleasant, but it has a depth that really does sort of support the idea that kyara users tend to enjoy it. The Tennendo sticks are short and pack a punch. Just sitting here and multi-tasking I had to light 3 in order to finalize this review. But just like with any unique incense there’s not a lot I can say about it unless you know the scent. It reminds me a bit of deeper ambers in one way, it’s also a bit candy like in another, and the resin nature is unmistakable. And one thing I really like about it is that it’s so different that if you burn it in contrast with other incenses, it strikes me as providing a bit of a break, refreshing your palate not only with itself but for the next incense you sample. Overall, it’s a bit of an outlay, but you get a ton of sticks with a box, so it’s likely to last you a good long while.



  1. timdufka said,

    August 12, 2021 at 10:10 am

    Truly wonderful and unexpected. There is something soothing in the warmth and foundation of this scent.

  2. Charlie Sahner said,

    August 11, 2021 at 1:40 pm

    Great review! I want to like this one. I burn more Tennendo sticks than any other, the packaging and construction are first rate, and the the scent profile is warm, balsamic and altogether unique. But somewhere in the mix is a scorched funky note that throws it all off for me.

  3. Katlyn Breene said,

    August 11, 2021 at 11:43 am

    I’ll have to try this one! Propolis varies a lot scent wise, location of harvest and such. Some is shiny and clean, some dirty and sweet, some are rather barnyard. But it adds a (to me) a kind of amber animalic quality.

  4. Mike said,

    August 11, 2021 at 9:49 am

    Very glad to see the love for this one!

  5. August 11, 2021 at 9:43 am

    This has long been my favorite Japanese incense. It sits nicely in my Kyara drawer between incenses 10-50x more expensive. This launched me into making my own incense since at the time I was keeping bees and producing a large amount of propolis that I was generally discarding.

    Whatever they do to process the propolis to make this is more complicated than I did by just drying it out and pulverizing it because it smelled like burning rubber compared to the exquisite smell of the Tennendo stick.

  6. August 11, 2021 at 5:33 am

    Finally…..one I have tried prior to your review. I agree with you that this one is difficult to define or categorize. With exception to Mermade (and probably many others that I am unaware of), my limited experience and understanding of incense tends to place incense aromas in one of three gross categories….Japanese, Tibetan, and Indian. This Propolis incense seems to be a crossover between Japanese and Tibetan (in a way) and offers a unique pleasant aroma that satisfies more than one of my olfactory moods. Thank you.

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