Seikundo / Meadow/Usubeni, Peach/Momo, Woods/Jinko (Discontinued Line)

Seikundo may be the only Japanese company who exports more incense holders and gift boxes than they actually do incense types, in fact the three in the subject line appear to be the only incenses available over here, each of which you’d get samples of when buying one of the company’s various and elegant little containers. In fact it’s probably more useful to think of these as gifts or objects of art than ways to store or burn your incense. The containers seem to be marketed more at the casual incense fan or the lover of Japanese artwork and culture, after all the efficacy and use of these containers would seem to be limited to very short sticks, in fact these are almost as small as stick fragments. Of course the wise among us will realize that one could just as easily break up Shoyeido or Baieido sticks for use in one of these, after all they not only come replete with burner but store the incense as well.

The three incense styles here are all so widely different that one can’t really get much of an opinion on the Seikundo craft from them. The Meadow is a smokeless incense, lemon fresh and slightly floral, that follows the pattern of a couple incenses reviewed here recently, Shorindo’s Chabana and Baieido’s Izumi (or even Green Tea). It doesn’t really seem to have the same strength as either (that could have been the age of my sample), but in a way it brings a more uplifting or elegant citrus aroma to it. It’s an incense I could definitely see a more casual appreciator warming to as it’s so mild.

Peach does what it says on the wrapper, a wood-based, mild incense with a rather decent peach aroma. It’s not harsh nor too sweet, both issues I often have with “fruit” incenses, but then again it’s the sort of smell I’d rather get from a fruit or tree than a stick of incense.

Woods looks like a Baieido Kai Un Koh knock off with its square, thicker stick and even resembles it in aroma to some extent, except that the Jinko of the Japanese name doesn’t really seem to show up here in any appreciable quality. It reminds me a little of the Nu Essence blend Pluto, with some slight nutty hints, although it’s closest Baieido scent is certainly Sawaka Kobunboku/Koh, with the heavy cinnamon and clove presence. Likely this will be the closest aroma to those looking for a little depth to their scent, although I’d certainly recommend similar Baieido products before this.

Based on the pictures, the containers are all rather gorgeous, but as they’re quite small one’s incense stick experience is likely not going to last more than 10-15 minutes before a relight, definitely a sort of polar opposite to lighting a large coil or 14 inch temple stick. But again, it’s worth stressing that the complete package seems more a boutique or gift item to appeal to one’s sense of aesthetics rather than a practical apparatus for incense use and as such your mileage will vary.