December 14, 2021

Four Seasons of Japanese Incense - Winter 冬

The Japanese are well known for their reverence for the natural world. Such a deeply rooted connection to nature creates a unique feeling of closeness to the changing seasons that is extensively reflected in Japanese art, literature, and cultural events to an extent not often seen in other parts of the world. Although winter, spring, summer, and fall are not unique to Japan, the close cultural ties to the changing seasons, and the admiration for the beauty of the never ending cycle of nature they represent, creates deeply rooted cultural connections that mark each season, many of which celebrated with seasonal holiday festivals held throughout the year.

In tribute to the natural cycle of the changing seasons, each season we will select specific incenses to enjoy as a fragrant representation of the beauty of nature's transitions. The following Winter Fragrance Collection of three Japanese incenses have been specially selected as an allegory to Fuyu 冬 - Winter, which in Japan from lasted from December to February.

Baieido Tokusen Ho Ryu 鳳龍
Featuring premium Thia Aloeswood blended with select spices, Baieido's Tokusen (Premium) Ho Ryu is a fragrance of balance and prosperity perfect to welcome in the new year. The cold sea air of December brings with it brisk salty breezes that sends people hurrying to get to the warmth of the indoors. Calming and well balanced, Tokusen Ho Ryu features a rich salty note of Thai Aloeswood with a camphor cool long lasting after-note reminiscent of the salty north wind over the sea.

the rough sea —
stretching above Sado Island
the Milky Way
- Basho

Kunjudo Karin Togetsu
An early bloomer among the snows of winter, Daphne is an enchanting fragrance early to emerge from winter's serene landscape. It is written that a monk once fell asleep below a cliff and dreamt of an enchanting fragrance. Upon awaking, he was driven to search for the source of such an eternal fragrance, eventually finding it in a Daphne blossom. Distinctive, sweet, and luxurious, Karin Togetsu (Moonlit Night) is an ethereal and elegant expression of the eternal fragrance of winter blooming Daphne drifting in the moonlight as the monk dreamt.

  The moon glows the same:
  it is the drifting cloud forms
  make it seem to change.
- Basho

Baieido Kobunboku
Beginning in February, plum blossoms begin to appear with their distinctive sweet-tart fragrance. A very popular meditation incense, Kobunboku is an expression of this "flower of peace" - the Plum blossom. A combination of Sandalwood, Borneol, Clove, Cinnamon, and other traditional spices, Kobunboku was introduced 100 years ago, and is a best selling incense in Japan as well as  Baieido's flagship incense.

With a unique fragrance that is both a sour, sweet, cool, and spicy in a rich Sandalwood base, Kobunboku is sweet and tart - just as the plum tree - with a coolness like the breeze of a late winter day that sees the blossoms begin to open announcing the end of winter grip.

Over the wintry
Forest, winds howl in rage
With no leaves to blow.