January 13, 2020

Listening to Baieido Tokugawa ieyasu 徳川家康

Separated from his mother at age two and given up by his father as a hostage at age four, Tokugawa ieyasu experienced firsthand as a young boy the shifting alliances of the warring clans of Japan. Considered its Third Great Unifier, Tokugawa ieyasu would rise from this tumultuous childhood to be Japan's first shogun. Seizing power after the death of Toyotomi Hideyoshi through multiple sieges of Osaka Castle and subsequent elimination of all descendants of the Toyotomi line, Tokugawa ieyasu ushered in the age of the Tokugawa Shogunate, which effectively ruled Japan for nearly 270 years.

In Baieido's new Samurai series honoring the three "Great Unifiers" of Japan, the Incense of Tokugawa ieyasu is the third and final of the series. Baieido's superb new golden label aloeswood blends finds a satisfying conclusion in the warmth of ieyasu's fragrance.

Tokugawa ieyasu's stick note brings to mind Baieido's Tobiume - slightly sweet, with a hint of sour and an overtone of distant camphor coolness. There is a nice aloeswood note that rests below the semi-sweetness providing the base for the cool sour tones above. However, this is a reserved stick, preferring instead to encourage lighting rather than savoring the stick's potential.

Once lit, there is an immediate clear cinnamon note with associated sweetness and warmth. This is a strong, bold, and happy incense, prone to stirring warm memories with its sweet cinnamon top note. Every once in a while there's a fleeting sweet aloeswood note that is elusive and quickly blends with the cinnamon top note as though gliding upon the wind like ieyasu's prized falcons. Early on however, the dominant note is cinnamon throughout and all others are there in support.

As the burn deepens the coolness experienced in the stick expands, but quite low in the background just at the edge of perception, providing an atmosphere for the cinnamon warmth and aloeswood sweetness to wonderfully float within. The sweet aloeswood note deepens over time, blending within the warmth of the cinnamon in a wonderful dance that is both uplifting and satisfying. The juxtaposition between the surrounding coolness and inner warmth of the cinnamon-aloeswood notes is luxurious and full of depth. Baieido has created something quite compelling in that this fragrance is both warm and cool at the same time, with quite a spacious stage for Tokugawa ieyasu to inhabit.

The after-note sees a swift change in top notes, with the cinnamon sweetness diminishing rapidly as a low satisfying earthy aloeswood note takes center stage, deepening as it moves further from burning. The aloeswood after-note is wonderfully low, long lasting, and quite striking.

Baieido's Incense of Tokugawa ieyasu is a very enjoyable cinnamon-aloeswood blend that is sweet and uplifting. This would be great fragrance around the holidays with its warmth and cheer. Aloeswood can be difficult for those new to Japanese incense, but in the Incense of Tolugawa ieyasu, Baieido has created a fragrance that not only gratifying but accessible to both the aloeswood veteran and non-incense enthusiast alike.

Winter's sun
Warmth upon my face
Happiness.


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