January 10, 2024

Listening to Seijudo Kyara Enju

Poetry has a long history intertwining with incense. Since the Heian period, the Kokin Wakashū (Collection of Poems Ancient and Modern) has formed a close association with Japanese incense, expressing the ineffable nature of fragrance through verse. The basis of many kumikō enjoyed in Kōdō, poetry allows the listener to experience the moment of realization that accompanies the flash of understanding or the nostalgia associated with memories in a way that can be expressed in no other way. In Kyara Enju, Seijudo has created a masterpiece of fragrant poetry highlighting nature's remarkable gift of kyara.

Kyara Enju is Seijudo's flagship incense in their line of excellent fragrant woods. Considered one of the finest incenses in Japan, Seijudo Kyara Enju (Long Life) features an exceptionally high concentration of green oil Kyara (up to 60%), the most expensive incense wood available anywhere in the world. Sumptuous, luxurious and filled wih a pure kyara fragrance displaying all the five tastes of the Gomi, sweet, salty, sour, spicy, and bitter, Kyara Enju is a remarkable expression of Vietnamese kyara that defies ordinary description in any ways other than the poetic.

Kyara Enju's stick is dark black, diminutive, and filled with a lovely soft and savory sweetness like the promise of gifted child. With a smaller diameter than ordinary incense sticks Kyara Enju's stick feels delicate and refined, intelligent and purposeful. Sweet notes softly whisper of the sticks potential, with its warm sweetness that is tempered by a slight saltiness. At times fruity-sour, other times floral, and yet others sharp and spicy, Kyara Enju's stick is delightfully evocative of a range of fond memories, from playing in the garden as a child to enjoying pancakes on a bright winter morning to the fresh sea breeze on the rocky shores of Maine. Even unlit, the stick is highly enjoyable.

When autumn came
My eyes clearly
Could not see it, yet
In the sound of the wind
I felt it.

Kyara Enju alight starts with a deliciously warm spicy sweetness tinged with a savory saltiness and transparent fruity citrus sourness. Notes dance in an out of awareness like dreams flooded with fond memories. Fruity citrus notes rise then give way to a spicy note akin to sweet cinnamon and earth woods. Salty notes feel almost alive as though sitting next to you sharing the experience. Kyara Enju's fragrance has an autumnal quality to it with a certain melancholy, evoking a sweetness and nostalgia that is unmistakably Japanese. Underpinning each note is a low tone of striking bitterness like that of matcha freshly brewed.

Listening to Kyara Enju is a delight for the senses and exceeds any written description. It is alive with a personality, changing, evolving, transiting from one moment to the next. But much like a poetry from the Kokinshū, its theme is a sober quietness tinged with nostalgic longing for the experience to never end. Simple description does not do it justice, as through the Kokinshū's poetry its nature is best captured:

Like the unseen stag in the bush, Kyara Enju's presence is felt but mysterious:

In Autumn bush clover
Entangled and trampling,
The bugling stag
Is out of sight;
How clear the sound, though.

Like an autumn meadow in bloom, Kyara Enju is nature expressing its beauty:

A myriad of grass
Flowers bloom, belts undone,
In the autumn meadows
I would dally
Free from others’ slights.

Like the blooms of autumn, Kyara Enju is full of surprising change:

In green
The grasses seem as one
When seen in springtime;
In autumn, many-coloured
Flowers appear!

Kyara Enju's after-note shifts to a coolness that turns lightly woody and floral. Present, but yet distant, the after-note is transparent, light, and open. In time a sour-salty woody note becomes noticeable from a distance, delightfully fruity and warm.  Soft, sweet, and savory, Kyara Enju's after note makes itself softly present from a distance, eager to reacquaint itself once one returns to the space in which it has been offered. Even a day later its presence still is evident like a found memory. Just as with the Chrysanthemum, Kyara Enju becomes finer still after it has been consumed:

Quite apart from Autumn,
There is another season for
Chrysanthemum blooms
For as they fade,
The colors become finer still.

Multi-faceted, powerful, stunning, and filled with lovely floral woody notes that run the gambit of the five tastes, Seijudo Kyara Enju is a precious poetic gift of nature to be treasured for its remarkable fragrance.

Giant snowflakes
 Drift effortlessly from the sky
Blanketing the world in tranquility.

Seijudo Kyara Enju is available in the following sizes:
3- Stick Mini
10-Stick Roll