July 04, 2018

Listening to Shoyeido Horin - Genroku 元禄

During the reign of Emperor Higashiyama (東山天皇), the years of the Genroku era (1688-1704) were considered the Golden Age of Edo. Shoyeido's master incense craftsman have sought to commemorate this cultural period in an elegant fragrance called Returning Spirit or Genroku 元禄. Their efforts have yielded a superb Aloeswood incense that pays homage to Higashiyama's court during Edo's Golden Age.

Shoyeido describes Genroku as "...a sublime blend of aged woods and fine herbs." Sublime is an apt description of this delicate and gracious fragrance. Genroku plays with the senses with its ability to be both present and yet not present simultaneously, reminding one of a pleasant memory being relived in a moment of reflection or reverence.

Genroku's stick note is soft, slightly sweet, and woody, with hints of spice and vanilla. The volume of the sick is very subtle, with the primary note being a sweet Aloeswood flavor that is neither overpowering or subdued. This makes for a unique combination in that the many ingredients present in the composition could easily compete for space, yet they work in harmony to elicit a magnificently cultured and penetrating woody scent.

Genroku alight is a thing of beauty. The Aloeswood experienced in the stick remains the dominant note, softly filling a space with a rich, earthy, slightly sweet fragrance. This is a woody scent to be certain, and lovers of Aloeswood will be delighted with Genroku's rich earthy bouquet. But just like the stick, the fragrance is both present and not as the stick is consumed, disappearing from awareness easily into its surroundings almost as quickly as it is first noticed. This is a superb background scent for many applications from intense study to meditation. Genroku's soft sweet woody scent is happy to blend into the backdrop, forming a base for mindfulness work. Every so often a hint of sweetness will rise above the Aloeswood, like a flash of memory gently reminding the listener of Genroku's presence, then just as quickly vanish from awareness. The feel while burning is of utter sublime refinement, ease, and grace.

Genroku's after-note is fleeting, like a flash of a fond memory jogging the mind. The earthy, warm scent of Aloeswood persists, softly diminishing over a short period time and taking on a slightly more spicy tenor. This is a perfect stick for setting a mood that does not linger or interfere with activities that may follow. As experienced during the burn the after-note continues to retreat, only now further into the background, more quickly and more deeply than when consumed.

In Genroku, Shoyeido sought to create a fragrance that commemorated the spirit of Edo's Golden Age.The result is a luxuriously earthy Aloeswood scent perfectly suited for mindfulness work, whose overall impression is one of gentle elegance, sophistication and grace - the Golden Era of Genroku.

Soft, sweet memories like summer breezes,
in and out of awareness drift.
 In their remembrance, my mind at ease.


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