July 13, 2023

Listening to Shunkohdo Chisen

Dating back to the 6th century, the traditional Japanese Fan Dance was originally an art form of high social standing performed at the Imperial Court. Developed as fans evolved from a popular utilitarian fashion accessory to indicators of social standing reserved for use by only the upper classes, the Fan Dance was accompanied by traditional music and often conveyed a story through deliberate and symbolic gestures of dancers in lively colored kimonos and bold makeup armed with a ornately painted handheld fan. Elegant, traditional, and quintessentially Japanese, the fan dance has been popularized and performed world wide. In Chisen (Thousand Fans), Shunkohdo has taken the deliberate and symbolic nature of the fan dance and translated it into a fragrant dance for the senses.

Part of Shunkohdo's Luxury line of fragrances, Chisen (Thousand Fans) combines premium Aloeswood with a blend of traditional aromatic spices to create a fragrance described as rich and elegant. Like many Shunkohdo Luxury fragrances, Chisen blends Aloeswood with aromatic spices to produce a rich fragrance, adding the twist of a reserved deliberate nature that is warm, traditional, and comforting.

Chisen's grass green stick is smooth and clean, with a soft sweetness and light hints of cinnamon. There is an earthiness to the stick, with subtle notes of clove and a suggestion of the cool sweetness of maple. Like the traditional fan dance, Chisen's unlit stick is deliberate, precise, and refined, creating a deliberately reserved and polite clean fragrances like spiced soapstone, soft and warm awaiting the heat of the burn.

Once lit, Chisen begins with a burst of Aloeswood bitterness like rich earthy fall leaves smoldering in the fire. This quickly moderates and becomes almost transparent, soft, and still. A quietness surrounds Chisen as it warms, asking the listener to calm their mind and still their thoughts, drawing them into to the dance of fragrant secrets. Then slowly, the clean warm tones of the unlit stick return, softly and gently rolling in fragrant waves of increasing gentle intensity, insistent but not presumptuous, calmly building to awareness. Soft notes of clove and cinnamon lend a lightly sweet warmth and creaminess to the earthy soapstone note seen in the unlit stick, weaving life and energy into its subtle movements of fragrance.

Beneath it all, a growing Aloeswood tone develops that is soft, gentle and complex. A lightly bitter woody note with soft warm tones that are slightly salty mix with gently floral sweet notes drift in and out of awareness. Contrasting superbly with the earlier earthy notes of its aromatic ingredients, Chisen highlights its Aloeswood base, placing its politely reserved manner on display. Gentle and soft, Chisen deliberately blends wood notes with traditional aromatic tones that are softly, creamy, and elegant, creating an Aloeswood fragrance with a subtle, mildly sweet spice texture.

There is mystery embedded in Chisen's transparent earthy fragrance. Notes are shown, then hidden like the dancer behind the fan. Chisen's fragrant notes are slow and deliberate, rising and falling like the movements of the performers as they weave their story through dance. There is a graceful beauty here, with fragrant notes slowly and purposely telling the greater story of Chisen's unified fragrance, elegant, clean, and traditionally earthy.

Chisen's after-note is rich and earthy like autumn leaves in the sun upon the ground. An Aloeswood bitter tone mixes with a light sweetness that is mutable depending upon the distance from the censer, creating a lovely depth to Chisen's after-note. As it cools, the bitterness takes on a dark roast coffee appeal tinged with a saltiness providing additional depth to the after-note. Superbly long lasting, in time Chisen's after-note develops a lovely warm Aloeswood after glow with a soft dark chocolate sweetness still evident hours after the burn has ended.

The Japanese fan dance presents a rich and elegant storytelling experience though the deliberate and precise movements of the fan and dancer, creating a rich cultural tradition. With a rich and traditional Aloeswood fragrance and its deliberate and refined presentation of fragrance, Shunkohdo Chisen is a marvelous interpretation of this dance in fragrance.

The fan opens
The dancer moves
Elegance without time.

Shunkohdo Chisen is available in the following size(s):