May 11, 2023

Listening to Shunkohdo Sarasoju

Like most my age, as a boy I underwent the right of passage that was junior high school wood shop. We learned drafting and basic wood joinery, and spent our 8th grade year in the wood shop making simple tables from beautiful hardwoods. I can still remember the lovely peace and calm of the shop before the tools started up, the stillness swallowing all sound in thick exciting potential. Then as the woodworking began and the machines came to life, there was the soothing lightly sweet fragrance of wood that permeated everything - especially after another class spent sanding my poor joinery. Powdery, rich, and sweet, the fragrance of freshly worked wood would stay with me for the rest of the school day like a cologne born of my effort to shape wood to my will. In Sarasoju, Shunkohdo has created just such a rich woody cologne in a Sandalwood fragrance that highlights the pure nature of "Old Mountain" Sandawood wrapped in nothing but the still peace experienced in the wood shop before work begins.

One of the most beloved Sandalwood incenses in Japan for its pure and refreshing nature, Shokohdo describes Sarasoju as "a calm and refreshing fragrance containing plenty of pure Sandalwood from Mysore, Karnataka, India representing the highest quality fragrance of Sandalwood itself - a must-try for those looking for the pure fragrance of Sandalwood." Made with high quantities of premium "Old Mountain" Mysore Sandalwood with nothing else to cloud the wood’s true nature, Sarasoju is lightly sweet, resinous, and profoundly calming.

Sarasoju's unlit tan stick is calm, slightly cool, and soft. The stick has a faint natural sweetness presenting as a soft milky quality that is light, clean, and pure. Although barely there, what fragrance the stick shares has a cool clean quality, like wood freshly sanded. In the absence of an overt fragrance, Sarasoju's stick is distant and reserved, giving only hints of what is to come in the burn.

Alight Sarasoju begins with a sharp acid note filled with a fresh cut woodiness, rich and resinous like logs freshly felled. Very quickly thereafter a warm sweetness develops like wood passing through the blade of a saw, warm, rich, and sharply sweet like the warm sawdust of aged hardwood. Very quickly Sarasoju's warm sweetness deepens, blending the resinous notes of the top the burn with a feel of a custom cabinetry shop, the hybrid tone bringing to mind fine aged wood being worked by master craftsman prior to finishing.

As the fragrance builds, the light milky sweetness of the unlit stick is replaced by a soft, transparent, rich sweetness that is sharply resinous, deep and rich, like fresh sawdust made from marvelous old wood.  A fabulously woody fragrance highlighting the rich and elegant nature of Sandalwood from Mysore India, Sarasoju places nothing between the listener and the "Old Mountain," shining with richness and delicious warmth. Sarasoju is unapologetically about its wood base, and fills the space with the warm rich natural sweetness of Sandalwood in a way that is beautifully tranquil and refreshing.

With time Sarasoju's sharp sweetness becomes softer, mellow, and comforting, lulling the listener into gentle ease that is quite enjoyable. Like the quiet of the woodshop before the machines are switched on, Sarsoju presents a lovely quietness that is calming, relaxing, and filled with potential, powerfully confident yet polite, easy, and gentle. With its vibrant woody fragrance, Sarasoju is delightfully consistent and reassuring, blending together the wonderful depth and richness of Sandalwood's true nature. As its fragrance fills the space, the area is transformed into one that is quiet, peaceful, and calm. Yet there is a sense of excitement and invigoratingly potential akin to being in "the zone" where actions flow effortlessly with ease. The juxtaposition of calm and exciting attributes is remarkably unique, and makes Sarasoju idea for intense work periods and meditation.

Once extinguished, Sarasoju's after-note is rich, spicy, and resinous. The woodiness of the burn is replaced with a sharper spicy quality that has a strong note of Sandalwood resin. The resulting after-note is clear, crisp, and clean, with a soft warm quality that is comforting and peaceful. Generously long lasting, Sarasoju's after-note remains spicy long after the burn is completed, with the general tone becoming more transparent as it fades to memory.

Highlighting the richness of its "Old Mountain"Sandalwood base, Sarasoju offers   nothing else that may come between the listener and Sandalwood's true nature. Rich, warm, and with a natural resinous sweetness, Sarasoju is a wonderfully calming and energizing Sandalwood experience.

Found in sanding wood
If only my joinery was as eloquent.

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