November 14, 2023

Listening to Shunkohdo Yoshino no Haru

Famed for centuries for its stunning display of cherry blossoms in springtime,  Mount Yoshino 吉野山 near Japan's ancient capital of Nara is said to have over 30,000 cherry trees of many different varieties. Home to Emperors of the Southern Court during the Nanboku-chō period and a place of pilgrimage during the Heian Court's golden age of incense, the famed cherry blossoms of Yoshino have been admired through poetry since in the first of Imperial anthologies of the Kokin Wakashū:

Flowering cherries
Blossoming in the mountains
of fair Yoshino -
betrayed by unwary eyes,
we mistake them for snowflakes.

A delightful blend of aloeswood and sweet aromatics, in an ode to the fair cherry blossoms of Yoshino in the spring, Shunkohdo has created Yoshino no Haru (Spring in Yoshino).

Shunkohdo describes Yoshino no Haru as reminiscent of the sweet fragrance of thousands of cherry blossoms that cover the world famous Yoshino Mountains in the springtime. Shunkohdo Yoshino no Haru blends premium Indonesian aloeswood with sweet aromatic spices into a light and delightfully sweet fragrance. Softly sweet and elegant, Yoshino no Haru displays a wonderfully woody floral fragrance ideal for entertaining or when a dash of springtime is desired even in the dead of winter.

Yoshino no Haru's unlit stick is deep forest green with a delightfully light powdery sweetness. Tinged with notes of cinnamon and tart acidity, an effervescent soft green tone permeates the unlit stick, like fresh flowers standing in a vase. Soft, gentle, and cool, Yoshino no Haru's stick is a spring breeze filled with a lovely sweetness and refined elegance.

Once lit, Yoshino no Haru begins with a wonderfully warm and rich tone, filled with cinnamon and spice, like warm sugar cookies fresh from the oven cooling on a spring morning. With time a tart sweetness develops, filled with a tangy acidity that contrasts the warm cinnamon note, the two playfully dancing like sunlight streaming through cherry blossoms. Yoshino no Haru's aloeswood note is reserved, mellow, and relaxed at the start, content to lend a soft woodiness to the sweet cherry note that takes center stage.

Waves of tart cherry develop, softly lapping upon the air like gentle waves upon a beach. Its curling smoke is hypnotic, adding to the gentle relaxation Yoshino no Haru develops as it drifts in shapes like clouds across the sky. Like the movement of the trees dancing in the breeze rising up the mountainside, Yoshino no Haru comes in soft gentle waves of tart sweetness, mellow woodiness, and light sweetness. The fragrance is trance like, easily lending itself to daydreams and ethereal visions of Bokeh effect red and pink blushes of color. The overall effect is one of relaxation, soothing calmness, and comfortable vistas.

As the burn deepens, the woody elements build and create a wonderfully stable base for the tart sweetness of Yoshino no Haru's top notes. Warm, softly sweet, with light floral overtones, the aloeswood at its base grows, intertwining itself within the overall fragrance like the branches of the cherry tree supporting its blossoming fragrance. At times sharp and bitter, the aloeswood note appears like the bark of an aged tree, at others presenting like green tea skillfully balanced with the wagashi sweets of cherry. The combination of bitter and sweet is a skillful fragrant example of a wabi-sabi melancholy nostalgic ode to the ethereal beauty of the Heian golden age of incense represented in waka poetry for centuries.

Yoshino no Haru's after note cools immediately. Like a soft early spring breeze, its fragrance takes on a cooler tone that opens its tart cherry note like water added to aged whiskey. The bitter woodiness of the burn disappears, replaced by an almost water like effervescence like early morning mist upon the mountainside, adding a cool crispness to the lingering cherry sweetness. In time, Yoshino no Haru's after-note softens, becoming lighter, less tart and softly sweet, gently fading like cherry blossom petals drifting upon the breeze.

Featuring a captivating blend of mellow aloeswood bitterness and elegant tart sweetness, Yoshino no Haru is a gentle and sublime fragrance like sunshine dappled through spring cherry blossoms on the fair hills of Yoshino.

The first snowflakes of winter
dance upon the breeze
as if petals of cherries in springtime.

yoshino no haru product image

Shunkohdo Yoshino no Haru is available in the following size:
125-stick box