October 27, 2021

Listening to Tennendo Frankincense 乳香

Used for thousands of years, Frankincense is well known for its wonderful relaxing quality of both body and mind. It is believed to reduce anxiety, calm aggravation, and act as sedative, allowing for opening of the inner mind to insight and spiritual experience. Frankincense was my first experience with incense in general, and the reason Kikoh exists. One day I ran out of my favorite cheap bamboo-core Frankincense before I had heard of Japanese incense. When I went to restock, the little shop where I purchased my incense from was no longer in business. A search online started my journey along the fragrant path. And now that journey has lead me full circle to the Japanese incense of Tennendo Frankincense (Nyuko). A far cry from my old favorite and a significant step up in quality, my old incense falls far short in comparison.

Tennendo Frankincense has earned renown for being one of the highest quality Frankincense incenses available. Sourced under the exclusive permission of the sultanate of Oman, Tennendo’s Frankincense of Dhofar is as close to the noble fragrance of premium Frankincense resin as possible. In a word, Tennendo's Frankincense is remarkable.

The stick note of Tennendo Frankincense is beautiful. A box full of sticks has an amazing fragrance just opening it. The stick itself is soft, sweet, lightly floral, with a fruity citrus top note that is like the effervescent sharp invisible sweetness that hovers above a bowl full of fresh tangerines. There are notes that are cool, notes that are soft, notes that are citrus, and notes that green. Together, it is almost overwhelming the depth of fragrance the unlit stick presents.

Alight Tennendo Frankincense begins with a tart note, deep and rich, with a slight sweetness to it. There is an immediate warmth mixed with this initial note, like caramelized fruit. As the burn settles in, the fragrance softens, mellowing into a mixture of sharp perfumed notes mixed with a green citrus like top note ringing clear above the base. There is a blanket like soothing that comes easily to Tennendo Frankincense, like the comforting soft warmth of the feeling of being at ease and safe.

This is a very powerful incense, easily filling the space with its rich softly sweet tones. There is something three dimensional about Tennendo's Frankincense that is usually reserved for the most premium of fragrant woods. The fragrance is both surrounding and transporting, allowing the listener to drift within their own mind space. This would be an excellent incense for meditation as well as for space clearing or to just relax to.

As the stick warms up the various notes of the unlit stick combine into a singular softly sweet and luxurious chord, consistent and even in its silky smoothness. The fragrance is premium Frankincense - softly sweet, rich, with a floral-like citrus top note. Over the burn this fragrance is remarkably consistent, with a calming dependability, layer after softly sweet layer.

As the burn continues, there is a feeling of timelessness and age with Tennendo Frankincense. There is so much history with this sacred resin. Sitting with the lit stick, relaxing to its fragrance, enjoying its high and low notes playing as one, there is a feeling of transcendence with those who have burned Frankincense as incense for millennium. The longer the burn continues, the more the heavier notes fall away to reveal a softly sweet, slightly floral citrus that is as soft as gossamer. Translucent, silky, and delicate, Tennendo Frankincense feels transcendent or supernatural in the way it gets finer and finer, yet grows stronger in appeal.

A little goes a long way with Tennendo Frankincense. This incense is unapologetically strong, yet not overwhelming. It is very easy to find a place of rest within its fragrance, allowing the smoke to rise and fill the space rather quickly. For this reason, it would be advisable to ensure adequate ventilation when using.

The after-note of Tennendo Frankincense reverts to the sharp sour-tart sweetness of the initial burn. There is a marked cooling that occurs, both mentally and within the space, as the fragrance dissipates. It's almost as though the listener is being guided back to reality from the soft warm space created within the fragrance while burned - a returning from spirit to body akin to what takes place upon ending a meditation session. As the fragrance fades over time, the last note to remain is a green sweet citrus note that hangs like a cool memory.

Tennendo's Frankincense indeed lives up to its reputation as one of the finest Frankincense incenses available today. In my journey along the fragrant path, it is nice to return home to find one of my favorite fragrances so much improved upon. Soft, sweet, green, with a lovely citrus top note, Tennendo Frankincense is a superior incense well worth the experience.

Cold rain foretelling winter
Spatters upon my window
The fragrant path fails to notice

Tennendo Frankincense (Nyuko) is available in the following sizes:
Large box of 400 sticks
NEI packs of 40 sticks.