Today I am going to be reviewing Shoyeido’s Southern Wind incense sticks.
Shoyeido Company History
Shoyeido has been around for over 300 years and is one of the more prominent Japanese incense manufacturers and exporters. The founder of the company was Rokubei Moritsune Hata, who was an employee in Kyoto’s Imperial Palace in the 18th century. The history of Shoyeido has now spanned over twelve generations.
Due to Shoyeido’s company history, they are considered to be an accurate representation of Japanese incense. If you haven’t really tried much Japanese incense, then Shoyeido is probably one of the better brands to start with.
It’s typical for Japanese incense manufacturers to use nature as inspiration for their creations. Many Japanese incense creations are forged from the memory of fragrances experienced in past-times. This leads Japanese incense to be quite different from the other various forms.
Kyoto, the city where Shoyeido is located, is essentially a cultural center for Japan. Traditional goods, arts, and practices are kept alive in this city. An interesting fact about Kyoto is that it was almost a target for an atomic bomb during World War 2. However, the US Secretary of State at the time, Henry Lewis Stimson, personally intervened to save Kyoto from destruction.
Southern Wind Incense Packaging
I purchased and received a sample Shoyeido’s Southern Wind incense sticks within one of their premium incense stick samplers.
The packaging is beautiful and very Japanese.
The sampler pack contained the following incense sticks:
- King’s Aroma (Ohjya-koh)
- Pride of Kyoto (Kyo-jiman)
- Beckoning Spring (Shun-yo)
- Gentle Smile (Misho)
- Southern Wind (Nan-kun)
- Refinement (Ga-ho)
- Infinity (Myo-ho)
- Translucent Path (Sho-kaku)
These incense sticks are marketed as ‘All Natural’ and are said to contain no synthetic oils or fragrances. A lot of people are picky about the quality of incense they burn, and you should be too. Remember that you are inhaling whatever incense you are burning, so it’s important that it is non-toxic.
The product description says:
One of Shoyeido’s finest, Southern Wind may bring to mind the languorous warmth of endless summer days.
Here is the ingredient list for Shoyeido Southern Wind incense sticks.
Agarwood/Aloeswood (Aquilaria agallocha), Benzoin (Styrax), Clove (Syzygium aromaticum) and other spices.
This is an interesting incense because it’s main ingredient is not only aloeswood, but the higher quality version of it (Aquilaria).
This is actually my first time trying this incense. It’s particularly expensive, with a package of 35 sticks costing over $150. This is likely due to the aloeswood content, which is one of the priciest materials on earth.
Southern Wind Fragrance Review
The Japanese are keen on a practice where they ‘listen’ to the incense.
Sometimes when I light incense, I like to close my eyes and see where it takes me.
Upon lighting this stick of Southern Wind, I was immediately transported to a trade caravan traveling east to Japan. I could smell crisp air. The dirt trails we passed. That typical aloeswood acridity and woody bitterness which seem to circulate and entrance anyone passing by. It makes me think of a time long-ago. A time which I’ll have never the chance to experience.
That is becoming even more true with how scarce and expensive quality aloeswood is becoming.
The benzoin and clove are both noticeable but sit in the background.
What I like about this incense is that it’s scent is primarily aquilaria aloeswood. They spice it up a bit, but this is something I would recommend to somebody interested in trying a traditional aloeswood incense stick.
I would rate these a 9/10. If you’re into Japanese incense, particularly aloeswood based variants, then I think these would be well-received.
I hope you found this information beneficial.