Incense: En no Sho (Circle)
Main Ingredients: Kyara, Aloeswood, Sandalwood, Camphor, Musk, and Others
Today I will be reviewing Gyokushodo’s En no Sho incense sticks. These are also known as ‘Circle’ and are advertised as a Vietnamese kyara blend. You can see from the ingredient list posted above that Kyara is supposedly the main ingredient in this blend.
The stick definitely does smell like kyara. You can smell the rich, dark and musky notes simply from wafting the unlit incense stick in front of your nose. That’s typically a sign of a quality kyara incense stick.
The density, color, as well as the shape of this incense stick, (it’s square-cut) leads me to think that this incense stick probably contains charcoal.
Upon lighting this incense stick, it becomes apparent to me that this is going to be a milder kyara blend, then say, Shoyeido’s Shokaku incense. Of course, Shokaku is a bit more expensive then this particular kyara blend. At the same time, it seems very smooth and well-balanced. You can smell the lovely bitterness of the Vietnamese kyara and the sweetness of the sandalwood, but it does seem to be a little mellowed out by the accompanying ingredients. This seems to be typical of the Gyokoshodo style.
While ‘listening’ to the incense, I eventually began to pick up some overtones of dark fruit. This was very interesting.
Overall, very lovely, but probably not the best kyara incense stick I have tried.