The Rikkoku Gomi

bowl of agarwood incense chips

The Rikkoku Gomi translates to “Six Countries of Agarwood” and “Five Tastes” is the traditional Japanese way of classifying agarwood.

The Six Countries of Agarwood

  • Kyara – A solemn and complex scent, usually accompanied by bitterness.
  • Rakoku – A sharp scent, which smells sort of like a deeper and wetter sandalwood.
  • Manaka – A unique scent. Light and airy in nature. None of the five elements are easily detectable in this type of agarwood.
  • Manaban – A sweet scent. Manaban typically has quite a bit of oil.
  • Sumotara – An initially sour scent, but it tends to alternate between sour and bitter. Sometimes mistaken for Kyara.
  • Sasora – A cooling, slightly sour scent. Quality and scent can vary quite a bit on this one.

The Five Tastes of Agarwood

  • Sweet – Has a sweet smell, reminding one of honey.
  • Sour – Has a sour and acidic smell, reminding one of dark fruit.
  • Hot – Has a warming vibe, reminding one of heat, or the color orange.
  • Salty – Has a salty, oceanic scent, reminding one of ocean water and a cool wind.
  • Bitter – Has a bitter scent. This is the scent which your typical Vietnamese agarwood will have.

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