FYI:

Attar Bazaar, purveyor of personal fragrance/perfume oils, is having a sale this week.

From their email flyer:

Spring is here! Please celebrate with us by taking 20% off your next order—this week only!

Use coupon code: AFSP20

Sale starts now and ends on Sunday, March 28th, 2010.

Shop now at: http://www.attarbazaar.com/?Click=798

Or call (800) 344-7172 x206 and order by phone.

Also, check out our new roll-on applicator bottle:

http://www.attarbazaar.com/product-p/sqro.htm?Click=798

Advertisements

This is actually old news, but I thought I’d share now that I’m out of my burrow for a while.  I ran across this while trying again in vain to find Blissful Mountain on their web site.

Kunjudo has released a new entry into the Karin line, Tokusen Karin.  It went on sale December 10, 2009.

It looks like it’s a premium version of the beloved Karin / Forest of Flowers scent.  The box is the same, with the colors slightly deepened.

Oh, and new trivia: looks like Karin itself came out in April of 1986.  Cool!

If anyone wants to send me a box/stick, please drop me a line and I will gladly smell it for you!

I’ve updated the glossary to include some incenses from Kunjudo, including the entire Karin series and a couple of others.

Hello!  Thanks for sticking around this long.  As a reward of your patience, I’ve created a glossary of some incense terms in Japanese.  If you highlight the kanji and paste them into a search engine, you can turn up all sorts of stuff.  The glossary is also a preview of some of the incense documents I’ve got cooking.  Very imperfect, but I think they’ll help those on the hunt for incenses.  I have one for Kunjudo and one for Kyukyodo in the works.

In the meantime, please visit the glossary.

Today marks the Autumnal Equinox, when the days begin their slow descent into winter darkness.  It also marks one of the first cool days we’ve had since July in my part of the world (US Midwest).  The sky outside is an even, pale gray.  Rain has been predicted, but none has fallen.  My tomato plants haven’t wilted yet, but the first average frost date is rapidly approaching.  The corn field I can see from my deck has gone past the gold of harvest into the brown of decay.  The leaves have not started to turn yet, but I anticipate they will soon enough.  It’s a perfect time to start talking about scents that help one start cocooning against the elements.

Incense:

I think spicy scents form a good bridge between the lighter woods of summer and the richer scents of winter. Shoyeido’s Kyoto Autumn Leaves is an obvious choice, featuring a spicy, rich blend of sandalwood, cinnamon, patchouli, and benzoin.  Shoyeido’s Golden Pavilion is similarly spicy, but adds the pervasive note of cloves to Kyoto Autumn Leaves’ blend.  Baieido’s Sawayaka Kobunboku / Imagine series Koh serves cinnamon lovers well with its toasty blend of aloeswood, cinnamon, and Chinese herbs.  Shoyeido’s Incense Road series may also appeal to spice-lovers, especially its Spicy Chai scent.

I don’t usually pay any attention to Martha Stewart, but she seems to love Halloween just as much as I do.  She’s got an interesting project for a “pumpkin incense burner” that allows one to fill one’s living space with the scent of spiced, baking pumpkin–specifically, pumpkin pie, for those readers who are familiar with this autumn treat.  I’m curious about how the project would turn out, but the amount of time needed to complete it gives me pause.

Autumn is also time to be outside amongst the falling leaves and chill breeze.  Scents that evoke earthy loam and bonfires are perfect for autumn.  Mermade Magickal’s Pan’s Earth is awesomely earthy and slightly musky, bringing together aloeswood, patchouli, vetiver, vanilla, labdanum, Hougary frankincense, and Himalayan juniper wood.  Mermade Magickal’s Sacred Grove and Earth Church both evoke the scent of the wild woods and nighttime bonfires.  Both feature a good proportion of fragrant woods and evergreen wood and resins.  They bring the scent of the ideal bonfire to your house.

(Sacred Grove’s ingredients: Hougary and Oman Frankincense, Turkish Storax, Labdanum, Fir Balsam Essential Oil, Western Red Cedar Wood, Powdered Grand Fir Tips, Himalayan Juniper Wood, Pinon Pine Resin, Copal Elemi Resin)

(Earth Church’s ingredients:  Poplar Buds, Fir Needles, Port Orford Cedar, Juniper, Oman Frankincense, Pine Resin, Salupati, Rose Petals, Bay Laurel, Cedar, Labdanum , Ylang Ylang)

My household has been sick for the past two weeks.  DH had either generic or H1N1 flu for a week (with a fever), and I came down with some sort of respiratory demon (sans fever) that has been living in my sinuses and chest for the past week.

For the first few days, I had the unpleasant experience of living without a sense of smell.  I can vouch that chocolate and ice cream are not very yummy without a sense of smell.  Forget incense or perfume!

The only thing I could smell (because I was practically stuffing it up my nose) was an essential oil mix I came up with called Cold-Be-Gone.  Feel free to try it out at home.  (Please attribute me as the original author if you want to share the recipe with others.)

DON’T actually stuff it up your nose.  Doing so will make you cry or worse.  I used a heated essential oil diffuser that I put next to the bed at night, which generated an intense sphere of scent that expanded to fill the bedroom.

Cold-Be-Gone Blend

12 drops peppermint essential oil
12 drops lavender essential oil
12 drops tea tree essential oil
12 drops eucalyptus essential oil
6 drops lemon essential oil

Depending on how much stock you take in aromatherapy, the above essential oils are either powerful antivirals working in midair, or will provide a pleasant, strongly medicinal-smelling placebo based on your past experience with strong-smelling vaporous balms and medicines.  YMMV.

Peppermint – chosen to sweeten up the blend – also supposed to help suppress coughs.
Lavender – chosen because I like it, also has floral and herbal components that work well with strong herbal scents – also supposed to calm and generally cure all ills.
Tea Tree – chosen because of its smell – very mentholated – used topically for skin problems, considered an antiviral, etc.
Eucalyptus – chosen because of its smell – supposed to help with chest congestion, considered antiviral, etc.
Lemon – chosen to brighten the blend a bit, could be eliminated – supposed to invigorate the senses and have a cheering effect.

Like I said, your mileage may vary.  But it helped me sleep a bit better, and seemed to keep DH from coughing so much.  And it smelled like it should be doing something. That’s a major part of the fun, right?

Daisen-In Incense:

While in Kyoto, we visited Daisen-In, the head temple of the temple complex Daitoku-ji.  I highly recommend a visit if you’re into zen gardens at all.  At the end of our visit, I bought some lovely incense made by Shoyeido labelled solely in kanji.

After buying it my husband and I were blessed by a cheerful monk who was there doing custom calligraphy for visitors: “Be Happy Always!”

The Daisen-In incense is very very similar to Shoyeido’s Nokiba, and someone has told me that he found someplace that said it was Nokiba.  (Thanks, Paul!)  I think they may be different, but I plan a couple of smell tests to see.  The color is very different, but that doesn’t necessarily mean anything.  Both certainly have the same lovely cottony benzoin sweetness tempered with the earthy aspects of patchouli.

I will post close-ups of the box and materials in another post, in the hopes that someone may be able to read them!  (I know that the kanji at the bottom of the front says “Daisen-In”)  The script that Shoyeido likes to use on all their boxes throws me off.

Daisen-In

Kyukyodo at Keio Department Store:

It turns out that the Keio department store attached to Shinjuku Station (as I wrote about earlier) has a wonderful Kyukyodo counter if you’re not wanting to travel to the head store in the Ginza district of Tokyo.  (It’s not the only other department store counter Kyukyodo possesses in Tokyo.)  It’s located straight across from the elevators on the 6th floor, which is why we missed it on our first trip to Keio.  I visited the counter to make my follow-up purchases after having mulled over my choices in the Kyukyodo catalog I got in Kyoto.  I believe that the Keio counter boasted all of the incense available at the Kyoto head branch.  I didn’t see the less expensive incense stands in Kyoto, but I may have missed them.

I ended up just purchasing a bulk box of Ikaruga (1100 yen) and a rabbit incense stand/holder (850 yen) that I couldn’t find at the Kyoto branch.

Ikaruga Bunny

On my previous trip (on let’s say, Tuesday), there was also an extensive selection of Awaji-Baikundo incense for sale down the aisle.  A young man dressed in traditional clothing demonstrated the various choices to the few passers-by shopping on a Tuesday night.  Not knowing what was going on at first, I approached the tatami-covered platform he and an older woman were occupying, and suddenly realized that it was Awaji-Baikundo.  Bulk boxes from 850 yen to 1500 yen.  I hadn’t expected to find any there, and so I couldn’t remember which kinds were the ones I wanted to try.  He showed me a few sticks, but I needed to get home.  I vowed to myself to research and come back as soon as possible.

Wednesday and Thursday passed (our trip to Kyoto), as did Friday (a return trip to Akihabara and several bookstores).  So Saturday rolls around, and the Awaji-Baikundo stand was gone!!

It turns out that the section next to the Kyukyodo counter carries regional goods that rotate on a weekly basis.  In Awaji-Baikundo’s place was someone selling amber jewelry of some sort.  So that’s my story of the Awaji-Baikundo that got away.

Narita Airport:

I managed to squeak in one last incense purchase at the airport of all places—a box of Baieido’s Imagine series Hinoki.  They were selling it in the Fa-So-La across from a food court.  Eh, why not?

And so my incense adventures ended way too quickly.  I can say that I expected to have to open my backpack up for inspection, but I got through security just fine.

Essence of the Ages has announced three new “perfume-inspired” incenses from Shorindo scented with interpretations of two Etro fragrances and one Chanel fragrance.

Shorindo Koibana series

The fragrances featured include Etro Magot, Etro Anice, and Chanel Chance.  I find their choices interesting, given that Etro is a relatively smaller and more niche fragrance house than Chanel.  Both have excellent fragrance offerings.

I suspect that the incense will be different from the originals, if they’re true to the fragrances, specifically because incense tends to deliver its blend of notes all at once.  Alcoholic fragrances, on the other hand, take advantage of the volatility of their chemical components to stage a progression of notes as time passes.  (Now, non-progression in incense is arguable, since with incense we get the entire experience, from smelling the stick, to smelling during burning, to experiencing different concentrations of scent in different parts of the room, to smelling the after-scent in the air and on clothes.)

I just love fragrance ad copy for its unreflexive awe and breathlessness about the fragrances, so here you go!

Etro Magot (from Aedes de Venustas): “A spicy fragrance with warm, sensual tones. Mysterious. Magot is the name of a statue that represents the the Chinese God of happiness and abundance. Aura: it carries you into the mysterious universe in which any seduction is possible. Its pungent and intense aromas evoke the lust of concubine’s rooms. Its languor should be felt on the skin. The citrus chases off depression; the lavender is seductive; patchouli is an aphrodisiac.”

Etro Anice (from Aedes de Venustas): “Anice, which comes from the Latin word anisum and the Greek word anayo (meaning, I burn, I excite), is an incredibly alluring fragrance, seemingly born out of the cold light of the night star with an everchanging face. If you wear it, you change with it: you’re visible and invisible. Anice expresses ethereal, tender fiminity. It reflects the Yin present in each man who is able to love and desire. It is a unisex fragrance that moves sensually and gently like waves upon the body of a woman and man, capturing their magic: an ethereal moment of infinite sensuality. Anice captures that instant pulsing with life. Starting out with the distinctive, spicy aroma of Anise, the luminous scent of bergamot and rosewood it is followed by the heady scent of jasmine, vivacious hints of fennel and caraway and theintense notes of iris. The warm bottom notes of vanilla, musk and amber linger on the skin.”

Chanel Chance (from Chanel): “A decidedly young scent . . . for those who dare to dream. Waves of freshness collide with floral notes and merge with sensual, sweet and spicy elements. It’s your chance . . . TAKE IT!”   (Notes [from osmoz.com]: Pink pepper, Lemon,  Hyacinth, Jasmine, Iris, Amber, Patchouli, Vetiver, White Musk)

For access to a smell of the perfumes, Chance can be found in just about any department store in the United States and elsewhere where Chanel fragrances are found.  Being recent and “popular,” they don’t hide it behind the counter.  Magot and Anice, on the other hand, should be available at  Aedes de Venustas in New York City,  The Perfume Shoppe in Vancouver, or Senteurs d’Ailleurs in Brussels.  Note that the Perfume Shoppe and Aedes de Venustas both boast excellent sample programs for those who can’t visit the shop.  The other, I’m not sure.  Wouldn’t hurt to ask!  The Perfumed Court also ships samples in the US and internationally.

Wow, look at this crazy eBay item:

Car Incense Burner

I don’t know, it looks a bit dangerous to me.

Things have been busy around here.  I’ve been teaching a new class, which means a new prep and oodles of time spent on that.  Not to mention that I’ve got to finish my dissertation draft by December.  I managed to get the last post of the travelogue written, and posted it…but somehow it never made it, and it’s completely gone.  So please bear with me a bit longer, and I will rewrite the last installment.  I hope you find it worth the wait.