I keep a box of Jinko Yomei (aloeswood blend) by Gyokushodo on my bedside table. I came across it when I decided to focus my incense search on aloeswood. I tend to classify incense by type. There are
those that focus specifically on the attributes of a main-note, like sandalwood or aloeswood; in which case the blend of ingredients brings out the inherent features of the main material. There are other incenses that take more liberties combining perfumed oils to produce unusual scent profiles not particularly bound to a lead-character wood.
I've come across some incense that I would classify as floral. Jinko Yomei most certainly bears the 'Spicy' label - in fact its brilliance is in the unusual spice blend rather than in the purity of the jinko. I barely notice the wood at all. Apparently the jinko carries the spices and extends the life of the scent - a structural back-up if you like.
The smell of the unlit bundle itself is incredible and unexpected. Ginger and lemongrass against a kick of crushed pepper, cinnamon and other spices. When lit, a trace of cumin attempts to smudge the scent into a somewhat dirty place though the sweet floral notes prevent the balance from ever being compromised. Perhaps because of the spice and herbal content I feel that I smell this incense in my mouth as much as in my nose. Jinko Yomei is both light and dark, opaque and transparent and I've never smelled anything like it.
The surface of the box reveals a silver laid-texture paper with a perfect black label providing ground to the gold kanji writing. The bundle itself is wrapped in a gradient paper from a bright gold to a darker bronze-gold. The same paper cradles the interior of the box. The presentation is as satisfying as the scent.
The description of Jinko Yomei on Japanincense.com refers to the tradition of scenting hair and clothes with incense. This was 'big in old Japan'. I like the idea of scenting one's self with a spicy smoke. Per-fume as in 'through smoke'.
It's sometimes fun to imagine the Orient as one imaginary place with exotic music and traditions. Jinko Yomei would be the scent of this Orient.