Traditional Japanese Classifications of Aloeswood
Rikkoku: literal translation is the "Six Countries of Aloeswood"
A gentle and dignified smell with a touch of bitterness. The fragrance
is like an aristocrat in its elegance and gracefulness.
A sharp and pungent smell similar to sandalwood. Its smell is generally
bitter, and reminds one of a warrior.
Smells light and enticing, changing like the mood of a woman with
bitter feelings. [Obviously the connoisseurs of this day were
men!] None of the five qualities (tastes) are easily detectable.
The fragrance is of good quality if it disappears quickly.
Mostly sweet. The presence of sticky oil on a mica piece is often
a sign that the fragrance is Manaban. The smell is coarse and
unrefined, just like that of a peasant.
Sour at the beginning and end. Sometimes mistaken for Kyara, it
has something, however, distasteful and ill-bred about it, like
a servant disguised as a noble person.
Cool and sour. Good-quality Sasora is mistaken for Kyara, especially
when it first begins to burn. Sometimes it is so light and faint
that one may think the smell has disappeared. It reminds one
of a monk.
The five qualities (tastes) used to classify aloeswood aromas:
the smell of honey or concentrated sugar.
the smell of plums or other acidic foods.
the smell of red peppers when put in a fire.
the smell of a towel after wiping perspiration from the brow
or the lingering smell of ocean water when seaweed
is dried on a fire.
the smell of bitter herbal medicine when it is mixed or boiled.
*From "The Book of Incense," written by Kiyoko Morita. This
book is listed in our book
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